I've busy and distracted and haven't had a chance to respond to Jake's rant on Operation, oh I mean, Proposition 8.
My initial reaction to the news of the LDS church's direct involvement in the political process reminded me of a quote I heard in the late 90's. This statement was released by the Shell Petroleum company after being (justifiably) accused of participation in Nigeria's civil conflict with the Ogani people:
"Some campaigning groups say we should intervene in the political process in Nigeria. But even if we could, we must never do so. Politics is the business of governments and politicians. The world where companies use their economic influence to prop up or bring down governments would be a frightening and bleak one indeed."
My main issue with the LDS church's support of Prop 8 is in the method, not in the motive. I adamantly proclaim the sanctity of marriage, and agree that on a religious level this union is only between a man and a women. I also agree that the LDS church retains the right to comment on ethical and moral issues - "churches and religious organizations are well within their constitutional rights to speak out and be engaged in the many moral and ethical problems facing society."
I beleive that marriage is a religious action, and should not be governed by the state in any way. I feel the church would be better served to break away from defintions approved or disapproved by government, and instead guide membership as to the symbolism and eternal commitment that is marriage.
My issue is with this statment read to congregations in California. In particular is the admonition that members donate"of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman."
This is where I feel the LDS church made a mis-step. I agree with their statement of belief, an encouragment to prayerfully consider the issue, and an appeal for tolerance and love, but I disagree with the call for donations. Using economic influence (directly or vicariously through it's members) to force "moral" changes in society, is a frightening prospect.
The problem is that if we give one church, or organization, the right to request monetary and literal action from it's members, then we are doomed to give all large groups, be it companies or churches, the protection to swing the club of economic influence. Pray that you always stand on the side far away from the blow, lest the giant is the self contradicting "Shell" and you are the "Oganis".