The purpose of this post is to sketch out why some might erroneously think that, for the sake of justice, we should revise traditional sexual morality. In his 1986 Letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in Section 9 “One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.” It is thought that supporting traditional sexual morality treats homosexuals unfairly. Hence, to avoid supporting the allegedly unfair social practice of accepting the moral rules of traditional sexual morality we should work to revise the practice. However, the reasoning for revision is question-begging.
Many practicing homosexuals are, aside from performance of their homosexual acts, rather decent people; no better, no worse than many heterosexuals. For simplicity’s think only of consensual acts where the consent is informed. However, according to the traditional sexual morality still upheld by the Catholic Church, and this blogger, the sexual satisfaction of homosexuals are attained immorally.
The moral condemnation of the means for attaining the satisfaction (pleasure) degrades the satisfaction of the homosexual acts. The satisfactions are thought of ,and felt, as dirty in the sense of “dirt” as something out of place. This dirtiness is felt amongst other negative feelings as being shameful. The homosexual satisfactions are designated as out of place by being judged as attained immorally. Pleasures are not separable from thoughts involved with having them. Thoughts involve what a community thinks. So if a community thinks negatively of a pleasure because of its moral rules, the sensation as something good is diminished for the one having it as well as in the eyes of the community. Human sexual satisfaction is social; not purely personal.
I hope that I have made somewhat clear how it seems that endorsement of traditional sexual morality is endorsement of a system which distributes something good to heterosexuals which is denied to homosexuals.
There is, then, a temptation to think the traditional rules call for an unfair distribution of the good of sexual satisfaction. Two men who are very similar except one desires heterosexual satisfactions while the other desires homosexual satisfactions are treated differently. The heterosexual is allowed having his sexual satisfactions classed as legitimate or natural. The homosexual is denied having his satisfactions classed as legitimate or natural and thereby denied enjoying his sexual satisfactions as genuinely good.
Admittedly there is a discrimination here in distribution of a good. However, the distribution is unfair only if there is no valid moral rule authorizing the discrimination. The traditional moral rules authorize the discrimination. Concluding that the traditional moral rules are invalid because they authorize the discrimination is to conclude that they are invalid because they authorize a discrimination which is unfair. But adding which is unfair it is assumed that the traditional moral rules are not valid. But in this discussion the question at issue is whether or not the traditional moral rules are valid. So in discussion of their fairness it is logically inappropriate to assume that the traditional moral rules are not valid.
My book on sexual morality makes a philosophical case for traditional sexual morality. My book Confronting Sexual Nihilism: Traditional Sexual Morality as an Antidote to Nihilism was released by Tate Publishing on March 11, 2014. See Book Web Page for information about the book. The publisher’s listed price is $26.99. Free copies can be obtained here by credit card by paying $3.75 for shipping and handling.
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