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.

1 comment:

  1. Because Stimies love good debates and love bad debates even more, I cannot, in good conscience as a fellow Stimie, abscond from debating against the right honorable Dr. Johnson's succinct arguments.

    To wit, I moon for my rebuttle.

    1. That's King's College bills itself as pluralistic in terms of its admissions policies does not indicate that King's College is pluralistic in terms of its daily practices (dietary or otherwise).

    2. That good Catholics do not eat meat on Friday's during Lent, and bad Catholics do as an argument that the cafeteria ought to allow meat in resignation to bad Catholics seems a logical fallacy. Though I do not claim expertise here. Rather if the cafeteria is a Catholic cafeteria (alliteration, I love learning thy lessons) it ought to follow the traditional practice which all Catholics agree good Catholics follow as the proper path of devotion during Lent. And while disallowing meat in the cafeteria is not a way to guarantee piety among Catholics, allowing meat during Fridays in recognition of bad Catholics and non-Catholics is a most certain way of failing to provide for Catholic piety.

    3. The argument is that taking away the choice to eat meat invalidates the free-will practice of abstaining. Where there is no choice, there cannot be free-will. Yet we will see later in the post that Dr. Johnson will be bringing his own turkey sandwich, a direct act of free-will. We presume then that the campus does not monitor what people are eating in so much that on Friday's the cafeteria is not allowing the serving of meat in accordance with Catholic tradition. A denial from the cafeteria does not then make impossible the eating of meat by good or bad Catholics or non-Catholics. Free Will is still maintained by the college as a whole, though not by the cafeteria. Though it is also arguable that all Catholics would agree that not eating meet on Fridays is the correct thing to do and would not have a problem with the lack of meat in the cafeteria.
    4. The turkey is a little dry.