Homosexuality: Morals and Ethics Catch-All Thread

LarryC wrote:
DanB wrote:
LarryC wrote:

Broadly speaking, I don't agree with his assertion that the Bible was "wrong" in morally tolerating slavery; so his entire point falls flat right off.

Can't say a great deal about Hebrew notions of slavery but Greco-Roman slavery of the same period ran the whole gamut from chattel slavery (rare) to indentured service (very common). Close to the entire world has come around the notion that indentured service is morally wrong, which is a large component of why we no longer live under the feudal system today.

That must explain why Apple products have drastically fallen off in popularity ever since it came to light that they work with companies that use indentured servants; very few of which are involved in manufacturing goods in any major centers of production.

Foxconn do most of Apple's manufacturing in China no? Citation needed that Foxconn workers are indentured. Chinese workers rights and working conditions are clearly deplorable. I wasn't aware that they were using actual slaves. That would be morally wrong and while I'm at it I think it's morally wrong the western nations and companies continue to exploit chinese workers working conditions and rights

LarryC wrote:

Wouldn't write off chattel slavery, either. Dubai's dark underbelly reveals just how close we still are to tolerating that sort of hideousness as humans. Western expats have been quoted as saying that they like that sort of system.

No writing it off and I'm sure it goes on doesn't make it right.

Anyway coming back to my assertion that the world has largely (and I never said completely) come round to the notion that actual slavery* is morally wrong I'd point you towards article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which asserts the Slavery, Servitude and slave trading should all be prohibited.

*(as opposed to sh*tty working conditions/rights)

DanB:

PM or fresh thread?

DanB wrote:
LarryC wrote:

Broadly speaking, I don't agree with his assertion that the Bible was "wrong" in morally tolerating slavery; so his entire point falls flat right off.

Can't say a great deal about Hebrew notions of slavery but Greco-Roman slavery of the same period ran the whole gamut from chattel slavery (rare) to indentured service (very common). Close to the entire world has come around the notion that indentured service is morally wrong, which is a large component of why we no longer live under the feudal system today.

The Hebrew notion of slavery was odd. It was a lot more like an unbreakable work contract. Slave men and women were free to join the tribe/religion if they came from conquest. Slaves who were of the religion had to be freed after 6 years of service. Slaves were allowed to choose their own spouses, have their own children.

Such privileges were not afforded to foreign slaves who did not adopt the religion, they and their children could be in servitude forever.

If you read Exodus, slavery speaks much more about female slaves, about men selling daughters into slavery. It implies that fathers with too many daughters would sell 'surplus' girls to be servants, and then they would go about their own lives. But a female slave could be required to marry the owner's son-then the woman is treated as any other daughter in law. That sounds much more like an arranged marriage to me.

Some fun tidbits on the subject
http://www.religioustolerance.org/sl...

But again, it is very much true that these verses were used and abused to justify the use of slaves as livestock. The Vatican briefly put a hold on that as it decreed that no Christian person, baptized could be a slave. That sent many Jesuits, Dominicans, etc to the new world to baptize native peoples. Even that ended. And we have a fantastic illustration of using modern prejudices with biblical support.

LarryC wrote:

DanB:

PM or fresh thread?

Feel free to spin it to another thread, if you think others might have some additional interesting input. But if we're just going to clarify our last 2 posts to one another I can see already that it'll likely just be another semantic argument on the internet but this time about about what "slavery" actually means which doesn't strike me as esp. productive.

KingGorilla wrote:

The Hebrew notion of slavery was odd. It was a lot more like an unbreakable work contract. Slave men and women were free to join the tribe/religion if they came from conquest. Slaves who were of the religion had to be freed after 6 years of service. Slaves were allowed to choose their own spouses, have their own children.

What baffled me in debates with people who bring this up is that the only relevance this could make to the debate about slavery being condoned in the Bible is that they would be ok if this particular form of Slavery was allowed.

