Since FIFA announced Qatar would be hosting the 2022 World Cup, the international football association has copped a world of criticism. Western nations, in particular, have threatened to boycott the tournament and its sponsors in protest of the predominantly Muslim country’s rejection of “Progressive” ideology.
No shortage of opinion pieces have been penned lamenting ‘human rights abuses’ in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison. Social media has been flooded with calls for players to boycott the competition, or at the very least, sport gay-pride uniforms or LGBTQAI+ symbolism alongside their national emblems.
In a mark of revolt, the U.S. men’s national team ditched their red, white, and blue crest, for the rainbow flag. A similar theme was adopted for their Qatar-based training facilities and press room backdrop. Other nations have threatened to do the same.
Amid all the pearl-clutching, however, is a glaring assumption that Qatar is in violation of some universal moral standard to which they must be held accountable. The problem is, the West is no longer able to coherently identify the moral standard they’re trying to impose on the world. So, like spoilt children, they stomp their feet and issue threats because the other kids don’t want to play by their made-up rules.
Non-Western nations know it better than most Westerners. To undermine, challenge, or criticise Qatar’s culture, you must first assume a moral standard of which their society falls short. You must assume a measure of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ that Qatar is guilty of violating. But what is that moral standard and who gets to define it for the rest of the world?
For decades, so-called Progressives have insisted that morality is defined by the culture. After all, this is what the term “Progressive” implies. But if morality is defined at a social level, then what basis does one society have in criticising another? What ground is there for imposing one culture’s moral standard on a society that has developed their own? There can be no logical justification for this unless moral relativism is rejected, and a transcendent moral standard assumed – a standard to which one culture reflects more than the other.
It’s no good, at this point, to suggest that morality is democratically defined, or that ‘rights’ are determined by the consensus of the majority. This would mean “Progressives” could never condemn as ‘immoral’ anything previous generations deemed morally acceptable.
Just a few decades ago, homosexuality was largely considered immoral in the West, so much so that it was illegal in many parts. In 1996, it was still illegal in Tasmania for two adults to privately engage in homosexual acts. These prohibitions against homosexuality weren’t put in place contrary to the will of the populace but in accordance with the view of the time. Ask any ‘gay rights’ activist about the opposition they faced in the early days of their movement. And yet, if we were to be consistent with the notion that the majority defines morality, then we must concede it was “immoral” to advocate homosexuality at a time when society had deemed it a moral offence.
The same can be said of the slave trade, which is condemned from all sides of the debate, despite the fact that throughout all known history, virtually every civilisation accepted slavery, not only as a moral good, but a necessary component of a functioning society. But is anyone going to accuse William Wilberforce and the abolitionists of acting “immorally” by opposing the moral standard of the day? If morality is relative to the society, then every act, even the most heinous, could potentially be deemed morally good, given the right social circumstances. So much for morality by consensus.
So, while in theory many may retreat to moral relativism, few, if any, are able to live consistently with it. Despite what they say, nobody really believes morality is a social construct. That is why nobody hesitates to pronounce judgements on those who live in different places and at different times. But if morality is not defined at the social level, then where?
Unless we can identify a measure outside of ourselves, a standard that transcends our own society, all that the Western world is doing is imposing their “enlightened” way of life on others. It is a form of neo-Colonisation, but without any meaningful standard to impose or any basis for imposing it. Such is the absurdity to which we are reduced for having substituted God for a moral measure on par with choosing your favourite dessert at the local ice cream parlour. It makes no sense getting upset when everybody else isn’t picking your personal flavour of choice.
There is no consistency or coherency outside of the Christian worldview. Having abandoned that standard in pursuit of cheap sex without consequence or guilt, the West forfeited any meaningful foundation they had for pronouncing moral judgements on others. But of course, that hasn’t stopped them from doing so. They’ve just gone from, “Thus saith the Lord,” to “Thus saith me.” And who do we think we are to demand everybody else abandon their religion, culture, and heritage for our arbitrary, made-up rules?
It’s no surprise Qatar isn’t buying it. It’s no surprise Abdullah Al Nasari, Head of Security at the World Cup, dismissed the outrage, saying: “If you want to express your views on the LGBT cause, do so in a society where it will be accepted. Do not come and insult an entire society. We will not change our religion for 28 days.”
The West may learn too late that there are only two options before us: Christ or chaos. Once we abandon God, as Dostoevsky warned, everything becomes permissible. And when everything is permissible, we lose, not only any meaningful basis for evaluating the behaviour of other cultures, but any effective means of slowing the moral decline of our own.