Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Political Post- Prop. 8

I've become quite the politician over the last few days, in large part to your great comments. Thank you so much. I've had some tasty morsels to ponder. I think my brain really does have teeth. Or at least if feels like it. Have you ever woken up after a night of grinding your teeth? Well, that's about how my brain feels after all of this thinking.

I do want to share my stance on Prop 8, because it's one that I've thought long and hard about. I'll just cut and paste a comment I made on a friend's thread about the subject:

Erin, I just want to interject and reply to your question of why Mike thinks marriage is an institution of "the church." The truth is that I do not see any secular argument for Prop. 8. There really is not one argument that is credible that does not include God. All non secular arguments sound ignorant and homophobic to me. I'll be honest, I've had a really hard time with this one, even being Mormon, as you can read in a letter I wrote to a gay friend which I posted on my blog:

I struggle with Prop. 8 mostly because I don't believe in telling people what to do. Even our church stresses the importance of agency in letting people choose what God deems as right and wrong, so why limit people's choices by law? It's very hard for me to understand, because I do also agree with Don:

"On the other hand, it would be trivial to argue that violent

criminals and child molesters should not be raising kids. We

really should be voting to ban those marriages involving

those people first, if what we really cared about was proving

ideal families for children."

People are people, and people's personalities are not dictated solely by their sexual preference. There are plenty of heterosexuals that are unfit to raise children by *popular standards, and many homosexuals unfit to raise children by popular standards. The opposite is also true. However, I believe that regardless, it is beneficial for children to have a female and male parent for many reasons, but that boils down solely to my religious beliefs, which I have a right to.

I've heard the argument that there shouldn't be so much focus on the issues of childbearing in the discussion of Prop. 8, as not every couple decides to bear or adopt children. My explanation of that is that one of the main concerns that religious people have about this scenario is that, even if the majority of gay marriages were childless, it would still create more homosexual examples in society, therefore establishing homosexuality as a norm. And the reason this is perceived as problematic boils down, again, to the children issue: Religious couples don't want raise their children in a world that does not uphold their views.

I have often thought that it is controlling to limit others by establishing laws that are based on views that only reflect one party's beliefs. What about all the other beliefs out there?

So the real issue I have with Prop. 8 is this: Do I, being Mormon, have a right to impose laws on others to confine them to a belief system that they do not share?

But after much thought I've concluded that I believe this:

I believe in a democracy. I do not believe in anarchy, so I believe that society benefits from the organization, safety, and development that results from laws. Each law is based on a system of beliefs. This country happens to be founded on Christianity. Other nations/countries are founded on other belief systems, so their laws are different. I think the best way to come up with laws that are effective in a given society is to vote according to your particular beliefs. This does not mean that a person should believe that their particular belief system deserves more respect than any other. It just means that you are representing your theology for consideration for the final word. I am not imposing my belief system on another person by giving my opinion at the polls. I support the right for all different theologies to be expressed at the polls, no matter how much I disagree with it. That is how we create a balanced society: the majority rules and the minority can eventually become the majority by convincing more people to join them. When the minority want to raise their children in a society that shares their values, they either move to a place where their values are practiced (hello, Provo!) or they cut their losses and homeschool I guess. It just happens to be that right now I am the majority, but when/if the time comes that society no longer shares my views, it's my responsibility to teach my children what I'd like for them to learn, then send them off to the world to choose for themselves.

So, yes, I'm voting for Prop. 8. And I hope everyone who believes strongly about it should vote also. That way the outcome will be an accurate reflection of what our nation stands for. Someone has to loose out either way, but that's the price we pay for being able to live in a nation that will do the service of protecting certain freedoms on your behalf. Even communal hippies have to give up some freedoms to be part of the pack. Life isn't fair I guess!

*popular standards meaning what the current laws state as abuse, not based on theological standards.


Melissapher said...

Great arguments. I couldn't have said it better.

ryan and stacy beck said...

