Nov 22, 2008

My Prop 8 Manifesto

This post is also currently being featured at Feminist Mormon Housewives.

Although I’m usually able to write a post fairly spontaneously as the thoughts come to me, this is one that I’ve been procrastinating for several weeks because it requires so much thought and tact in order for it to be effective instead of offensive.

Another reason why I’d been procrastinating writing this post is that I know that most of us are sick to death of the Prop 8 debate and wish it would just go away. I sort of dread bringing it up again, I still don’t know exactly where I stand on gay marriage, and I’ve communicated with other Mormons who are in the same boat. The purpose of this post, however, is not to debate whether Prop 8 was right or wrong, but to focus on the future.

Even though I’m thousands of miles away from the drama of Prop 8, I feel very impacted by the whole issue. Lately I’ve been debating with myself about whether I should make a personal statement, a sort of “Prop 8 manifesto” about where I stand on the issue, and post it on my personal network of friends (some of whom are gay) in order to “clear the air,” or just remain silent and hope that it blows over. Perhaps it’s also a way for me to finally find some sort of inner peace in the matter.

First of all, who would my manifesto be directed to? Well, I guess it would be directed at the two groups that I feel like I’m standing in between: my gay friends (as well as gays in general) and the Church that I consider to be my spiritual home. I don’t entirely agree with either side, neither do I entirely disagree with either side. But I’m afraid that both sides may misinterpret my silence as meaning that I’m OK with how things unfolded.

So, here it goes:

To my friends who are gay or supported gay marriage:

First of all, I wish to issue an apology to those of you who have found yourselves to be the victims of true hatred and bigotry. I know that certain members of my faith and other religious persuasions have treated you unkindly, unfairly, and in a way that no Christian person should be able to legitimately justify. I have encountered comments by certain Mormons that make me cringe and I am sometimes ashamed to have to call them fellow members of my church.

I simply ask that you carefully consider how you apply the labels of “bigot” or “hate.” I have seen indications of these words being thrown around as ignorantly and as indiscriminately as those who label gay people as “perverts” or “sinners.”

Please understand that my religion is just as personal to me and as defining of who I am as your sexuality is to you. Although it is true that I am free to leave my religion if I please, physically leaving it would not mean that I would be able to just deny my faith, just as you would not able to deny your attraction towards the same sex. In many ways, I don’t feel that I chose my religion – it chose me, just as I’m sure you probably feel about your sexuality. If you have not experienced what it feels like to have a personal relationship with God, then you cannot understand exactly how it is – just as I cannot understand exactly what it’s like to be gay. In order for you to suggest that I am using my religion as a crutch or an excuse to hate homosexuals is just as unfair as it would be if I were to suggest that you chose to be gay or that you could be heterosexual if you really wanted to.

I wish to be honest. I personally believe that marriage is something that we do not need to redefine. I am perhaps too much of a traditionalist in this regard for those who disagree with me. But it is how I feel and it would quite possibly be enough to affect how I would vote on an issue such as Prop 8. However, I do not regard my personal views as a nullification of yours. I acknowledge that my personal belief is simply that: my personal belief and ideal. I have mine and you have yours.

I have given a great deal of thought to the issue of Prop 8 and I sympathize greatly with both sides. Obviously, I was not eligible to vote on Prop 8, but if I had been, I would most likely have refrained from voting on it. To be honest, YES and NO felt neither entirely right nor entirely wrong to me. I wish that there could have been some middle ground, but there wasn’t. I wish to state for the record that I personally oppose the explicit appeal to support Prop 8 by the leadership of my Church and its involvement in the YES on 8 campaign. I feel that it violated our policy of political neutrality and it troubles me greatly. However, this does not mean that I oppose Mormons campaigning as individuals or voting according to their personal conscience and convictions – even if this means that they voted YES.

I cannot apologize for our right as a church to teach and uphold the values that we believe in. Although I oppose the Church’s involvement in the Prop 8 campaign, I do not oppose our right to uphold the traditional definition of marriage as individuals. Contrary to what you may believe, we are not told to hate homosexuals. Neither do we teach that being homosexual is a choice, even though a few ignorant Mormons may attempt to spread this false belief. If what we teach in our churches translates into an influx of Mormons voting YES on 8, or others propositions like it, then this must be respected as it is how democracy works. People need to be allowed to vote their conscience and for most of us, our conscience is heavily influenced by our individual religious and spiritual experiences — just as your own conscience is heavily influenced by your own unique life experiences and even religious beliefs. You may feel that we defeated gay marriage, but in reality we have probably done nothing more than delay it. Out of respect for the democratic process, you are free to continue to campaign on behalf of your cause and to persuade more people to support gay marriage the next time another such referendum is organized.

To my friends who are Mormon, supported Prop 8, or who oppose gay marriage:

First of all, you need to understand that my opposition to the Church’s political involvement in the YES on 8 campaign does not automatically make me an apostate. I’ve struggled to understand the reasons why the LDS Church opposes gay civil marriage so adamantly and yet is silent on other “moral issues” that have such a huge impact on society, families and children. I’ve read the official statement from the Church and I’ve read countless arguments from supporters of Prop 8 as to why it was so important that gay marriage not become legal. Many of these “reasons” were not morally-based, but rather founded in the fear of legal implications gay marriage would have on the separation of church and state, our tax exempt status as a church, our right to perform marriages as a church, and how Mormons would be allowed to continue to practice freedom of religion. Most of these have been disputed by lawyers – even Mormon ones – and so these “reasons” appear to me to be at best speculation and at worst pure scare tactics by the YES on 8 side. Supporters of gay marriage have some very compelling reasons for why they believe that gay marriage should be legal and I sympathize with many of them. There is, however, one reason I have not been able to hop on the gay marriage bandwagon: although marriage has evolved over time, it has never been redefined in the sense that it has been between members of the same sex. Gay marriage is still in relative infancy in the few places on earth that it’s legal. We simply don’t know how or whether it will affect the traditional family long term. It may, or it may not, depending on who you believe. Both sides have “evidence” to defend their views.

In an official release, the Church leadership stated:

Before it accepted the invitation to join broad-based coalitions for the amendments, the Church knew that some of its members would choose not to support its position. Voting choices by Latter-day Saints, like all other people, are influenced by their own unique experiences and circumstances. As we move forward from the election, Church and work together for a better society.”

Notice that they said that “members need to be understanding and accepting of each other,” not that “members need to pressure and guilt-trip each other into agreeing with the Church’s official position.” We must remember that although the Church took an official position on Prop 8, an “official position” does not equal “official doctrine.” Although our official doctrine opposes any sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and a woman, many Mormons are able to uphold the Church’s teaching on homosexuality while still opposing a constitutional ban on gay marriage. We also need to remember our history. Although the Church did not take an official stance, many Mormons – including General Authorities at the time – opposed the black civil rights movement in the 1960’s. To say that black civil rights and gay marriage are exactly the same thing is debatable. But to say that there are absolutely no parallels is, in my opinion, inaccurate. Some members during the 1960’s disagreed with Church leadership, the most prominent being George Romney, who was pressured by General Authorities to cease his involvement in the civil rights movement. Romney ignored this pressure and continued to be involved in the movement in a manner that did not jeopardize his membership in the Church. And now that we look back, it’s not difficult to see who was on the right side of history. To be fair, I need to mention that some of those Church leaders who opposed black civil rights later admitted that they were mistaken.

The First Presidency has also stated that:

“The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility towards homosexual men and women. Protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not affect Church members’ Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people. “

Unfortunately, a few Mormons have mistakingly believed that they fulfilled their “Christian obligations” by critcizing and cutting down homosexuals or members of the Church that sympathize with their cause, instead of by showing “love, kindness and humanity toward all people. “ I believe that these Mormons do not represent the majority, but it saddens me that there were any who participated in such behaviour. Sometimes, an insignificant number of people can do a significant amount of damage.

The Church urged that “(a)s Church members decide their own appropriate level of involvement in protecting marriage between a man and a woman, they should approach this issue with respect for others, understanding, honesty, and civility.”

