Posts Tagged ‘morality’
Posted by Tony Listi on December 9, 2011
Many colleges and universities offer art classes which necessarily involve the viewing of the nude male or female human body. There are two extreme and wrong-headed responses or approaches to this kind of situation:
- It is always and absolutely wrong to look at the naked human body merely for artistic reproduction or training. It is also always and absolutely wrong to publicly display such artistic reproductions of the nude body. Anybody who engages in such things is engaging in the deadly sin of lust.
- Looking at the naked human body, whether in person or through art, is no big deal and shouldn’t be taken seriously at all. Anybody who wants limits upon or has any concerns about the morality of looking at the naked human body are prudes who hate the human body or don’t sufficiently value its beauty and dignity.
The correct, prudent, and temperant approach is the Catholic Christian approach outlined by Blessed Pope John Paul II (JP2) in his Theology of the Body. Artistic representation of nude forms is a very complex issue because it combines very objective truths with very subjective experiences.
Let’s look at JP2’s own words: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in American Culture, Art and Creativity, Catholicism, Moral Philosophy, Religion and Theology, Sex, The Papacy, Written by Me | Tagged: aesthetic, appropriate, art, artistic, beautiful, beauty, Bible, Catholic, chastity, Christian, Church, concupiscience, culture, ethical, ethics, looking at, lust, moral, morality, naked, no clothes, norm, normative, nude, nudity, porn, pornography, propriety, purity, Scripture, Sex, sexuality, viewing | 16 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on November 21, 2011
I’m getting really tired of seeing debates over same-sex “marriage” (SSM) that ignore, dismiss, or downplay children and their rights and that talk about marriage as if it were primarily an adult-centered civil institution. It is so sad that leftists, most libertarians, and many so-called “conservatives” treat children this way. The real debate over marriage as a public, civil institution should not be about adults but about children and children’s rights.
The essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to each other for the sake of their children and their children’s rights. Marriage as a civil institution is about children; the law should recognize it as children-centered institution. Children and their rights are the reason why marriage is a public, civil institution (not merely a religious institution) and why it should have special legal status.
While not every marriage can or does bear fruit in the procreation of children, every child has a mother and father, and the well being of that child depends significantly upon the relationship between his or her mother and father, which marriage, as a civil and social institution, is designed to strengthen and stabilize.
The law should recognize these basic facts of biology, social science, and human nature and should protect the child’s rights by protecting marriage. Legal protection of marriage is necessary because children are unable to defend and protect their own rights, and the violation of those rights and consequent harm and damage done is extremely difficult to remedy satisfactorily after the fact.
SSM tries to change marriage from a children-centered civil institution to an adult-centered civil institution, necessarily perverting and destroying the essential public purpose of marriage and harming children, who depend upon marriage for their well being.
Many people often say that same-sex “marriage” (SSM) does “no harm to anyone.” While it might have little to no direct and immediate effect on adults and current marriages, SSM would certainly, directly, and immediately harm future children by:
- Undermining, if not removing entirely, the children-centered nature of civil marriage, which children depend upon for their well being,
- Turn children into commodities to be manufactured and possessed that unrelated adults have a “right” to have, separating children from at least one parent as a matter of routine procedure,
- Empowering the state to routinely and arbitrarily assign parentage and custody of children without any regard for biology or genetics.
Marriage should not be about self-centered adults who want recognition and approval from the State for their private relationships which serve no public purpose. As a civil institution, marriage is not about the “happiness” or “rights” of adults but the happiness and rights of children.
SSM strips away the essential public purpose of marriage (children and their rights) and leaves only the inessential private purposes of marriage. Under the new definition(s) of “marriage,” a whole host of private relationships having nothing to do with the procreation and proper raising of children could be considered a “marriage.” By the time the logic of these new definitions reaches its full implications, there will be nothing left of marriage except an absurd and dangerous government registry of roomates and friendships.
