Saturday, April 4, 2009

The APA's Anti-Discrimination Policy

If you're going to the APA meeting in Vancouver this week, you should attend the business meeting, Thursday, April 9th, at 12:00 noon in the President's room, where Alastair Norcross will be presenting the petition asking the APA to enforce or change its anti-discrimination policy. The petition already has 1442 signatures, but the more people who actually show up to support it, the better. So if you'll be in Vancouver, you should go to the meeting. And if you haven't signed the petition yet, you should do that, too.

--Mr. Zero

Addendum: Here's the response to the original petition asking the APA to enforce its anti-discrimination policy, from Mark Murphy of Georgetown University. More or less, he makes the argument that the instances of supposed discrimination the original petition points to are not instances of actual discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As such (?), censuring these universities would be 'beyond the pale'. It's an interesting read, to say the least. My first reaction to it is that a lot of nits are being picked here and the arguments fail to address some of the deeper issues the original petition wanted to address. But, that's an unconsidered assessment, and you all can suss this out in the comments. In the meantime, let me second Mr. Zero's endorsement of the original petition. --STBJD

Extra Addendum: Over at Prosblogion, Keith DeRose has posted a thoughtful open letter to the APA as well. --Mr. Zero

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

There's an interesting argument concerning the APA's anti-discrimination policy HERE.

You may be interested in it, since I'm guessing you disagree with the conclusion.

Popkin said...

The argument on the Philosophy Jobs board isn't "interesting," it's ridiculous.

The Mark Murphy letter isn't much better. For example: "Those with a particular sexual orientation are not targeted. Employment is conditioned on one’s willingness to refrain from sexual conduct outside of traditional marriage; it is compatible with the satisfaction of this condition that one be of any sexual orientation, and no particular sexual orientation would be sufficient to meet the condition."

In other words, the relevant schools aren't discriminating against homosexuals but only individuals who commit homosexual acts (so there's no violation of APA policy). By the same reasoning, if a school doesn't discriminate against Jews but only people who practice the Jewish faith, then there's no violation of APA policy.

CTS said...

Yes, Murphy's fine equivocation makes one wish Anatole France could come back to life.

But, I guess all that is needed is to ensure that same-sex marriages are permitted in all states, so that homosexuals in marriage relations can be hired by these colleges.

By the way, Popkin, I think 'ridiculous' is putting it nicely.
docs

Anonymous said...

Well put, Popkin.

Anonymous said...

Popkin,
You're right, the argument on the Jobs board is ridiculous.

I disagree with you about Mark Murphy's letter. I think he is mistaken, but I will give him credit: his is the only defense I've read that is consistent with its author being neither an idiot nor a bigot.

(A school *could* discriminate against practicing Jews, by the way, without violating the APA policy: it could insist on hiring only Catholics. No?)

Anonymous said...

Actually, the critical claim of Murphy's letter seems to be:

IF it is legitimate to have a distinctly religious preference in hiring at a religious school (as permitted by APA policy), THEN those adhering to said religion will not find adhering to that particular religion's code of ethics to be unduly burdensome. Therefore, these school's hiring policies are not discriminatory by the standards used in US law. [this appears in point c of his letter]

IMO, its pretty straightforward that these schools ARE practicing a type of discrimination, the question is whether it is a censurable sort of discrimination. The difficulty comes from the close association between religious committments and ethical committments made by these schools.

For my part, I think its strange that so many APA members have decided that Christian schools are doing something 'blatantly unethical' in requiring their profs to adhere to traditional Christian sexual ethics.

Popkin said...

Anon 7:24, I'm not sure why you think the 1st point C in Murphy's letter is the "critical claim." There are two central claims to the letter: 1. "there are reasons to believe that these institutions are not engaging in discrimination based on sexual orientation," and 2. "there is reason to think that even if one is convinced that these schools' conditions of employment fall afoul of the APA policy, the APA should not proceed against them either by banning them from JFP or by marking them as beyond the pale."

I was pointing out only that his argument for claim 1 is absurd. He claims that "those with a particular sexual orientation are not targeted" because the hiring policies of the relevant schools only prohibit employees having gay sex, not being gay. By the same reasoning, a school could claim that it doesn't target socialists because its hiring policy doesn't prohibit employees being socialists, but only acting on their socialist convictions.

Mr. Zero said...

For my part, I think its strange that so many APA members have decided that Christian schools are doing something 'blatantly unethical' in requiring their profs to adhere to traditional Christian sexual ethics.

I don't see any reason to suspect that traditional Christian ethics accurately tracks actual ethics. Traditional Christian ethics contains many monstrous provisions; traditionally, for example, Christians were permitted to enslave non-christians, though they were admonished to be kind to their slaves--but slavery is obviously morally impermissible, even if you're nice. (You might also wonder how being kind to a slave is compatible with keeping him as a slave at all.)

A trustworthy ethical code would take a firm and unambiguous stand against slavery itself, rather than a weak stand against enslaving christians or being mean. (Furthermore, the Biblical code of ethics contains many provisions that all contemporary Christians feel justified in completely ignoring--the injunctions against eating pork or shellfish, and wearing cloth woven from a mixture of plant- and animal-based threads, for example.)

I also don't see how there's any legitimate controversy about whether the discrimination is censurable. It is the business of the APA to protect its members from unethical discrimination (not to enforce current United States law), and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is obviously unethical (though, sadly, often not illegal).

There clearly is some disagreement concerning the moral status of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But this disagreement is based on the obviously false premise that homosexuality is morally wrong, dangerous to the community at large, or comparable somehow to pedophilia or bestiality. So I don't see how it is reasonable, legitimate, "interesting," or worth taking seriously. Certainly the existence of such poorly-reasoned disagreement should not persuade the APA to refrain from enforcing its already-existing policy against discrimination.

Anonymous said...

So, I completely disagree with the argument posted over on philosophy boards. But I'm not sure why it's ridiculous. In fact, what I find most striking about it is that, with one exception (Fuzzbuster), no one is directly taking on the original argument, and the original poster is destroying his critics.

As I said, I think the argument is wrong. But it's interestingly wrong. What is reveals is that the real issue -- which is clearly on display on Leiter's blog -- is a substantial, moral issue about whether homosexuality is immoral and then the related issue of whether someone who thinks it is is unreasonable. (I say "no" and "yes." The poster of the argument on the board says "yes" and "no").