We need to ask ourselves whether we’ve really approached this issue with the utmost “respect for others” that should be expected of a people that often feels disrespected by the world and even fellow Christians. Have we, as individuals, taken the time to see things — as best we can — from the perspective of those we oppose, in order to have as much “understanding” as we possibly can, or have we quickly dismissed them? Have we been 100% “honest” in the way that we have run the Prop 8 campaign, or have we engaged in exagerration and scare tactics? Have we managed to treat those we disagree with – and even those who persecute and hate us – with “civility,” or do we hold to the “eye for an eye” philosophy?

Prop 8 has been voted on, it passed, and gay marriage was defeated in California, as well as in other states. Whether it’s deserved or not, we are getting the “credit” for the victorious YES on 8 campaign. As Mormons, we perhaps think that we have done our duty and can now relax, when in fact our job is just beginning. Now it’s time for damage control and focusing on building bridges.

Whether we are right or wrong on the issue of gay marriage is really quite irrelevant. Many people are very angry at us and things may get uglier, the persecution more intense, and the temptation to retaliate even stronger.

The question is: what are we going to do about it?

65 comments:

Papa D said...

Very well said, FD. We differ slightly on a few points, but I appreciate and agree with this post.

Civility and constructive communication is my greatest hope for the gay and Mormon communities - since I think there are ways to involve homosexual members in our congregations in fairly significant ways without sacrificing any of our core theology. However, to do so, the reviling and wrath must cease; the fringe extremes must subside and be subjected to the will of the majority within each community.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Thanks, Papa D.

I'd also like to see more involvement from openly homosexual members in our congregations where possible. I think they're only beginning to "come out" and we will probably be surprised at just how many have been "in the closet."

I wish that Church leaders would take the time to meet with gay rights groups simply to demonstrate a willingness for open and respectful dialogue. I neither expect nor think we need to change our theology or doctrine, but perhaps more openly acknowledging past mistakes in our treatment of homosexuals as a church would be a start for building bridges.

This is an excellent timeline of homosexuality in the LDS Church. Looks like we've made some progress, but I think that the gay community is looking for more of an apology for things such as electroshock therapy at BYU and excommunication without valid grounds -- at the very least.

Gay LDS Actor said...

FD,

I have a feeling you and I would get along very well if we knew each other in real life. So often your thoughts are in tune with my own. I thought your post was very well thought out and echoed many of my own thoughts. I may be gay and in support of gay marriage, but I am also as much of a Mormon as I can be in my situation, and I still have very strong allegiances to a religion I still very much love, so I, too, am torn between two groups I strongly care about, and I don't always think everything is as cut and dry as members of both sides would have each other believe. It's such a complex situation, and I appreciate your thoughts regarding it.

Papa D said...

Fwiw, I wish your post was receiving more thoughtful analysis and treatment over on FMH. It's sad when even that forum divides so quickly into name calling and dismissals. Your post is a great example of thoughtful struggling, and to see it called bigoted is painful.

I just wanted to tell you again that I really admire what you were able to express in this post.

Clint said...

A fair post, I thought.

I think I'll continue to read your posts here; those ladies over at FMH scare me sometimes. :-)

bom1830 said...

I am hetrosexualy challanged or gay. I am in a celebate 17yr relationship with my partner. We both have callings in our Ward. I am Elders Quorum Sectary and he is one of the Ward Organist.

Most of our Ward Family does not know about us. We reside as roommates cause that is what we are. We attend the Temple together when we can. Just recently my partner has been working at Oakland Temple as Veil Worker.

Us Gays can thrive in the Gospel if you truly understand the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement. Apply both in your life everyday and it will be blissful.

Even better yet my partner was able to baptized me into the Church which I found very special for our relationship. His father confirmed the Melchizedek Priesthood upon me. At the time, the Patriarch of partner's Family, his Grandfather welcomed me into the family at my Baptism.

The gospel brings people together not tear them apart to keep them apart.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Actor, I seriously wish that you and I could hang out. Wanna come to Norway? :) And it works out perfectly that you're gay because then my husband would have nothing to worry about. :)

Papa D, when I got up this morning I checked out the comments on FMH and there were about 60 news one from the time I went to bed last night. I was disappointed that most of the comments seemed to miss the entire point. I'm not sure I heard any real suggestions from any of them about how we are going to build bridges and heal wounds.

Clint, it'll be interesting to see as the comments over at FMH continue to flood in how many will actually focus on the purpose of my post.

Bom1830, your story is nothing short of amazing and I'm so glad you shared it with us. The thing I love about it is that it shows us how many of our fellow members are "in hiding" right in front of us. Wouldn't it be great if your whole ward could accept you and your partner for who you are: faithful, temple-worthy Latter-day Saints, and not just "homosexuals." I think you provide us with an invaluable point of view, as do Clint or Gayldsactor, and so I hope you'll continue to visit my blog.

I'm just back from church and had a fine day there. I squirmed a bit in my seat at one point though, when a brother from the stake spoke in sacrament meeting and brought up Prop 8 in his talk. My first thought was, "Oh no, here we go, Prop 8 has now finally reached us all the way here" but it was OK. He talked about how we need to stand up for our beliefs, despite our critics, and that this is what the Saints in CA and other states have now done, that it was evidence of God living. I think the part that bothered me a bit was the praise for the Church's involvement in the matter. Perhaps he doesn't even know all that has gone on, I have no idea and so it's not fair of me to judge him for it, but unfortunately it can easily give the impression to members here who don't have a clue that the Church and its members were a beacon of virtue and righteousness and that we can be proud of and give ourselves a big pat on the back. So although I probably agree with this brother on most points, I guess I just don't share his enthusiasm.

Alesia said...

Bom1830:
I admire you SO much. Seriously, you must have the faith of Job! How common do you think your situation is? I've always heard of gay members who choose to remain celibate so as to be Temple Worthy, but I've yet to meet anyone. I don't know if I'd have the strength or faith to do that. You must be so blessed. One other question though..and please don't misunderstand my intentions, but isn't it 'dangerous' or too difficult to be roommates with someone you love romantically? I promise I'm not judging, just curious. I couldn't live a man who I loved romantically without messing up. :)

Gay LDS Actor said...

I would love to come to Norway if I could afford (but as an actor, I don't make tons of money) :-(
Maybe some day.

Lisa said...

Just fabulous. Wow.

I love how you put it, here. There's real room for understanding when you put it in the context you have:

I can't deny my faith anymore than you can deny your sexuality.

Fabulous.

I think so much room could be made for everyone if we'd just stop and try to understand one another. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

Just gotta get people interested in that.

Thanks so much for this, FD. You gave me some food for thought. My stance remains the same, but I lovelovelove how you put it. Thank you.

pb said...

fd, this is a very well thought-out post and I appreciate your views. I agree it doesn't help to call anyone bigoted. But here's the question: Would you be so cavalier if what was at stake was, for instance, your right of religious freedom? (And I do view your stance as cavalier: "I personally believe that marriage is not something that we need to redefine." A very convenient belief for a heterosexual, married person to have.) Would it be okay for the majority to decide whether or not we are going to allow mormons to practice their faith? Would you then urge civil discourse and tolerance of those who were saying, "I just feel that TRADITIONAL christianity need not be redefined."

You make the very legitimate comparison between your religious identity and a gay person's sexual identity. The distinction, of course, is that no one is denying you the right to practice your religion, to follow your conscience, to marry, or to do anything else. Not so for gays.

How is it that mormons, in particular - a historically persecuted group - do not see the very real connection between their own freedoms and the freedoms of other groups. I understand that freedom of religion is something we may all take for granted at this point in our western democracies. But it doesn't take much to hearken back to the times that it was not so. And we can still look to such enlightened places as Pakistan today for monitory instruction, where religious conformity is enforced by, amongst other TRADITIONAL practices, burying alive of dissenters, especially girls who dare to assert that they should be able to choose their own husband (see Nicholas Kristof article in NYTimes today). The right to marry the person of one's choice is a freedom as fundamental as the right to practice the religion of one's choice. It's disheartening to me that religious people, apparently secure in their own hard-fought freedoms, are now so willing to deny freedoms of similar magnitude to others.

The Faithful Dissident said...

