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Clouded by Controversy: Same Sex Marriage

The UWS Golden Key International Honour Society presents Clouded by Controversy: Same Sex Marriage. Date Thursday 3 October 2013 at 6pm. Value: EB G.33, Parramatta Campus, University of Western Sydney.

This Thursday, the UWS Golden Key Society are running a debate about Same-Sex Marriage. It will include two guest speakers from each side each doing 20 minute presentations. In addition to each guest speaker, there will be a student speaker from each side as well each doing 10 minute presentations.

I will be the student speaker arguing against any changes to our marriage laws.

If you live in Sydney and have that evening free, I’d definitely like you to come along (whether or not you agree with my view.)

More details available on the Golden Key UWS website.

“Definitional Discrimination” isn’t necessarily a bad thing

Firstly, what is definitional discrimination? It’s not a phrase used commonly (though I’d like to see that changed) and I want to propose the following definition:

the discrimination (different treatment) of a person or groups of people as a result of not fitting a particular definition or criteria for a status, organisation or social institution.

Now, let’s have a look at a few examples.

  • A man is not allowed to use the female restrooms.
  • Being rejected a membership for a high achievement society for not being a high achiever.
  • The inability to enter military grounds as you aren’t in the military.

All these things involve discrimination. All of these things discriminate based on a definition at hand. That definition is in place for either the protection of people involved, or because without it the organisation or social institution can’t exist. It is self describing. For example, a man not being allowed to use the female restrooms. Let’s have a look at some (very obvious) premises:

  • Person A is a man.
  • The female restrooms are for females exclusively (by definition.)
  • A man, by definition of being a man, isn’t and can’t be female.
  • Thus female restrooms can’t be used be Person A.

If Person A was allowed to use the female restrooms, they can no longer be called female restrooms, because they are allowed to be used by people who do not fit that definition. If the definition of female restrooms changes, they can’t still be called “female restrooms,” because the name implies a specific definition.

The same with a high achievement society. If someone who is a average achiever insists they join, and are allowed to, it is no longer a high achievement society, just an achievement society. A whole bunch of average achievers want to start their own society, so be it, but they can’t call it a high achievement society. The name also implies a definition.

The name doesn’t have to imply a definition (such as “female restroom”) but could also be a historical definition. If it’s a historical definition, it’s definition can still be there by strong association, which is just as good as an implied definition. For example, a bottle is cylinder shaped object that holds a liquid, is able to be sealed and designed to be poured. Nothing in the definition implies that a bottle is a cylinder shaped object. It is a historical definition, and thus it is defined by strong association rather than an implied definition. Bottle has become synonymous with a type of liquid transport vessel (which does have a implied definition.) However it would be ridiculous to say a bottle is designed to hold food. It might be able to, but it isn’t designed for it (by the definition and alternative name “liquid transport vessel.”) That liquid transport vessel is discriminating against non-liquids!

Let’s look at the example of high achievement society. One high achievement society (well, high IQ society, which is similar enough to suffice for the analogy) is Mensa. The name “Mensa” doesn’t have an implied definition, but it has a definition by history and association, it’s a high IQ society. Changing the definition will change what Mensa is.

Quite often with historical definitions, not only is there a definition by strong association, but there was also a just reason behind the definition, and what was included in the definition. Providing the reasons are truly just and sound, this adds traction to the definition. However just reasons aren’t required; you can make a high IQ society that discriminates against non-high IQ persons with no reason other than that it’s nature.

Why am I writing this? I want to show that discrimination isn’t always bad, especially when it’s discrimination for not fitting a criteria. If we didn’t have it, there would be many things that we couldn’t have in society. There are certainly types of discrimination that are wrong, but it doesn’t mean that all discrimination is wrong.

The intolerance of choice

Facebook, Homosexuals Try to Shut Down Boy Scouts Alternative

Basically, unless you agree with me, we won’t let you have a point of view. I’ve said it before and will probably repeat it many times, but it’s democracy and freedom of choice at it’s finest.

“Seperation of Church and State” does not mean Christian’s can’t be involved in politics!

Being a conservative evangelical, especially passionate about pro-life issues, I see the throw away line “don’t mix religion and politics” a lot. Often I see people appealing to the ideal of separation of church and state to, in effect saying that Christian’s should not have or be allowed a voice in political dialogue.

Let’s take a quick look at the Australian Constitution. Section 166, which is the section that deals with the ideal of separation of church and state, says:

The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

This is something I think we can all agree with. However many people seem to appeal to this ideal to mean many things. Here are a few things that it does not mean:

  • It does not mean individual Christian’s aren’t allowed to be involved in politics
  • It does not mean that a group of Christian’s can’t form a political party
  • It does not mean that people aren’t allowed to derive some of their political views from a religious view

What it does mean is that we can’t have the government making or prohibiting a religion, or enforcing/requiring religion of the Australian people and/or politicians; this meaning that a church can’t run the country, mainly only due to the last point however. For example, with regards to forcing religion, following Christ is a choice that should be made by an individual and never forced. I think this is a good thing!

What does it not mean? It doesn’t mean that someone of a religion cannot be involved in politics. It doesn’t forbid the entire parliament being Christian, but it does forbid requiring them to be Christian (or any other religion.) A parliament full of all Christian’s is just as constitutional as a parliament full of atheists, providing that parliament came about through the agreed upon democratic method that we have in this country.

If someone uses the argument that effectively boils down to “you’re getting your political views from religion, therefore they’re not valid” you know you’ve probably won the debate; it’s easier for them to promote their political views by saying that people who disagree with them shouldn’t be allowed to have political views, rather than actually address the differences in views. If that’s the best they can come up with, then it’s a cop out for avoiding the real issues at hand. No one is forced to follow a religion just because a law reflects the moral teachings of a particular religion. You do have a right to a political view in Australia – don’t let anyone tell you you’re not allowed to simply because it’s partly formed from a religious view (if it is of course!)