A normative statement is a statement which gives a qualitative value to things. What that really means is that it is an opinion on whether something is good or bad. A normative statement is something that can never be proven. If it can be proven it is a positive statement. I started identifying these things because it seems to me that most people have no idea what the difference between the two is because they will use normative statements as though they are positive statements and then act accordingly.
Today I read yet another utterly stupid statement in the news by Charles Barkley about the new religious freedom law in the state of Indiana. According to Barkley, the NCAA should not hold any major sporting events in Indiana because he (like many other people) believes that the state is allowing discrimination against homosexuals and the like.
In an interview Barkley made the following statement; Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me.” This is one of the most stupid and ridiculous things a person could say and I have heard many other people saying the same thing about the new law. Here’s the problem though; we discriminate constantly, all the time, everyday.
When I go to the grocery store I will discriminate between two similar products for whatever reason. I might choose Pam Cooking spray over Crisco. I might choose ground coffee over coffee beans. I might choose regular Pepsi over Decaf Pepsi, etc,. etc. We discriminate constantly between television programs, alcoholic beverages, people we hang out with, companies we do business with, books we read, websites we visit, artists we admire and the list could go on and on. What is the difference between discriminating against a homosexual and discriminating against other things? I believe that there is good discrimination and bad discrimination.
Regardless, no matter what answer you give it is going to be a normative statement. It’s an opinion. To some people religious freedom is more important than homosexuality and to others honoring homosexuals is more important than honoring religious freedom. Whatever conclusion you come to it is going to be normative in nature.
No matter what side you fall on you are discriminating against someone. If you say that you’re going to honor the dignity of the homosexual and force the religious person to perform a service you are going to discriminate against religious freedom. If you side with religious freedom you are going to discriminate against gays. Why is it that only time discrimination is mentioned is when it’s being done to the homosexual?
Why is it that you can trample on a man’s right to have religious convictions but not tell a gay couple that you won’t perform a service for them? A gay couple can just go to the next business that doesn’t have the same conviction and get the service provided to them. But if the government forces a business owner or an individual to perform a service for a gay person, that violates that person’s conscience, you can’t undo that. They gay couple might feel slighted or feel like they are being looked down on but that is not nearly harmful as harming someone’s conscience.
Another thing that I have noticed is that one side of the issue wants to use force and the other wants to use freedom. What I mean is that supporters of religious liberty want the freedom to say no to performing a service when it conflicts with sincerely held religious beliefs. They aren’t saying that the person or couple can’t go elsewhere and get the service provided to them. They just won’t be the one doing it. The other side wants to use the force of government to coerce somebody into doing something against their will. Does nobody else see this as purely evil? It’s like spiritual rape.
Of course these are the roots of liberal, left-wing ideologies. They believe in the use of force and coercion to get what they want even at the expense of freedom.
The funny thing about this whole thing is that a lot of people are bringing up gay marriage as their example of discrimination and to me it just doesn’t hold water. I mean, the reason is that marriage, regardless whether it is a hetero couple or a homosexual couple, is not a protected class under the Federal Civil Rights Act. So even on a legal level you can’t force a Christian to perform a service that goes against the tenets of their religion.