PB, your questions are fair and I know that some of my views make me look like a hypocrite. I have thought about this many, many times and it's something that I still struggle with. I realize that it sounds haughty of me, a straight married person, to say that I don't think marriage needs to be redefined. I realize that my "reasons" hold very little water outside of the realms of my faith. My faith and my feelings regarding the traditional family are really probably the only things stopping me from totally embracing the gay lifestyle and being an adamant supporter of gay marriage. But it's as impossible for me to explain why I have faith in what I do as it is for gays to explain why they were born gay. It's just who I am. I realize that that's an insufficient answer for many -- some would call it a cop-out or a cover-up of underlying homophobia -- but it's all I've got. And so, that is why that I don't think it's right for any of us to just dismiss the arguments for gay marriage. What it all boils down to is obeying our personal conscience. Mine does not allow me to be totally on board with gay marriage, but I do not think that my personal conscience should be worth more than anyone else's.

One of the things that troubles me most about Prop 8 is that it's a constitutional ban. It's a big deal and I totally get that. I understand why the NO side is upset and I sympathize and agree with most of their arguments. It just doesn't cancel out my faith, just as hearing that a drink a day will make me live longer or coffee is good for my heart doesn't make me want to break the Word of Wisdom. Matters of faith can't always be understood in a logical, rational way. Sometimes they really are, simply, "matters of faith."

You said: "The distinction, of course, is that no one is denying you the right to practice your religion, to follow your conscience, to marry, or to do anything else."

It's true that no one is denying me the right to not follow my conscience, but following my conscience certainly can have huge consequences in how those who know me -- on either side of the issue -- view me because of my stance, which puts me at odds with both sides. I don't think it's entirely fair, but it's understandable.

"The right to marry the person of one's choice is a freedom as fundamental as the right to practice the religion of one's choice."

This is only partially true. Marriage between family members is not a "fundamental right" and neither is the right to practice a religion that makes human sacrifices. Don't misinterpret this as a comparison to gay marriage itself, because that's not what I'm getting at. What I'm trying to point out is that there are certain fundamental laws that we shouldn't tamper with. As I said in the post, although marriage has evolved over time, it has never been redefined to include members of the same sex. This is what I have a problem with. However, if we conclude years down the road that it was the civil right of gays to be allowed to marry (which is what everyone is debating now), then I think that we will look back in history and deeply regret denying them their civil right, just as we do now when we look back to blacks being denied their civil rights.

I simply don't know what the future holds.

bom1830 said...

Alesia,

This is Bom1830. I must tell you at first it was difficult to reside with your lover. But if you truly understand and live the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation your life will come in to accordance with the Lords wishes for all his children.

That is all I want to be is an obediant Son of God. I am blown away that man like myself can have the same Priesthood as Jesus Christ. That humbles me beyond mortal words can convey.

I most also say that it helps to have a truly Christ like Bishop that loves you as you are truly are and that is a son or daughter of God..period. I really go by no other label anymore. But for the world that we do not belong to I must I have a label.

I would love to speak the Church body one day as a hetrosexual challenge male and how I have grown in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am a convert to the Gospel. I was baptized by my partnter back in 1998. I hold that day very special. It is not very often that your lover and friend can baptism you into the Greatest Church on the earth.

I am truly blessed by the Gospel.

Fifthgen said...

Thanks, FD. This is a very measured, reasoned, piece and almost everything you have said resonates with me. It comes at a really great time, too. My neighbor (who is not a member of the Church) wants to some discuss with me the Church's position on (and I would guess their involvement in) the Prop 8 campaign. Like you, I am very ambivalent about the whole thing, and your manifesto has really helped me think things through.

mfranti said...

"those ladies over at FMH scare me sometimes. :-)"

excuse me?

mfranti said...

i can't see the comments over there but i suspect that a few trolls got on and went off on your views? and since i am unable to moderate it's gone haywire.

look, i don't appreciate the tone of the comments like that either (if that is the case) but it's not fMh's fault. I can guarantee that everyone of the permas and regular commenters would be respectful, if not in agreement, to your views. it's the jackasses in the background waiting to pounce that make it so difficult sometimes

pb said...

Clearly, freedom of religion and freedom of marriage have limitations. We disallow polygamy and incest, and we require persons to be of a certain age before they marry. Nor can we cannot commit crimes in the name of religion. We are not talking about any such limitations, but rather the denial of the right to marry to a distinct group of people who suffer from no impediment but tradition. The California Supreme Court determined that tradition was not a sufficient impediment, therefore, the prohibition against adults of the same sex marrying one another violated the rights of those adults to equal protection under the law. Other courts in this country and other countries have come to the same conclusion. Now for the first time in the history of our country, we have different states voting to amend their constitutions to deny rights to a minority group, rather than to protect the rights of a minority group.

I don't think the debate is about whether the right to marry is a civil right or not. It clearly is. The debate is about whether there is a legitimate reason to deny that right to this particular group of people. On the one side, the argument is what you have articulated, which is basically, marriage has always been between a man and a woman and thus it should stay. Why? Because I just don't feel that it should be otherwise and that's how I feel.

I am truly not intending to offend. I understand that how society at large feels is ultimately what creates or does not create social change. And while I also do not know what the future holds, I do feel confident that with time we will become accustomed to homosexual relationships as more of our homosexual fellow-beings are able to participate in society without fear of persecution. My children will not have the same feelings about homosexuals that I, for instance, still have to correct in myself on an ongoing basis. A kind of tittering disgust I guess is what you might call it. When I get it, I remind myself that it's not just homosexual sex, but really all sex that is -- or can be -- disgusting in concept. I don't want to think of my parents having sex. I don't want to think of my neighbors having sex. I'd like to keep the bedroom door closed. But I'd also like people who are having sex with one another to be able to form legally sanctioned permanent attachments. It's new and unfamiliar now. It will be less and less so in future, and I wager that we most certainly will look back at this time in 25 years and shake our heads at how benighted we were.

Grégoire said...

This is such a great article. I was going to type up one of my own, but I'm thinking I'll just link to yours.

Thanks for giving a thoughtful analysis in a respectful way.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Grégoire, thanks for that. Feel free to plagiarize a little if it'll help you explain it to your own friends. :)

Fifthgen, I feel for you, man. :) The thought of discussing this issue with anyone outside of the Blogosphere sort of freaks me out because I'm afraid someone will hate me no matter what stance I take. But at the same time, I HATE to be misunderstood or for people to just ASSUME what I think/feel. So that's why I've seriously considered just posting my manifesto on my Facebook page or something. Haven't decided anything yet, though.

PB, that's what I (and probably all the other Mormons who are sitting on the fence) are grappling with. I strongly believe in upholding/protecting/not redefining marriage, BUT, as Mormons we also believe in being subject to the laws of the land and if marriage is a civil right under the law of the land regardless of what genders are involved, then I am deeply troubled by a constitutional ban. Ironically, I have all these Mormons on my socialism thread telling me how Americans have to preserve the constitution, etc, etc, and yet most of them are all on board about amending it for banning gay marriage. So I totally understand what you're saying.

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

Where do we go from here? That is the question I have been asking myself. For members of the Church, a multi-tiered approach is probably required. On one level, we need to honor our baptismal covenants to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. There is a lot of mourning out there right now, and a lot of people who need comforting, on all sides of this issue. Members of the Church should be proactively be fulfilling this covenant.

On another level, a gay rights group in Utah has proposed that the LDS Church work with them on passing legislation to protect the rights of gays and lesbians in the areas of housing, employment, inheritance, hospital visitation and medical decision-making. An interim committee of the Utah state legislature just recommended a change to the Utah probate code (I think) which would allow any heir (including by implication same sex partners) to sue for wrongful death. I see all these as positive things for which members of the LDS Church and of the gay community could work together.

RAP08 said...

PB - I would like to play devil's advocate, you said:

We disallow polygamy and incest, and we require persons to be of a certain age before they marry. ... We are not talking about any such limitations, but rather the denial of the right to marry to a distinct group of people who suffer from no impediment but tradition.

How can we deny the civil rights of people whose religion allows for or their own inclination is to have multiple spouses? This restriction is based on a European tradition of monogamy. Would it not be better if all those people who fall in love with another person, in addition to their current spouse to be able to marry so they don't have to chose and potentially break up their family? Think of the children!!