I'm still formulating the meat of my feelings on this (can't seem to get the words right as I work on my piece for the letter to the editor) but I will say Prop 8 has everything to do about the unity of marriage and family, the propagation of children and not to do with equality. The "no" campaign will win tons of votes with that argument and its Satan's plan. We have to be strong. We know more than this life here and the family is the Lord's way of helping us to grow in knowledge and return safely back to his presence. the family continues on after this life--it is eternal. its tough the religious argument. From what I've read marriage originated from a religious background if you want to call Adam and Eve "religious" because they were God-fearing people. This country used to be God-fearing. There has always been opposition to this plan (Cain) and the Lord intended this. There has been an attack on family since Adam and Eve as well. It has grown, however, more tremendously in the 20th century. I believe this is one of the final and ultimate attacks and disenegration of the family. Divorce, children out of wedlock, breaking of the law of chastity, the desire to not bear children all have adverse affects on the family. We need to wake up and say enough is enough and the family unit must survive. Anytime I weary I think of the proclamation or the most recent release I posted on my site. There are not only statistics and studies from other countries, but revelation from prophets. This opposition teaches us more about love than ever. We can respect and love for others and homosexuals but stand firmly for marriage between a man and a woman. Yes, there are broken homes, single-parent families, horrible parents, but the Lord teaches us that the very essence and foundation of this nation and world is based on the family (husband, wife and children). It needs to be respects and more concern focused on both with not allowing same-sex marriages and on improving marriage success rates, less broken homes, less children out of wedlock. The home is where we formulate our ideas of life, develop self-esteem and find love. It must give us a true identity of who we are as children of God and that cannot occur in homes of same-sex relationships. It will distort and confuse children. THey are the whole reason for this fight. THey are our future. They will be effected the most by this decision. THe person who believes the traditions of marriage should be set aside to merely have a marriage licence that says they're "married" is acting selfishly. I believe this won't change their devotion or lack thereof by any form. The devotion I now feel towards my husband in our marriage relationship is all a result of the covenants made in the temple and nothing to do with the civil responsibility I have to our marriage. I mean what a joke we've made of it--no fault divorces. There is plenty of fault and plenty of pain involved that too many jump so quickly into and inflict on their spouse, children, and themselves. If we try to live life any other way than we have been instructed by the Lord we will not have the abiding happiness he desires. My life's experiences have tested that and I know for myself that it is true. Wickedness never was happiness...

If that argument doesn't work (it probably won't its "religious") I heard these ones from people while going door-to-door.

*Can a guy and a guy make a baby. I don't think so. That solves it for me.

*4 judges decided to have gay marriage in california if we don't vote yes on prop 8 we're giving our freedom and democracy over a technicality.

Regarding the second option I have read the court's opinion briefly and although I don't have a solid grasp on it I believe they ruled that the constition did not state man and a woman (it has so specification because when it was created how many years ago it was understood what marriage involved). To me that's a technicality, but then the law is fully of them, just ask any defense attorney.

ryan and stacy beck said...

dont' ask me to respond ever again...that is much can i write seriously and its all nonsense. what the hay!

ms. lee of the lemon drops said...

this is a difficult issue. it deserves taking a stand. thank you ryan and stacy for your comments

Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not taking away anyone's rights. The definition simply distinguishes a union that is biologically capable of producing its own children. Whether a married couple has children or not, I feel like this deserves a separate name--even the potential is kind of a miracle.

Actually this definition can be seen as the ultimate expression of equality our society has to offer: it takes one man and one woman. One could see a lesbian union as a marginalization of men, or a homosexual union as a marginalization of women.

Equality is especially important when it comes to raising children. Children deserve/need a father and a mother. Neither parent should be marginalized.

