Charles Barkley, the former NBA star, tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he's pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and that he's running for governor of Alabama in 2014. Good luck. I'm sure those will be very popular positions among the Alabaman electorate.
Mr. Barkley also calls Christians hypocrites for opposing abortion and gay marriage. The word conservative, he attests, makes him sick in his tummy. After all, Christians, according to Mr. Barkley, aren't supposed to judge others.
Well, this is as wrong-headed an opinion as it is widespread. Set aside that Mr. Barkley is doing to Christians and conservatives exactly what he condemns them for doing, he's just wrong about Christians violating their creed when they pass judgment on the moral conduct of others. In fact, Christians are among the few groups of people who have any basis at all for making moral judgments.
If people do wrong why is it wrong to point that out? Indeed, it's a sign of a morally vigorous society that it's people recognize the difference between right and wrong, and it's a symptom of moral decrepitude if they cannot.
There's nothing wrong with making moral judgments. What is wrong is to make those judgments without knowing or caring about the relevant facts. That's judgmentalism and that's what Christians are proscribed from doing, but there's no reason to think that opposition to abortion or gay marriage is due to an ignorance of the critical facts.
To say that because someone is a Christian they shouldn't assess the conduct of others is absurd. It would mean that Christians could never condemn the holocaust or slavery or child abuse or anything else. Christians might be mistaken in their opposition to abortion and gay marriage, but Barkley doesn't offer any reason for thinking that they are. He only suggests that they're hypocrites for doing so, and he leaves us with the impression that his definition of a hypocrite is someone who disagrees with him.
It seems that Barkley is not himself a Christian, I don't know, but if that is so, I wonder on what grounds he bases his own belief that judging other people's behavior is wrong. If he's not a theist of some sort then his own judgments are rooted in nothing other than his subjective likes and dislikes. A non-theist, as we have pointed out at this site on numerous occasions, has no grounds whatsoever for saying that anything anyone does is wrong in a moral sense. So when Barkley criticizes Christians and conservatives all he's saying is that they make him sick because they don't hold the same views he does, which is a pretty silly position.
In a world without God there is no moral right and wrong. There are only things one likes and things one doesn't. There are things which work and things which don't. Whatever one has the power to do one can do and nothing one does is "wrong."
It is only the theist, or in the context of the present discussion, the Christian, who has any moral constraints placed upon his will and his power. Those constraints are placed there by God who desires not that we refrain from judging but that we always judge with justice and compassion. There are no such constraints acting in the lives of those who do not believe that they're obligated to God or anything else. For them, if they were consistent, the only ethic would be might makes right.
But consistency is probably not something Charles Barkley worries himself about very much. Nor can he afford to. He aspires, after all, to be a politician.RLC