What if I really love my brother, we can not have children so would there be anything wrong with us getting married? Would this be allowed under same sex marriage laws? After all it is just a tradition that close relatives should not have sexual relations. I could even marry my sister and just get a vasectomy, no kids no problem? Or we could just have amniocentesis done with each pregnancy and then determine whether to abort or not based on DNA testing. We of course would be consenting adults and love each other greatly.

My girl friend is a very mature 17. We love each other very much why should we have to wait a few months until she is 18 or until her parent give permission. Is there really that much difference between 17 and 18, seems pretty arbitrary to me. I know 20 year olds who are not as mature and ready as my girl friend. If 17 is ok what about 16 or how about 14 anyone? They did it in the middle ages. Is that a precedent?

You may think to your self those are sensible laws or disgusting perversions and should not be allowed. But you are basing those thoughts on traditions! We should not allow traditions to stand in the way of love.

You may think that will never happen, and you may be right I hope you are, but how do you think those minorities feel about being discriminated against? You must hate them!

Alright I hope you can see why some feel this is a slippery slope.

Faithful, I appreciated you sharing you thoughts and feelings on this topic. I also wonder how the gulf between the two sides can be bridged. The church will never change their stance on practicing homosexuality being a sin, which some interpret as they can’t really love the sinner. I feel this will be a great obstacle to any dialog. I personally know a number of people who have become terminally ill, i.e. “sick to death”, of hearing about and discussing Prop 8. Is there any motivation for them to help with a solution?

The Faithful Dissident said...

Rap08, you bring up some interesting points. Thanks for that.

I just posted the following comment in the FMH discussion, in regards to how we can build bridges and heal:

I think we need to understand that “healing” doesn’t mean that either side is going to be 100% satisfied with the solution. Bridge-building doesn’t mean that one side just takes over the other. We are never going to convince either side that the other is right. However, I don’t think that means that we can’t negotiate.

This is what I would like to see from the Church:

-A formal, official apology for certain mistakes that the LDS Church has made in its treatment of homosexuals — and YES, we HAVE made mistakes. I think that we need to apologize for things like electroshock therapy at BYU, convincing gays to get married in order to be “cured,” and those who were wrongfully excommunicated (i.e. those who were gay but not sexually active).

-I think that the Church also needs to have open dialogue with Affirmation, instead of avoiding them, which it did for about 30 years, from what I understand. I don’t think that Affirmation realistically expects the Church to change it’s doctrine, but an apology such as the one I outlined above would mean a great deal.

-Lastly, the Church has to stop using its influence to stop civil union laws in the state of Utah and elsewhere. If we’re going to build bridges, we can’t have our cake and eat it too.

This is what I would like to see from the gay community:

-Stronger condemnation of those who are involved with vandalism and harassment of those who voted YES on 8.

-Understanding that our theology is never going to change. Work on meeting us halfway, by not demanding that we change our doctrine on homosexuality or gay marriage, but rather focus on the things that Mormons can honestly do, such as a more vigorous support of civil unions.

-Take the high road and fight for what you believe is your civil right in a civilized manner, instead of simply labelling everyone who doesn’t support gay marriage as “hateful” or “bigot,” or resorting to vandalism. (This can easily go for the YES side as well.)

Fifthgen said...

FD; This comment does not really address your question, "Where do we go from here?" But, I am practicing for my conversation with my neighbor regarding the Church's position on Prop 8. What about this idea:

Maybe the LDS Church sees protecting male/female marriage (“M/F Marriage” - - I know that FD does not like the term “traditional marriage") in the same way others see seat belt laws. Requiring people to wear seat belts represents an infringement upon freedom and personal choice. It inserts to government into my the daily, personal life. In the vast majority of cases, no one will be hurt if I choose not to wear a seat belt. Either I will not be an accident, or I will not be seriously hurt, or even if I am, I will be able to pay for my own medical expenses. My actions will likely not hurt anyone, so why should the government tell me how to live? Nevertheless, many believe that society, on the whole, is better off if everyone wears seat belts. In a nutshell, this is because not everyone will be able to prevent externalizing the social costs of their actions, and when they cannot, it will be expensive and painful for the rest of us.

Maybe the LDS Church believes that the M/F Marriage family is like a seat belt. Promoting and protecting it is best for society, generally speaking. This is not to say that there are not healthy, caring same families out there that do not fit the M/F family mold, or that we should not try to help those families. But maybe we cannot exclude the possibility that, on the whole, the M/F Marriage family is the ideal. Promoting and protecting the M/F marriage family also happens to be the status quo, and maybe the burden for such a foundational shift to our culture and values should be on those urging the change. Equality and fairness are very strong arguments for such a change. Freedom and privacy are also very strong arguments. But they are not the only arguments. And maybe there are other ways satisfy those arguments.

I am no scholar, and have done no real research on this topic, but I am not aware of much information on the long-term effects of same sex marriage (“SS Marriage”) upon children, families and society. In part, this is due to the fact that there probably has not been a large pool of such families over a long period to time to study. As same sex families become more and more common, there will likely be more such research. It is entirely possible that future research will show that same sex families are equally good at providing a healthy environment for children, and provide the same general benefits to society as M/F Marriage families. It might even show that same sex families are better at these things. I just don’t know that we know yet. Maybe the LDS Church is not bigoted and does not hate gays. Maybe it really believes that such a fundamental change in how we define marriage should not occur if we do not know what the effect upon children, families and society will be. Maybe working toward the middle ground will help us develop more information in that regard.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Fifthgen, I really like that seat belt analogy. I think it makes sense. I've bolded the points you made that I think we were important.

"Promoting and protecting it is best for society, generally speaking"...

This is not to say that there are not healthy, caring same families out there that do not fit the M/F family mold, or that we should not try to help those families. But maybe we cannot exclude the possibility that, on the whole, the M/F Marriage family is the ideal."

"I am not aware of much information on the long-term effects of same sex marriage (“SS Marriage”) upon children, families and society. In part, this is due to the fact that there probably has not been a large pool of such families over a long period to time to study."

This is exactly why it bothers me when either side says that they have "evidence" that concludes that their side is right. Most of the "evidence" that I have heard tends to say that there are no negative effects on children, but I think that it all boils down to what "evidence" you're on the lookout for. I think we can speculate, but we simply don't know.

"It is entirely possible that future research will show that same sex families are equally good at providing a healthy environment for children, and provide the same general benefits to society as M/F Marriage families."

I think it's entirely possible as well. I think, though, that the Church's real concern is not so much that children won't be raised in a "healthy environment," but rather that they won't be raised in an LDS environment. After all, gays can provide children with the same physical and emotional well-being that hetero couples can -- whether they're married or not. I know plenty of common-law hetero couples who are great parents and are doing everything that parents should do, but as we all know, if we don't fit the Mormon mold (hetero couple, preferably married in the temple), it's very hard to be an active, practising, upstanding Mormon family. Maybe that's what the Church's real concern is?

pb said...

Rap08,

I don't agree with your slippery slope argument. Incest, polygamy and child marriage are all illegal for different reasons.

Incest is illegal because it is morally repugnant. The incest taboo is universal. From what I understand, it is a taboo so deeply ingrained within the human psyche that it crosses all cultures and all times. I know of no one -- and I suspect neither do you -- that has violated this taboo. If such persons exist (which I'm sure they do somewhere) they are outliers and neither open about their activities nor interested in or likely to change deeply held, probably biologically based, views about those activities.

Polygamy and child marriage are different from incest in that these practices are not universally prohibited. Child marriage is acceptable in many societies, and was much more the norm in our own in the past. However, as we as a society have become more protective of children, our laws have in turn become more protective of children. We would be regressing to repeal these protections. It is no more likely to happen than a return to the days when child labor was permitted.

Polygamy has never been acceptable in western democracies. I think this is primarily because the ideal of romantic love forms such a prominent part of the cultural heritage of the west. The bonds of romantic love are necessarily exclusive and bilateral, and I believe there is strong evidence to show that this, also, is biologically based. We as a species pair bond. We don't multi-partner bond. While marriage has had many different purposes through the ages, as it stands now, in our society, it is predominantly linked to the fulfillment of our romantic / sexual needs. As long as that remains the case, polygamy will likely remain unacceptable. If other purposes become more prominent -- and certainly child-rearing is another prominent purpose for marriage -- then perhaps polygamy will become acceptable. I don't have a big problem with that necessarily. However, I don't think it's a legitimate argument for prohibiting gay marriage. It needs to be analyzed separately and on its own terms.

