8 hours ago
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Ethics, Morals, "Christians"
"How'd you do?" I asked when she got home.
"Kicked its ass," she said.
I was not at all surprised, obviously. As the child of not one but two English Ph.Ds, one of us a fiction writer, the other a poet, she's been raised around books and reading, discussions of language and literature, grammar and rhetoric, all her life.
Also, and this is equally essential, she's been raised around people who are passionately interested in ideas, who read about, think about, and argue about those ideas, pretty much non-stop. Art is not, after all, for art's sake. Art is for our sake -- so everything that goes into being human, that makes being a human worthwhile, is of interest and is important to the artist.
"Listen to this," she said. "This was my favorite part of the exam. We had to write an essay on whether disobedience was a virtue or a failing."
"I hope you said it was a virtue," I said.
"Of course I did. I was brilliant. I talked about the differences between Christian and Jewish attitudes toward obedience, and I talked about how America wouldn't exist if we hadn't decided to disobey King George. I talked about how women only got rights because they disobeyed. I said the whole point to free will, to being human, was rooted in the ability to disobey -- that disobedience was our most essential virtue."
That's my brilliant child.
Which brings me to my point, and I do I have one: this amazing post from Rod Dreher, in which he purports to believe (I can't believe he really does believe this) that because schools aren't teaching something he vaguely whines on about as "character education," and by which he actually seems to mean something like "LGBT people and sex are bad" -- because public schools don't teach those things, they can't be teaching ethical behavior.
I suspect he would also have problems with my phrase "ethical behavior." In Rod Dreher's universe, I suspect he only believes in moral behavior, and in only one sort of moral behavior -- religiously-based moral behavior.
Of course, we have studies that show that children who are raised in atheist and agnostic households are, in fact, more ethical, and more moral that children who are raised in religious households. But we already know that people who have alt-right religious worldviews aren't very interested in evidence or data, so there's no point in linking studies, I guess.
Still, I'll stack my kid's ethics, and her morality, against the Christian kids in her classes who spend half their time mocking Jews, poor people, black people, and LGBT people -- and all of whom have parents who are supporting Trump. If that's what Rod Dreher's religion calls "character education," yeah, no thanks.