Another thing I find interesting is that the argument on the board is using exactly the strategy that many people in favor of the petition are using, namely an argument from analogy ("If you're committed to X, then you must be committed to Y since X and Y are relevantly similar.") And again, this reveals that the disagreement is over a substantial moral point (is X really relevantly similar to Y?) and not the thinner point about the APA consistently applying its policy.

Filosofer said...

Mr. Zero's last post is full of silliness, but it's a brand of silliness that is all too common in the contemporary academy. Just two observations:

1. It's old hat to point out that the Christian scriptures contain provisions that Christians do not believe themselves to be obliged to obey. But if you think it's merely a matter of “ignoring” those provisions, or if you think that Christian theologians and philosophers make no principled distinction between the consumption of pork and sexual behavior, then your ignorance of the dominant religious tradition in the western world is pretty remarkable. (I'm not saying that you have to agree with the distinctions, of course.)

2. Like so many of those who contributed to the discussion of this stuff on Leiter's blog, Mr. Zero seems to simply ignore that the institutions in question are Christian institutions that are asking their employees to adhere to Christian moral standards (as Anon 7:24 nicely pointed out). In spite of foaming-at-the-mouth charges that they are all motivated by hatred and bigotry, the simple fact of the matter is that these schools really don't hire people who insist on engaging in sex outside of marriage, or who celebrate their love of pornography, or who brag about how drunk they got last weekend, or who are committed to the defense of Randian egoism, etc. Practicing homosexuals are not being unfairly targeted by these policies. Take a look at the websites for any of the schools in question, and you will find very explicit documents outlining the ethical standards that are expected of members of that community. Those standards do include statements about restricting sexual activity to within the boundaries of heterosexual marriage, but they say an awful lot of other stuff too. All of these expectations are made clear, and all of them are mandatory for all members of the community. To echo Anon 7:24, what on earth is wrong with such an approach? Clearly, I am missing something important here.

For the record, I don't think that Mr. Zero himself is foaming at the mouth.

Anonymous said...

I am bisexual, and I also used to be a committed Christian. At that time, I was personally committed to avoiding homosexual activity, but it would have been outrageous for Christian schools to discriminate against me simply for having a certain orientation. Moreover, the Catholic Church has undertaken discrimination of just this orientation-only sort (if memory serves correctly). After the various priest sex scandals, the Church moved to ban all homosexuals from the priesthood, even if they were (as Catholic priests must pledge to be) entirely sexually abstinent.

The point is that the distinction between discriminating against those who have a certain orientation and those who engage in certain sexual practices is not empty. It is reasonable for religious schools to take a "plain language" reading of the APA policy and to honestly claim that they do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

At a minimum, these schools should not be lumped into the same moral category that the Catholic Church has placed itself into by adopting an outrageous orientation-based ban on gays in the priesthood (which is the more outrageous because no Christian scripture would support it -- unlike, for example, the equally unfortunate ban on women).

NB: My arguments do not entail that a similar distinction is possible between discrimination against (e.g.) (a) Jews and (b) those who engage in "Jewish practices". This is because, insofar as "Jews" names people of a particular religion (as opposed to an ethnicity), there is no distinction between being a Jew and engaging in "Jewish practices". But there is a distinction between having a certain sexual orientation and engaging in certain sexual behavior, as my own case (and doubtless that of many others) makes clear.

Finally, note that if the APA wished to explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual behavior of certain types, it could easily do so and thus side-step this whole issue. (Whether it should do so is another question, as it relates to the question of whether the APA should collectively take a stand on the moral authority of certain religious texts and/or the correctness of various interpretations of those texts.)

Anonymous said...

Popkin,

You said:
"The argument on the Philosophy Jobs board isn't 'interesting', it's ridiculous."

Which premise do you think is false, and why?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zero,

You said:
"traditionally, for example, Christians were permitted to enslave non-christians"

What makes you think that?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zero,
You also said:
"discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is obviously unethical..."

I suppose you mean that TO YOU it seems obviously unethical, since you go on to say:

"There clearly is some disagreement concerning the moral status of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But this disagreement is based on the obviously false premise that homosexuality is morally wrong..."

It seems like you don't think this is the sort of proposition that wants or needs any sort of evidential or argumentative justification. You seem to be reporting a moral intuition here.

But isn't it likely that your opponent has the opposite moral intuition, or at least fails to have your intuitio? Your opponent seems to find it obvious that homosexuality is wrong, or at least unobvious that it's not wrong.

Why think that your moral intuitions are tracking the truth, rather than your opponent's? One of you is suffering from a cognitive glitch, failing to appreciate a salient piece of evidence. Why think it's your opponent who has the glitch, rather than you?

Platowe said...

Bravo, bravo Mr. Zero.

If I could have said it better, I'd explode with pride.

Soon-to-be Jaded Dissertator said...

Allow me to jump in here. Part of what is worrisome about the Murphy letter is the claim I first pointed to in the addendum, namely, that the type of behavior pointed out in the original petition does not constitute discrimination.

One of Murphy's reasons for claiming this is that the moral codes that must be signed at certain Christian universities aren't specifically targeted at homosexuals, but towards everyone who would engage in morally inappropriate sexual conduct outside of traditional marriage (kissing? heavy petting? third base? anal sex? masturbation?). Of course, I don't think the claim 'It's okay, we do this towards everyone not married' is enough to show that the actual policy is a good one, or not discriminatory (though maybe not on Murphy's definition of discrimination).

Furthermore, Murphy's point (c) about the disproportionate burdening of homosexuals by the policies of certain institutions is just completely off base. First, if you read closely, Murphy seems to be drawing a parallel between one's choice of religion to that of sexual orientation. So the subtext goes: 'Just like the lifestyle of homosexuals place undue burden on them, so does one's choice of religious lifestyle'. Though, of course, it is highly contentious whether or not sexual orientation is a choice and this raises questions about whether or not it should even be called a lifestyle at all, much less compared to the choice of a religion and the burdens taken on there.

As to the point being made explicit in point (c) (as opposed to its ridiculous subtext), I think even if the policies under question require everyone to not engage in sexual activity outside of traditional marriage, homosexuals are unduly burdened. This is because they are the only class of people who could not fulfill the condition of being traditionally married in order to be in compliance with the policy. This just follows from the ways in which these institutions would define a traditional marriage. And without being able to engage in a type of ceremony sanctioned by a church (I'm assuming civil unions, common law marriages, and the similar wouldn't count as traditional marriage) that would change the metaphysics of their situation, homosexuals would, because of a stipulation, always be in non-compliance of the policy (even if the state they are in were to recognize gay marriage).

