This chapter explores the cultural varieties of same-sex relationships that have long been constituent of traditional African life. A recent study shows that roughly 10% of the global population identify as homosexuals. This number consistently and equitably cuts across all cultures of the world despite variations in attitude towards homosexuality. If this is true of the contemporary world, then it extends to the ancient and by that traditional Africa. Accordingly, this research using phenomenological and historico-descriptive tools of enquiry together with (...) ethnographical accounts of anthropologists retraces homosexuality to its African roots ranging from the practices of Hausas of West Africa, Zanzibars of East Africa, Ovagandjeras of Central Africa to those of the Herero, Ovambo, and Ovahimba peoples of Southern Africa. Consequently, this research avers that current attitude towards homosexuality in Africa is as a result of Western hegemony and the revolutionary changes effected by Euro-Christian and Arab-Islamic movements in their first and earlier contact with the continent. Hence, a fair disposition towards historical facts will deflate the current homophobic agitation, stripping it of any moral, historical or logical justification. (shrink)
Hume maintains that the boundaries of morality are widely drawn in everyday life. We routinely blame characters for traits that we find disgusting, on this account, as well as those which we perceive as being harmful. Contemporary moral psychology provides further evidence that human beings have a natural tendency to moralize traits that produce feelings of repugnance. But recent work also demonstrates a significant amount of individual variation in our sensitivities to disgust. We have sufficient reason to bracket this emotion, (...) therefore, when adopting the general point of view: if we allow idiosyncratic affective responses to shape our fully considered moral judgments, we could no longer reasonably expect spectators with different sensitivities to agree with us. (shrink)
Le titre de cette étude suggère de traiter trois termes, à premier vue, sans aucun lien. En effet, quel peut être le lien entre l’homosexualité et la Bible? Ou celui entre l’homosexualité et les sciences cognitives? Et finalement, quel lien peut-il y avoir entre ces trois termes à première vue juxtaposés? Il y a une réponse à chacune de ces trois questions et nous proposons d’explorer ces réponses dans le cadre de cette étude. Notre thèse consiste à défendre que les (...) sciences et plus précisément les sciences cognitives peuvent contribuer à la discussion sur l’homosexualité dans un cadre théologique (et/ou ecclésial). (shrink)
The Heythrop Journal, EarlyView. -/- For the longest time, it has been generally held and widely acknowledged that Thomas Aquinas thought homosexual activity to be morally wrong. In recent years, this common interpretation has come under challenge by none other than the President of the Leonine Commission, the Dominican Adriano Oliva. In a recent book, Loves: The Church, the Remarried Divorced, and Homosexual Couples (in French Amours: L’Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels), Oliva argues that Thomas Aquinas would have (...) supported homosexual practices for homosexual persons, or at least that an accurate application of Thomistic principles entails that homosexual acts are morally good. Is this just wishful thinking on Oliva’s part or does his argument have some merit? In order to answer that question, I will proceed in three parts: first, I will reveal numerous texts Oliva failed to take into account; second, I will explicate Oliva’s hermeneutic and the principal textual support he gives for his position; third, I will examine whether Aquinas would have changed his views on the morality of homosexual activity in light of modern advances in our understanding of the etiology and unchangeability of homosexuality. It is concluded that Oliva's view is a gross misinterpretation of the texts. (shrink)
Just fifteen years ago, the common non-religious consensus was that homosexual acts were immoral. Within one decade, however, this consensus waned. The secular majority no longer held, as they previously did, that such actions are morally bad. What explains this sudden change? One explanation is that many conservatives lacked adequate philosophical tools to explain the foundations of the earlier historical consensus. Another is that modern research has shown that there never existed any solid philosophical grounds for calling such actions immoral (...) in the first place. This book questions the latter narrative; for prior to this book no exhaustive historical treatment of philosophical thought on the moral question of homosexual acts existed. Both liberals and conservatives failed to research adequately the long history of thought on this issue. The current author not only argues that the earlier non-religious philosophical consensus has largely been ignored, but that the proliferation of arguments in favor of acting on homosexual inclinations reveal a strong desire to justify what isn't possible to justify morally. The non-religious arguments of the great philosopher Thomas Aquinas are then examined; they reveal that his reasoning can soundly show that acting on homosexual inclinations is morally wrong, and also that the same argument rightly entails that every untruthful assertive speech act is morally problematic. If conservatives wish to be consistent, they ought to reject lying too. And if liberals expect conservatives to believe that what they preach is true, then they ought to stand with Aquinas and reject all lying as intrinsically evil. (shrink)
Kant on sex gives most philosophers the following associations: a lifelong celibate philosopher; a natural teleological view of sexuality; a strange incorporation of this natural teleological account within his freedom-based moral theory; and a stark ethical condemnation of most sexual activity. Although this paper provides an interpretation of Kant’s view on sexuality, it neither defends nor offers an apology for everything Kant says about sexuality. Rather, it aims to show that a reconsidered Kant-based account can utilize his many worthwhile insights (...) and that making Kant’s account of sexuality more consistent with his own basic philosophical commitments results in a compelling approach to the complex and complicated phenomena of sexual love, sexual identity, and sexual orientation. (shrink)
Critics of homosexual activity often appeal to some form of natural law theory as a basis for their arguments. According to one version of natural law theory, actions that “pervert” or misuse a bodily faculty are immoral. In this paper, I argue that this “perverted faculty argument” provides a successful account of good and evil action. Several objections are assessed and found inadequate.
