Describe the basic principles of Catholic social teaching on work
The basic principles of Catholic social teachings contain a rich source of wisdom that allows constructing a society based on equality and justice; furthermore, these principles show us how to deal with challenges of the modern world keeping our thoughts and soul clean. They include:
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- The dignity of the human being: All people are believed to be sacred as they were created in the image and likeness of God, our Lord. This implies that they cannot be deprived of their dignity owing to disability, poverty, misfortune, age, race, or for any other reasons that are considered to be influential in the capitalist mode of production, where the person’s inner merits are measured by his/her economic efficiency.
- Community and the common good: Private property must be balanced with the common boon since every person is a social creature. Out dignity and rights are realized through interactions with others. According to St. Paul, all people are “one body”. This means that the good of one equals the good of all. This goes against the capitalist principle of competition and survival of the fittest.
- Support of the poor: The morality of the society reveals itself in the way it treats those who are not economically profitable. We should look for solutions that would protect such people from the aggressiveness of the business mechanism eliminating the redundant.
- Dignity at work: All people have a right to useful work, decent salary, private property, and economic initiative (the points at which Catholic principles support a capitalist mode of production), which implies that people are not slaves of the economy, they are its masters.
- Solidarity: Despite all our differences, we are responsible for each other’s well-being. Moreover, we have to collaborate to achieve peace and justice.
Describe why D’Emilio thinks capitalism was a necessary condition for gay identity to emerge, why he differentiates gay identity from homosexual behavior, and how the relationship between emerging capitalism and emerging gay identity works
D’Emilio believes that capitalism was a necessary condition for gay identity to emerge and connects this with the free labor system: The point is that with the rise of wage labor, there began a decline of self-sufficiency of the family. It started to be perceived as a setting for mutually useful partnership, which was not linked to the outer world of work and manufacturing. In most general terms, sexuality was released from the burden of social responsibility and childbirth. Capitalism made all people free to organize their private life around sexual propensities and pleasure.
He differentiates identity from homosexual behavior as the former is a highly developed version of the latter: Capitalism created favorable conditions for expressing one’s homosexual desires not as mere whims but as a central component of a personality. Thus, emerging capitalism and emerging gay identity work in cooperation since this political movement was capable to create an environment facilitating ideological choices for people also in their private matters.
Summarize Allan Berube’s descriptions of how capitalism creates divisions within gay communities
Even though both D’Emilio and Berube agree on the fact that capitalism with its free labor system creates necessary conditions for the emergence of gay identity as a new form of political activism, the latter still admits that it did not grant homosexual people equal rights and freedoms. Berube proves that there are numerous inequalities in terms of the perception of gays. He was brought up in a poor family, so he knew that capitalism did not provide sexual minorities with equal opportunities to express themselves as the system relies on inequality as a driving principle, which must be preserved even in private life.
The same topic is elaborated in a documentary of 2003 called “Flag Wars”, which also shows how inequality created by capitalism as well as the participation of representatives of minority groups in capitalist structures can aggravate the violence of economic activity. The movie develops a familiar subject of the urban area: A low-income African-American neighborhood is faced by an influx of young white gays, which creates a clash of generations, income, class, race, and sexual identity. The problem is that every minority group claims to be victimized by the other although both of them are intolerant and unwilling to overcome barriers. Being locked within the capitalist hierarchy system they are unable to discern real values standing behind the conflict.
Describe the efforts of labor unions to incorporate LGBT voices
Labor unions being the earliest and the most committed supporters of the LGBT community have contributed a lot in incorporating LGBT voices. There are plenty of unions remaining the key agent that has been struggling against anti-LGBT ballot initiatives. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent annually to achieve working conditions equality, marriage equality, access to health care, employment benefits, and other rights, of which a lot of members of the LGBT community are deprived at their workplace. Although a lot of effort has already been made to achieve some progress (primarily in the attitude of the society toward people with another sexual identity), and there is now a steady tendency to mitigation of hostility and adverse attitude at work, a lot has to be done to move forward. In 29 states, a union contract is still the only document protecting LGBT workers from discrimination, which means that they cannot enjoy equal rights with other employees.
Identify points of contact and points of tension between the principles and experiences of economic activity and work in Catholic Social Teaching and LGBT experience
Catholic Social Teaching and LGBT share the same principles and experiences at work. Moreover, they identify similar problems: First and foremost, they indicate that the present-day economy cannot protect the vulnerable (which is demonstrative of its moral state). Another problem is the provision of necessities of life, which Catholic Social Teaching singles out as one of the key principles: Although LGBT members can have food, clothes, and shelter, they are far from living in a safe environment and have no economic security whatsoever. Another problem identified with work is decent working conditions that would allow organizing movements to protect one’s rights. Both “traditions” offer to empower labor unions and to promote equal rights and freedoms at work with the help of propaganda that would increase awareness of the general public of discrimination. Whereas Catholic Social Teaching and LGBT reinforce each other in their strivings for tolerance, education, freedom, and justice, they still challenge each other, as Catholic Social Teaching is supposed to protect traditional family values including childbirth. On the contrary, the LGBT community stands for alternative families that are far from being the core of the Christian system of values.
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I strongly believe that economic justice cannot be achieved by using force. Of course, it is easy to say that discrimination at school, at work, and in public institutions must be severely punished. Although this statement is true, we should not forget that such an attitude does not appear out of the blue. This means that until we learn to understand and truly accept LGBT people, no punishments of their offenders can secure their economic position. Economic justice would mean equal salaries, treatment, benefits, working conditions, acceptance, access to health care, etc. That would affect my life directly as it would make me sure that I live in a tolerant and highly advanced society judging people by their merits but not by their sexual preferences.
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