A relationship based on homosexual affection or behavior is no more deserving of legal recognition and approval than a relationship based on the activities of living together, golf, chess, dancing, or studying. Homosexual behavior, living together, golfing, playing chess, dancing, and studying are all private behaviors that serve no essential public purpose. If these individuals want to formalize their private relationship and create reciprocal rights and responsibilities amongst themselves, they are free to do that under the law using contracts. But of course, no private individual or corporation outside of that contractual relationship should be forced by government to recognize that contractual relationship and to perform some specific action because of the existence of that contractual relationship.
But marriage, a relationship based on procreating children and securing their positive rights, deserves special legal status that transcends contract law because it serves the very essential public purpose of procreating children and securing their positive rights. Marriage is more than a contract because it intends to create and care for an entirely new human being, an entirely new third party to the “contract” who has special positive rights that depend upon the marriage relationship itself to be secured.
Perhaps some people will argue that SSM and the creation and proper raising of children can go together…. But SSM inherently promotes and encourages the outrageous, immoral, and harmful notion that children are commodities or things which adults have a “right” to have, regardless of whether they are the biological parents of the children or not. On the contrary, children should be loved into existence and are persons with a positive right to a relationship with both biological parents, to know and be known by both biological parents.
Creating a child with the intention of preventing the child from having a relationship with one or both of his or her biological parents is cruel and unjust to the child. Artificial reproduction technology merely makes this injustice and cruelty more possible and likely than before. SSM thus tries to change marriage into an institution that separates children from at least one of their parents as a matter of routine procedure.
Most dangerously, SSM would lead to changes in parentage laws entailing the empowering of the State to assign the parentage of children to adults based on inherently arbitrary criteria rather than on biology. Currently, unless scientific testing shows otherwise, family law assumes that the father of a child is the husband of the mother of the child (i.e. presumption of paternity
), if the mother is married. But by changing the legal definition of marriage from one man and one woman, the State is empowered to ignore human nature and biology and arbitarily assign children to the custody certain adults.
Such changes create legal precedent for the State having complete and arbitrary control over children and to whom they belong. If you think this sounds far-fetched, it has already happened in Washington State
This blog post draws heavily from the Ruth Institute’s pamphlet “77 Non-Religious Reasons to Support Man/Woman Marriage.” Click here to get your copy!
Posted in American Culture, Government and Politics, Marriage, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Science and Politics, Written by Me | Tagged: bigot, Child, children, civil, definition, equal, equality, father, gay, government, harm, homophobe, homophobic, homosexual, injustice, institution, justice, law, legal, lesbian, marriage, moral, morality, mother, public, relationship, religion, Right, rights, same-sex, state, unjust | 4 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on July 25, 2010
When I get tired of addressing the same misunderstandings over and over again, I decide to write a blog post about it that I can just send people to, rather than having to explain myself and common errors over and over again.
The “separation of church and state” is a common objection people of many political persuasions like to fling at conservatives, as if these objectors had any philosophical or historical understanding of the phrase and their interpretation of it.
There is a difference between the institutional separation of church and state vs. the philosophical separation between religion and politics. There is a difference between institutions and people vs. ideas and philosophy.
The former is possible, desirable, and necessary for the sake of both church and state. It is not good for priests, pastors, bishops, or popes to hold political offices outside of the Vatican. There have been times in the history of Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant, when religious leaders wielded formal political authority too. But more importantly, before Christianity and after the Protestant Revolution, the state assumed religious authority as well, dictating to its subjects what they shall believe and how they shall act, subjecting religious leaders to political authority. In the modern era, this usurpation has been accomplished through government-run education and a variety of laws premised on anti-Christian principles.
The Crown and Parliament of England in particular controlled the Church of England. This reality is what motivated the American founders to enact the 1st Amendment which prohibited the “establishment of religion” at the national level (it did not prohibit established churches at the state level and many states had and retained these established churches after the ratification of the Constitution). The 1st Amendment prevented the establishment of a Church of the USA, funded by tax-payer money, akin to the Church of England.
Both the life of the spirit and the public life of politics suffered (at least eventually) under such institutional arrangements. The institutions of church and state must be kept separate and independent. I am FOR the separation of church and state. And these arrangements are what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he wrote the phrase in his letter to the Danbury Baptists (the phrase is not in the Constitution).