Thus, homosexuals would have to live with the burden of forever fearing that they would lose their job because of the sin in which they live (to put it contentiously and facetiously). The burden is undue because they are the only class of citizens who are unable to fulfill the conditions of entering a traditional marriage as stipulated by the university. All other heterosexuals, could, if they were to fear for their job enough, no matter what their beliefs about marriage, enter into a traditional marriage to protect themselves. Homosexuals could not.

Finally, I think the appeal to the existence of deep and reasoned disagreement on the subject (or to competing intuitions like Anon 3:00 pm does), as making it okay for these institutions to consider their practices and not be censured is just misguided. Wouldn't this speak to suspending the practices until agreement is reached? Or, would suspending such practices place an undue burden on the university because they would have to be compromising values that are under deep and reasoned debate?

But, if these universities expect some people to suspend certain practices (and maybe in the process compromise their values) shouldn't these institutions be expected to at least extend a little courtesy in the direction of those who would perform a valuable service to them despite disagreement?

Of course, this last point isn't a very good on. However, I'm still not sure what the appeal to deep and reasoned disagreement is supposed to show: should that mean we amend the policies of the APA, the practices of the schools, the values of the applicants to jobs? What does the disagreement point to and what does it mean? It's, of course, mad underdetermined.

Popkin said...

Anon 2:51. One obviously false premise of the argument is "3) If Smith’s pedophilia is not a sexual orientation, then homosexuality isn’t a sexual orientation."

The term "sexual orientation" doesn't cover any and all sexual predilections. If I have a thing for red-heads, or if I'm attracted only to senior citizens, these are not sexual orientations. As everyone knows, the term only covers the gender(s) one is sexually interested in (if you don't believe me, look in a dictionary).

The argument that the original poster gives in defence of this premise is also obviously terrible:

1) Being a pedophile is an innate character trait
2) Being homosexual is an innate character trait
3) So, if pedophilia doesn’t qualify as a sexual orientation, clearly homosexuality doesn’t either

In other words, if A has something important in common with B, and B falls into category X then A falls into category X as well.

Mr. Zero said...

Filosopher,

1. I'm sure you're right. From an outsider, though, it looks an awful lot like the Wheaton people are just rationalizing and picking and choosing what is convenient to ignore. Homosexuality on one side, lobster on the other. The age of the earth on one side, whether the sun revolves around it on the other. Whatever.

2. I remain agnostic as to what motivates the schools. Frankly, I don't give a shit. What I care about is the fact that the schools, whatever the motivation, unfairly discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. This has been explained again and again in a variety of places--it's unfair because gays alone cannot pursue a meaningful, satisfying sex life. I think that any school with such an unfair policy, whatever the reason, should have an asterisk next to their JFP ad.

anon 2:55/3:00,

What makes you think that [traditionally Christians were permitted to enslave non-christians]?

The long, long history of christians doing it, the christian establishment sanctioning it, and using the bible to justify it.

Why think that your moral intuitions are tracking the truth, rather than your opponent's?

For one thing, I didn't get my ideas on sexual ethics from a book that says that wearing cotton/wool blends, eating lobster, associating with menstruating women, squeezing water from a sponge on saturday, etc. are all wrong and mostly punishable by public execution by stoning.

Seriously, though. I thought about it a lot. I thought, do typical instances of homosexual sex fail to maximize utility? No worse than the alternative. Does it cause undeserved harm? No. Do its practitioners treat people as mere meanses, rather than as ends in themselves? Possibly, but not at a greater rate than the practitioners of heterosexual sex. Do its practitioners act from universalizable maxims? Yes. Is my moral theory vulnerable to the Euthyphro objection? No. Is a person's sexual orientation likely to impair her ability to function as a college professor? No. Is it any of my business? No. Have I subjected these intuitions to critical scrutiny? Yes. Do I understand their implications in a wide range of cases? Yes. Am I in reflective equilibrium with respect to these intuitions? Yes.

That's why.

Soon-to-be Jaded Dissertator said...

First, Mr. Zero makes me prouder each and every day that we invited him to join here.

Second, I must say, this whole thing about there simply being competing intuitions (or deep and reasoned disagreement) and that there is no way to decide between them is ridiculous. As Mr. Zero makes gestures towards, it isn't like these intuitions are pulled out of thin air. These intuitions, usually, are the result of real deliberation on cases using certain criteria of what counts as moral, immoral, right, wrong, etc.

That real deliberation can be better or worse, and can lead to intuitions that are considered, deep, superficial, or brittle.

So, two points: (1) We should be able, as philosophers, to assess the relative merit of the type of deliberation that has led to these intuitions. Perhaps appealing to a book, or divine authority, isn't a good way, or reliable method, to arrive at intuitions (or true statements about the morality of certain behavior) about things that actually affect people's lives.

Not convinced? Still have a strong intuition the Bible is the inspired word of God? Move the critique up a level:

(2) We should be able to assess the strength of those criteria, or assumptions that one starts with, to arrive at their conclusions (or intuitions) about certain cases. Perhaps Christians have a really strong feeling, or considered intuition that the Bible is the inspired word of God; hence, their belief that their method is reliable. However, as Mr. Zero points out, this seems to be a pretty brittle intuition since there is a willingness to ignore it in certain cases (lobster, menstruating women) and really, really believe it in others (homosexuality).

And maybe this is just crazy, but I think we should require that the intuitions people begin with not be so brittle if we are to take their reasoning seriously.

Filosofer said...

Mr. Zero claims that the practices in question are unjust forms of discrimination because, under them, "gays alone cannot pursue a meaningful, satisfying sex life." But that's not true. Anyone who finds sexual fulfillment outside the context of traditional, monogamous, heterosexual marriage is ruled out by the Wheaton-style policies. This includes heterosexual polygamists, polyamorists, bisexuals, lovers of pornography, and probably others as well.

Now, some will think that this is a very silly thing to say. It may sound like, "Hey, it's okay for us to treat these people badly, because we treat lots of people badly!" And that would be dumb.