Yes, many children are already growing up in single-parent homes. Prop 8 should be a reminder to everyone that as a society we need to assist and strengthen families as much as possible. Really, as a society we should be most concerned with the success and health of our families.

peace out

ms. lee of the lemon drops said...

yes on prop 8

djinn said...

What other religious views of yours should be the law of the land? You do realize, that mormons make up 1.7% of the population, the point here being that the tables could easily be turned.

How does prop. 8 strengthen families? By basically outlawing a percentage of them? It's just hate with a side of "think of the children."

djinn said...

Oh, and what's this christian nation nonsense? The USA was founded by a bunch of deists, a unitarian--what Church did George Washington belong to? Trick question--he didn't. The only mention of religion in the constitution is negative--the First Amendment.

Besides, Mormons are well known for their (my very ancestors) rather out-of-the-mainstream marriage practices. My step G-G-G father Abraham Owen Smoot spent quite awhile on the from the law because he was married to 5 women that the Gov't knew about, an a 6th secret wife.

I really think this whole Yes on 8 business is a way to convince the evangelical community who pretty much hate our guts (the organization that you may be donating yes on 8 money to won't hire a mormon, for instance) that we're not the oddballs they make us out to be. It's not going to help, and we're on the wrong side of history. Plus, it makes us look like a bunch of mean-spirited hypocrites.

Angie, that anguished post basically just said that you have to vote yes in spite of all the reasons not to because, uh, you have no real choice as a believing Mormon. That's pretty sad.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

There may be hate from some people who are in support of prop 8. These are the same people who hate ignorantly and will never stop hating. I believe these "haters" are close minded and wrong. Prop 8 is not about hate at all. It does not say anything about hating anyone. It does not mean that homosexuals should be hated either.
Angie's argument in particular is hate-free, and I think it is very narrow minded to state that anyone who supports prop 8 hates homosexuals. Thats like saying that all democrats hate republicans. A more intelligent view would be that some people do hate (very sad indeed), but the best of us do not. We just have a difference in opinion. We hold different values, and that's okay.

Peoples religious views are what defines them. Thats why they choose to be religious. You say that prop 8 supporters are trying to impose their views on everyone else. Isn't that what you are doing too? Aren't you imposing your views on others as well, or are your views naturally accepted by all people without compulsory means? I think not. I think we are all in the same boat. Peoples opinions matter, and thats why we vote. Criticizing someone for sharing views that are different than yours is just as bad as people hating homosexuals.

My view is this. Prop 8 preserves something that will be lost if it doesn't pass. It preserves a future that I want for myself and my children. If the failure of prop 8 meant that gays could marry and enjoy the same benefits as a heterosexual couple, and that's all, that would be one thing. The truth is that this opens the doors to a change in our society that has more negative repercussions than positive ones. My opinion is that the pros (and especially the unforeseen pros) of prop 8 far outweigh the cons (and unforeseen cons). Many do not agree with that, and thats fine. Let the chips fall where they fall.

djinn said...

OK, Mark, interesting. What are the unforseen consequences? Are they showing up in Canada? Spain?, etc? I suspect that what you dislike is the increasing secularization of society, and think that this is a way to hold back the flood. But they really have nothing to do with each other.

djinn said...

Or, Mark, do you somehow think you can catch teh geh, and want to be sure those types are safely disenfranchized.

Mark said...

It is clear to me that you are very emotionally charged about this issue, causing you to resort to assumption and attack.
Let me be a little more clear for you. The unforeseen issues resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage that I was talking about are the long-term effects. Only since 2003 had same-sex marriage been legal in Canada, and not until 2005 in Spain. That is not long-term. I'm talking about our rising generation. And let me be clear that this is my opinion. You don't have to agree with it if you don't want to.

djinn said...

