I do not recall giving morality any thought, before I started writing trash fiction. In younger years, I was forced to listen to many sermons, which must have touched upon various facets of morality. I surely heard much about “sin” and then observed human behavior, which were not always in sync.
After reading an excellent piece by Hadley Freeman in today’s Guardian ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/21/everyones-talking-about-rape ) about one of the many jerks, who masquerade as politician, lawmaker, and “leader”, I could not help thinking about morality. I considered how flexible this facet of human life can be. Rarely are ‘different strokes for different folks’ so different, depending upon country in which you reside.
One must merely compare attitudes and laws regarding sex, religion, and gambling in a few countries, all of which have basically a long Christian heritage. And then, look at Dubai, where parallel worlds exist side-by-side with official sanction, like a Venn diagram (with the overlapping bit being the number of switch hitters or hypocrites).
Germany is a country with a high level of religious tolerance. Citizens pay a portion of their taxes to support religions. Various faiths are taught in schools. Imagine the uproar in the United States, if such practices were even suggested. Yet, the US is ostensibly far more religious than Germany. Few attend church, despite paying for the privilege. In England, where the queen is the head of the church, churches are dying out from lack of financial support.
In Germany, prostitution is legal, but almost invisible. Naked women grace the covers of most magazines, openly displayed at all sales outlets. Sex shops abound. Nakedness is a regular feature of television programs and even shows up in commercials. No one gives this a second thought. But, blatant display of private parts is found in only in sex shops, where entry is limited to adults. US versions of magazines, such as Playboy and Penthouse (when it still existed), which would shock many a gynecologist, are toned down in their German editions.
The English bet on anything and can find a betting shop on every corner. Americans must travel to a casino, even for sports betting. Sport betting in Germany is controlled by the government, with the results of soccer betting reported on the news.
Morality is a movable feast and in the eye of the beholder, if he or she chooses to even look. A crime in one country is available for all takers in another. One big factor, of course, is money--as always. Many aspects deal with how the government can monetize human desire.
In conclusion, I have a rather elastic attitude about morality, because most does not interest me. People can do what they want, as long as they do not bother me. I do not take most “moral issues” seriously, but try to play by the rules, in order to stay out of trouble with the “powers that be”.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.