I am going to keep saying this until it sinks in; Yes, government has a role in legislating morality.
We need to elect progressive, liberal minded representatives that understand why philosophical-esque ideologies clash over individual and plural rights in our communities. Look:
- liberalism = commitment to balancing individual freedom and social justice.
- conservatism = commitment to traditional values, the goals and ideologies of which vary.
The definition of social conservatism includes the caveat that traditional values vary between groups. In any society there are potentially multiple traditions, and potentially values may not align.
I hope you can hear me over the wailing right-wing nuts when I say this. Do try…
If we’re all going to live together, we need balance. Maintaining balance between personal and secular values isn’t a zero sum game.* Sharing a human right doesn’t eliminate it; or halve it, or quarter it, or reduce it by any fraction. Removing a tradition from the public realm doesn’t necessarily remove it from the personal realm. In fact a zero sum only happens when progressive liberalism governance is NOT present.
Herein lies the peril inherent in democracy. Votes are equal individually, but not collectively. The risk that a majority can run roughshod over a minority exists because there is considerable pressure for government to conform to majority held views.
But the role is government is not to pander to the majority, it is to rise above and serve the whole.
In a progressive liberal democracy we avoid the trampling minority rights by implementing reforms that protect the right to have personally different values. A progressive government implements reform where there is contradiction between current traditionally informed and non-traditional choices. Progressive governance mitigates inequality founded upon tradition.
The catalyst for this Personal Pedantic Political Peroration is the Bill 10 fiasco in Alberta. Bill 10 panders to the worst pockets of social conservatism in our society. I expect my government to enact legislation that makes it unlawful for any group to use tradition to deny rights to the others. I’m not alone either. Alberta is full of progressive liberal minded people.
I don’t care what any religious tradition says about homosexuality. I am not bound by other traditions. Everyone is free to be offended by LGBT people in any old heteronormative tradition bound way. However, finding something personally offensive does not give anyone the right to censure it. We are all free to disregard any tradition, or the word free doesn’t apply at all.
The right to challenge tradition has been asserted before, and it will be asserted again:
Well, Alberta, now there is so much racket that something must be out of rightness.
I think that between the social progressives in the cities and the reality of what constitutes a human right, the traditional bigots will be in a fix pretty soon. Let’s be honest about what we all are talking about.
The zealots over there say that LGBT students don’t need to be helped to feel safe, or given a place to share, and that they have anti-bullying protection already. Don’t ask don’t tell will help them, doctrine over compassion, because that’s what scripture says.
Was Delwin Vriend protected? Was he? Now look at his students. Tradition clearly allows them to be marginalized, or be punished for who they are, here in this system. Isn’t that bullying? You should look at the statistics and look at these children – maybe you’ll get it – LGBT students suffer your bigotry. Do they deserve it? They all bear higher risk of suicide, and GSAs mitigate that risk, and aren’t their lives important – doesn’t god love even sinners? Aren’t you a sinner? I hear you all talk about this scripture or that – why use them to justify contempt? What’s that got to do with a moral life?
If you have the right to choose your religion, and you are choosing it freely, doesn’t that give us all the right to choose for ourselves which path to follow? All the small minded keep saying it was Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve; how does your wife feel about Abram and Hagar? Which scriptures do you follow? Which ones are discarded? Use logic and reason for human rights. Your religion has nothing to do with it.
If we have already as a society made a clear distinction between church and state, and we have already agreed to allow our neighbours freedom of conscience, you few right-wing nuts rallying behind your irrational traditions shouldn’t be able to hold the rest of us back from moving human rights forward!
The progressives are speaking, and the government better start listening.**
* FUN FACT: Zero Sum one of my favourite pedantological terms, I slip it into every conversation I can.
** With all due respect for the great Sojourner Truth; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.