Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Teaching Morality in School

New Jersey has a law requiring public schools to provide students with diversity training describing different types of family arrangements. This includes same-sex families.

An article at MSNBC, Same Sex Talk in Diversity Video Divides Town" tells how some districts are having trouble obeying this law. They are running into some opposition from parents to anything that tells their children about children with same-sex parents.

The story contains this line:

“I think it's the parents’ decision to decide to teach their children morality,” local parent Mike Quinn told NBC.

Actually, this is false. Schools have to be very much involved in teaching morality.

Do not lie.

Do not take thinks that belong to other students.

Do not hit other students or be cruel to them.

Do not present other people's work as your own.

Wait your turn.

Do not disrupt the class.

We can well imagine what a school would be like if the school was not involved, from start to finish, with teaching morality to children.

In fact, morality is not optional. Morality consists of those things that schools must teach children if the school is going to function at all.

Imagine a parent asking the school to allow her child to 'opt out' of moral prescriptions against lying or violence? Imagine this parent saying, “I think it's the parents’ decision to decide to teach their children morality,”

If a particular code of conduct truly is optional - if parents can have their children 'opt out' of a certain standard of behavior, then that standard is not 'morality' at all, but 'culture'. If a particular code of conduct really is morality, then 'opting out' is not an option.

As it turns out, teaching hatred of same-sex couples is not morality. It is something that a bunch of primative, preliterate, substantially ignorant, bigoted tribesmen who have been dead for a couple of thousand years thought was immoral. However, they thought a lot of things were immoral, and got most of that wrong. They had prohibitions against everything from wearing the wrong types of clothes to working on the Sabbath to eating shellfish. All of which were wrong.

Many liberals do not know how to respond to this type of challenge because they follow the mantra, "Thou shalt not force thy morality on others, or else!" They do not like the idea of saying that somebody else's morality was mistaken.

This position is entirely incoherent. This liberal mantra, if taken to its logical conclusion, would blame the rape victim for refusing to be raped because she is forcing her morality (view on the wrongness of rape) on her attacker, who obviously has a different opinion.

Of course we can force our morality on others. Morality literally means, "That which we may legitimately force on others." The question should never be, "Shall we force this morality on others?" The question, in all cases, should be, "Is this moral?" - and, if the answer is 'yes' (as with prohibitions on murder, lying, theft, rape, and assault) then it is something that may be forced on others.

Religions in particular have had a long history of tying their prescriptions to morality. Yet, here, as well, we can divide religious prescriptions into two types. There are those that can legitimately be forced on others (prohibitions against murder and theft), and those that may not be legitimately forced on others (dress codes, dietary restrictions, prescriptions that cannot be defended outside of that religion's scriptures). Religions might have a habit of calling the latter 'morality' as well (so that it is easier to force their religion on others, by violence if necessary), but they are in fact 'cultural traditions' - nothing more.

A cultural tradition of denigrating and doing harm to others is not a cultural tradition that others have any obligation to respect. In these instances we have a choice between respecting the cultural tradition in question, or respecting the victims of that tradition. Since the victims in these cases are the harmless but harmed individuals, they are more deserving of our respect than those who do harm (even those who do harm in the name of God).


Writer, Splinters of said...

The question is, if society is not voting that same sex unions are moral and acceptable, then why should they try to teach our children how moral and acceptable they believe it is? And also make it mandatory? Tell me this is not trying to "brain-wash" or "convert" our children (the next generation) to "legalize" homosexuality as a marriage, family, and a moral alternative lifestyle. It has less to do with hate, and more to do with seeing it as morally wrong.


Eneasz said...

What is moral is not determined by a vote. There is nothing immoral about homosexuality. In fact, criminalizing it and denying rights to homosexuals is what is immoral. If you are too bigotted to accept that, it is not the school's responsibility to make allowances for your bigotry.

Writer, Splinters of said...

Since bigotry means, “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own”, would this not mean that anyone that claims homosexual is moral and totally disagrees with Scripture, as to it is not, is also a bigot. Should the schools "make allowances for your bigotry"?

What good comes from name calling one a bigot? Are we not all bigots in some point or fashion?


BEAST said...

Tim is a moron, not a bigot.

In any case, I think it is an individual's right to choose what or who she wants to marry, provided that the other party is consenting.

Marriage is a sickening contract, and gay marriages are no different from hereto sexual ones.

Anonymous said...

Tim, separation of church and state, remember? Do not bring in your idiotic Bible. I don't care what your Bible says, there is nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality. It is just another sexual orientation. You are a homophobe. You fear and hate homosexuals. It is completely irrational to fear and hate them and that's why it's considered a phobia. You've got problems, basically.

Since the class is about families, it makes perfect sense that they talk about ALL families, not just ones that you feel are "moral." Sorry, but homosexual couples and families exists and it would make sense for your children to understand that.

Bitching about not wanting your children to learn about homosexual families is the same as bitching about not wanting your children to learn about interracial families or families with a single parent. It's idiot and no one should cater to your silliness. Either educate yourself or be quiet.

Anonymous said...

you have some spelling mistakes on this page. But i do like to hear the different points of view from this paper.

Anonymous said...

i like tims commets. i dont like beasts. you dont have much athority when that is your name and your picture is homer simpson.anonomys #1 needs to just chill. the article semed a little off topic, but i agreed at some parts.

Anonymous said...


Wen said...

do u have any journal to prove ur essay? dont get me wrong.. i m just need some journal taht related to this topic.

Wen said...

ops i have to folow up ur comment. forgot to tick the follow up email below.