Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Josh Carples: Religious dogma does not equal morality

  Recently, The Anniston Star ran an article titled “Wheel Power” which examined a service offered by Jacksonville State University to prevent students from driving under the influence of alcohol. Nicknamed the “drunk bus,” a bus travels around campus and the city each Thursday and Friday from 10 p.m. until last call, picking up students and dropping them off.

  The article states, “Since JSU launched the safety route in August, the number of alcohol-related arrests has dropped,” and that in “October 2008, police arrested 18 people for driving drunk, six of whom were students. This October, he said, 12 people were charged with DUI, and only two were students.”

  The line of the article that is alarming is this one: “But to the people who despise it, mainly a local religious group, it’s an excuse to drink, a way of getting a dangerous drug into the hands of students, a waste of money.”

  The service is saving lives, preventing DUI charges and promoting safety, and religious groups have a problem with it because it involves drinking.

  Somehow, in the minds of these local, religious groups, morality weighs drinking (which many students would do even without the use of the “drunk bus”) more heavily than saving lives.

  If this was an isolated incident, it might be somewhat excusable - maybe a temporary lapse in judgment -  but religions have a long history of this sordid version of morality.

  While it would be wrong to lump all religious adherents in the same group, and personal experience will not allow me to do that, I will say that many religious leaders and institutions have portrayed their religion in this negative light.

  Whereas this example shows that alcohol carries more weight than life itself, the Catholic Church has shown that their moral stance against contraception weighs more than life. An article from March 2009 in the newspaper Christian Today sums it up with the headline, “Pope promotes morality not contraception in Africa AIDS fight.”

  While any thinking person knows that promiscuity and unfaithfulness carry risks, those risks can be lessened by contraception. And this aspect hits closer to home in the arguments regarding abstinence-only sex education versus comprehensive sex education in U.S. classrooms.

  While abstinence is a surefire way to prevent sexually-transmitted diseases and pregnancy, to think that only teaching abstinence to groups of hormone-raging teenagers is going to yield positive results borders on insanity.

  When religion places dogma over human suffering, can it really claim the moral high ground?

  About the author: Josh Carples is the managing editor for the Capital City Free Press.

Copyright © Capital City Free Press

1 comment:

  1. Excellent thoughts Josh.

    I'm from Montgomery Freethought, and I have a blog as well:


    It debunks creationism and provides some social commentary on atheism and theism.