Friday, November 7, 2008

Random Thoughts on the Passing Political Scene

Election season 2008 is over. Well, except for pending court battles which will be waged by those that lost and felt they should’ve won…

Some of the most eagerly contested issues had to do with same sex marriage. Three states, California, Arizona, and Florida had ballot initiatives to amend their state constitutions to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. My views on this subject are well known, just scroll through my recent posts and you’ll see where I blogged frequently in favor of these initiatives.

There has been a fair amount of vitriol spewed over these initiatives. Several on-line news organizations today showed protests outside the LDS temple in Los Angeles and I’ve heard that plans are underway to hold more protests at other temples as well.

We are a country of laws, of the people, by the people, and for the people. In 2000, the people of California voted by a 61% margin to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Four activist judges decided that the will of the people should not be followed in this case and overruled the voice and will of the people.

Here again the voice of the people has expressed its will. 52% of Californians believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. The population of California is near 38 million. The LDS population in California is about 750,000. A fair amount of those are under voting age. Our voting population makes up less than 2% of the state’s population. I’m guessing that it was more than just LDS people that passed this initiative.

Notwithstanding, we seem to be on the receiving end of most of the venom. Here is a commercial that was run by the No on 8 crowd.

Isn’t it interesting that those that scream how intolerant I am are so mind numbingly intolerant? The opponents to the proposition spoke about how deceptive our claims were, i.e. it would impact what would be taught in schools, it would impact how churches could operate, etc. Here is an article by NPR (a fairly liberal news organization) that gleefully shows where religious organizations are getting beaten back on same sex issues. There is my documentation to support my concerns over this issue. In return, the same sex crowd used lies and distortions to instill fear and paranoia in the masses.

Despite protestations to the contrary, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman is not about hating gay people.

I know that God lives and that he loves all of His children. Yes, both the straight and the gay ones. We are on earth for a purpose. God wants to bless all of His children. He has provided commandments that if we follow, we will be blessed. There are more commandments than just homosexuality by the way, and I freely admit that I am not perfect. However, I don’t expect people to accept my faults and sins and simply pat me on the back and say, “That’s okay. You just be who you are.”

Society does not accept it when we break man’s law. When we catch criminals they are prosecuted. Apparently God’s laws don’t seem to carry the same weight by some.

Clearly the difference of opinion on this issue was only settled for a while. Those in favor of same sex marriage will try to overrule the passed proposition in the courts. Three lawsuits in California have already been filed. Will they be successful? Time will tell. I would expect the cases to find their way back to the California Supreme Court, which is the same court that overruled the last law in California passed by the voters against same sex marriage.

If the cases are not resolved in favor of gay marriage proponents I would expect it to show up on ballot after ballot until it does win. As society drifts farther and farther away from God’s teachings, I would expect it to pass someday. Does that mean that I should just stop fighting? No.

President Boyd K. Packer recently said, “Some work through political, social, and legal channels to redefine morality and marriage into something unrestrained, unnatural, and forbidden. But they never can change the design which has governed human life and happiness from the beginning.”

“We do not set the standards, but we are commanded to teach them and maintain them. The standard remains abstinence before marriage and total fidelity in marriage. However out of step we may seem, however much the standards are belittled, however much others yield, we will not yield, we cannot yield.”

Also, When I think of unfair and false attacks on the church I am reminded of these words from Elder Bruce R. McConkie,
“Now, I have what every true disciple has. It is called the testimony of Jesus. In our day it includes the revealed knowledge that the earthly kingdom—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—will triumph. In this connection may I set before you this illustration:"

"The Church is like a great caravan—organized, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place.
What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travelers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on.
Is there a ravine to cross, a miry mud hole to pull through, a steep grade to climb? So be it. The oxen are strong and the teamsters wise. The caravan moves on.
Are there storms that rage along the way, floods that wash away the bridges, deserts to cross, and rivers to ford? Such is life in this fallen sphere. The caravan moves on."

