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171



[Get Opera!]

THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 171, April 29, 2002
MINDIN' OTHER PEOPLES' BUSINESS

Religon, Homosexuality and Freedom
Part 1: Live and Let Live

by Christopher Lee
clee@saunix.sau.edu

Exclusive to TLE

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. (John 8:7)

I argue that one should permit homosexuals to have full political rights including the right to form clubs and to enter into partnership contracts. Individuals should be allowed to live lifestyles of their own choosing even when others deem such lifestyles to be offensive or immoral.

This tolerance is suggested as a type of reciprocal trade; namely, I will not interfere with your consensual choices that may be offensive to me and in return you agree not to interfere with my consensual choices that may be offensive to you. I make this offer to trade because I want to preserve my own freedom and I suggest others should accept it in order to preserve theirs. If we fail to accept such an agreement to "live and let live" the result is domination by political force of one group over another. I say this because the hope of achieving agreement on lifestyles is hopeless.

My approach is to outline some existing religious and ethical opinions and see if we are willing to allow "sauce for the goose" to also be "sauce for the gander." If we can deny expression of a homosexual lifestyle because it offends our beliefs, it seems reasonable to allow other religious or ethical groups to deny expression to those aspects of our lifestyles that offend their beliefs. If we are not willing to allow other religious or ethical groups to restrict our lifestyle because it offends their religious or ethical beliefs, then we have no right to restrict their lifestyle because it offends us. It is obvious to me that none of use are willing to give such authority to other groups nor them to us; consequently, we should advocate a principle of "live and let live."

I believe that a review of a sampling of existing religious and ethical practices will show the impossibility of agreement. I don't believe there is a single individual who would allow all of these religious or ethical groups to dictate their lifestyle. That being the case, we need to develop a system where we can work together even though we are not in full agreement regarding religious and ethical positions.


[PART II appears as article #9 below. -- ed.]



Dr. Lee is Professor of Economics with Saint Ambrose University, Davenport Iowa. He is a member of Saint John's Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Rock Island, IL. The views in this essay are his own and should not be interpreted to represent the views of either the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, or of Saint Ambrose University.


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