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E . The Equality Dogma

Any differences in a given individual which are a result of the particular background and/or nature of that individual are to be tolerated to the maximum extent practicable by all believers of the Agnostic Church. This does not mean, however, that where specific and rational reasons exist for treating different individuals differently, and many such rational reasons do exist,18 such different treatment goes against this dogmatic belief in basic equality.19 So long as the different treatment can be morally justified under the Utilitarian concept of the greater good (or the avoidance of the greater harm), then the different treatment is morally justified. Thus, the nature of equality is that an intelligent individual is treated equally to all other intelligent individuals, regardless of any accidental characteristic of that particular individual, but where the particular characteristics, conduct, or background of a particular individual have given rise to a Utilitarian need for unequal treatment, then society may justify that unequal treatment based upon the particular characteristics, conduct, or background which created the inequality in the first place, so long as that unequal treatment is morally justified (as Utilitarian).20 However, in conclusion, the foregoing sentence should never be invoked to justify unequal treatment based upon some particular characteristics, conduct, or background for which the individual (or the persons responsible for the upbringing of the individual) is (or are) not responsible, such as being born with particular characteristics or being raised in a particular fashion, except where society has morally justified the need to impose different treatment upon a particular "innocent" individual or a group of "innocent" individuals. Society should always abhor the need to impose a difference in treatment based upon such characteristics of birth or upbringing, (as opposed to some deliberate and rationally chosen conduct of the individual as the basis for the difference in treatment,) and should impose any such difference(s) in treatment of individuals most reluctantly.21

16 The nature of intelligence is a matter of some dispute. As used herein, the word "intelligent" implies an individual who is capable, with sufficient maturity and education, of making a free-will choice of accepting or rejecting the various dogma of the Agnostic Church. An individual who has that inherent capability, but who has not yet achieved the proper level of maturity and education, is referred to as a "child."

17 The Agnostic Church embraces the possibility of intelligent life on other planets which might need guidance from the Agnostic Bible. Thus, use of the terms "man" and "mankind" has been eliminated throughout. Once an individual can embrace conceptual equality with individuals from another planet, the variations between the different races and sub-cultures on this planet will seem but small differences indeed.

18 For example, by definition, women bear children and men do not.

19 For example, an individual who has committed a crime is a criminal, and must suffer the consequences which are prescribed by society for the particular crime which has been committed. Since the consequences should always be adjusted to the particular crime committed, and to all of the particular circumstances which surrounded that particular crime, it would actually be an injustice to demand that the consequences should always be equal for a given crime.

20 This concept may be referred to as "morally rational discrimination." The basis of morally rational discrimination is that individuals do not acquire a fundamental right to equal treatment when there is a rational basis for requiring unequal treatment (thereby discriminating on the basis of this rational difference). The rational basis must be morally correct under the Utilitarian concept, which means that the rational basis must be predicated upon achieving a greater good (or an avoidance of greater harm) because of the discrimination than would occur in the absence of the discrimination. This contrasts with the present state of the law, which appears to be that this sort of discrimination may only operate in favor of minorities and against members of the majority. That sort of discrimination is allowed under the guise of "affirmative action." Any other discrimination is unlawful. This is clearly ludicrous.

21 Again, the best example of the need for such different treatment is the specific fact that women bear children; during pregnancy, many things which might not injure a woman will in fact actually injure the fetus; society has a specific, rational, and morally justifiable need to see to it that injured fetuses are not born (not only because of the injury to the fetus, but also because of the cost to society as a whole of the birth of an injured fetus); thus, society is justified in placing certain specific, rational, and morally justified restrictions upon women of child bearing age which are directly related to this need to ensure that injured fetuses are not born by those women. This is never to be seen as a violation of the right to equality of pregnant women. One specially disturbing incident was a lawsuit where a group of women who were of child bearing age and not sterile were insisting on the right to work in an environment where they would be exposed to toxic chemicals which are known to be absorbed into the body of the workers and to then cause genetic damage. If the women won the right to work in that environment, it is a virtual certainty that, sooner or later, a damaged infant would be born, who would then automatically acquire the right to sue the parents and the company where the mother worked for the injuries due to the genetic damage. This is a crazy result of the mixed up legal system in the United States, and it is specially abhorrent Hobson's choices like this one that this principle of morally rational discrimination seeks to prevent.

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