"Ahead is the celestial city, the eternal Zion of our God, where all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest. Thank God that the caravan moves on!"

Finally, I think of the words in Moroni 9:6

And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.

So I will continue to fight for what I know to be true. And between now and the time that gay marriage is fully legalized I will be stocking up on my food storage.


the narrator said...

As a single straight active and believing LDS male with no close homosexual friends or family, I have this to say.

The Church deserves everything it has coming to it.

Over the last couple months the LDS church encouraged and mostly funded an effort that struck at, attacked, and defeated something very sacred to the homosexual community: their recently achieved marriage statuses. In doing so, they perpetuated lies and misinformation and used fear and passive hate to hurt many of our brothers and sisters.

If Prop 8 failed, the results would have been NOTHING. We would have gone on out marry ways and life would continue as normal just as it has in Canada and other places that have legalized SSM. But now instead tens of thousands of homosexual were told a few days ago that because of the extensive efforts of the LDS Church their dreams of getting married to the person they love have just been struck down and spit upon by people professing to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Even scarier 18,000 homosexuals today live with the fear that their marriages they have just made might be dissolved within the coming weeks.

Think about it. How would you like to be told that you cannot marry the person you love? How would you feel if you were told that your marriage was potentially going to be dissolved because people who believed differently than you didn’t want you to be married?

They should be angry. They should be very angry.

And for the LDS Church to have the audacity to ask for peace after they ripped the hearts out of so many???

We as Latter-day Saints need to prostrate ourselves before these brothers and sisters whose souls and spirits we have pierced and beg for their forgiveness. We need to apologize to them and do everything we can to fix this mess we have caused.

We belong to the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. Christ’s commandment to us was to love one another. We are to love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies. Homosexuality does not hurt us one bit. The only hurt it does is reveal our disgusting pharisaic self-righteousness that we too easily give power to when we begin to fear someone who is different than us.

Do you call this loving one another?

I call it fear and hate.

We need to apologize for our sins.

RWW said...

Homosexuality is a grave sin. But as Ezra Taft Benson knew and taught, so is using the government to force people to be righteous. The Church's role in supporting Proposition 8 is nothing short of immoral. The dishonesty of those who blindly follow is disgusting.

Dan and Wendy said...

Narrator - I appreciate your coming by and posting your views, even though they are not the same as mine.

I accept The Family: A Proclamation to the World to be a divinely inspired document.

It states in part:

"We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."

Whereas God loves all of His children and will bless them as much as He can, He can only give His full blessings to those that follow all of His commandments. If that is hateful, then take it up with Him. I fear at the moment that you are kicking against the pricks.

The church can not endorse behavior that will ultimately lead to God's children not receiving the blessings they could've otherwise received.

You stated that if prop 8 failed the results would have been Nothing. My post pointed out clear evidence that your argument is invalid. I did look at other places where same sex marriage has been passed and found your argument wanting.

You stated, "Think about it. How would you like to be told that you cannot marry the person you love?" Are you suggesting that anyone should be able to marry anyone or anything that they want? That is a scary proposition if you stop to think about it for just a moment.

The notion that because I don't support same sex marriage means that I don't love my neighbor, even the homosexual ones, is false. I have several friends that are gay. I find them to be very courteous and kind more often than not. Christ loves the sinner, but not the sin. I try to do likewise.

So to answer your question, "Do you call this loving one another?"

My answer is YES, I do call it loving one another. I love my gay brothers and sisters enough that I want to see them blessed by their Heavenly Father as much as possible. That means that I do not support gay marriage. Maybe you should love them a little more.

Finally, I do try to apologize for my sins. Standing up for truth isn't a sin though, It is the path to happiness.

Hi RWW - Thanks for coming by. Agency is central to our development and progression here on earth. Whatever two consenting individuals choose to do between themselves is their choice, and I am not trying to stand in the way.