It's basically "Yeah, SLAVERY slavery is bad, but the Hebrews had this OTHER kind of slavery that wasn't as bad, see? So everything is ok in the Bible again!"

To which the proper response should be "huh?"

Jewish slavery rules changed over time, and ran the gamut from lifetime slavery, to slavery for crimes (7 year limit), to selling one's self into slavery (indentured service). Most apologetics seek to imply that Hebrew slaves were "more like indentured servants", and so Biblical slavery was not really *slavery* like we had in the US. But that misses the fact that for centuries, non-Jewish slaves were treated much more harshly. It also misses many of the subtleties - for example, you could not sell a woman into slavery in order to pimp her out, and a master could not marry a slave without manumitting her, but the slave owner was entitled to the services of his slaves nonetheless.

Biblical slavery was not a gentle upward helping hand, nor was it howling overseers whipping slaves to death in 110 degree heat. It was actual, own-other-people slavery, with a reasonable set of legal protections for both masters and slaves, evidence of bias involving the ethnic background of the slaves, and laws that changed and evolved over time, often contradicting each other. Just comparing Talmud to Torah on that shows the changes.

But Biblical slavery should not be treated as something especially mild, because it was not, in general. Just like house slaves were said to live better lives than field slaves in the US South, slaves under the Hebrew system were dependent on their master for the quality of their treatment, and had little recourse for bad treatment, and none for things we'd consider crimes outside of slavery, like rape, breakup of families and such.

They were a desert tribe who based much of their legal code on Hammurabi's system. This was about 2800 years ago. What else do we expect? We can't wedge that into a modern morality without either making ourselves resemble them, or ignoring/rationalizing away many of the God-sanctified laws on topics we no longer favor. Obviously, we've mostly done the latter.

Aeazel wrote:

As regards promiscuity, I believe it all depends on the level of communication.

If everyone is aware and informed of activity you are engaging in, I see it as less of a problem. The risk is still there, but the people then have the information to do with as they please (in this case, have sex, safer or not depending on their decision, with said person or not).

Bingo.

It's only unethical if someone's being kept in the dark. If everyone is open and honest about who else they're sleeping with, get tested regularly, has safe sex and/or limit who they're fluid-bonded with, then it's down to each individual to make an informed choice whether they want to take the increased risks involved with multiple partners situations.

And of course, a situation like that is the least risky way to have mutliple partners.

Valmorian wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

The Hebrew notion of slavery was odd. It was a lot more like an unbreakable work contract. Slave men and women were free to join the tribe/religion if they came from conquest. Slaves who were of the religion had to be freed after 6 years of service. Slaves were allowed to choose their own spouses, have their own children.

What baffled me in debates with people who bring this up is that the only relevance this could make to the debate about slavery being condoned in the Bible is that they would be ok if this particular form of Slavery was allowed.

It's basically "Yeah, SLAVERY slavery is bad, but the Hebrews had this OTHER kind of slavery that wasn't as bad, see? So everything is ok in the Bible again!"

To which the proper response should be "huh?"

Selective thinking. Notions of slavery, kosher eating, sabbath breaking can go by the wayside, but homosexuals and female sexual servitude are just as relevant today. That is the 'true' word of god, the rest was just chuffa. So we get back to the conservative right picking and choosing where fundamental biblical truth lies, O'Connor would be proud of this last sentence.

The Hebrew notion of slavery was odd. It was a lot more like an unbreakable work contract. Slave men and women were free to join the tribe/religion if they came from conquest. Slaves who were of the religion had to be freed after 6 years of service. Slaves were allowed to choose their own spouses, have their own children.

Actually, at various times all of these were false. Most slaves by conquest were not able to join the tribe and were treated more harshly by law. Hebrew slaves who were not enslaved for criminal acts were supposed to be freed in the seventh year of service, but those who were criminals were not subject to this, and also, it appears that in many cases, the owners simply freed them and brought them back into slavery on the spot. And slaves were part of the master's household, meaning he picked their spouses.

