Kicking them while they are down for Jesus
May 29, 2013 § 68 Comments
It has been suggested that it is morally acceptable for pro-life operatives to lie to abortion clinic workers, requesting an abortion that one does not intend to carry out, because clinic workers are already known to be formally cooperating in other abortions.
On top of the naked consequentialism in this approach to lying, it completely inverts the moral theology of scandal.
Under the moral theology of scandal even an otherwise morally acceptable behavior – which lying is not – can be sinful if it leads another person to sin. Formal cooperation with evil – like a clinic worker agreeing to help someone get an abortion, or a slut agreeing to sleep with her seducer – is sinful. Formal cooperation with evil is sinful even when the intention to do evil is thwarted by circumstances. A tempter who is lying is just such a circumstance.
The moral theology of scandal is directed toward the protection of those who are vulnerable to temptation. Even if an action is not evil in itself, it can become evil if it tempts another person to form an evil intention or perform an evil act. The fact that a person may be a habitual sinner in general does not remotely begin to excuse specifically and deliberately creating the near occasion for a specific, new sin.