Ok, Mark, you are right. I do feel passionately about this issue, and the internet provides a negative filter allowing those passions usually hidden in polite conversation to be ignored. But still, what are the long-term effects you are worried about? I'm at a loss. You don't believe homosexuality is innate, and therefore more men will be gay? You don't like the idea of gays adopting (pretty much otherwise unadoptable) children? OK, that's below the belt, but Utah did pass a law for the express purpose of not allowing gay adoption. What are your long-term issues, and how does preventing couples that the share the same number of X chromosomes receiving a benefit or two affect us all?

Also, looking at my younger relatives, how long before the church backtracks on this issue? An upstanding (young) Mormon Priesthood holder who attends every meeting with a very good job told me that the stance is nonsense. I'm sure he's not the only one.

djinn said...

Native indian societies pretty much always allowed gay marriage. Didn't seem to hurt or help.

Angie said...


I see that I'm entering this debate a bit late, so I won't give a full response because I agree with everything my husband (Mark) says. Which is great because I usually don't :)

But something I would like to defend is my statement on whether our country was founded on Christian values or not. I have heard good arguments for both sides, especially because the Constitution states a separation of church and state. But, from my understanding, this was stated as a precautionary measure against the government becoming a national dominion, as was the Church of England. As early as 1799 a court declared: "By our form of government the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing." Even in the letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Baptists of Danbury Connecticut (from which we derive the term "separation of Church and State") he made it quite clear that the wall of separation was to insure that Government would never interfere with religious activities because religious freedom came from God, not from Government.

And to respond directly to this comment:

"The USA was founded by a bunch of deists, a unitarian--what Church did George Washington belong to? Trick question--he didn't."

Definition of unitarian: A religious association of Christian origin that has no official creed and that considers God to be unipersonal, salvation to be granted to the entire human race, and reason and conscience to be the criteria for belief and practice. (Did you catch that Christian part?)

And you mentioned George Washington? And I quote:

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars."

You may argue that religion is a broad term, supporting your comment on most of the founding fathers being deists, however in the 18th century deists valued Christ and thought of themselves as his followers. And most of the founding fathers were actually Christian, meaning a more literal definition of believing in Christ.

I have a plethora of links and quotes I could provide if you are interested in exploring this subject further.

And another rebuttal:

"What other religious views of yours should be the law of the land? You do realize, that Mormons make up 1.7% of the population, the point here being that the tables could easily be turned."

Yes, you're right- the tables will most definitely be turned someday. I know this because it states it in the gospel. But that doesn't mean that I can't represent my opinion at the polls. Isn't that what voting is all about anyhow? Just representing your beliefs? Not saying that they are more valuable than another's, but just representing them for consideration for the construction of a law that will effect society as a whole.

And one more thing, Mormon's aren't the only people who believe in Prop. 8, so your percentage comment is irrelevant.

Anyhow, I do appreciate your comments and hope you continue to do so. Your opinions are always welcome here.

djinn said...

Angie, there are a plethora of quotes from the founding fathers all with the idea that religion was good for the unwashed masses, but not so necessary for them. As to John Adams, the Unitarian, you would find his version of God rather liberal for your liking. here's a quote:

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.":

Thomas Jefferson weighs in:
"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law."
-letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, 1814

Here comes James Madison:
Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
-letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774

Not exactly ringing endorsements. They were men of the enlightenment. Bring on the Christian quotes!

As to my percentage comment on whether Mormons should be allowed to enact their personal beliefs into the law of the land, the 1.7% comment is entirely apt, because the evangelical groups that make up the bulk of the rest of the yes on 8 people spend their off time gettin' their mormon hate on. Why anyone sees this set of people as allies is really beyond me. If they enact a law that you find favorable, the next law may not be so much to your liking. Better government to stay out of religion altogether.

Angie said...

I don't understand your comment about the evangelical groups. Are you saying that I should vote no on Prop. 8 because the majority of those voting yes hate my religion? I don't think parties need to agree on everything to agree on something. My point in saying that the percentage comment was irrelevant was due to the fact that we are not the only people who believe this way. Also, I reiterate that it is my right to believe how I believe, the evangelists right to believe what they believe, and your right to believe what you believe. The only people who don't get that right are people with blue skin because they are called smurfs and they are cartoons. But if sometimes I think they aren't because when I was little I had mushrooms in my backyard and I could have sworn that they had little windows and doors on them.

