Axver (axver) wrote,

  • Mood:
  • Music:

Freedom of choice and morality.

After reading a passage of a book earlier today, I became intrigued in an article I saw crossposted on Interference from the Washington Post website in late March. The article (you need to sign up to read it) relates to how some pharmacists refuse to fill out prescriptions for birth control due to personal beliefs. The quote that brought this article back to my mind was from Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, and while he is discussing marriage and divorce, you will clearly see the connection:

"... I would like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one; the other is the quite different question - how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for everyone. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives."

I have a massive problem with people who try to take religion out of the personal, voluntary realm. If you wish for someone to accept your beliefs, morals, and faith, you should wait for the appropriate opportunity and present them to the person when they are willing to listen, and simply explain what you believe and why you believe it. It is completely detrimental to your own cause if you 1. try to force your beliefs onto someone who does not accept them or 2. expect others to live by your own personal convictions. You simply cannot expect all people in life to adhere to your own beliefs or follow your morals, and that is their own personal, voluntary choice, on equal footing with your personal, voluntary choice to accept said beliefs and morals.

There are many things in society that are legal but are considered immoral by various divisions of society - for example, sex outside of marriage is legal but considered immoral by many Christians; consumption of alcohol is legal but is considered immoral in various levels of quantities by various religions; telling your mother a lie about an exam result is legal but just about everyone would consider that immoral. If someone wishes to pursue an action that is legal but against your morality, you are in no position to deny them the right to follow their own moral beliefs. If someone wishes to carry out murder or sell methamphetamines or set fire to letterboxes and considers that moral behaviour, then you can step in and bring a halt to their behaviour because it breaches the governing laws of the land. But no-one is in a position to deny another their freedom of choice of legal behaviour. You may consider birth control pills to be immoral, but that is your personal conviction and is completely irrelevant when you are selling such a product. The product is legal, a woman is free to believe it is moral to take such pills, and you are in no position to obstruct her personal belief, just as she is in no position to obstruct your personal belief and force you (or if you're male, your partner) to take the pills. By allowing someone their right to follow their personal morality within the bounds of law, you are not condoning or approving of their behaviour - you are merely doing what you should do: respecting the right of an individual to practise their individual belief.

Is my point clear? I hope it is clear. Decide morals, beliefs, and faith for yourself, not for others. Get yourself right with whatever you choose to believe in, and allow others to do the same too, even if they believe differently. If you wish to encourage others to accept your beliefs, then present them in a favourable fashion at an appropriate time - don't force them upon people, let them choose. You demand your own freedom of choice, so let others have that same freedom too, even if they choose to do things you personally would not choose. And certainly do not act in the way of their choice if they are doing something that is only legal. And ultimately, if you feel you cannot get past your objections to something - such as, in the original instance, dispensing birth control - then get out of the profession. Your morality should not hinder the free and legal actions of others who have morally justified their choices for themselves.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.