Thursday, November 13, 2008

Proposition 8

The Church has been receiving an inordinate amount of vitriol and hate because of Proposition 8, and against my better judgment I have decided to make a comment or two about it.

First off, I disagreed with how the Church got involved but agree with the Church's stance on homosexuality. And, as I understand it, this is the Church's stance: Marriage is between a man and a woman; we support basic rights for same sex couples such as hospital visits and insurance benefits under some sort of civil union rubric; same sex attraction can be biological and this is not a sin nor do we try to change the person; acting on a same sex attraction is a sin.

Many, many liberals will disagree with this stance. They call it bigoted, hateful and intolerant. They call the Church hypocritical for supporting a proposition that limits a marriage to one man and one woman with our past of polygamy.

As to the last argument, here is my rebuttal. The Church has never supported same sex marriage, it has always been between man and woman. In the past that included polygamy, but several factors coincided to end that practice, with the end coming by revelation from a prophet. So polygamy is off the table now because of what we consider God's will. That leaves only marriage defined as between one man and one woman. It is not a repudiation of our past practices a beliefs in any way. It is entirely consistent with our belief system from the beginning.

As to whether support of Proposition 8 is bigoted, intolerant or hateful, I believe it is not. The Church has made progress in supporting gays and reaching out to some gay advocacy groups. It is completely respectful of those that live a gay life but will not support what it believes is a fundamental change in the institution of marriage to include a group that has never been so included and goes against the very core of our beliefs in the primacy of the family. Also, focusing on the same sex marriage issue while ignoring the way Church leaders reach out to and support individual gay members is disingenuous.

I don't happen to agree with the way the Church went about supported Proposition 8, not from a doctrinal standpoint but from a social standpoint. I think the best way to spread our beliefs is not through such heavy-handed tactics, but through love, example and missionary work. I'm not sure the benefit of winning that vote is worth the hate and vitriol the Church is receiving because of the way it supported Proposition 8. That in no way means we should apologize or be ashamed of our support for the nuclear family, but it means we choose the most effective way of conveying our message.

Of course, the Church has received a disproportionate amount of blame and hate for Proposition 8's passage. Members of the Church equal 3% of California's population, and many members of the Church likely voted against it, so not even that full 3% were involved. Furthermore, 29 other similar votes have occurred in other states and the opposition is now 0-30. It is true that members (not the Church itself) poured in millions of dollars, but the opposition had millions of its own and in the end what really counts are the votes.

Now, in Utah there is a gay advocacy group that is proposing bills to the Utah legislature which track some of the Church's stances on the matter and, without having read them yet, I do hope the Church will consider supporting them to mend some of the divisions. Whether we like it or not, the Church is as much a social structure as a religious one, and we do have to be part of our communities. It is on us as individual members to represent the best that the Church is and try to explain our positions on these matters. We can't play the same game as the protesters in California, Utah, New York, and everywhere else. We must be respectful, tolerant, even supportive, without compromising our beliefs.


Iliana said...

I feel like you like to walk the line a bit. I agree that we should not behave rudely,
or harshly in prostest against those who dislike prop 8, but I think our ideas of "respect" and "acceptance" are different. Since one of the basic most important principles of our gospel is marraige btwn man and woman I feel we should stand up for it in anyway we can. Holding signs, making calls, whatever. You and I know most of us do not do this out of hate or bigotry, knowing what you stated that we must be accepting of people and tolerant as we share our communities and world. I believe we must stand up for what we believe because it isn't just our ideas or beliefs, but Gods. IT seems you like to take God out of your politics, and I bet you think me silly and unlearned for doing the oppisite. God has laws and we must do our part to create a world that can live close to them. I'm grateful we can protest, and that they can. Let them think what they may. I would stand up for Prop 8 today, tomorrow, and forever because its what I believe, just as it is what they believe to do otherwise.

Jacob S. said...

I think religion and politics are two very different things and while our religion guides our actions, to infuse too much religion in politics can be dangerous.

As to Prop 8, the question is what is the best way to defend our beliefs so as to do the most good? Is it getting in peoples' faces and forcing our ideas on them? No. Is it getting very involved in the secular political process? I say no, others disagree. Is it sharing our testimonies on a personal level and participating in missionary work? For me, more often than not, this is the way. But we can disagree.

Iliana said...

What I meant was that INDIVIDUALLY, as God-fearing people, I believe our political actions should be largely driven by our religous beliefs. I agree that we as LDS or anyone for that matter should not be engaging others about the issue trying to illicit arguements or speaking out of anger. But just as you had your Obama sign out and JAmie got to (sort of :) speak her two cents about it on the news, so I believe that those who believe strongly about marraige btwn man and woman should hold their sign, and voice their opinion. I agree testimony of our beliefs on a personal level does bring about change, but people demonstrating their belief in marraige in a public setting, when done with the right intent, can also bring that change. It is itself a form of testimony. Ya, we disagree so I'll leave it alone now.