Anyhow, I suppose we could try to out quote each other on the founding fathers. Here's some:

Most of the fifty-five Founding Fathers who worked on the Constitution were members of orthodox Christian churches and many were even evangelical Christians. The first official act in the First Continental Congress was to open in Christian prayer, which ended in these words: "...the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Savior. Amen". Sounds Christian to me.

Ben Franklin, at the Constitutional Convention, said: "...God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"

Later, John Quincy Adams answered the question as to why, next to Christmas, was the Fourth of July this most joyous and venerated day in the United States. He answered: "...Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?"

I guess we can go on and on, but I think, Djinn, what this all comes down to is a difference in theology between you and I. We both want our theology to be expressed in the laws of our society. I have a firm belief that it's good for the most liberty to be granted to the most people. Someday I will be the minority. Some days and in some places, I am the minority. That's just life. But I think our goal as a democracy should be to put in place laws that are representing the majority of belief. The great thing is that we can create subcultures to live in that supports our way of living until our way of living becomes a majority, if that ever does happen. I'm sure, living in Portland, you have observed this. I, living in Utah, am also a part of this phenomenon. And when I lived in SF and ate at Orphan Andy's I ate the product of that phenomenon. And it was yummy.

So, if you're gay- be gay. If you're a puritan- be puritan. If you're a smurf, go get yourself a mushroom.

Whatev. But I am voting what I'm voting and I hope you vote too. That way we can all be taken in consideration, and the resulting law will be great for the majority. As for the rest, well I guess that sucks for them. Maybe they should get a free ice cream cone. There's always next election.

djinn said...

John Adams spoke publicly in favor of Christianity and privately against it, as did many of the founding fathers. He made public pronouncements that he would then lampoon in private letters. Says something, but not so great. The problem with the 1.7% is that when people start enacting their religious beliefs into law, those without those beliefs get left out. It's a bad idea. Especially for a small, not particularly well-liked group. For example,

This is a court case brought by a Catholic and a Mormon who were being persecuted at school because of their religious beliefs.

JJH said...

Well said!

kami said...

angie, this is kami, alexis' neighbor who you borrowed "saboteur" from. i have enjoyed reading your blog because i feel much like you when it comes to politics. i often see both sides of the issue so much that i cannot figure out how to "join" one side. i'm just going to give my opinion about prop 8 because even though i am not a californian, it is something i have been pondering a lot. being LDS, i obviously value the family as the center of God's plan. i respect other beliefs but stick strongly to my own. i don't ever want to offend anyone but i also believe i need to stand up for what i believe is right. therefore, i am in support of prop 8. my husband and i were reading the scriptures last night and what we read was so fitting to what is going on. we were reading in the doctrine & covenants section 98. here is what struck me:

"I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God. For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith."

(verses 8-12).

that affirmed my belief that if we trust in God and what He has said, we can make good decisions. i have made my decision based on that which has proceeded "forth out of the mouth of God." i am trying to rely on the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets at this time when there is so much confusion and "gray" area in the world. so much of this "gray" area is seen clearly as either good or evil in the scriptures. we know that satan will call good evil and evil good and that is exactly what i see happening right now.

for some reason, well we know the reason why (satan), when we stand for what is right, people make us out to be in the "wrong." it will only get worse but no matter what, we have to continue for standing for truth and right.

Angie said...

Kami! I'm so glad you left a comment. I tried to comment back but your blog is set to private.

I feel so bad that I've taken so long to read the book. I've had to read another book instead for school, but Saboteur is next in line now. Just let me know if you need it back now and I'll give it to Alexis. If not, I'll probably be done in like 3 weeks.