But here's what I take to be the relevant point. Some of you are probably familiar with Thomas Nagel's old essay on affirmative action. He defends strong AA policies against the this-is-reverse-discrimination-against-white-guys objection in the following way: there is an important moral difference between discriminatory practices that are motivated by pursuit of some substantial good and discriminatory practices that are motivated by fear or loathing of the discriminated-against group. I think this is a defensible distinction. Let's apply it to the present case.
Schools like Wheaton, Calvin, Biola, et al. exist, at least in large part, to preserve the heritage of a religious tradition and to provide a communal context in which that religious tradition can be lived out. This, I daresay, counts as a substantial good. The world would be a much poorer place without the existence and influence of the Christian faith. Even many of those who disagree with this assessment will nevertheless agree, I think, with the less substantive claim that the world is a better place when persons have the freedom to practice their own religions within the boundaries established by their own consciences. We ought to allow religious communities to band together and live as they see fit, at least as long they aren't actively harming anyone.

The Christian tradition, like any other, has its own set of values and mores. It is reasonable for Christians to expect people who want to enter into their communities to respect and abide by those values and mores-- just as the secular school where I teach expects me to respect the value of free inquiry and to grade students' philosophical work based on the quality of their reasoning rather than on whether their conclusions are consonant with what is written in scripture. If a fundamentalist applied for a job at Big State University, and indicated in his application that he would find it deeply alienating to have to treat all views with respect and to present the best case possible for views that are not his own, and hence refused to respect the value of free inquiry in his work, I suspect that the Big State faculty would refuse to hire him on those grounds alone. And rightly so. At Big State, you see, we stand for certain things. Free inquiry is one of them. If you don't value free inquiry, well, you have that right here in America, but BSU is going to overtly and openly discriminate against you and yours in its hiring practices.

Likewise, Wheaton stands for traditional Christian faith and practice. That's what they're about. And if you can't endorse their values, they ought to be allowed to discriminate against you in their hiring practices.

Back to Nagel: the reason other behavioral restrictions, like those noted in my first paragraph above, are relevant is that they help us see that Wheaton et al. are not operating out of fear and loathing of homosexuals, but in pursuit of (what they take to be) a substantial good. Thus their practices are no more unjustly discriminatory than are the anti-fundamentalists policies of Big State. Q.E.D.

Filosofer said...

Two other things worth noting here (they're closely related)...

One: so far as I can tell, all of Mr. Zero's and STBJD's arguments rest on the assumption that there is no God, or at least, if there is such a being, that being has not uniquely revealed itself in the person of Jesus of Nazareth or in the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

These are easy assumptions to live with in the secular institutions where most of us live and move and have our being, but they're hardly the obvious and uncontroversial starting points many secularists take them to be. (Professional blindness to this important point stems in part from the lack of emphasis our schools place on questions in the philosophy of religion. Pop quiz: how many of you B.A./M.A./Ph.D. Philosophy folks have ever been required to take an upper division course in the philosophy of religion?) I mean, check out STBJD at 9:11 on 4/5; he or she seems to have no idea that people have actually argued for the truth of these claims. Those who are interested in moving beyond the conventional wisdom on these topics are encouraged to begin with Alvin Plantinga on reformed epistemology; Richard Swinburne's books The Existence of God and Revelation; Menssen and Sullivan's The Agnostic Inquirer; and William Lane Craig on the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, which is a timely topic what with Easter being six days from now and which you can read about via this handy link:

http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/menus/historical.html

This stuff may not be sufficient to persuade you to accept the controversial assumptions on which Wheaton-style policies are based, but they ought to be enough to convince a thoughtful person to give up on the smarmy ain't-them'-christians-dumb?-i-can't-believe-they-actually-think-that-stuff-is-true attitude that occasionally dresses up as some kind of actual philosophical idea.

Two: I have no idea how we'd go about resolving this dispute, but I suspect that one massively significant difference in intuitions here concerns the importance of sexual fulfillment in a good human life. Many of us just don't think it's that big a deal. It's not nothing in our view, of course, but it's just not that huge a thing. Many of us Christian-types think that God actually calls some people to be celibate (lots of them are heterosexuals), and we reject the claim that their lives are thereby horribly impoverished.

I myself considered applying for a job at a Christian college a while back, but I decided not to because they don't allow their students or faculty to consume alcohol. Alcohol is something I enjoy very much, and I think its use enhances my life in desirable ways. But I don't think it's such an important good that the folks at that school are being crazy or unjust or foolish or anything like that when they ask members of their communities to abstain. Probably many of you would agree with me on that.

Frankly, I don't think sex is much more valuable than booze. I'm glad to have both of them in my life, but they just aren't what define me; they're not what I am about. I like living with both, but I could live without either, and as a Christian, I can understand and respect those who choose to abstain out of a desire to honor God.

I think that Mr. Zero values sex differently than I do. I don't know how make an argument to persuade him or anyone else to come around to my way of seeing things. I guess I might just ask him and you to think about it some more, but he and you will probably just say the same thing to me. So that's of minimal help.

But maybe, just maybe, if you can come to see how it is that some of us don't think sexuality is all that central to who we are or how we understand human flourishing, perhaps you will also come to see how it is that we can discriminate against homosexuals in our hiring practices without thereby believing ourselves to be horribly cruel and unkind. And that would be some kind of progress, wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zero,
I asked:
What makes you think that "traditionally Christians were permitted to enslave non-christians"?

You replied:
The long, long history of christians doing it, the christian establishment sanctioning it, and using the bible to justify it.

Oh, I thought you were making an interesting claim about what the Bible actually says, or what the Church has actually taught. But you only meant to say that some Christians have had slaves, that some Christians in authority have sanctioned it, and that some people have used the Bible to justify it.

Is that all you meant to claim? Or do you think that the Bible actually DOES justify slavery? (If so, where?) Do you think that the Church actually has taught that slavery is permissible? (If so, when?)

Also, which Christians in authority sanctioned slavery? I get the feeling that you’re sort of making this up.

I also asked:
Why think that your moral intuitions are tracking the truth, rather than your opponent's?

You replied
For one thing, I didn't get my ideas on sexual ethics from a book that says that wearing cotton/wool blends, eating lobster, associating with menstruating women, squeezing water from a sponge on saturday, etc. are all wrong and mostly punishable by public execution by stoning.

