Philosophy News in Brief — May 12th, 2017

The official stances of the Eastern Orthodox Church on LGBTQ

The world’s second largest Christian sect has is the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is composed of autocephalous or independent churches, or multiple patriarchates such as those found in Constantinople, Russia, and Greece. Thus, all patriarchs all hold equal authority in the Church and there is no centralized headquarters or ultimate authority, which can sometimes make it difficult to ascertain the Church’s exact position on something.

Representational image of rosary customarily used by Orthodox christians

The Church however does appear to have some consensus an official policy on LGBTQ. Thus, a few dioceses have unequivocally listed homosexuality alongside fornication, adultery, abortion and abusive sexual behavior and describe them as “immoral and inappropriate forms of behavior in and of themselves, and also because they attack the institution of marriage and the family.” Therefore, it believes “homosexual behaviour is a sin”. On the topic of trans people, the dioceses mostly believe gender reassignment is condemned as an affront to God’s design for each individual.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is clear that it does not perform or recognize same-sex marriages. A statement by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, has categorically refused to bless same-sex unions. The church also does not ordain LGBTQ people. However, alternative organizations such as the Orthodox-Catholic Church of America do ordain both women and LGBTQ people.

Gaps remain. The Church has no statement on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). In general, it is fairly unwelcoming, but some report that individual congregations may follow a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Feminist associate professor publishes controversial philosophy article

A journal of feminist philosophy, Hypatia, published a controversial article, recently, by Rebecca Tuvel, entitled “In Defense of Transracialism”. Essentially, Tuval cited the argument about ‘identifying as a certain group’, that is used to validate and legitimise transgender peop

Credit: Rhodes College.

le and bring them into mainstream society and argued that Transracialism could be defended on the same grounds. Predictably, Tuvel, assistant professor of philosophy at Rhodes College, has generated considerable controversy.

The editors of the journal drew “opprobrium” shortly after the publication because of its controversial subject matter. The article was widely criticized as a product of white and cisgender privilege. An open letter called on the journal to retract the article, which was signed by 100s of academics. The article was accused of ignoring the work of transgender and black scholars, and using harmful language. The editor of the journal now disagrees with the article, and Tuvel has been subjected to an academic witch hunt — with some even comparing her to Rachel Dolezal, who a former leader of an NAACP chapter, who claimed she “identified as black,” although her racial markers identified her as white, and home Tuvel had defended in her article.

‘An eye for an eye’ principle in punishment making a comeback?

Frustrated community leaders are exploring whether punishments that essentially epitomize the ‘eye for an eye’ principle should be used for petty crimes such as vandalism. The dest

Credit: Bendigo Advertiser.

ruction, defacement, and disrespect of the material goods of an individual in a community caused by vandalism, they feel is lost on the perpetrators, who never know or care about the effects of their actions.

Someone vandalized a part of a streetscape with a cost of $4,500 to the taxpayers, in Lake Weeroona. The perpetrator, if caught would likely face a lighter fine. The author questions if that is fair to the masses of people in a community at the same time. He therefore wonders about the efficacy of light penalties where the consequences may not be quite sufficient in some cases, and where heavier hands might do the trick — such as a punishment that would extract ‘an eye for an eye’.

associate professor Eastern Orthodox Church feminist LGBTQ philosophy

Originally published at on May 12, 2017.



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Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights. Website: