Not a phrase I ever expected to find myself typing. A statement by evangelical celebripastor Rick Warren is causing a lot of rage throughout the liberal blogosphere (aka, the blogs I happen to check in the morning):
“Here’s what we know about life. I have all kinds of natural feelings in my life and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I should act on every feeling. Sometimes I get angry and I feel like punching a guy in the nose. It doesn’t mean I act on it. Sometimes I feel attracted to women who are not my wife. I don’t act on it. Just because I have a feeling doesn’t make it right. Not everything natural is good for me. Arsenic is natural.
Honestly my first reaction when reading this was “wow, Rick Warren understands the naturalistic fallacy!” He’s totally right that the “naturalness” of something doesn’t lead to ethical judgements. Arsenic is even the same example I frequently give!
But that’s where his understanding ends. Just because nose-punching and gay sex are both natural urges doesn’t make them morally equivalent. Warren knows this, but leaves his source of ethics unsaid – the Bible. The reason this statement is so repugnant to liberals is that we base our system of morals on minimizing harm. Oddly I saw no blogs explaining this, probably because Warren’s source of morality isn’t exactly a secret. But I think it’s important to emphasize how repugnant it is to base your system of ethics on some random old book instead of the well being of others. Punching someone in the face causes harm; gay sex does not.
Well, unless you’re into the kinky stuff. But hell if I’m going to attempt to explain the concept of consent to a religious conservative.