It is said there is a distinction between an act, and being orientated or predisposed to perform the act. This often comes into play with homosexuality, in defence of positions like:

Gay sex is wrong but I don’t have a problem with gays as people.


Although we oblige members not to have gay sex, that isn’t discrimination against homosexuals.

Or perhaps:

Marriage is to recognise procreative-type unions. Non-procreative type unions should not be recognized as marriages. As the latter group includes homosexual unions, these should not be recognised as marriages.

In one sense, this is obviously right. Particular moral judgements about behaviour don’t necessarily imply particular moral judgements about the people who behave this way. You can ‘hate the sin yet love the sinner’.

In other senses, though, something’s off. We wouldn’t take seriously someone who proclaimed they didn’t mind the ‘orientation’ of Jewishness, yet wanted to ban behaviours like reading the Torah, Rabbinical office, and Jewish religious services. They’re just anti-Semitic under a pretence. So what is it about certain behaviours (or sets of behaviour) of people that mean being ‘against’ these behaviours implies you are ‘against’ these people? Continue reading “Act/Orientation”