I think we are all well versed in basic concepts such as morality and know full well how such euphemisms are used all over the world to stifle LGBTIQ equality. In the worst cases such as Jamaica, Iraq, Iran, and Uganda “morality” is the justification of genocide. I mean, Uganda has a Ministry of Integrity and a mob-justice pseudo-armed force called the Lord’s Resistance Army. If either of these does not disturb you I implore you to research the horrific situation in Uganda. Box Turtle Bulletin or Truth Wins Out might be a good place to start.
All hail the Mail & Guardian as this morn a fresh news update email arrived in my inbox. Thank goodness we have credible, non-saucy news sources in this country still... The article in the Mail & Guardian called Zuma's call for dialogue on morality welcomed enunciates on the utterances of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) who welcomed the dialogue. Were I rabid and had I not read the actual article I would’ve declared it a response by zealous sycophants.
While Juju is distracting and entertaining the media Mr Zuma has some breathing space. One cannot deny, Juju is very good at this and that would explain why he is paid so well.
The SACBC had their statements posted verbatim via SAPA, herewith the quotes with some elaboration:
"As a nation, we have been reaping the fruits of attitudes -- social, economic, moral and political -- that have undermined and continue to undermine what common values and principles of behaviour we shared in the recent past to achieve our new South Africa [...]
The elements of a legacy which were beginning to emerge under the leadership of former president Nelson Mandela and his generation of leaders had been substantially squandered."
(Here the SACBC basically denounces every president since Mandela though they welcome the Zuma debate. It is uncertain if they admire the current president.)
"Given the current depth of polarisation along social, economic and political lines, we propose that the starting point be the foundational principle that the human person, and every human person, has intrinsic and inalienable value [...]
All else in any code of morals must take its lead from that basic principle."
(The first sentence states quite clearly that every person – it is even emphasised quite endearingly – has intrinsic and inalienable value. The dilemma is dissecting the real view of the SACBC, cutting through the semantics, rhetoric, and prose to attain the doctrine behind the very diplomatic statements)
It is the new South Africa of course and one does expect statements to be all-inclusive and non-derisive. The clergy of the specific denomination though tend to hold very strong anti-LGBTIQ views throughout the world. It thus comes as a breath of fresh air that we aren’t victims of counter- cohesiveness and divisive tactics. One should though not take things at face value and watch such “morality debates” very closely and examine the statements that participants make.
We know from past reports that Ray McCauley plays the President’s religious adviser and that Mr Zuma placed LGBT rights and abortion-on-demand on the auction list just before the April 2009 general elections to win some political clout with the religious conservatives. He also played lay preacher at the Rhema Bible Church under the close supervision of dear Mr McCauley.
So we debate morality, but what are the implications? Is the debate the granting of a favour promised a while ago by the President? On the surface it might seem perfectly non-threatening. The real agenda though always lurks just below the surface.
We live in a postmodern era which makes all things subjective and obliterates all inalienable truths. One has to do the impossible by looking at subjective inputs to place them on a scale of proportionality and a form of hierarchy since rights often infringe upon each other by definition. One manifesto is to proclaim the most important right is not to infringe upon the rights of another. This catch-all, reciprocal view seems entirely objective in a world of subjectivism but pragmatically it is too vague to be implemented in any way.
We can view how others have prioritised human rights with a “moral” justification and clearly see the dominance of one ideology or a grouping of ideologies with some common ground. This does not relinquish the burden of subjectivity of such hierarchies. We are a democracy, right? Technically it means that the majority vote counts. Should we ever resort to crass head-counting to determine human rights we are guaranteed to erode civil liberties. The South African Constitutional Court has made a pronouncement in this light when declaring capital punishment unconstitutional.
Which point of view will be taken as the moral compass? If you ever mix Postmodernism with religious thought you will get a mêlée of rhetoric with each having motivations based on the same basis. Interpretation of vague, ancient texts can never be objective. Such interpretation will never offer protections to the most disenfranchised groups in our society.
Luckily by looking at the flurry of comments on the article it seems most are opposed to the Great Morality Debate. The basis and justification for this debate is mocked with incessantly. Clearly Postmodernism has infiltrated our society to near saturation point.
We all need comic relief. Somehow by virtue of living in South Africa we are entertained each time we read the news and commentary below it. We are bemused with what we see on TV. We are amused by double standards and sheer ignorance. One has to dabble in self-amusement to survive the news each day. Never a dull moment...