I don’t really see how any of this is relevant, especially considering the fact that I was asking you about your opponents who have a moral intuition that homosexuality is wrong. Intuitions (as I understand them) aren’t inferences, so I’m not asking about your opponents who reason their way to their views on homosexuality. I’m asking you about your opponents who just reflect on homosexuality, and find it clearly wrong. Surely there have been many such people throughout history, don’t you think?

Now that I’ve clarified the question, I’ll ask it again: Why think that your moral intuitions are tracking the truth, as opposed to theirs?

You also said:
Seriously, though. I thought about it a lot. I thought, do typical instances of homosexual sex fail to maximize utility? No worse than the alternative. Does it cause undeserved harm? No. Do its practitioners treat people as mere meanses, rather than as ends in themselves? Possibly, but not at a greater rate than the practitioners of heterosexual sex. Do its practitioners act from universalizable maxims? Yes. Is my moral theory vulnerable to the Euthyphro objection? No. Is a person's sexual orientation likely to impair her ability to function as a college professor? No. Is it any of my business? No. Have I subjected these intuitions to critical scrutiny? Yes. Do I understand their implications in a wide range of cases? Yes. Am I in reflective equilibrium with respect to these intuitions? Yes.

I noticed that you skipped over one prominent ethical theory, or at least didn’t consider it adequately. Suppose someone reads some Aristotle, and decides that virtue has something to do with proper function. This person carefully considers homosexuality, and it seems clear to her (i.e. she has the intuition) that homosexuality does not promote proper function. In fact, it inhibits proper function. She then concludes that homosexuality is immoral.

I’m guessing that you don’t share her intuition. But my question is this: Why think that she’s suffering from a glitch, rather than you? And why think the APA should side with your raw intuition rather than hers?

Also, your opponent may have contrary intuitions when it comes to whether homosexuality maximizes utility, since your opponent may have a different conception of utility. And the same thing goes with whether homosexuality causes undeserved harm. Why think you got it right, rather than her? And why think the APA should take a stand on such a controversial theoretical issue?

Also, your opponent may have different views about the function of a college professor. Maybe, as DevAdv points out in that Philosophy Jobs Board thread, the function of a college professor can legitimately be construed to include being a role model, a moral exemplar, etc. If your opponent accepts this fuller notion of being a professor and has different moral intuitions about homosexuality, she’ll disagree with you about whether homosexuality impairs one’s ability to function as a professor.

Also, you seem convinced that the Euthyphro Dilemma is fatal towards Divine Command Theory. But suppose your opponent accepts only that it is fatal only to a certain type of Divine Command Theory, and accepts another type that she thinks the Dilemma is not even relevant to (a version on which, roughly, “is good” and “is commanded by God” corefer, so the question of which explains/causes which doesn’t arise). Again, why think you got it right, rather than her? And why think the APA should weigh in on this controversial theoretical issue?

Either your views on this matter are highly theoretical, or they’re based on raw intuition. Your opponent either disagrees with your theoretical apparatus, or doesn’t share your raw intuition. Why think the APA should adjudicate either type of dispute? Why think the APA should come down on e.g. whether the Euthyphro Dilemma is fatal to DCT? Why think the APA should favor one group’s raw intuitions over another group’s? I think the APA shouldn’t do that sort of thing. It sets a scary precedent for future tyrannies of the majority. Let a thousand flowers bloom, I say.

Soon-to-be Jaded Dissertator said...

Filosofer,

I appreciate your thoughtful responses to both Mr. Zero and my posts (the Nagel post especially). I have no doubt that there has been thoughtful and reasoned arguments for these claims.

I mean, I'm pretty sure we've all read at least the greatest hits in the tradition if we've received a philosophical education worth a lick (here I'm talking mostly history of philosophy, but a good metaphysics class should probably include some Plantinga on God). So, I know these positions can be argued for and that there are many smart Christian philosophers who do just that (you certainly seem to be one of them). And, maybe there's a feeling that there's some straw-manning going on here.

Maybe there is, maybe there isn't.

Non-snarkily, maybe it is the case that these universities have sat down, gathered up some theologians and philosophers, and have arrived at /argued for the considered position embodied in the morality codes. One hopes this is the case and it probably is.

However, what I want most of all to push back against is the idea that there just exist competing intuitions out there that can't be adjudicated or argued about (this is a claim Anon. 3:00 pm seems to make). Moreover, I want to push back on the idea that just because there is reasoned disagreement on a subject (backed up with argumentation) that this is itself a reason to continue on with disputed practices, or at least not have more reasoned debate about the legitimacy of the practices.

Part of that reasoned debate is going to call into question some of the convictions on which these Christian universities rest their policies, e.g., the existence of God, that Jesus is his only son, and that things like moderate alcohol consumption or consensual homosexual sex are wrong (or even fall under the purview of morality).

Once we give up being able to debate these types of points, or about the inspired nature of the Bible, as some seem to want us to do, then I don't know what is left for the non-believers to argue about. So, while I certainly want to be charitable, I don't want to give up the game at the beginning.

It may also be the case that we needn't even get into a debate about these deeper philosophical issues. I really hope we don't, and I think that's probably the case.

Yo Mama said...

To the anon that ask which premises were false, there are at least two false premises in that ludacris argument.

First, as has already been pointed out, the phrase 'sexual orientation' is explicitly used to mean either (1) homosexual, (2) heterosexual or (3) bisexual. In other words it is a phrase that is used to denote whih gener one is attracted to. there are some fring elements that want pedophilia to be counted as an oritentation, but this is *not* the normal use of the term. We can assume that the APA is using the normal/standard meaning of teh term when they prohibit all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Secondly, premise (6) which states If it’s morally permissible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, then the APA’s prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is unwarranted. is also quite obviously false since even IF we grant that pedophilia is a sexual orintation it is one which causes (necessarily) harm to innocents, whereas homosexuality isn't. Notice also that the perpetrator of this absurd argument asserts over and over that homosexual acts do cause harm but doesn't ever even so much as gesture to what kind of harms she has in mind.

The falisty of these premises is enough to show that the argument is unsound and shouldn't be taken seriously. Oh, and shame on anyone who does!

Popkin said...

Filosopher claims that the APA should not sanction the Christian schools in question because “Wheaton et al. are not operating out of fear and loathing of homosexuals, but in pursuit of (what they take to be) a substantial good.”

