There is a fine line, I think, between acceptable social constraints on behavior and intolerable suppression. Constraints on behavior should be based on some generally agreed moral code (a topic I’ve pondered here and here and here recently).
It is no small feat to find the line of demarcation, precisely because of the absence of general agreement on what constitutes acceptable behavior. From my vantage point, it seems that a vocal and media-savvy minority is pushing, hard to scale back the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable, using rigid interpretations of scripture as their yardstick for measuring acceptability.
When challenged as to the legitimacy of their arguments, this scurrilous lot of evangelical moralizers insist that the only acceptable moral code is the one drummed into them from their ‘good book,’ the potential fallibility of which is simply not open for discussion. Indeed, their interpretation of the book and their understanding of its literal instructions for everyday life are not to be questioned. Their objective is to dispel doubt by forbidding questions. Unfortunately, it seems to me there are enormous herds of people willing to accept that offer.
In my mind, conversations and debates and arguments are key to establishing broad consensus on standards of behavior, morality, and whether acceptable limitations to freedom can be identified and agreed upon.
People who refuse to discuss even the possibility that their world view may not be the only “right” one make me tired. They attempt to bully themselves into positions of moral authority, an irony if ever there was one.
Morality and right and wrong are moving targets. And they should be.
And so I have come to the end of this exercise in “thinking through my fingers.” That’s a phrase I heard from a writer friend. I had used “thinking with my fingers,” but hearing her version persuaded me it was an improvement over mind.