Please note: This post contains both politics and religion. And some very strong opinions.
I won't be offended if you just walk away, but I've just been thinking about this lately and wanted to write about it... ☺
There is a lot of debate in political and social circles about how certain 'religious values' should not be forced upon people who are not part of the religion.
On the other hand, there are certain 'values' (shared by religion) that are apparently just universal and everybody agrees on them whether they are 'religious' or not.
So here is my question: Where does one draw the line between 'religious values' and 'universal values'?
We all agree that it's not ok to kill people, don't we? Or take stuff that isn't yours, right? But since both of those are from the Ten Commandments then they were religious values before they were universal ones. So if we all agree about the killing and the stealing, why do we debate the applicability of others of the Big Ten like adultery or honoring parents? Have morals become an a la carte commodity?!
Of course it gets more intricate. We all seem to agree that it's not normally ok to kill someone, but what if that someone was attacking you and it was self defense? What if that someone was old and sick and dying anyway? What if that person was an unborn baby who "wasn't a person yet"? What if that person was a murderer himself? What if that person wanted to die? What if that person is being slowly yet surely (yet passively) killed because they cannot afford the medical treatment to recover and their fellow citizens voted against extending care to them? If we believe that "thou shalt not kill" then how come some situations are 'universal' or 'obviously wrong' but others are not?
When psychological studies [*link 1, **link2] say that the ideal developmental situation for a child is within a nuclear family with one father and one mother, am I "pushing religious fundamentalism" to vote to preserve the legal monopoly of that type of marriage? When I suggest that I think that "single parenting is not the ideal" am I "insulting those who choose differently" from myself? Or am I just responding logically in accordance with scientific fact? (which would therefore make it universally right, rather than just my opinion).
I do not believe in the notion of moral 'grey area.' Right and wrong exist and no sum of loudly-spoken or cleverly-worded opinions can change them. Some moral laws are easier to follow than others, and I appreciate that. Most of us find it easy enough to pay for our items at the store rather than stealing them, but struggle somewhat more to keep the sabbath day holy or to eschew covetousness or lust.
I certainly respect that everyone has their own opinion about things, but when it comes to 'moral' issues (which I think includes all social issues), it's worth keeping in mind that those 'universal values' started as 'religious values.' Maybe those who are so offended by 'religious values' need to remember that the very concept of 'values' comes from religion. Maybe when a movement comes into conflict with religious values, it's not because religion is outdated, maybe it's because there's something actually (universally) wrong with the movement itself.
*The article at link1 was written specifically in regard to children being raised by heterosexual couples verses homosexual couples. The first portion covers studies indicating the health of children raised with heterosexual parenting arrangements. The second portion covers studies indicating problems resulting from being raised in homosexual parenting arrangements. Both are heavily cited and all references are included at the end of the article. All the studies are within the last 20 or so years, so the information is not 'outdated' or 'biased by the times.'
**link2 is a blog post which cites several studies discussing dual parenting verses single parenting, specifically in cases of divorce or never-married parents. The conclusions there are also irrefutably in favor of a child being raised by both parents.