Should morality be put to a vote? Would civil right have happened if it had been put to a vote? Certainly not in the south. And if a majority, perhaps slim, had voted to give civil rights to black people, there would have been a large minority that would have “felt put upon and left out because they were put upon and left out.” But you do raise a fundamental question. Does the law transcend the people? Is there a moral law that transcends the people, or do the people determine what’s moral? Is there such a thing a tyranny by the majority? This of course swings both ways depending on which side of the swing you sit.
I think the “new rights” are based in the Right to Privacy, which is a broad concept that covers the question of individuality. What defines an individual or American Citizen. Being a citizen of America has a religious dimension in that you are now among the Chosen People. You have as a people a special covenant with Freedom. But is freedom static, defined once and that’s it? What if I’m disabled and can’t get into a public building? It is not in the constitution that public building should have access because I”m a People.
Should that be a national vote, with corporations who don’t want the expense creating an advertising campaign against it, and people in wheel chairs demonized as cry babies.
Should a worker have the right to sue an employer who fires him because of his gender preference? It goes on and on. Are all of these questions put to a vote. Is morality a choice? And your majority choice makes it moral? This reminds me of the idea that if the President does it, it’s legal and moral. Is anyone above the Law. Is a religion above the law? Now that’s a good one.
Can a religion be immoral? What is the measure, what is the ruler that determines what’s moral if not the people, the president and the priest. What is higher than the dominant slice of society? If I say God, then my idea of God comes through my chosen religion, and we know how immoral religious sects can become under the name of God.
Our nation is founded upon the rock solid belief that all men are endowed with Reason. In mythology this is the Sword of Discrimination that cuts through the difference between the real and the rural, that separates the eternal truths from the temporal. Unless there is a fundamental Reason in man, an internal compass that points to a Truth that transcends local truths, to a God that transcends local gods, unless that gyro compass is there, our morality is like a magnetic compass pointing to the interest of my Chosen People’s view.
So what is the constitutional instrument that activates that Reason in order to solve dilemmas where both sides believe they are the moral conscience? The Supreme Court. However, if the courts wise decision doesn’t prove to be workable, the people can change that. But at least everyone has had the opportunity to see its effects. I’m thinking of prohibition, which was launched because of a moral fervor against human nature, the desire to drink alcohol.
So lets look at the Gay Rights, certainly not in the constitution. Individuality is identity. Identity is not fixed but is born when conditions have changed to allow that new unique sense of self to speak its voice. Being Gay is a natural urge, a given urge, not a choice. Those that think it’s a choice must think that so that it can be a sin. You have to choose sin for sin to be sin. If Gayness is not a choice and not a sin, then it is the Private Part of an Individual that cannot be taken away by laws. If being disabled is not a choice, then that too has Privacy Rights.
When it comes to abortion, who owns a woman’s body? Society or the woman? Her body is her privacy and she has a right to it. So this Right to Privacy is a right to ownership of one’s individuality which is one’s body. Being a woman is not a sin, nor because she descends from Eve (metaphorically) should she be punished for disobeying the laws.
So maybe this gets down to our idea of who we are. Am I a body? Who owns my body? Can my body. be defined by society and then have its freedom denied by laws, not because of some sin and bad behavior but because I belong to a body that is defined by society as being less free than other bodies.
The way bodies got around this was to hide its objectionable difference, its sinful uniqueness. Live in a closet. Or just bear the whip. When the tyranny is total, there is no option, not even the option to think or imagine that life could be different…until a unique individual comes alone and imagines a freedom that transcends the tyranny of the culture. Where does that spark come from if even God has a blind eye? Reason.