This paper makes an ethical and a conceptual case against any purported duty to come out of the closet. While there are recognizable goods associated with coming out, namely, leading an authentic life and resisting oppression, these goods generate a set of imperfect duties that are defeasible in a wide range of circumstances, and are only sometimes fulfilled by coming out. Second, practices of coming out depend on a ‘lump’ picture of sexuality and on an insufficiently subtle account of responsible (...) disclosure. We value and promote the goods of out best when we leave the framework of the closet, and not merely the closet door, behind. (shrink)
We take up questions of passing/outing as they arise for those with queer femme identities. We argue that for persons with female-identified bodies and queer, feminine (‘femme’) gender identities, the possibilities above may not exist as distinct options: for example, what it means to ‘pass’ or ‘cover’ is not always distinguishable – conceptually or in practice – from living authentically and resisting heteronormative identification: i.e. the conditions of being ‘out’. In some ways, these conflations privilege queer femmes; in others, femmes (...) find themselves implicated in a political double bind. We contend that this example problematizes the very concepts of passing and outing, and the political and ethical demands that are taken to arise from them. We conclude by exploring what it means to live queer femme identity responsibly and what this means for the ethics of sexual identity more generally. (shrink)
When examined critically, Kant's views on sex and marriage give us the tools to defend same-sex marriage on moral grounds. The sexual objectification of one's partner can only be overcome when two people take responsibility for one another's overall well-being, and this commitment is enforced through legal coercion. Kant's views on the unnaturalness of homosexuality do not stand up to scrutiny, and he cannot (as he often tries to) restrict the purpose of sex to procreation. Kant himself rules out marriage (...) only when the partners cannot give themselves to one another equally – that is, if there is inequality of exchange. Because same-sex marriage would be between equals and would allow homosexuals to express their desire in a morally appropriate way, it ought to be legalized. (shrink)
Alain Locke, an often neglected classical American Pragmatist, developed a pluralistic value theory as an antidote to the "value absolutism" he considered the root cause of social conflict. Values, for Locke, are not immutable features of a transcendent reality, but rather emerge from human functional attitudes, or what he calls "feeling-modes." However incommensurable the contextualized values of diverse cultures may appear, they can always be traced back to common modes of valuing. Recognizing the common character of our human faculty of (...) valuation allows us to see a basic functional equivalence among superficially conflicting values, thus undermining value absolutism. This paper suggests that one reason the debate over same-sex marriage in the United States has persisted is that the arguments have been advanced primarily in absolute value terms. Re-casting the debate in terms of a Lockean pluralistic value dialogue suggests a path out of the stalemate. (shrink)
The American Psychological Association's (APA's) as well as other professional organizations' (e.g., American Psychiatric Association) removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder represented a paradigmatic shift in thinking about exual orientation. Since then, APA (2000) disseminated guidelines for working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) clients, and a variety of scholars and researchers alike have advocated affirmative therapeutic interventions with LGB individuals. Despite these efforts, the controversy over treating individuals with LGB orientations using nonaffirmative techniques continues. In this discussion, the (...) limited evidence regarding the efficacy and effects of conversion therapy is surveyed, particularly in the context of empirically supported treatment criteria summarized by Division 12 (clinical psychology) of the APA. Authors then consider the resulting ethical considerations in performing conversion therapy and propose alternative uses of affirmative therapy on the basis of ethical standards defined by APA. Finally, options for treating LGB individuals who are coming to terms with their sexual orientations are discussed. (shrink)
Richard Mohr emphasizes the importance of dispelling false beliefs about lesbians and gay men, and establishing legislation that protects the rights of sexual minorities. He argues that homophobic policies originate in the belief that gay men and lesbians are categorically less morally valuable than others, rather than deserving of unequal treatment because of their behaviors or actions. In response, I show that homophobic panic over lesbian or gay sex acts is actually quite influential, and argue that Mohr fails to take (...) account of the political and philosophical significance of sexual freedom, and the inextricability of sexual being and sexual doing. (shrink)
In his essay On Liberty, John Stuart Mill presents the famous harm principle in the following manner: “[…] the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. […] The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. […] Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” Hence, there is a (...) distinction between self-regarding and other-regarding acts, and only the latter are subject to moral criticism. However, while all acts are in some way selfregarding, it is not clear if there are any which are exclusively so. There are two additional difficulties. First, the “individual” may not be an individual person; self-determining communities, at least when they have the ability to decide for themselves, are also “individuals” in this sense. Second, it is claimed that groups of acts (activities and practices) have a different kind of justification from single acts. So what are the limits which “others” have in order to protect themselves from what “individuals” (personal or not) do, and what are their rights to do and to protect? If, in the final analysis, protection or defense is a source of justification, what should or must be protected, and why? Where does the demarcation line between self-regarding and other-regarding acts lie? In our age, as in Mill’s, we encounter many situations where such a line is needed, yet is hard to determine or establish. One such example, the case of same-sex marriages, is further explored in this paper. (shrink)
Much has changed since the beginnings of the gay liberation movement and the feminist movement in the 1970s in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Yet, to a degree, the invisibility of gay male, lesbian and transsexual lifestyles as well as individual struggles for rights and recognition remains. The diverse contributions in this book discuss how the reframing of ‘queer’ as a proud, border-crossing identity challenges conventional views of gay, lesbian, transsexual and heterosexual identities. At the heart of queer politics and theory lies the (...) double irony that ‘queers’ still experience different social positions and are confronted differently by public challenges, and they also seldom agree about how, and for what political reasons, sexuality should be defined and categorised. In this book, 'queer' brings together wide-ranging commentaries on the history, politics and culture of thirty years of sexual history in Aotearoa/New Zealand. (shrink)
I argue on utilitarian grounds that while traditional constraints on heterosexual activity, including the prohibition of pre-marital sex and divorce may be justified by appeal to purely secular principles, no comparable prohibitions are justified as regards homosexual activity. Homosexuality is in this respect.