Think about how such reasoning could be extended to other cases. If a certain religious school discriminates against all non-whites because their religious text claims that white skin is the best, then they can claim that their policy is not motivated by fear and loathing of non-whites, but in pursuit of what they take to be a substantial good (namely, “to preserve the heritage of a religious tradition and to provide a communal context in which that religious tradition can be lived out”). According to the reasoning Filosopher has provided, the APA should not sanction such an institution; but I think we can all agree that’s an absurd conclusion.

Mr. Zero said...

Filosofer,

Anyone who finds sexual fulfillment outside the context of traditional, monogamous, heterosexual marriage is ruled out by the Wheaton-style policies.

Yes, of course, that's true. I think I might go MT on your MP, though.

Seriously, though. Except for the gayness, gays can have traditional, monogamous marriages and can be evangelical Christians and can be qualified for these professor jobs. Insofar as they are disqualified because they are gay, or because they find personal and sexual fulfillment in the arms of a same-sex partner, the hiring practices are unfair and discriminatory.

the world is a better place when persons have the freedom to practice their own religions within the boundaries established by their own consciences.

Absolutely. Except for when those religions freedoms infringe on the freedoms of others. Discriminatory hiring practices are one such infringement. If Homosexual U. refused to hire an evangelical christian on the basis of her Christianity, I'd be promoting their censure as well.

If a fundamentalist applied for a job at Big State University, and indicated in his application that he would find it deeply alienating to have to treat all views with respect and to present the best case possible for views that are not his own...

...then he thereby demonstrates an inability to perform the duties of a college professor, and in no circumstances should such a person be hired to do that job.

By contrast, an openly gay philosopher could perform the duties of a college professor, even at a place like Wheaton. Such a person would absolutely be capable of introduction to philosophy, intro ethics, intro logic, and a variety of upper division courses. Of course, such a person might have trouble, for example, teaching the standard response to Paley's teleological argument, since that response involves the theory of evolution by natural selection, and Wheaton does not accept the central theory around which all scientific study of life is organized. But this is a defect of the school, not of the professor.

Mr. Zero said...

which Christians in authority sanctioned slavery?

In 1452 Pope Nicholas V, in his Dum Diversas, instituted the hereditary enslavement of "nonbelievers".

In 1488, Pope Innocent VIII accepted the gift of 100 slaves from Ferdinand II of Aragon, and distributed those slaves to his cardinals and the Roman nobility.

In 1639 Pope Urban VIII forbade the slavery of the Indians of Brazil, Paraguay, and the West Indies, yet he purchased non-Indian slaves for himself from the Knights of Malta.

The Southern Baptist Church was founded after a disagreement with Northern Baptists over slavery.

Plus, there's all kinds of stuff in the bible about how you ought to treat your slaves. I leave the googling to you.

Suppose someone reads some Aristotle, and decides that virtue has something to do with proper function. [...]and it seems clear to her [...] that homosexuality does not promote proper function.

I would say, Are you sure you're in reflective equilibrium with respect to this intuition? Could you explain to me the metaphysics of proper function? How would I know a proper function when I saw it? What would be so awful about functioning improperly--why should I think that proper function is of central moral import, on a par with refraining from causing undeserved harm, using people, etc?

What if your Aristotelian concludes, as Aristotle did, that because women lack a penis and are therefore incomplete, they cannot function properly and should not be permitted to vote, participate in government, or own property? Am I supposed to take that seriously, too?

And doesn't this cut both ways? Would suggest to the Aristotelian that she should suspect herself of having a glitch because I disagree with her? The Wheaton people?

The larger point is, so what? Did you think I never thought of that? Of course I did. I just don't see any reason take it seriously or allow it to affect my beliefs.

Why think the APA should adjudicate[...]?

Because the mission of the APA includes the protection of its members from unfair discrimination, which this is. The vast majority of its membership believe that the behavior of these colleges constitutes unfair discrimination--compare the petitions. There's no serious controversy.

Mr. Zero said...

Filosopher,

One last thing. Though I am not a christian, I am not assuming atheism or the falsity of christianity. Christianity, broadly construed, is compatible with a wide variety of views concerning homosexuality. I was raised in the church, and the church I was raised in has been performing gay weddings since the late 1980s.

As far as abstinence goes, I think it would be fine if the schools asked everybody to abstain. But they don't; they only ask gays to abstain. If Homosexual U had a gay-sex-or-abstinence requirement, I'd be promoting their censure as well.

Anonymous said...

Filosofer writes:

"there is an important moral difference between discriminatory practices that are motivated by pursuit of some substantial good and discriminatory practices that are motivated by fear or loathing of the discriminated-against group."

This is a very odd distinction to draw in the present case, considering that much of the justification for the rejection of homosexuality at the Protestant schools in question comes from the biblical claim that homosexuality is "an abomination".

'Abominable' is defined as 'worthy of or causing disgust or hatred'. So what's the point again?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zero,

Thanks for the info about the awful behavior and beliefs of some popes and some Baptists. I didn’t know about the popes, so it was interesting to learn.

I’m still wondering if you think that the Bible actually does justify slavery. (If so, where?) You mention that the Bible says stuff about how to treat slaves. I was aware of that, but surely you don’t think that an injunction to treat slaves humanely implies an endorsement of slavery.

And, as I asked earlier, do you think that the Church actually has taught that slavery is permissible? (If so, when?) I’m no Catholic, but I don’t think it’s any part of Catholic doctrine to say that every belief held by a pope is true or that all papal behavior is moral. So one can’t just point to any old papal belief or behavior and infer that the Catholic Church endorses or teaches it.


I also said this:
Either your views on this matter are highly theoretical, or they’re based on raw intuition. Your opponent either disagrees with your theoretical apparatus, or doesn’t share your raw intuition. Why think the APA should adjudicate either type of dispute?

You replied:
Because the mission of the APA includes the protection of its members from unfair discrimination, which this is.

So you have the intuition that (or you accept a controversial theory on which) it’s unfair to discriminate against homosexuals. The opponent that I asked you to consider has the opposite intuition (or believes a different controversial theory). I then asked why the APA should side with you on this matter. Your reply, essentially: “Because I’m right.”

Are you serious?


You also said this, which is perhaps meant to be an independent reason why the APA should take a stand on this issue:
The vast majority of its membership believe that the behavior of these colleges constitutes unfair discrimination--compare the petitions. There's no serious controversy.