However, the latter, the separation of religion and politics, is intellectually impossible. Religion makes claims about the origin and nature of man, including his natural rights. Just because one is an atheist or agnostic doesn’t mean one doesn’t have religion. Everyone has religion because everyone has a view about the origin and nature of man and about his nautral rights. And natural rights are the basis of good, just, and moral politics. Natural rights are what the founders appealed to in the Declaration of Independence.
It is impossible for one to be for or against the separation of religion and politics. The fact is that they cannot be separated, as a matter of reason and contemplation about what each sphere entails. The political order rests upon the moral order and the moral order upon the religious order.
So the next time some preacher, pastor, priest, bishop, or pope starts talking politics, denouncing abortion and gay “marriage,” I don’t want to hear appeals to the “separation of church and state.” It is irrelevant.
What you are really saying is that you want a separation of the Christian religion from American political discourse, which is un-American historically and philosophically dangerous. You would rather substitute a leftist, collectivist, libertine, secularist pseudo-religion for Christianity as the basis of moral judgment, natural rights, and law. Such a substitution would be immoral, unjust, and terrible for the spiritual and material well being of all Americans.
Posted in American Culture, American History, Christianity and Politics, Conservatism, Government and Politics, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, The Constitution, Written by Me | Tagged: Christianity, Church, establishment, legislate, moral, morality, political, politics, religion, Religious, separation, state | 2 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on July 17, 2010
I’m getting very tired of hearing libertarians (and others) say, “You shouldn’t legislate morality!” As if their philosophy and policy proposals were morally neutral!
Ironically, most Big Government statists have a sounder grasp of the general relationship between morality and politics than libertarians. The “Don’t Legislate Morality” objection against conservatives and statists alike is mere smoke and mirrors, a rhetorical flourish with no substance whatsoever. Rights are always a matter of morality, regardless of where one’s moral assumptions come from.
Libertarians wish to codify their morality of liberty into law. The most thoughtful and principled libertarians would support liberty even if it did lead to impoverishment, inefficiency, and misery. They see liberty as a moral issue; liberty in itself is not morally neutral. Violence against the life, liberty, or property of another person without just cause (self-defense or reparation for previous injury) is not merely bad for material prosperity but bad for people; it is immoral, a violation of human rights. Moral relativism or neutrality simply doesn’t exist in conscientious libertarianism (or any other political philosophy).
And yet there are many people in this country (socialists, leftists, regressives, liberals, etc.) who disagree with this libertarian morality of non-violence. They believe that it is very moral to enact laws that plunder some people in order to give to others or that make people act in certain ways. In fact, they believe libertarianism in itself to be immoral. So libertarians need to ask themselves: “are we trying to impose our morality of non-coercion on others?” That answer has to be YES. Libertarians oppose the (im)moral assumptions behind statism and statist laws. A law has no less moral or immoral content merely because it allows people to freely act in certain ways, for the allowance of that freedom is based on moral presuppositions.
The question is not whether we should legislate morality (for that is a given) but “what is moral?” and “what can the law prudently do to enforce that morality, if anything?” And conservatives and libertarians agree more on these questions in comparison with the statists, especially when it comes to economic issues. In the realm of economics, I’m about as libertarian and Austrian as they get. Of course, when it comes to issues of abortion and marriage/family, I part ways with libertarianism– for reasons that I can explain in even libertarian/scientific terms, phraseology, and paradigms, showing how libertarianism breaks down in these cases.
So if you’re a libertarian reading this now and happen to disagree with me on these social issues, please refrain from incoherent slogans about “legislating morality.” They’re irrational and self-contradictory. Realize that you and I are both making moral claims. Then we’ll understand each other better, find more common ground, and be better able to cooperate politically.
Posted in Abortion, Government and Politics, Libertarianism, Marriage, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Written by Me | Tagged: Abortion, Bible, Christian, gay, government, immoral, immorality, law, legislate, legislating, libertarian, Libertarianism, liberty, marriage, moral, morality, political, politics, Religious | 4 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on August 2, 2008
What would the world be like if liberals took over the world? What would happen if they really could have all the CHANGE they wanted? What would life be like if all their HOPE and dreams were fulfilled? What if communism actually “worked” the way it was supposed to? What if we could see Alexis de Tocqueville’s “soft despotism” first hand? What if science finally triumphed over religion? What if we finally freed ourselves from all the “quaint” traditional moral norms, especially regarding sex?