Professor Mark A. Yarhouse proposes an ‘identity synthesis’ model of sexual modification therapy for homosexuals. This model is meant primarily to target the process by which one’s sexual identity is synthesized, rather than the changing of sexual orientation itself. I highlight some of the advantages of Yarhouse’s model along with some of its potential pitfalls. My primary point of departure with Yarhouse concerns how one ought to direct those self-identified homosexual clients who fall within our clinical sphere of influence and (...) who, in the end, contrary to our better judgment, decide that they would like to pursue a course of “homosexualization.” Based on the “autonomy”-emphasizing aspects of the identity synthesis model, it appears that Yarhouse is willing to sanction the referral of certain clients to “therapists” who are willing to facilitate these clients’ homosexualization. I do not believe that Christians involved in the care of homosexuals can licitly participate in such referrals. (shrink)
It is unclear that United States schools are doing sufficient work to identify and protect the interests of their LGB students this analysis, we rely on certain public-health research in social epidemiology to show that discrimination against LGB adolescents imposes morally significant harms to both adolescents and community. We apply "trust” and “social capital” to educational standards and practices as foundations for educational practices that work toward full equality of LGB students in regard to opportunity and other primary social goods.
Homosexual activist groups have targeted the Catholic Church and the American military as institutions especially in need of transformation. Associations of healthcare professionals are also under assault from homosexual activists. It is, nevertheless, appropriate for the Church and the military to defend themselves against this assault, to affirm that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian ethics and military service, and to help homosexuals free themselves from the vice of homosexuality. Arguments that homosexual reorientation therapy is unethical are unsound. Such therapy is (...) consistent with the Christian virtue of charity. (shrink)
I consider Kant’s use of claims about “nature’s ends” in his arguments to establish maxims of homosexual sex, masturbation, and bestiality as constituting “unnatural” sexual vices, which are contrary to one’s duties to oneself as an animal and moral being. I argue, first, that the formula of humanity is the principle best suited for understanding duties to oneself as an animal and moral being; and second, that although natural teleology is relevant to some degree in specifying these duties, it cannot (...) play a sufficiently robust role to establish Kant’s conclusion. I also discuss what the formula of humanity (along with warranted attention to natural teleology) suggests about the morality of homosexual sex, masturbation, and bestiality. (shrink)
That a homosexual -- man or woman -- is neither a sinner nor a sick person is the thesis of this paper by an authority on sexual deviation. Therefore, such a man or woman neither needs penance and pardon nor cure in the medical sense. Nevertheless such individuals sometimes need the help of doctors and must be treated with understanding. The medical profession also has, in the view of the behaviourist school of psychiatrists, of which Dr Bancroft is a member, (...) the duty of influencing social attitudes towards homosexuals. Obviously homosexuals who come into conflict with the law are special cases, and must be treated as such but this is not 'medical' treatment so much as social control even if drugs and other forms of therapy are used. (shrink)
In recent years, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, and Spain have recognized marriages between people of the same sex. Several other countries recognize civil unions with similar legal effect. An even wider range of countries have laws against discrimination on the basis of a personâ€™s sexual orientation, in areas like housing and employment. Yet in the worldâ€™s largest democracy, India, sex between two men remains a crime punishable, according to statute, by imprisonment for life.
College students implicitly judge interracial sex and gay sex to be morally wrong Some moral intuitions arise from psychological processes that are not fully accessible to consciousness. For instance, most people disapprove of consensual adult incest between siblings, but are unable to articulate why—they just feel that it is wrong (Haidt, 2001). More generally, there is evidence for at least two sources of moral judgment: explicit conscious reasoning and tacit intuitions, which are motivated by emotional responses (Greene et al., 2001) (...) and learned associations (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). (shrink)