Thursday, 8 July 2010

Campers too Camp for Christian Camp

On the problem of pluralism and morality, today's story is about a campground run by Christians and a homosexual camping group who tried to make a booking there.
"MARK COLVIN: Can a corporation have religious beliefs? Is there a Christian doctrine against homosexuality? And can a commercial operation be exempt from discrimination laws?

Those are just some of the questions being raised in a discrimination case being brought against a camping group run by the Christian Brethren. It refused to take a booking from a group called Way Out, which was set up to tackle homophobia."
PM - Rejected campers file gay discrimination case 07/07/2010

This will be interesting to watch. From what can be read in the ABC report, most of the right questions will be asked. Admittedly, they'll be from the point of view of civil liberties and not theology, but in a secular system of law with legislation about discrimination, that line of questioning makes a lot of sense. I expect that a key issue will be whether the campsite a business or a religious organisation, and whether it's necessary to enforce that distinction. The second issue will be how religions treat people who intentionally break the moral tenets of that religion. Unfortunately, it might just turn out to be a repeat of previous arguments with nothing new added to the debate.

The problem is about judgements and authority, though. Do the campground owners have authority to refuse service to people who contravene a particular sexual ethic? If they do, I wonder whether they would refuse a booking from the Sweatshop Owners Association (James 5:1-6), or the Debt Collectors Society (Luke 6:30-35). The Christian bible has more to say on both those issues than it does on homosexuality.

Regardless of how the courts decide, the constant association of Christianity with the policing of sexual activity is wearisome.
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