It would be the cold, mechanical, perverse existence of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Have you read this book? If not, I urge you to watch it here. Everyone should read or watch it; only then may they realize the hell that liberalism wishes for us all. There is no better depiction of the liberal vision that conservatism opposes.
We must all watch it soon, for if we don’t, the sharp and grotesque satire of this story will slowly grow familiarly dull to us such that even this rich, powerful portrayal of our doom cannot reach our numbed souls.
Posted in American Culture, Culture War, Government and Politics, Liberalism, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Science and Politics, Sex, Written by Me | Tagged: Barack Obama, Brave New World, change, hope, if liberals ruled, if liberals won, liberal vision, Liberalism, morality, movie, sexual liberation, utopia, Video, Vision, watch | 7 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on May 15, 2008
It’s not news to anybody these days — not if they watch any television or glance at the covers of the magazines lining the checkout counters at the grocery stores — that we live in a sex-saturated society where supposedly the majority of young people are “doing it,” more often than not without “benefit of marriage.” The “Playboy philosophy” is trumpeted by a thousand voices that glamorize casual sex, while most of the shrinking mainline churches present pitifully watered-down messages about morality that confuse rather than clarify. Academic institutions, particularly the women’s studies programs, promote the idea that marriage is optional and young people are advised to “just do it!” The secular mantra, heard from middle school on up, is that sex will make you popular and happy; it’s great recreation that is free and fun.
There is a mountain of media out there promoting a phony philosophy about the joys of casual, risky sexual experimentation; one need look no further than the junk advice featured in magazines like Cosmopolitan to see just how pernicious it is. Even the “Dear Abby” column in many daily newspapers spreads the expectation of sexual activity even for the youngest of our teens. This assault will not be neutralized until a brigade of those who know better find their voices to convince today’s Sex in the City generation of young women that only discipline and restraint — it is having an attitude that says, “I won’t mess up my tomorrows by fooling around today” — will open the gateway to achieving their dreams and ambitions.
Well, the time for some straight talk about casual sex is long overdue. Every young person needs to know the following three truths:
Truth #1: Casual sex impairs the ability to establish a lasting emotion bond. When natural human emotional responses are repeatedly denied, the person is hardened and the capacity to bond is weakened. Dr. Donald Joy published groundbreaking research in the early 80s and has updated it periodically in the intervening years. He chronicles the ways that intimacy produces bonding. His research indicates that human beings respond to sexual intercourse by bonding, and they are driven to make that bond permanent and exclusive.
Dr. Joy reported on the work of a researcher at a hospital clinic in Detroit who worked with 1,000 couples for 10 years studying their marital problems and recording their sexual histories. He concluded that sexual intercourse is constructive only within marriage. His evidence is overwhelming that one or the other of the partners in casual sex (usually the girl or woman) experiences immediate emotional pain even in the absence of acknowledged injury. The experience of casual sexual intimacy produces memories that can contaminate future relationships and create lingering problems later on, when the person eventually marries. When the married couples in his research had problems, he said, “The pain in the marriages was rooted in their promiscuity.”
Truth #2: Casual sex leaves young people alone and lonely. Counselors tell us that sexually active girls are three times more likely to be depressed than their abstinent peers. Among the boys, sexually active ones are depressed twice as often. Sexually active teens are more likely than their abstinent counterparts to attempt suicide (girls 15 percent to five percent and boys six percent to one percent). But the most telling fact is that the majority of teenagers, 72 percent of the girls and 55 percent of the boys, acknowledge regret over early sexual activity and wish that they had waited longer to have sex. So much for the cultural mantra that “sex is no big deal!”
On another front, replacing marriage with casual sex is especially harmful to young women’s long-term well-being. The marriage rate in the United States has dropped by nearly 50 percent since 1970. In 1940, less than eight percent of all households consisted of people living alone; now more than a quarter do. The number of unmarried couples living together temporarily in the U.S. is 10 times as large today as in 1970.
