As of late this past fall, there is a new American Philosophical Association non-discrimination policy. Readers of W4 will remember our coverage of the homosexual activists' attempt to revise the non-discrimination policy so that schools which do not permit members to engage in homosexual conduct will be deemed to be discriminating. (See for example here and here.) The revision does indeed have that consequence.
Here is a post about the new policy by Troy Nunley of Denver Seminary.
The American Philosophical Association has revised its anti-discrimination policy so that it will unambiguously assert that academic institutions which refuse to employ persons engaging in same-sex erotic relations are thereby engaging in an unethical hiring practice. The statement now reads…
The American Philosophical Association rejects as unethical all forms of discrimination based on race, color, religion, political convictions, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification or age, whether in graduate admissions, appointments, retention, promotion and tenure, manuscript evaluation, salary determination, or other professional activities in which APA members characteristically participate. This includes both discrimination on the basis of status and discrimination on the basis of conduct integrally connected to that status, where "integrally connected" means (a) the conduct is a normal and predictable expression of the status (e.g., sexual conduct expressive of a sexual orientation) or (b) the conduct is something that only a person with that status could engage in (e.g., pregnancy), or (c) the proscription of that conduct is historically and routinely connected with invidious discrimination against the status (e.g., interracial marriage).
Certain philosophers, notably Alexander Pruss, have alleged that the new statement backfires in cases in which it is “normal and predictable” that persons of certain religions will discriminate against homosexuals. I have an altogether different criticism; the current statement is an utter absurdity and should be regarded as such even by those most sympathetic to the motivations which led to its formulation.
The difficulty lies in the phrase “integrally connected.” Although I have no precise account of what it means for a certain form of conduct to be integrally connected to any particular status an individual may have, I trust that the reader has some grasp of the concept and can cite some paradigm instances. Swimming is integrally connected with being a fish. Pursuing sexual relations with a person of the opposite sex is integrally connected to one’s status as a heterosexual. The list goes on. The central idea seems to be that the behaviors in question are not merely associated with a particular status, but rather that a certain behavior is connected to that status in such a way that repressing or not engaging in the behavior constitutes a violation of one’s “integrity” (hence, “integral”) as a creature possessing such a status. Internally, it sets one at odds with themselves (or at least with themselves que person-of-a-certain-class) and in paradigm cases the result is both a sense of unease and repression.
The APAs statement affirms that at least three things are individually sufficient to qualify a behavior as “integral” to a person’s status. Each of these three claims is false; some are howlers.
Let’s take them in reverse order starting with (c). The APA offers interracial marriage as an example. It is, in fact, a counterexample. What, may I ask, makes marriage to a white woman “integral” to one’s status as a black man? Interracial marriage is not integral to any status I can think of. It is a bizarre suggestion on the part of the APA that certain behaviors become “integrally connected” to certain groups simply because their oppressors decided to forbid that behavior. The APAs statement here is an absurdity and borders on a racial obscenity.
Things are not any better for (b). That a status S is necessary for behavior B is a lousy justification for the view that the two are in any way “integrally connected.” True, only women can become pregnant. It is also true that only women can have abortions, engage in repeated acts of surrogate motherhood with perfect strangers, conceive octuplets through modern reproductive technologies, incestuously bear the child of a close blood relative and so on. Which of these is “integrally connected” to being a woman? Or consider a recent case in which a male fertility specialist secretly impregnated his clients with his own sperm rather than their husbands. Only a male could do such a thing, but is that (despicable) behavior “integrally connected” to his status as a male? I hope not.
Finally we have (a). Accordingly, if a behavior meets the three conditions of “predictable,” “normal” and “expressive of,” then it becomes “integrally connected” to a person’s status. Hardly. Consider age: it is predictable, normal and expressive of being an octogenarian that one walks slowly. But what’s so “integral” about that? As if a spry eighty year old is somehow wrapped in some inner conflict? Or consider political affiliation. One predictable, normal expression of such an affiliation is propagandizing. But is such conduct “integral” to being a Democrat? I suspect not. How many of the behaviors in which women predictably and normally express their femininity would one like to call “integral” to their gender?
I submit that the APA has publicly affirmed an absurdity on behalf of its membership. That this nonsense was written by philosophers strikes me as nearly inexplicable. But there is, of course, an explanation. The APA is desperately trying to make an attack on Christians under the false pretense of extending its commitments to protect women and minorities. Hence, rather than just say “No bans on gay sex” we are presented a general principle on “integral behavior” intended to canvass a broad variety of hiring practices of which certain members of the APA disapprove. The maneuver lacks conscience. If Christian ethical doctrines are the target, then the APA should be open and explicit about that fact. I suggest that if they do so then they might avoid the embarrassing ad hoc principles they have offered regarding discrimination thus far.