Wednesday, February 17, 2010

4 moral arguments for why King’s should not enforce a “no meat on campus” rule during Lent on Fridays.

4 moral arguments for why King’s should not enforce a “no meat on campus” rule during Lent on Fridays.

(1) It is inconsistent to bill yourself as pluralistic, accepting students and faculty of all faiths and traditions, and then to force your religious practices on everyone.
(2) Good Catholics are obligated to abstain from eating meat on Friday’s during Lent, not to keep other Catholics from doing so, and certainly not to keep non-Catholics from doing so. Thus, this “rule” does nothing to help them fulfill their catholic obligations.
(3) Taking away the choice to eat meat makes the decision to not eat meat non-free. And non free actions can’t be virtuous. Thus, it makes it impossible for practicing Catholics to demonstrate virtue by not eating meat on Fridays.
(4) I want my damn half turkey sandwich on Fridays. Nothing else they have (including the mayo slathered tuna) is as healthy.

But I like my job...So I'll just bring my own turkey meat on Fridays.

Comments by Regan (that he could not figure out how to post on his own, even with my help):

The Marketplace at King's College has been a "meat-free" zone on Fridays during Lent. Kyle argues that, as a matter of morality, King's should provide meat selections during Lent, as it does the rest of the year.

I'm not sure that the patron of a dining establishment has (what exactly?) a moral claim right to be provided, every day, with meat selections (is there also a moral claim right to chocolate milk? to Dutch boterkoek?), but let's set aside this issue for a moment.

Here is a puzzle for Kyle. In his first argument, Kyle construes the lack of turkey in the Marketplace as King's, which is a Catholic college, "forcing" him to practice a faith tradition he does not accept. Curiously, in his third argument, Kyle argues that a Catholic who does not eat meat merely because, in the Marketplace, she does not have this option is, thereby, "non-free" and so not really practicing her faith tradition.
Turkey-loving Kyle's "decision not to eat meat" is--by his own definition--"non-free." Does it not follow, then, that he has not really been "forced" to observe Lent or practice a faith tradition he doesn't accept?

My Response:

I have already addressed Regan’s first point—it’s not about “feeding me what I want” but “considering my right to non-catholic practices.”

Regarding his second point: being forced to participate in a religious practice does mean that one is not doing so freely, but that does not make it “not a religious practice.” And even if it did, that would not make the action moral. Forcing someone to covert at the edge of a sword may not be a “real conversion,” but it’s still immoral.