RAP08 said...

PB,

My point was that you can take many of the same arguments used for SSM and apply them to many circumstances. To continue to use your statements:

Incest is illegal because it is morally repugnant.
Replace incest with homosexuality and you have made the argument made by many Christians, Muslims and others.

I know of no one -- and I suspect neither do you -- that has violated this taboo. If such persons exist (which I'm sure they do somewhere) they are outliers and neither open about their activities nor interested in or likely to change deeply held ... views about those activities
Want to bet that statements like that could have been made about homosexuality 100 years ago in any small community, how about in a Muslim country? So what if they are not brave enough to come out of the closet they do not deserve any rights? Don’t you know that it is illegal and they would be sent to jail, where they would probably be killed, if someone in the community who was outraged did not do so before they made it to jail? Wow they would have to be brave to make a stand like that, especially in the face of so much hate.

By the way of you believe in creationism then Adam and Eve’s children must have practiced incest, though I think the concept was not formalized until much later, definitely by Moses’ time.

You pretty much admit that child marriage and polygamy is illegal due to tradition. This was the point of your previous post that I was trying to address,
but rather the denial of the right to marry to a distinct group of people who suffer from no impediment but tradition.
My point is that many laws are based on tradition, you want to over turn one but the arguments that you used could be applied to many yet some how you do not think there is any similarities.

I agree with all you points on why these things are not accepted by society. I do not agree with this:
The bonds of romantic love are necessarily exclusive and bilateral, and I believe there is strong evidence to show that this, also, is biologically based.
How do you explain men and women that “cheat” on their spouses but profess they still love them? Are they some minority that is born with a different sexual orientation, multiple partner attraction? I am not saying that all infidelity meets these criteria as often people stay in marriages for other reasons. Do you claim then that all plural marriage are not romantic in nature. Are they all arranged with the girls given away by her parents to some dirty old man? Did you know that in India Muslim men can practice polygamy but not Hindus?

While marriage has had many different purposes through the ages, as it stands now, in our society, it is predominantly linked to the fulfillment of our romantic / sexual needs.
Do we really marry for sex, that’s it? Why bother? It seems like in our society we do not need to make a commitment to fulfill our sexual desires, there are ‘professionals’ for that you know. I know a lot of guys, meaning me, that could care less about ‘romance’ they just try to make their wives happy and provide for the family. Ask my wife she will vouch for me :)

Sex is fundamentally a procreative process, whether you believe that marriage is sacred and from God or not, and as such societies have generally maintained that the couples participating should be prepared for the natural result of such a union. No society could last long if all the children were dumped on someone else’s doorstep. Since that was the case people who made a mistake often ended up getting married, or being ostracized from the community. Now today with all the ‘advances’ sex has become a recreation pursuit with people enjoying the ‘bonding’ nature of such activities with out realizing the natural result of such unions and the incumbent responsibilities.

Sorry for the tirade, a side tracked one at that, but please provide a better argument, one that will differentiate SSM from all other cases. All the other cases are sexual in nature, and romance is in the eye of the beholder.

Thanks!

Fifthgen said...

FD: I am not sure that having all children everywhere raised in an LDS environment and sealed to their parents in the temple is the Church's real concern. Don't get me wrong, I think the Church thinks it would be great if everyone chose that. But they certainly do not see that as a realistic goal. I think they believe, first, that the world really would be a better place if every child were raised in a traditional, nuclear family, and that this is also what God wants. Creating a situation where every child is born to a happily married father and mother also may not be a realistic goal, but the idea is universal "enough" that the Church thinks it should be supported by society. Second, I think the Church perceives that it will be easier for its members to "do the right thing," and easier to appeal to potential converts, if society's values are not significantly out-of-step with its own. Hence, they want to use their influence to keep society on a more traditional track. I might be wrong about all of this, but I think these might be the Church’s motivations.

mike said...

I don't want to argue ad nauseum about the distinctions between incest, polygamy, child marriage and gay marriage. The bottom line is that we exist in a society that is changing. Homosexuality is no longer viewed the way it was 100 years ago. While today it may still be marginally acceptable to say that homosexuality is morally repugnant, in 40 years it will be as unacceptable as expressing the view that people of the negro race are inferior. It is conceivable that we as a society will also change our views about child marriage, polygamy and incest. Of these three, it is my view that polygamy is the most likely to perhaps gain acceptance. I see no possibility for the other two. But that's just a prediction. It's not really pertinent to the discussion regarding gay marriage. We are where we are with gay marriage. The law, which is itself a relatively conservative force, is moving toward protecting gay marriage as a civil right. There will be bumps in the road -- prop 8 was one of these. It won't change the trend. I believe that the ultimate consequence of prop 8 will in fact be other than the church intended. Prop 8 has not shut down the gay rights movement: it has simply brought the discussion onto a wider stage and activated persons who were previously indifferent to the issue. So while it may be entertaining to argue back and forth, it's of no particular consequence. Within 10, 20, or 30 years, gay marriage will be the law of the land.

The Faithful Dissident said...

I agree, Mike. I think that Prop 8 has done nothing but delay gay marriage. It's probably only a matter of time.

Even in the Church, we have seen the attitudes towards homosexuality (see comment #2 for a link to an interesting timeline).

I can't see the western world changing on child marriage or incest, but really, polygamy is already fairly acceptable in parts of the US Canada. It's not legal, but we certainly turn a blind eye to it. When you think about it, why doesn't the Church go after these polygamists more aggressively as they do with gay marriage? Kids being raised with 10 or 20 moms is a lot worse than 2 moms, isn't it? And who do we have to thank for it? Mormons. :) We may not be the ones practicing it now, but we were the ones who started it.

Maraiya said...

I realize this is a little late and really, I have nothing to add to conversation. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your post. I had decided that I would vote for gay marriage after much inner deliberating (I live in Oregon - this came up for a us a few years ago but hasn't been a voting issue since). After my decision, the church issued it's official position and now I'm back to being torn. My yellow gummy bear is standing next to yours!

S. Logan said...

Democracy operates in a majority opinion system only, without exception. As I once asked His Excellency, John Bruton, the EU Ambassador to the United States -- what protects the minority's rights against a majority vote in a Democracy? His response was simple and complex: Nothing. He went on explain that the only safeguard in "Democracy" is a unanimous vote (like what the EU operates under); otherwise, he stated, you would have to establish a Republic (which he differentiated the United States as, instead of a "Democracy"). It's a battle of semantics when discussing what a "Republic" is; especially when definitions vary per the United States and the international community. The US founders, operating under the premise of the philosophical "Enlightenment" period, and defined a Republic as a system of government where the "voice of the people" can conduct their business by the majority vote, so long as they do not infringe upon "natural rights" of the minority or the individual. "Natural Rights," as a term and theory, have gone through many renovations and redefining moments -- but as understood in its day, it was meant as those "inalienable rights" that were given and made inalienable by our "Creator" (Declaration of Independence). In fact, it was this premise and understanding that the the United States declared their independence from Britain and rejected the "divine right of Kings". The convolution of theory and philosophy between the United States being a "Republic" or a "Democracy" is found in the misunderstanding that the "democratic method/process" equates to "Democracy" -- which it doesn't. Democracies only stipulate legitimacy under majority vote (that's it, period); however, Republics seek to first find legitimacy and authority by checking itself against "law" first, and then to the will of the people (this was meant to be a "protection" to minority rights). The question is raised, what LAW is adhered to AND who is it that defines this law? This, however, is a discussion for another thread.

So what does this have to do with gay marriage and Prop 8?

In a Constitutional Republic, the United States cannot rule on any matters concerning "marriage" (state or federal). "Marriage" is a religious institution, and the US government, as per the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, has no authority to allow the majority to vote on matters of religion (whether you adhere to the pre-1963 definition or the post-1963 definition). A Constitutional Republic, as was originally established for the US, does not allow government to act in reference to the masses in ANY act wherein the individual could not act himself. If the individual could not prohibit his neighbor from being "married", then he could not delegate this authority to government to prohibit this marriage as well (after all, the individual/people are the source for power, right?). This protection of the individual was a paramount concern to the founders of the United States, and is the specific reason they deplored "Democracy"; they didn't want the minority's rights to be infringed by a voting majority.

