A Common Morality

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If we are to call our nation a free nation, then it must allow for adults to be adults and to consent to do whatever they wish, provided they do not harm the person or property of a non-consenting other. This means that laws against consensual activities must be removed and that we establish firmly the real rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

This was the intent of our founding fathers. Not to be a theocracy or to have the government play the part of a parent, but to have the government serve the people and to basically act as an organization which maintains our quality of life. It is to keep the roads in good repair and to provide courts where we may settle our disputes in a fair way. It was to be a body of maintenance, not control.

It was never intended to act as a vessel of divine authority. The writings of the founding fathers can’t be clearer on this. They were very much against a theocracy and against any laws regarding consensual acts. Why do you think they didn’t have laws against drugs, prostitution and other consensual acts in the Constitution? It basically says we should have the right as adults to pursue happiness in any way we see fit, provided we don’t do anything to someone who does not consent.

If adults choose to engage in prostitution, it does not affect those who are against prostitution one whit. If you like it, do it. It’s a business arrangement between consenting adults. If you are against it, don’t do it. However, just because one is against something does not mean that they have the right to ensure that others do not do that thing. This goes for all consensual acts.

I’ve read the Bible and never found a passage which told people that they are to make sure that others do not sin. It is for Christians to not sin themselves, and it is not their business if others sin. Of course, they are admonished to spread the Word, but that is the limit of how they are to spread their religion. By word of mouth only. Not through laws. Not through politics and stealth candidates. Not through inserting their beliefs into the curriculum of public school.

Basically, if a person “sins” it is between that person and god alone. No other person has the right to make sure that they do not sin or that they are punished for sinning. After all, if the Bible is right, then they will be punished more severely than any human can think of, right? So, let god do his job and contain yourselves to doing good works such as helping the needy. Trying to play “sin police” is not doing good works. It’s not your job, or your right.

Yes, your Bible has many passages about things that are wrong and sinful. You can be as vehemently against these sins as you like, but it is not your right to try to force people not to sin in any way. It simply is not your business if gay people get married, if adults smoke joints or engage in prostitution.

If you are worried about your children, then simply be a parent. It is understandable that you want to protect them and make sure they don’t’ fall into any of those things that you consider dangerous or sinful, yet it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure that. It is not the job of the government or anyone else. It is yours alone. That’s the price of parenthood. It is not your right to prevent consenting adults from doing what they will with themselves and each other.

To make your burden easier, it may serve you to educate yourself about the things you dislike. Remember that you dislike such things not for what they are, but because your god dislikes them. You may see a moral harm done by them, but each person’s morality is up to them. All we have the right to prevent is people doing non-consensual harm to each other.

We have the right to prevent and punish murder, rape, theft, fraud, etc. because those things do real, physical harm to all. They are harmful regardless of what one believes. They are universal wrongs.

If there is a rapist or murderer loose, everyone is in danger. If there is a prostitute loose, they aren’t going to make you have sex with them. A drug will not make you take it. Gay people marrying will not do anything to your own marriage. Pornography will not force you to look at it. This is the difference. We must base our laws and common public morality on the concept of consent and actual direct harm.

Allowing consenting adults to do as they please within reason does not mean that you agree with or condone the things you dislike. Many will try to erase this distinction and claim that by allowing something, you are condoning it.

Let’s look at this from another angle. I am an atheist. I am against religion. I wish that it didn’t exist and that nobody practiced religions. I do not approve of or condone religion. It is as wrong to me as homosexuality is to the religious. Are we clear? Good.
Now, I wouldn’t ever consider making a law that said people couldn’t pray or worship as they pleased. It is your right as a consenting adult to go to your place of worship, fellowship with your religious brethren and to take part in the rituals of your religion.

I personally find many religious beliefs to be dangerous to what I consider to be morality. See, we are in the same boat. I am against religion in the same way that a religious person is against homosexuality, prostitution, drugs, gambling, etc. I consider your morality just as dangerous as you consider mine. I would wish to protect children from your morality.

However, in the same way that gay marriage, prostitution, pornography and the like are not actually directly harming you, your practice of your religion isn’t directly harming me. So, I allow it. I sure don’t like it, but I allow it. It is not my place to tell you what to believe or whether or not you can worship any more than it is your right to tell anyone else who they can marry or what they do with or put into their bodies.

This is the basis of common morality. This understanding allows us to coexist regardless of our beliefs. This is what we must foster regardless of how much we disagree on various issues. This basic freedom to be adults is what we must preserve, lest we all lose our freedom.

Whatever freedoms we give to the government, they will gladly take. They will not easily give them back. They are taking more away every day, and it is because people are literally asking them to. We must be responsible for our freedom. That’s what it is to be an adult.

So, let us take the responsibility into our own hands again and use this common understanding to remove the laws that interfere with the basic right of being an adult. Let us preserve a system that allows us to be who and what we are and to believe as we will. That is the essence of freedom and morality.

© 2015 William Suphan

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