Truth #3: The so-called “sexual revolution” has produced dramatic increases in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Sadly, 65 percent of STDs appear in young people under age 25, and fully 20 percent of all AIDS cases are among college-aged young people. In the U.S., over 15 million new cases of STDs appear annually, a number that is triple what it was six years ago. Having three or more sexual partners in a lifetime increases a woman’s odds of cervical cancer by 15 times.
The National Center for Health Statistics analyzed data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth and found two startling facts. Among young women who used contraception at first intercourse, the probability of giving birth at each age is roughly half that of those who did not use contraception. Further, the probability of a sexually active female giving birth approximately doubles between 18-20 years of age whether the young woman uses contraception at first intercourse or not.
A young person’s choices about sex reveal his or her attitudes about others. Is sexual activity merely fun and games? No. Treating sex as something casual can never actually make it a casual matter. The Scriptures raise the age old question, “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27, NKJV)
Sexual intercourse can be an intense and pleasurable experience, but it is more — much more. Sexual intimacy triggers the strongest and deepest, most exhilarating passions in life. Its purpose is to bond a man and a woman into “one flesh” in the deepest intimacy that human beings can share. Further, sex is designed to both create life and build a strong relationship to protect and provide for that life. Little wonder that the Creator fashioned the means of creating life in such a way that it is one of the most awesome forces in our lives and then linked it to marriage so as to signify to us, “Priceless. Handle with great care.”
It is impossible to ignore or dictate to nature. Young people need to choose carefully. Sex can never be free; choices always have consequences. We cannot expect young people to act responsibly when adults — whose thinking is sometimes clouded by their rationalization of their own hurtful and toxic sexual experimentation — are irresponsible by not providing the best possible information to encourage self-discipline and self-control, which are the surest keys to young peoples’ long-term well-being.
Posted in American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Feminism, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Sex | Tagged: casual sex, Feminism, free love, free sex, hook up, hook ups, hooking up, hypersexualized, morality, mores, Sex, sex in America, sex sells, sex-saturated, sexual morality, sexual mores, sexual revolution, STDs, traditional morality | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tony Listi on April 14, 2008
For the moment, let me put aside my Catholic belief that contraception is inherently immoral by the authority of the Church, Scripture, and faith. Let me put on my utilitarian cap.
Even so, contraception is still a means to perform an act without having to experience its natural consequences. It obviously allows one to have sex while preventing pregnancy. But it also allows a couple to have sex without any need for loving commitment. A baby is a responsibility that requires mutual commitment; no baby, no commitment.
So what are the consequences of this attempt to avoid consequences? The result is more weak and broken relationships. For what is a relationship without commitment? Merely a social market transaction or exchange. And let’s remember that players in a market are characterized by self-interest, not loving selflessness that should characterize our relationships with the opposite sex.
Sure, contraception will allow one to enjoy sex without having to worry about the economic and moral issues surrounding the conception of new life. But there is no condom for the soul. There is no condom to prevent the emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences of sexual intercourse. And (to put my Catholic cap back on), there is no condom such that one can sin without having to suffer its consequences. The only solution to sin is abstinence; there is no other way to protect your soul. Are you using this kind of protection?
Posted in American Culture, Catholicism, Christianity and Politics, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Religion and Theology, Sex | Tagged: condom, condom for the soul, condom for the spirit, consequences, contraception, morality, Sex, sex before marriage, sex ed, sex education | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tony Listi on January 25, 2008
This is a video of an excellent lecture by Thomas E. Woods.
No Catholic (or Protestant for that matter) should be ashamed of whole-heartedly advocating free market capitalism and limited government. Conservatism and perhaps even libertarianism to some extent are eminently compatible with Christianity.
Posted in American Culture, American History, Christianity and Politics, Economics, Foreign Aid, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Poverty, Science and Religion | Tagged: capitalism, Catholicism, encyclical, Foreign Aid, Leo XIII, morality, pope, Poverty, Rerum Novarum | Leave a Comment »