Under Jewish law, slaves *were* property - the argument was whether they were property like land, in that they could be sold or inherited, or whether they were like moveable property, which could be stolen, transferred, etc. The idea that Jewish law treated them not as chattel but as something so gentle as to be not worthy of the name "slave" is just wrong.

Like I said, it's not as nice as it's often portrayed, nor is it Simon Legreeovitch in the Sinai. It's slavery, better than some systems and worse than others, but ownership of other humans with rights to their work and their bodies and their social lives held to the master.

If you are saying the Hebrews selectively followed and ignored their own divine laws. My only answer is yep. All the more reason why Jewish scholars are perplexed at how conservative Christians treat those laws.

It is a system of laws, and the Hebrew society changed interpretations, phased out many of it, etc. Because even they realized laws in place at the birth of a country are not those needed 100, 200, 1000 years later. Even those who supposedly took all of their laws from god himself through his prophet changed interpretations.

Yep. The Jewish Diaspora mostly ended Jewish slavery, but for Christians, Judaic law was a justification for it for the next 2300 years or so. And then they opposed it, based again on Biblical teachings. Except for the ones who didn't. The interpretations change over time, that's inescapable.

That's a significantly more nuanced statement, Robear, than the one Savage was making.

"The Bible got slavery wrong, so it probably got homosexual sex wrong, too," doesn't strike me as a particularly strong argument, especially given, as you say, the mores of the time. I'm not conversant with Hebrew slavery, but most forms of slavery are not as harsh as chattel slavery; it's somewhat milder on the conquered than putting all your enemies to death.

"Interpretations of the Bible change over time," is a stronger argument to make for the moral tolerance of homosexual activity, particularly since the Catholic Church broadly agrees with this stance; so you have a major branch of Christianity with strong theological traditions broadly on your side of this statement. Granted, the Church banks on its own interpretation.

KingGorilla wrote:
Valmorian wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

The Hebrew notion of slavery was odd. It was a lot more like an unbreakable work contract. Slave men and women were free to join the tribe/religion if they came from conquest. Slaves who were of the religion had to be freed after 6 years of service. Slaves were allowed to choose their own spouses, have their own children.

What baffled me in debates with people who bring this up is that the only relevance this could make to the debate about slavery being condoned in the Bible is that they would be ok if this particular form of Slavery was allowed.

It's basically "Yeah, SLAVERY slavery is bad, but the Hebrews had this OTHER kind of slavery that wasn't as bad, see? So everything is ok in the Bible again!"

To which the proper response should be "huh?"

Selective thinking. Notions of slavery, kosher eating, sabbath breaking can go by the wayside, but homosexuals and female sexual servitude are just as relevant today. That is the 'true' word of god, the rest was just chuffa. So we get back to the conservative right picking and choosing where fundamental biblical truth lies, O'Connor would be proud of this last sentence.

Actually, you are referring to the difference between ritual and ethical law.

Ritual laws were laws that served to remind the Israelites who they were. (beard trimming, no bacon, no wool patches on cotton tunics, etc)

Ethical laws were laws that were based in morality. (no murdering, no stealing, no adultery)

Relevant to this thread but also somewhat part of the whole "bad things only happen to icky sluts and immoral queers" chorus coming from the Republican Party these days -

Stacy Campfield makes some pretty cool assertions, such as it's pretty well impossible for straight people to catch AIDS from straight people, that gay bullying is a myth and the REAL problem is that hetero kids are being bullied into homosexuality, and a host of other amazing insights.

I listened to some of the interview linked, but I couldn't keep going. I wasn't outraged, just... eugh. Tired of all this crappo, really.

edit: This article is old, I am dumb. Someone sent it to me as they stumbled upon it today, but hopefully I haven't just repeated something we were already angry about eight months ago.