However, legalizing same sex marriage does not ONLY affect two consenting adults. It affects all of society. Therefore it should be decided by the voice of the people, which it was.

If the day comes that the voice of the people supports same sex marriage I will be saddened, because I will see it as evidence of people turning away from God, but i will accept it.

the narrator said...

"You stated that if prop 8 failed the results would have been Nothing. My post pointed out clear evidence that your argument is invalid."

Your arguments are religious arguments. In a pluralistic society we cannot legislate based on religious beliefs. Doing so strictly violates the constitution as it involves the state endorsing one religious belief over another (or non-religious belief).

"I did look at other places where same sex marriage has been passed and found your argument wanting."

The only analogous place to look would be Canada, where the prophesied doom and gloom simply hasn't occurred. To appeal to Eastern European countries is simply fallacious as the institution of marriage had already largely been damaged by heterosexuals long before SSM came on the scene.

"The notion that because I don't support same sex marriage means that I don't love my neighbor, even the homosexual ones, is false. I have several friends that are gay. I find them to be very courteous and kind more often than not. Christ loves the sinner, but not the sin. I try to do likewise."

Many of your Christian friends assuredly believe that your being Mormon is also a sin and will prevent you from having salvation. Would you be okay if a majority of Christians got together and made it illegal for you to be a Mormon?

"However, legalizing same sex marriage does not ONLY affect two consenting adults. It affects all of society. Therefore it should be decided by the voice of the people, which it was."

Only if you believe the false fear-mongering propagated by Prop 8 Supporters. Nearly 60 of the top legal scholars in California recently affirmed that those claims are simply false.

Dan and Wendy said...

In Canada, where gay marriage has been legalized, a government study found that "those who identified themselves as being gay, lesbian or bisexual ... experienced higher rates of spousal violence compared to heterosexuals." (Canada's 2004 General Social Survey)

the narrator said...

Some problems with your claim. First of all, your not citing a report but rather citing an op-ed written by the chairman of the anti-SSM effort in Florida. The author of this article is deliberately misleading the reader by implying that the study is making claims about countries who have legalized gay marriage. However, Canada did not nationally legalize marriage until 2005. The first Canadian states to legalize gay marriage did not do so until 2003. The 2004 study study that the author claims to cite uses statistics from up until the year 2002. Thus the study actually says nothing about SSM. Furthermore, as far as I can tell, the study does not specifically address same-sex relationships (though I could be wrong here and just didn't notice it). The study instead seems to group same-sex relationships with cohabiting relationships.

Finally, if the study does reflect on same-sex relationships, then the argument could be made that SSM reduces violence, as the study does show that violence is more prevalent with cohabiting relationships than it is with married relationships.

This becomes even more interesting when considered with a 1974 Ensign article which states:

"Homosexuals and lesbians seldom are happy people. Theirs is a relationship that is unnatural, one not bound by fidelity, trust, or loyalty, and one totally lacking in the meaningful family relationships that marriage offers. Homosexuality often espouses emotional problems because of the constant insecurity inherent in a relationship neither sanctioned by nor protected by the law.

Because there is no legal bond, homosexuality too often encourages, or at least permits, promiscuity."

If this is true, then it would seem rather easy to see why the Canadian study may show (if it does) that same-sex relationship prior to the legalization of SSM had more reported occurrences of violence than heterosexual relationships.

Curtis said...