This is the tyranny of the majority that I’m worried about.


You also asked me a few questions:
Could you explain to me the metaphysics of proper function?

I’m not sure what you’re asking. You’d like to know what functions are? Or, you know what functions are but you’re not sure what proper functions are? In any event, this article may be of use to you. The opponent I’m asking you to imagine could accept many different accounts of proper function, as far as I can tell.

How would I know a proper function when I saw it?

Well, you’d consult your knowledge of the human design plan, and ask yourself if this function is part of the design plan. We’re really quite good at it. We know the heart is meant to pump blood, the kidneys are meant to filter waste, a bird’s wings are meant to fly, etc.

What would be so awful about functioning improperly--why should I think that proper function is of central moral import, on a par with refraining from causing undeserved harm, using people, etc?

Maybe you’d like to live well, to flourish, to fulfill your purpose in life, etc. This opponent I’m asking you to imagine would think that functioning properly will let you achieve these ends. Proper function will lead to happiness, in Aristotle’s sense of “happiness.”

What if your Aristotelian concludes, as Aristotle did, that because women lack a penis and are therefore incomplete, they cannot function properly and should not be permitted to vote, participate in government, or own property? Am I supposed to take that seriously, too?

Well, if there really is just a clash of intuitions here, sure, you might wonder what justification you have for thinking that your intuitions track the truth and hers don’t. That seems to be a legitimate worry. At least, you should wonder why you’re justified in formally censuring your opponent’s intuitions, if there really is just a bedrock clash of intuitions.

And doesn't this cut both ways? Would suggest to the Aristotelian that she should suspect herself of having a glitch because I disagree with her? The Wheaton people?

Yes, of course it would cut both ways. I’d be the first to object to a tyranny of the majority if the numbers were reversed and Wheaton-minded-people started talking about formally censuring universities that don’t comply with their moral intuitions.

Led Zep said...

This appears to have been left behind a while ago, but I don't think Murphy's statement got much of a fair hearing on this thread, in the following respects:

Murphy's claim that "those with a particular sexual orientation are not targeted" is not ridiculous or beside-the-point sophistry, pace Popkin. It's directed towards one of the conditions which he sets out, of which at least one must be satisfied for a policy to count as discriminatory in the relevant sense. And in that context, he's clearly right. And he's also quite aware that it's obvious, after making this move, that he has to deal with the objection that the policy imposes an unreasonable burden on those with a homosexual orientation. (Hence, he proposes that objection and tries to deal with it!) So Popkin's complaint on April 4 at 2:04 isn't really fair. Popkin, to judge by his following comment, seems to think that Murphy's first point (a) is supposed to stand as a complete argument for his first major claim. But that's not right; Murphy is well aware that a policy can fail to target the protected class and still be discriminatory against the protected class. (So the analogies involving discriminating against various classes by discriminating against their distinctive behavior are just inapplicable at this stage of Murphy's argument.) That's why he goes on with points (b) and (c), and it's pretty clear that (c) is the most controversial one. (So Anon 7:24 was right about that, and Popkin was wrong.) The point is this: Murphy is not fashioning a terrible argument by using a too-narrow notion of "targeting"; he's using a narrow notion of targeting as just one part of a broader, carefully constructed argument. And if you think he's just pushing the bump under the rug around, then you'll probably agree that he really has to confront it at his first point (c). And in fact, Murphy agrees. That's why he says that that point will be the most controversial.

The really crucial move that Murphy makes (which, again, occurs in (c) under his first main point) is to allow that in determining what counts as an "unjustifiable disproportionate burden," one can appeal to considerations internal to the kind of faith tradition and community at hand. That is, what counts as a burden or a justification for a burden here can't just be determined from the outside, so to speak.

That seems to me to be the crux of the issue (at least with regard to Murphy's first point), and many of the responses to Murphy's statement in the thread at Leiter's blog here, pick on this point. They take the position that the APA's policy specifically exempts discrimination against protected classes from its allowances for institutions with faith-based missions. And so they typically argue that one can articulate the disproportionate burden in a completely non-contentious way, and that justifications for that burdening can't only those internal to the faith community, because it's the practices of that community that are in question. The first commenter there, for example, says this:
The question is simply whether being prevented from having any kind of gay sex is more harmful to gay people than being prevented from having non-marital sex is harmful to straight people. To put it another way, is being effectively prevented from satisfying any of one’s sexual desires more harmful than being allowed to satisfy one’s primary sexual desires in a highly controlled fashion (within the bonds of heterosexual marriage). The answer seems clear and entirely non-contentious. The policies are obviously disproportionately harmful to gay and lesbian applicants.

But this is not quite as straightforward as the commenter wants it to be. Just because one can characterize the disproportionate burden in this simple way doesn't mean that one has to. And whether one will or will not does in fact depend on whether one's substantive views on sexuality and morality coincide with those of a traditional Christian or not. What is simply a burden to an outsider is regarded, and even experienced, as something more complex and even beneficial, to an "insider." (I realize that I'm being rather glib on this point, and it's a sensitive issue. I honestly don't mean to offend or to trivialize the difficulties faced by many people in finding fulfillment in a largely heteronormative society. I'm just trying to sketch out the argument.)

Further, it's not clear to me that one can't appeal to justifications that have force within the tradition or faith of the institution in question. It's certainly a respectable philosophical opinion that justifications are always located within a tradition that involves certain ways of life, in such a way that their force cannot be fully appreciated in isolation from that tradition. (Think MacIntyre. Also, as in MacIntyre, this need not entail that there is no way to make rational progress, or for one tradition to trump another rationally. So I'm not just appealing to basic conflicting intuitions or something like that. It's just that this view of rationality is out there and is philosophically serious.) And if that's right, then in order to address the question of justification here, one would have to mount the argument that the beliefs in question are just leftover taboos rather than part of a rationally respectable understanding of what it is to live ethically with respect to one's sexuality.

So on one quite respectable understanding of how justifications work, the APA would be committing itself to the view that this tradition's view of the ethics of human sexuality does not amount to something rationally respectable. And that's a pretty substantive conclusion for the APA to commit itself to in its official policy. One might think that the APA should just go ahead and make that commitment, take a stand on what's right here, and put a thumb in the eye of those who still think these "taboos" are rational, but then it becomes relevant that the APA as an institution is deeply pluralistic and has an interest in being inclusive with respect to different sorts of schools.