Bloo Driver wrote:

Relevant to this thread but also somewhat part of the whole "bad things only happen to icky sluts and immoral queers" chorus coming from the Republican Party these days -

Stacy Campfield makes some pretty cool assertions, such as it's pretty well impossible for straight people to catch AIDS from straight people, that gay bullying is a myth and the REAL problem is that hetero kids are being bullied into homosexuality, and a host of other amazing insights.

I listened to some of the interview linked, but I couldn't keep going. I wasn't outraged, just... eugh. Tired of all this crappo, really.

edit: This article is old, I am dumb. Someone sent it to me as they stumbled upon it today, but hopefully I haven't just repeated something we were already angry about eight months ago.

I just heard about this yesterday so I guess it's making the rounds again.

Nomad wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:
Valmorian wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

The Hebrew notion of slavery was odd. It was a lot more like an unbreakable work contract. Slave men and women were free to join the tribe/religion if they came from conquest. Slaves who were of the religion had to be freed after 6 years of service. Slaves were allowed to choose their own spouses, have their own children.

What baffled me in debates with people who bring this up is that the only relevance this could make to the debate about slavery being condoned in the Bible is that they would be ok if this particular form of Slavery was allowed.

It's basically "Yeah, SLAVERY slavery is bad, but the Hebrews had this OTHER kind of slavery that wasn't as bad, see? So everything is ok in the Bible again!"

To which the proper response should be "huh?"

Selective thinking. Notions of slavery, kosher eating, sabbath breaking can go by the wayside, but homosexuals and female sexual servitude are just as relevant today. That is the 'true' word of god, the rest was just chuffa. So we get back to the conservative right picking and choosing where fundamental biblical truth lies, O'Connor would be proud of this last sentence.

Actually, you are referring to the difference between ritual and ethical law.

Ritual laws were laws that served to remind the Israelites who they were. (beard trimming, no bacon, no wool patches on cotton tunics, etc)

Ethical laws were laws that were based in morality. (no murdering, no stealing, no adultery)

My reading of the torah has negelcted these headings. Where does offering olive oil to a woman unfaithful to her husband fall?

Such distinctions are modern renditiona on absolute laws. So we are back to, why gay men and women? Why are we not as outraged when a man marries a divorced woman? That is a moral law.

Actually, you are referring to the difference between ritual and ethical law.

Ritual laws were laws that served to remind the Israelites who they were. (beard trimming, no bacon, no wool patches on cotton tunics, etc)

Ethical laws were laws that were based in morality. (no murdering, no stealing, no adultery)

Okay, if we're getting specific, the Jewish law takes it's source from the Torah, which contains 613 mitzvahs. But they are not laws themselves - they are *sources* for the laws, all of which are oral in origin. This includes what some Christians may describe as ritual and ethical strictures - but that's not how Jewish law breaks them down. The laws themselves are contained primarily in the Mishnah and Talmud, but there are many different interpretations of them. And even in Judaism, many of those laws are no longer able to be followed, or can only be followed in Eretz Yisroel.

So the distinction between "ritual" and "ethical" is not a Jewish one. Nor do even observant Jews follow all of them. And many of them have changed over time.

It raises the serious question - can Christians pull Jewish law out and follow selected parts but not others, reinterpreting as they go? Or is Jewish law itself applicable to Christians? Predictably, there are Christian sects which try to follow the Jewish laws in many regards, called "Restorationists", and these include Seventh-Day Adventists, Anabaptists and the Primitive Church movements.

It's pretty much a la Carte for the Christians to decide which laws to follow, based on their church doctrine, or their own reading of whatever books of the Bible are canon for them.

Jonman wrote:
Aeazel wrote:

As regards promiscuity, I believe it all depends on the level of communication.

If everyone is aware and informed of activity you are engaging in, I see it as less of a problem. The risk is still there, but the people then have the information to do with as they please (in this case, have sex, safer or not depending on their decision, with said person or not).

