For a secularist and for people of the more inclusive brands of faith, the sexual preference of adults who love other adults is not a moral issue, period. The moral issue is whether the straight majority condemns and forces a double life on those who happen to desire members of their own sex.Let's set aside arguments over whether repealing DADT is a good thing or bad thing, whether it will weaken our military or strengthen it. Let's focus instead on the following two claims Ms Jacoby, a self-acclaimed voterie of Reason, makes in these graphs.
The ending of DADT is one of those rare political issues in which morality is more important than any other consideration. It is simply wrong for a government to demand that people lie about who they are in order to enjoy the rights and take on the responsibilities of a citizen.
She asserts, firstly, that sexual preference is not a moral issue for secularists, and second, that it is "simply wrong" to "demand" that people lie about who they are.
Why are these claims perplexing? Because for the secularist one's moral values are subjectively chosen preferences, like one's preference in the music to which one listens. Without a transcendent moral authority (i.e. God) there's simply no objective standard of right and wrong and certainly no duty to do one thing rather than another. This being so, for the rational secularist no issue, not just sexual preference but any behavior, can be a moral issue. What secularists like Jacoby call moral issues are like disagreements over whether chocolate ice cream tastes better than vanilla, the color blue is more attractive than green, or Beethoven's music is more enjoyable than that of Bach. They're just matters of individual taste.
For something to be a moral issue there has to be the presumption that one choice conforms better to another to some objective, non-arbitrary standard, but in the absence of God there is no such standard, and all choices about values are morally indifferent. They're all based on subjective predilections, and no one can say that their own predilections are any more "right" than anyone else's. Nor can anyone say that others are under any obligation to follow one's own set of values rather than some other set.
Thus, for Jacoby to state that sexual preference isn't a moral issue is banal because, if her atheism is true, there are no moral issues at all. There are only actions that some people like and others don't.
Moreover, when Jacoby further avers that it's "wrong to demand that people lie about who they are" she's uttering a vacuity. One might ask her to explain exactly why it is wrong to force people to lie.
Unfortunately, no answer she can give will make any sense, given her atheism. It may offend her own private value system to see someone put others in compromising positions, but only the most egocentric individual would consider that what she finds personally offensive is a sufficient ground for declaring it wrong for others to do. Indeed, what right does Jacoby have to judge others, anyway?
Atheists like Jacoby need to make a choice. Either they should give up making moral judgments or they should give up their atheism. They can't hold on to both and still regard themselves to be reasonable people. They can't continue to sustain the contradiction of living as if God existed while denying that He does. At least they can't do this and still expect the rest of us to admire their sophistication and intellect.