The United States, however, has shifted from having a Constitutional Republic towards having a pure Democracy. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than by Prop 8. Few people remember that certain churches through the mid-1800's actually conducted a few homosexual marriages in the United States. What effect did this have on society? None whatsoever. The government, at the time, had not instituted marriage "licenses" or regulated what the churches could and could not do; the people (society) that didn't agree with the homosexual marriage by the local preacher simply stopped going to his church (which, per the free-market effect -- even upon the church -- put the church out of business); the preacher then moved on, his reputation going with him, and got out of the "business" of being a pastor; the homosexual couple, upon being "married" went their way with no effect on any world around them. This scenario, as played out, allowed all people their own freedom and liberty of conscience; it allowed the preacher to make the choice of marrying or not marrying anyone; it allowed the society to adhere to their own standards without infringing upon perceived "rights" of the couple; and allowed the couple to find redress for the actions to that God who is supposedly supposed to rule in matters of marriage in the first place. Everyone walked away happy.

Things changed, however, when the government got into the business of marriage and started regulating it. Because of matters pertaining to the Income Tax (and other government programs) that were started at the end of the 1800's and the early 1900's, the government had to start legalizing and legislating the different aspects of "marriage" (hence the LDS Church's persecution concerning plural marriage). This, according to most churches in the day, was a total infringement on liberty; however, the government went ahead anyway. This is when/where the US got into the religious/marriage issue.

The United States has admittedly moved towards becoming a "Democracy" (as opposed to a "Constitutional Republic"). While we have always enjoyed a "democratic process/method" in electing our leaders and voting on bills/laws, we adhered to different principles than what are present in absolute Democracies. In Democracies, it is completely legitimate to merely vote on matters of religion, morality, rights, etc., because the only stipulation for legitimacy is majority vote. When a free-market approach to matters of religion was allowed the people through the 1800's, the individuals were then free to act in matters pertaining to conscience (something the Church says is absolutely necessary in regards to government: D&C 135) -- so long as they did not infringe upon the rights, liberties, or property of others (which, quite frankly, my homosexual neighbors do not threaten my life, liberty, or property -- even if a church "married" them).

Now that the government has gotten involved in marriage, the people must pay the price. There are issues of reverse-discrimination when US states, like Massachusetts, have allowed homosexual "marriage". Legalisms concerning what can be "forced" upon the people become a issue in Democracies that aren't present in a free-market Constitutional Republic. Because of the US transition from a Republic to Democracy, these other legalisms, and other social issues, allowing the redefinition of "marriage" to happen within the United States would be very detrimental to the Church. There are many gay/lesbian groups that have already drafted together bills to sue the Church for hate crimes unless the Church give them homosexual temple sealings (many of these groups are close to me in Salt Lake City -- the second largest homosexual community in the US outside of San Fransisco per capita). If this were to happen, I've already heard that the Church would actually shut down the temple before performing the ordinance.

When government becomes involved in areas it was supposed to have no authority, such problems as we are facing become real issue. The Church, in my opinion, is acting under the understanding that we're in a Democracy and that unless you put forth your stance first (within the majority), then you become the one acted upon. Nearly ever political scientist, philosopher, or religionist (Machiavelli, Locke, Calvin, Blackstone, Rousseau, etc.) talked about this fall-out of "Democracy" (as differentiated from "democratic method/process"). When there is no other stipulation for legitimacy other than majority vote, and the government does not conduct its affairs by unanimous consent, then there is huge room for the infringement of the rights of the minority/individual. In such a paradigm, history has proven such voting to become a weapon of survival -- to assert one's ability of voting over his neighbor first and hardest (to obtain majority consent). Lysander Spooner wrote very convincingly of this principle (Lysanderspooner.org).

This is no basis for good government, and actually shows the advanced stages of a disintegrating country. I agree with FD, Prop 8 has only postponed homosexual "marriage". I have no problem with my neighbors being gay or having a "Church" call them "married" -- so what, ya know? But the deciding factor in all of this is government; with government interference in marriage to begin with, this has completely changed the rules of the game. Sadly, the system is arranged in such a way that I have to slam my homosexual neighbor to protect me and my Church from the political ramifications that are already happening to other churches in areas where the government has allowed homosexual "marriage".

It is absolutely ridiculous the political and philosophical convolution that this country and the world operate under.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"It is absolutely ridiculous the political and philosophical convolution that this country and the world operate under."

Yeah, it's "ridiculous" that the gov't would need to get involved in marriage since no one who is married cares about having their union recognized under the law, especially not those who have kids or those who want their share of a divorce settlement. Shame on the German gov't for getting involved when a brother wanted to marry his sister -- the one who had given birth to 4 of their genetically messed-up kids -- so what, right?

C'mon S.Logan, your anti-gov't/anti-democracy theory is going to cause more problems than you think it's going to solve. I'm all for the gov't requiring people to get married civilly first if they want a legally-binding marriage -- like they do in Mexico -- and then letting everyone decide how or whether they want to be married religiously, but to do away with marriage licenses? Now even THAT is a violation of your freedom?

All this stuff about the temples being forced to perform gay sealings is nothing but paranoia. Even though your country is apparently falling apart at the seams because of this terrible thing called democracy, it does have that convenient wall between church and state -- the same one that is applied to let Mormons get away with denying black people the right to get married in or even enter the temple, as used to be the case even years after blacks got their civil rights, or from allowing women to hold the priesthood and officiate a sealing, which is still the case in these days of gender equality. So don't worry about having to "slam" your homosexual neighbour's marriage -- the gov't you apparently loathe will make sure that gay temple marriage continues to get slammed, regardless of whether or not it's happening outside of the temple. If the LDS Church really wanted gov't to stay entirely out of people's relationships, then it wouldn't put up such a stink about gay civil union laws in Utah. Live and let live, right?

"This is no basis for good government, and actually shows the advanced stages of a disintegrating country."

Along with the rest of the democratic world that is "disintegrating..."

djinn said...
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The Faithful Dissident said...

Oh please, Djinn.

I think your rants will fit in better someplace else because they do absolutely nothing for me. Probably not for any of my readers either. If anything, it's a huge turn-off to people who may actually sympathize with your side more than you know. You're hurting your own case.

You know what's "icky?" Your attitude, "baybee."

So take it elsewhere.

djinn said...
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S. Logan said...

Marriage is a civil right? Well, it depends on what facet of American jurisprudence you adhere to (the current defined sophistry or the original foundation of American understanding). The country was not based on "Civil Rights," as this cliche didn't even appear in the philosophical thought of the day when America was founded -- you can try to rewrite history, but you'll fail miserably. Instead, the American founders adhered to "inalienable rights", which was a cliche under "natural law" meaning "Creator/God given". But, you'd actually have to have read the philosophers leading up and and during the Enlightenment to understand this.

Djinn, you obviously haven't read any of the published words of the founders that completely rejected the the "state" gave any "rights". In fact, this was the very foundation wherein they fought for independence from England! England and the Colonies acknowledged that "rights" came from God; however, England transposed this idea into the "divine right of Kings" wherein they believed that the King had the "divine right" to dole our rights to the people. The founders rejected this sophistry and stated that by mere existence as human beings and children of God we are "endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights".

If you'd actually read the arguments of the Constitutional convention, or the following arguments of the anti-federalists, you'd realize that religion was an expressed inalienable right of the people. I don't want to take the time to educated you on the foundational difference between the federalists and the anti-federalists, but suffice it to say that it was understood (as per the 9th and 10th Amendments to our Constitution) that any "powers" not delegated to government specifically (by the Constitution) were automatically reserved to the people individually and the states. This means that you're theory that the state grants rights is unfounded, ludicrous, ignorant, and uneducated.

This, however, does not go to speak concerning any other form of Government outside the United States. Every government operates on a different premise of laws, ideas, stipulations, contracts, and legitimacies that this argument falls apart under. But, speaking to you as an someone who says they live in the United States -- you're wrong.