To narrator and other readers:

While the argument most forefront in the Prop 8 issue is preserving the traditional family, I think it is well worth noting the health risks of homosexual behavior. Doing any google search on the health risks of sodomy will bring up numerous reports on the escalated risks of homosexual intercourse. The link to this report is especially insightful: Also, my friend's father, who is a doctor, said that homosexual behavior and sodomy often lead to life threatening intestinal disorders and anal infections. I personally believe that this is some pretty good evidence to show that homosexual behavior was not meant to be natural, no matter how much people want that to be. If we wish to take this issue away from a religious perspective, perhaps we can find common ground in stating that as a society, we believe that certain sexual practices should not be condoned. Pedophilia and bestiality come up at the top of this list. Should either of these two become more socially acceptable, perhaps we would here similar arguments as those made by homosexual proponents today. I think it is safe to say that as a society, we generally believe that sex should be restrained. A person given wholely over to their sexual emotions are bound to cause themselves great grief and harm, including STD's, depression, and curiosity in deviant behavior, including bestiality or pedophilia. We vote on these measures because we wish to protect the mental and physical health of society, as well as for moral customs and religious beliefs. Should the health of my neighbor be a concern if he or she wishes to practice in harmful behavior? Perhaps our response to tobacco industries is a good thing to consider.

Dan and Wendy said...

Curtis - thanks

Narrator - I think we simply need to agreed to disagree. It does not appear that either of us will persuade the other with our arguments.

the narrator said...


the bloody anus and slippery slope arguments have major flaws. i'll let you figure those out yourself.


yeah. we're not going to agree. hopefully we can still collapse this divisive rift in the future though.

RWW said...

It's neither my right nor my responsibility to protect gays from themselves. And the government has no more rights than I do.

Steve said...

Tim, I realize this is off-topic and I apologize in advance for the thread-jack.

Curtis, it's worth noting that many of the risks you outlined also apply to heterosexuals who engage in anal contact, and I don't see the church trying to shut that down. Also, there is no proven link between homosexuals and those who engage in bestiality or pedophilia, stereotypes notwithstanding.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Hey Dan,

This blog post is one of many reasons why I just gave you an award.

Olsen Family said...

WOW. I voted YES on prop 8 here in LA. I'm happy I did. I have really learned a lot the last couple of months.... it's very simple--- You are either with the church or not with the church.

I love gay people, I even went to the ellen show last night!!! (so fun) But I don't agree with the sinn. I feel terrible that there is all this seperation. I think a lot of LDS people maybe went out of line but so did no on prop 8 voters.

I think No on prop 8 voters are attacking the church in a way that is very childish. Making people go out of business, drawing on the temple gates etc...

My husband went home teaching downtown LA last sunday. He got caught up in a gay riot and saw a guy pooping on the sidewalk???? What can we do to stop this?

Pam said...

I am amazed at how some people think. How can people like "the narrator" think that any church deserves the treatment and harassment that the No on 8 people have been dishing out. If the roles were reversed there would be lawsuits flying everywhere.

Not sure how "the narrator" can claim to be a believing LDS male if he doesn't listen to the counsel of the living prophet. But he has the right to his beliefs.

It seems that our society (or at least a portion of it, maybe around 48%) has lost its moral compass. Most of our laws and rules in society are based on morality (thou shalt not kill, etc.). People are now attempting to legalize immoral behavior.

By the way, Sodomy was illegal for a long time and has only been legalized in my lifetime. It is for sure an unhealthy and unnatural sexual practice. But now we are being asked to validate that behavior in a "marriage."

I think we are in for a rough ride. The people who disagree with having a moral society are so beligerent and intolerant that they are impossible to even have a discussion with.

If I were gay I would be very embarassed about how the No on 8 people are acting. They are irrational, vindictive and not accepting of the law.

Elton John said the following:
"I don't want to be married. I'm very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership," John says. "The word 'marriage,' I think, puts a lot of people off."

I think he's on the right track. We don't need to redefine marriage.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. No one seems to point out that 2% of the population of CA (the LDS) accounted for 52% of the vote. Either you must conclude that Californians are sheep that vote for whichever side airs the most commercials or you have to conclude that on a hot issue like this californians weighed both arguements and the majority sided with Proposition 8.
I cannot see that this is an LDS issue. Also the response of protesting a specific religion because they voted a particular way in an election is just inappropriate. Voter intimidation is just not tolerated in this country.

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