Bingo.

It's only unethical if someone's being kept in the dark. If everyone is open and honest about who else they're sleeping with, get tested regularly, has safe sex and/or limit who they're fluid-bonded with, then it's down to each individual to make an informed choice whether they want to take the increased risks involved with multiple partners situations.

And of course, a situation like that is the least risky way to have mutliple partners.

From a public health perspective, and from a traditional moral perspective, I'd argue, having multiple partners within a small isolated sexual group isn't what I would term as "promiscuous." If you form a foursome and keep to that foursome for life, then you aren't that much more of a public health risk as a twosome.

It's quickly changing partners, or a widely interrelated population sexually that's a public health risk.

I'm not conversant with sexual mores in the US. How common is it for people to disclose their entire sexual history to a prospective sex partner? This is relevant because it sets the benchmark for what is normative. It may be ethical to kill a person when that person is about to kill you, but that's an exception to the more general rule that it's unethical to kill people.

Well Larry, I am not sure of disclosure, but so far as the CDC knows less than half of Americans will ever get a STI screening in their lives. I am very curious as to that that looks like adjusted for women who get it as recommended prenatal screening.

Now assuming a high percentage of people living to adulthood will have sex, somewhere in the high 90's? That is a lot of sexually active people who have no clue.

Bloo Driver wrote:

Relevant to this thread but also somewhat part of the whole "bad things only happen to icky sluts and immoral queers" chorus coming from the Republican Party these days -

Stacy Campfield makes some pretty cool assertions, such as it's pretty well impossible for straight people to catch AIDS from straight people, that gay bullying is a myth and the REAL problem is that hetero kids are being bullied into homosexuality, and a host of other amazing insights.

I listened to some of the interview linked, but I couldn't keep going. I wasn't outraged, just... eugh. Tired of all this crappo, really.

edit: This article is old, I am dumb. Someone sent it to me as they stumbled upon it today, but hopefully I haven't just repeated something we were already angry about eight months ago.

Grrrr, Campfield. As someone currently in Knoxville (thankfully not much longer), I was quite irate when his ignorant statements made the round earlier this year. I mean, I recall learning about HIV/AIDS in 1991, when I was eight years old. (Of course, part of my frustration is having acted as a teacher of safer sex practices for a few years.)

KingGorilla wrote:

Now assuming a high percentage of people living to adulthood will have sex, somewhere in the high 90's? That is a lot of sexually active people who have no clue.

I cannot speak for everyone: I don't ask every single sex partner for their full history. I do want to know more details with people whom I plan on having a longer sexual relationship. On the other hand, I always practice safer sex and get tested every three to six months. It would be great if more people were getting tested, and I actively encourage friends (even straight friends) to get tested as often as possible.

Part of this gets into ethics of what we deem as acceptable sexual behavior. For instance, the penchant for many to easily label people sluts, or feeling that if you are actively getting tested, you may be perceived as such. After my first boyfriend deigned to call me a slut for having had six sexual partners before him, I quickly grew out of caring what other people thought of my sex life (and that relationship ended soon thereafter). Then again, I was raised in a family where my mother was very sex-positive, and I was encouraged to take my own health and behavior into my own hands. I get the feeling that is not the case for many people.

I'm not sure what thread it was in, but my favorite definition of slut is "someone who has had 1 more sexual partner than the speaker."

LarryC wrote:

I'm not conversant with sexual mores in the US. How common is it for people to disclose their entire sexual history to a prospective sex partner? This is relevant because it sets the benchmark for what is normative. It may be ethical to kill a person when that person is about to kill you, but that's an exception to the more general rule that it's unethical to kill people.

How common is it to pull out the list of "chicks wot I done it with" when trying to woo a new lady? Err, not very.

How common is it to inquire as to when a prospective new partner last had an STD test? Reasonably common, but not near damn common enough for my liking.