In the United States, it was originally understood that man held within himself all rights, powers, and privileges and that he delegated to government to act in his behalf in certain enumerated duties/rights. Man was free, sovereign, and indpenedent to do all things --whatsoever he wanted or decided to do -- so long as he did not infringe upon the same rights of another person. If two people were consenting, then it was understood that only God would rule in matters of conscience. "In God We Trust" was the motto, and they trusted God enough to render back to Him the power to rule the hearts of man within society. Government would only act in the trivial matters wherein lost equity needed to be reinstated (due to an infringement of life, liberty, or property of one man by an unruly individual acting outside his liberty own liberty).

Marriage, throughout ALL of history, has been a religious entity; only within the last 50-100 years has this changed into a completely irreligious institution. Even when secular government institutions ruled in marriage throughout feudal Europe, it was only done by the Church.

The fact that "Civil Unions" even exist is yet another proof against your theory. Some people, not wanting to have any "religion" acknowledge their union, established "civil unions" as a way for government to acknowledge the union (for secular and tax reasons, etc.)without ever having to deal with religion itself; otherwise, the agnostic/atheist would have had to go do a Church to be "married".

Change the world if you want to and redefine terms and conditions to twist them according to your theories, but let history stand for itself. Don't be so naive as to rewrite history to suit your own sophistry. Reject history's advancements for what they've been -- that is, if you have a better idea as to SHOULD be -- but be honest and let history stand for itself.

The Faithful Dissident said...

S.Logan, if what you're saying is true and what the Lord wants is a Republic with gov't kept to a bare minimum -- which is certainly the impression you gave in your lengthy comments against socialism -- then tell me this:

Why is the Church fighting gay marriage so aggressively? You said youself, "Man was free, sovereign, and indpenedent to do all things --whatsoever he wanted or decided to do -- so long as he did not infringe upon the same rights of another person." In other words, if gay people want to marry each other, then it's nobody's business because "man is free, sovereign, and independent to do all things." Who are we to "infringe" on their rights to marry whoever they want? Right? You are, essentially, saying that the US gov't/democracy is the Lord's and the Church's real enemy -- not gay marriage.

You said yourself:

"I have no problem with my neighbors being gay or having a "Church" call them "married" -- so what, ya know?

But the Church apparently does have a problem with it. Are you trying to say that if marriage was only a religious institution, then the Church would have no problem whatsoever with gay couples getting married in other churches that do allow gay marriage, and then go on to visit sperm banks or adopt children? It seems to me you are saying that all this talk about "protecting children" and "protecting the traditional family" -- the argument that the Church used in Prop 8 -- is not even important -- that the only thing that's really important is that the gov't let people do what they want and define their own marriage to whoever -- simply because it's their "God-given right" that gov't is robbing them of by requiring them to get a marriage license.

So when everyone does start defining their own marriage according to whatever religion they adhere to, the Church will then keep quiet about all these different definitions of marriage because having less gov't is more important to the Lord than children being raised by a mother and father?

It doesn't make sense to me.

S. Logan said...

As I stipulated in my original post on this thread: the rules have changed. I'm not the prophet to say what the church would absolutely do or not do in any given circumstance; I can only read and understand the principle and the find resolution between what the Church is doing and what they have previously said. There are MANY members I have talked to who are saying the Church is very hypocritical, because there are many churches that have "married" homosexual couples over LDS Church's 150+ history that the LDS Church said nothing about. I do NOT personally believe the LDS Church was being hypocritical in standing up for Prop 8 (and the few measures put forward in the last decade) while not politically addressing the issue of supposedly "rogue" churches that were performing homosexual marriages before and after state licensing of marriage. Why? Because, before now, the consequences of these rogue churches never effected the LDS Church's ability of progressing the "fullness of the everlasting gospel" forward.

Ironically, the "rights" that the homosexual community in the United States reportedly desire in "marriage" are already open/given to them through "civil unions". What's the difference between the two? Like I've said, one solely performed by the church, and one was performed solely through the government (we only have a vague semblance of this today). The LDS Church has not been threatened by the civil unions because the legal precedence hasn't forced the Church to adhere to civil unions as most legal proponents of Prop 8 are saying homosexual "marriages" will be.

If you remember your church history, you'll find that Presidents Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff all said that laws defining the free exercise of "marriage" is an infringement on liberty and is against the United States Constitution. Do you not remember that many leaders of our Church actually performed and were given to plural marriages -- even after the "law" in the United States stipulated otherwise? It wasn't until the Lord showed Wilford Woodruff what would happen to the Church if plural marriage wasn't repealed (it would eventually be wiped off the face of the earth) that he, as the holder of the key of priesthood that performed the plural marriage, was no longer used. As such, plural marriage was stopped in accordance to the will of God.

No, I don't care if the a church down the street says that my homosexual neighbors are "married" (and, historically, neither has the LDS Church) -- not so long as government stays out of the business of marriage. What happens, however, when government gets in the business of marriage and THEN are allow homosexual "marriages"? The train of religious abuses is adding up almost daily concerning churches and religious institutions that are being forced to adhere laws that make anti-homosexual attitudes and words "hate crimes". You should google some of these things.

If there was no hindrance to the Church's ability of progressing the gospel of Jesus Christ forward (as history has shown), the Church remains quite silent about issues and allows, as per D&C 135, all men and women their own "freedom of conscience"; however, the Church has always stepped forward to become active in matters where the progression of the gospel can or will be perceptibly hindered.

As per your statement concerning the need to regulate marriage because of brothers and sisters marrying each other -- or a myriad of other forms of marriage that are not between one man or one women only... The answer is simple: Government is to become involved in matters where life, liberty, or property are infringed. Interesting enough, this premise of government requires few laws and only a few brain cells (which is probably why most liberals -- and prominent conservatives -- can't understand how a Constitutional Republic can protect rights while creating the greatest amount of wealth). If you can measure an infringement in any of these areas, then you have a legitimate case wherein the United States Constitution can legitimately act. Otherwise, a Constitutional Republic has no legitimacy to act. As any political scientists say, the United States is no longer a Constitutional Republic but is a varying form of Democracy. If the average political scientist will know the fundamental change this country has taken in regards to its laws and premise of government, I fully believe that the First Presidency and the Brethren will also know or receive revelation accordingly to know how to act in regards to the progression of the gospel. God does not change; truth does not change; the priesthood of God does not change... it is the perception and accepted beliefs of the people that scripture and history is proven to change (those "philosophies of men, mingled with scripture"). Ironically, as the people point fingers at many of the Brethren, claiming they are hypocrites or "not with the times", it always the people that are found lacking in understanding. The scriptures teach us what is meant when President Eyring stated that "our Heavenly Father has at different periods in the history of this earth adjusted what he has asked of his children because of choices they made" (BYU Devotional, "Making Covenants With God", 1996).

So here we are. The Church has asked us to do something TODAY because of the choices they have made in something that hasn't been asked of us before. This doesn't mean that homosexual marriages have not happened in the United States before, but that something else is different this time around... What exactly IS the difference? Why did the Church decide to do something about the issue THIS time and not in any PREVIOUS times? You can either believe the Church is being hypocritical, or you can look at the area the Church is being active and understand how the people or society have changed. In this particular case, the issue is political and religious. So, again, I ask -- what has changed? Why THIS time? What has changed politically to make the Church stand up and take notice THIS time? What foundational premises have been changed to cause them to stand up THIS time?

That's just the history and facts; you can re-write history to fit your current understanding, or you can expand it to try and understand things for how they really have been -- not as you merely wish or want them to be. You may arrive at a different conclusion than I have, but at least it will be built on evidence that will mesh with everything the Church has purported at the time, understanding, and societal paradigm they purported it. That way, you don't have to cherry-pick what principles and historical facts you would like to adhere to or not...

S. Logan said...

Furthermore, I haven't said anything the Presidents of the Church haven't said, but I have never explicitly said that the Lord has only ever wanted a Constitutional Republic (as though any other form of government is evil?). The purpose of government is protect the liberty, freedom, and agency of man that God has given him; if a government can secure these "inalienable rights," then who cares what form it takes? Problem is that Satan's plan is to destroy the agency of man that God has given, and prophetic utterance says that Satan now has control over all earthly government. We can either ignore the fact that this was said, or we can humbly accept the fact and move forward with this knowledge and testimony.