That was all very long-winded, but I offer it because I think, like Anon 4:39, that Murphy's statement is actually quite honest, carefully thought-out, and bereft of bigotry.

CTS said...

Anyone who finds sexual fulfillment outside the context of traditional, monogamous, heterosexual marriage is ruled out by the Wheaton-style policies. This includes heterosexual polygamists, polyamorists, bisexuals, lovers of pornography, and probably others as well.

A crucial difference is that these other people can still have some kind of sexual relationship. All they need to do is (a) marry and
(2) restrict their sex lives to the approved type.

So, it is not really all that equitable is it?

Mr. Zero said...

It occurred to me that something I wrote in my comment @10:01 that might not be fair to the Wheaton people, with respect to evolution. I was thinking of that (terrific) multi-part Evolution documentary that PBS put out about 8 or 9 years ago. In one episode, Wheaton was featured prominently in connection with the creationism debate. On further reflection, I'm no longer sure that there was any institutional opposition to evolution. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I think much of this debate is misplaced. The petition isn't about whether or not it is correct for Christian universities with certain beliefs to discriminate on the basis of sexual practice, or whether or not it is legitimate for Christian universities with certain beliefs to require faculty to adhere to a denominational code of ethics. The petition makes no claim about these things.

The issue is whether or not a philosophical organization committed to protecting homosexuals from discrimination should warn job-seekers about such policies. And that's a clear no-brainer. Of course the APA should warn job-seekers about discriminatory policies.

Popkin said...

Led Zep, I never suggested that “(a) is supposed to stand as a complete argument for his first major claim.” Murphy’s argument obviously requires that he rule out (a), (b), & (c); I was simply pointing out that the argument he presents to rule out (a) is ridiculous. That’s a problem because he claims that satisfying any one of (a), (b) or (c) is sufficient for a policy to count as discriminatory.

In any case, your own suggested reading of Murphy’s argument is still subject to my original complaint; the arguments you propose could just as easily be used by someone defending the claim that the APA shouldn’t sanction religious schools that refuse (on religious grounds) to hire non-whites or non-capitalists (etc, etc). So, no matter how you interpret Murphy’s argument, it’s still absurd, and for the same reasons.

Mr. Zero said...

but surely you don’t think that an injunction to treat slaves humanely implies an endorsement of slavery.

Surely you don't think it constitutes an unambiguous condemnation of slavery.

Your reply, essentially: “Because I’m right.”

I think it's sort of silly to claim that the essence my reply is merely that I'm right because I'm right, when I devoted a bunch of space to explaining why I have these intuitions, why I think they withstand critical scrutiny, how they fit with a wide range of views about morality, and why I think I am in reflective equilibrium with respect to them. Seriously. I worry that I go on and on and on beating the proverbial dead horse far longer than could possibly be necessary. I guess I needn't have worried.

This is the tyranny of the majority that I’m worried about.

Look, this is not the tyranny of the majority. If it was, you'd know it. I've been to Birmingham. I've seen the 16th street Baptist Church. I've been to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Getting an asterisk next to your job ad because you discriminate against homosexuals is not tyranny. Grow up.

you asked...

I posed a series of leading questions indicating where I, as a thoughtful participant in a hypothetical discussion, would see problems arising for the hypothetical Aristotelian. I did this in order to show that I had thought about these issues and had the courtesy to take them seriously. I did not literally ask the questions.

In response to the answers you supply, I would admit puzzlement. I would hope that the Aristotelian would presume that I have some familiarity with teleo-biology and the Stanford encyclopedia. I would say that I know enough about evolutionary biology to know that the human body was not designed and has no "design plan." If pressed, I would give some examples, such as design flaws in the eye and reproductive system.

I would confess that I didn't think anybody believed that teleobiology stuff anymore, not even Aristotelians. If pressed I would point out that in After Virtue Macintyre's whole project is to develop a recognizably Aristotelian system of ethics in spite of the fact that he regards Aristotle's teleological theory of biology as obviously false. I would say, I'm just saying.

I would wonder why I should think that human life is fundamentally purposive. I would wonder why it's so obvious that homosexuality is in violation of life's alleged purpose.

I would wonder why I, as a 21st century American, should be interested in the Aristotelian eudaimonia, personally, for myself, given that I am careful to point out that the greeks thought about ethics in a dramatically different way than we do, and that Aristotle's concept that we translate as "happiness" does not closely correspond to what we think tend to of as happiness, when I teach this material to undergraduates.

if there really is just a clash of intuitions here, sure, you might wonder what justification you have for thinking that your intuitions track the truth and hers don’t.

You said that before. After the last time, I thoroughly demonstrated that it's not just a clash of intuitions. I have argued for my intuitions, shown that they withstand critical scrutiny, and that they are supported by reason and morality.

And the above-quoted text is a response to my question about the Aristotelian's views about the completeness of feminine humanity and implications concerning the place of women in society. Are you seriously suggesting that it is a bedrock, irresolvable clash of intuitions whether women are fully functioning human beings, with rights to citizenship, to participation in democracy, and to society's institutions? Or that I should regard the hypothetical existence of this hypothetical Aristotelian's depraved, misogynistic intuitions as disconfirming evidence for my own? Or that this all is evidence that job ads for institutions of higher learning whose hiring practices reflect such beliefs ought not be asterisked? Because that's what it seems like you're saying, and that would be totally nutso.

I admit that I am surprised. I expected you to strongly resist the the suggestion that our Aristotelian would assent to these views--in fact, I debated whether it was fair to include that passage. I guess that shows what I know.

At the end of all this, I am inclined to endorse 5:31's point, and possibly to call "poe" on you.

Yo Mama said...

Anon 1237, here are a couple passages from the bible that condone slavery

However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

Led Zep said...

Anon 5:31

I agree that the debate is not directly about the things you say it's not about, but you seem to ignore the fact that it's been claimed, and argued, that the policies in question are not in fact discriminatory in the relevant sense. That's not to say people shouldn't "be warned" about what these schools are like at some point. Of course they should - and they should also probably do enough homework on their own to know what Wheaton or Pepperdine or Biola requires of faculty. But what is at stake is not just warning - it's censure by the APA for violating its policies. And an argument has been put forward by Murphy that these institutions are not violating the APA's policy, or at least that it is sufficiently plausible that they are not that the APA shouldn't censure the institutions in question.