My mind is on apples. Firstly because we are celebrating Harvest Festival on Sunday and Pembury’s harvest is all about local apples. Secondly because I have recently acquired a cider press which is soon to swing into action. So a post about apples to help us ponder a modern conundrum.
Too often these days well intentioned people state that they are “against discrimination!” I wonder what they can possibly mean? For who could really be against discrimination? If you doubt me take a look at the picture of apples accompanying this post. Then tell me you wouldn’t discriminate against the rotten apple if asked to select a snack…the point being that healthy discrimination is not just unavoidable but actually desirable. It doesn’t only apply to apples…
We must learn to discriminate between people too. When my children enter the adult world I want them to be discriminatory in choice of spouse. I would hope they turn away unsuitable suitors, not least the untrustworthy and corrupt. Surely every loving parent would encourage such obvious discrimination? So again logic salutes healthy discrimination.
We begin to see what intellectual garbage hides behind the double speak slogans of our day. Those that simply say ” say no to discrimination”. These soundbites exist to close discussion rather than facilitate and guide wise discernment. What we need then is to end the blanket statements and open up debate and use our brains So that we learn the difference, as individuals and as a society, between healthy and unhealthy discrimination. Raising important questions about what should inform our moral decisions.
Reason must come to the fore. Some cases are simple. You hardly need much reason to explain why it is wrong to discriminate due to skin colour. Racism is moronic. Melanin levels do not shape who we are or the choices we make. Disability is also fairly straight forward- though a little harder because you might need to discriminate if a job endangered somebody because of that disability. But wherever possible logic demands we help such people because they have such obvious intrinsic worth and much ability.
So logic inspired by virtue is what must inform attitudes. But logic also teaches us that challenges arising due to race and disability are not the same thing. An important distinction but one that seems to be missing in a world where “minorities” are often treated the same, with other issues thrown in for good measure. We are simply told to “be inclusive” of whatever is deemed in need of inclusion. Reason left at the door…just look at how so called “gay marriage” was forced on us with little debate and all in the name of ‘inclusion’.
Why is the slogan slinging world so determined to group together hugely diverse issues under one umbrella? Suggesting our attitude or beliefs regarding racism must be identical to those regarding any in “a minority”. Again it is to close down debate. For most people are silenced if made to feel that an opposition to “same sex marriage” or abortion is somehow the same thing as racism.
So to my point. I believe discrimination is more vital than ever in matters sexual. Were somebody offered marriage by a promiscuous person riddled with disease one should make a different choice than if presented with a chaste person believing in the sanctity of marriage. For unlike disability or skin colour -sexual behaviour is something we control to a degree. Our choices affecting the people we become, informing both spiritual and moral development.
Which is why it is grossly unfair when people balk at Christians who wish to make a distinction between inclination and behaviour. As an example why is it logically unreasonable for a bed and breakfast owner to offer single rooms in their home to two men and not a double bed?
Are the B& B owners bigots? They might be! Only informed discussion would prove this. We might want to ask if the couple offer double beds to cohabiting heterosexuals? What about a swinging couple wanting the same room? There are points we can examine. But what is not reasonable, but which is fast becoming the norm, is to simply shout discrimination and avoid a debate altogether.
This refusal for reasoned debate impacts on the life of the church. For many people, led by false understanding about “discrimination”. imagine there is some battle between those who would show love to gay people and those who would not. It is not true. What is actually bubbling away is a serious debate. What does it mean to love? More importantly it is about sex. What is it for? Can sex be divorced from its procreative function with moral neutrality or not? A question also informing the current debate on divorce and remarriage and communion.
Do you see why the modern world needs much less political posturing and bullying. Less slogan slinging and more genuine discernment and thought. We need to stop lumping disconnected issues together and start judging each by its own merits. That is why I am praying fervently for the Synod on the family which I hope will bette explain Catholic teaching to a very confused Western culture.
But understand the tensions within the church are all the result of the sexual revolution. What sex is and what it is not. What it is for and what it is not for….and those who say they are fighting against “discrimination” are not being very honest or fair. Permissiveness regarding issues of sex is what they are actually calling for- not a place in church for those of a certain inclination who are already made welcome and form a vital part of Christ’s body on earth.