17 March 2007

In other words, go Pace yourself

Leonard Pitts, Jr. of The Miami Herald is one of the best columnists in the biz.  His latest piece on the Joint Chiefs chair's boneheaded "moralizing" is proof of that:
I have never understood how a people -- meaning individuals bonded by some racial, sexual, religious or geographical commonality -- can be immoral. Is it immoral to be Jewish? Immoral to be male? Is it immoral to hail from Idaho? How, then, can it be immoral to be gay?

At this point, of course, someone is frantically pointing to an obscure Old Testament passage as his or her authority for the immorality of homosexuality. Thing is, the Old Testament also requires the death penalty for disrespectful children, forbids the eating of meat cooked rare, and obligates the man who rapes a virgin to buy her from her father and marry her. I've seen no groundswell of support for those commands.

Morality, it has always seemed to me, has less to do with commonalities of existence than with how you treat other people. Do you lie to or about them? Do you steal from them? Do you cheat them? Do you walk by their suffering, oblivious? Do you, except in self-defense, harm them physically or mentally? The answers to those questions, I think, define morality more exactly than whether you're sharing a bed with someone who has the same sexual equipment you do.

That's why, four years into the Iraq debacle, there is painful irony in hearing the president's top military advisor give a lecture on morality. Team Bush misled the nation into war against the wrong enemy. It hospitalized wounded Americans in squalor and filth. It left the people we "liberated" without electricity, gasoline or medical services for months turning to years because of its failure to plan.
Read the rest here.

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