Friday, December 2, 2011

Buying Sex

The African nation of Nigeria refused to be bought:

• Nigeria’s Senate passed a ban on same-sex “marriage” Tuesday in the face of threats by UK Prime Minister David Cameron of aid cuts to African countries that fail to uphold special rights for homosexuals.

Senator David Mark, president of Nigeria’s upper house, commented:

• If there is any country that wants to stop giving aid because we won’t pass the bill on same sex marriage, that country can go ahead…We are a sovereign nation and we have the right to decide for ourselves because no country can interfere in the way we run our country. Same sex marriage [SSM] is against our own culture and tradition and against our beliefs.

PM Cameron responded that British aid:

• should have more strings attached…We want to see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights, and that includes how people treat gay and lesbian people.

Certainly, donor nations have a responsibility to oversee their grants. If these grants are used to support oppression, then the donor is somehow implicated. This raises the question of whether SSM is a “proper human right?” It also must answer secularism’s biggest problem: “Where do rights come from, and what are the implications if rights are something that humans grant to themselves?”

If Cameron tries to make his appeal for the right of SSM on absolute moral law, he has a major problem. As presumptive spokesmen for absolute moral law, all the major religions give no sanction to SSM. If instead he attempts to base his appeal on pragmatic considerations, he is confronted with a barrage of statistics revealing massive costs of the gay lifestyle – greatly diminished life-spans and higher levels of disease, depression, suicide and substance abuse.

I don’t even think that Cameron could base his appeal for the “human right” of SSM on a possible international consensus – even including the “bought” nations. Even if he could do this, the question then arises: “Isn’t this little more than the tyranny of the majority? Numbers make rights? And why should majority opinion be adequate to establish a human right?” Does majority opinion establish physical laws? No! Why then should it establish moral laws or rights?

I don’t even think that Cameron would agree that a “human right” is no longer a human right once the majority rules against it. Genocide isn’t a crime against humanity only when a majority of nations agree that it is. That would make the judgment against genocide completely arbitrary and mutable – far from the status of a human right.

Besides, if nations are the ones who grant human rights, then nations can also abrogate them. However, the weight of “human rights” arguments must rest on more than changing fads. It must rest on laws that transcend the changing fads, and these laws can only find their support in a Transcendent unchanging truth, and the Transcendent moral truth can only exist if there is a Transcendent moral truth Giver. However, this is ground upon which no true secularist wants to tread.

In this regard, I like what secular humanist Max Hocutt wrote:

• To me [the non-existence of God] means that there is no absolute morality, that moralities are sets of social conventions devised by humans to satisfy their needs…If there were a morality written up in the sky somewhere but no God to enforce it, I see no good reason why anyone should pay it any heed. (Understanding the Times)

Indeed, without God, human rights are no more than social conventions. What then can Cameron say when Nigeria retorts,

• “What makes your values or rights any more moral or biding than ours? Isn’t this just another example of your arrogant cultural imperialism!”

I do hope that Nigeria will press this issue!

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