We've also been told that the bringing forth of the Constitution of the United States was so established by the Lord as to allow the religious freedom enough to actually bring about the fullness of the gospel. But the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have said that such freedom will be infringed and taken away before the coming of Christ, and that the Church would also receive more political persecution "than it has ever known". Does this mean that every other government is inherently "bad"? No - not so long as they keep vouchsafe property, life, liberty, and freedom of conscience of the people... If you look at your own government or neighboring governments that do not protect these things, then you have a choice: You can either ignore the fact, or you can humbly and prayerfully act in doing what you can as an individual to change them. Don't force your neighbor to do it for you -- get up and be responsible for yourself.

djinn said...
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djinn said...
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djinn said...
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djinn said...
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S. Logan said...

Djinn, in issues of this nature, we must go back to the beginning -- the very beginning.

Are you saying that Adam and Eve had to procure a marriage license? What about their children? Their children's children's, children? To my knowledge, going back to the principled base -- man and women had no one to ask for permission or approval to be married. This, however absurd it may seem to you, is the basis of Christian natural law; Natural Law that was purported as the foundation of American jurisprudence.

At what point was government able to assume this power? Frankly, I do not have the right, ability, authority, or legitimacy to tell my neighbor what he can and cannot do -- morally or otherwise -- until HE violates MY rights. If man, from the beginning, had no self-ability to delegate to any "government" the power to regulate in certain matters -- from where did government gain these powers throughout history? As Christians, we claim that all human life started with Adam. From what point, from then till now, did government magically assume this role? When did this man-made, abstract, arbitrary entity ever gain the ability of doling out "rights" (the intangible ethos)? Government is nothing but a group of individuals who have a bigger gun than you -- you do what they say, or you pay a consequence (whatever that consequence may be). It is becoming alarmingly commonplace for people to think of their government as an entity unto itself -- this is a dangerous mentality, and one that has been thoroughly discussed throughout history as the last straw before falling into tyranny. Just because government may assume a power or tell you that they "give" you your rights, this is not natural!

You brought up the issue of the slaves; this is indeed the ultimate manifestation of societal ignorance that can be discussed in American history. The slaves always had their inalienable right, however, because of an ignorant and overpowering majority -- the American slaves (as well as the children of slave holders -- future slave holders themselves) were taught that they needed the approval of their owners to be "married"! One of the greatest shams in history. As you study American history, you'll find that slaves were not allowed to marry unless they obtained a "license" from their owner -- I ask you, what does that say about us? "None are more helplessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free" (Goethe).

So what of the social construct that we have built in America? Apparently, it appears that we NEED marriage licensing; after all, if the government didn't regulate this religious affair, there would be anarchy in the streets -- right? HA! No.

You still don't grasp the idea of government only being involved in matters of life, liberty, or property. Marriage, forever, has been a religious contract; this is the oldest stipulation possibly written. As per the United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 10), the State has no power to force itself between nor prohibit any persons from contracting with each other. The problem with everything you've stipulated - everything that you've brought up as a problem - is easily achieved by establishing legitimate government that protects the inalienable right of the people to contract with each other. If I am given the free ability of contracting with my insurance carrier to give my homosexual partner any benefits, then that is his right to do so as an individual. This has nothing to do marriage.

If there is supposed to be a separation of church and state, then by what possible authority do you suppose government fabricated the right to give a religious institution a tax "break" (as opposed to on individual or another?)? Now, don't be so naive as to assume that this has anything to do with tax exemptions that are given to church; Churches are merely a grouping of individuals who have paid their taxes individually, and it would be a "double-tax" to tax them again once they've come together. Furthermore, that a church would have to qualify/apply for a tax break is yet intrusion of government into religion. To reiterate: All religions are nothing more than individuals who have already been taxed -- that have gathered together for a non-profit purpose to worship their God. To tax a church, or to tax the joint gathering would be a double taxation.

You bringing up the Puritans is laughable, because their whole society was based on a theocracy. Thank you for proving my point.

All laws prohibiting the social ability of the people to contract is only enforced through tyranny; no individual has the right to take away, define, redefine, or limit the right of contract from his neighbor who has never infringed upon anyone else's life, liberty, or property. As even evidenced in the Old Norse traditions, the innocent individual is protected by law (natural law) until he has violated his own liberty by violating the liberty of another man; once a man has acted outside his own liberty, the law can no longer protect that infringing individual from being infringed upon. This person, according to the Old Norse traditions, is an "outlaw" (outside the protection of the law). But until he is an outlaw, there is no justification or legitimacy to prohibit him from acting within his rights.

All natural law breaks down in governments where "majoritism" is the only stipulation for legitimacy. In current terms, it's a government based on the "truthiness" of "wikiality".

BEN said...

This is all very fascinating and I could say a lot but I will limit my comments. While many fundamentally contradictory statements have been made, the most fundamentally wrong of them all was made by djinn....and multiple times.
Djinn, if you believe that rights are granted or given by the government, then you are so fundamentally screwed up on your understanding of any principle as to make it impossible to converse with you. Rights are not given by government. They are given by our Creator.

The Faithful Dissident said...

S.Logan, go back and read my last comment because you didn't answer my questions about who or what the real enemy of the Church is (the gov't or gay marriage) and whether it's more important that gov't stay out of marriage or that children are raised by a mother or father.

Also, you say you "have never explicitly said that the Lord has only ever wanted a Constitutional Republic (as though any other form of government is evil?)... if a government can secure these "inalienable rights," then who cares what form it takes?" but according to you, a Constitutional Republic, as you define it, is the only form of gov't in the history of the world that could manage to do it. In fact, even America is "disintegrating" as you say, all social democracy = communism and therefore evil, democracy is also evil and corrupt in your eyes. In other words, gov't = evil unless it adheres to your formula, which is virtually no gov't at all. So you claim you never said it explicitly (I doubt this, but quite frankly I don't have the time to go back and read all your lengthy comments against socialism), but you certainly claimed it implicitly. I don't see how you can make that claim with a straight face after our socialism debate.

S. Logan said...

Why would gay marriage be a threat to the Church? The people who morally accept gay marriage exist, regardless of whether or not "marriage" is allowed to homosexuals or not. How does this effect the Church? How does this effect my own heterosexual marriage? How does this effect my life? Well, because I live in Provo, Utah it doesn't. My community here wouldn't allow homosexual books in the schools, even if homosexual marriage was nationally allowed. Any gay neighbors I may have don't effect me -- my marriage or my life, liberty, or property doesn't spontaneously burst into flames when a gay person (married or otherwise) walks by.

No, this is not a battle against homosexuals -- this is a very political battle. When I lived in California over the summer, every speaker and meeting I went to stressed the political ramifications of what would happen should Prop 8 fail -- morality was never an issue (maybe it was where you're at, but it wasn't in any real meetings that I went to while I was there). When political activism seeks to force me to curtail my beliefs to conform and be subject to social trends -- this DOES infringe upon my life, liberty, and property. The only way a homosexual neighbor's lifestyle could infringe upon me and could legally curtail my ability of preaching the gospel as I believe it is to enter the political and legal sphere.

So, to answer your question, the government would be the entity most needed to be watched in prohibiting the freedom of religion. No homosexual is going to keep me from attending the temple; however a government mandate, like what some homosexual groups have already drafted in a legal law suit, to accept homosexual "marriages" in our temples WOULD hinder the progression of the Lord as the Church would stop all marriage services in the temple or churches.

As per your supposed line of causation concerning my take on God and Constitutional Republics -- somehow reading between the lines of everything I've said -- no, I don't think the Lord is up in heaven with a big American flag a copy of the US Constitution hanging on his wall. I believe the Constitution is an inspired document, as should you because you're LDS -- but I also believe, as per our leaders, that the Constitution has become perverted and "torn to shreds". The leaders of our Church, Prophets and Apostles alike, have all said that the Constitution of the United States has provided more freedom, liberty, and expression of agency than any other political document ever created. I'm not national-centric; I'll be the first to admit that my country is one of the largest "rights" abusers in any socio-economically advanced country. But the principles that were to be vouchsafe by the US Constitution are eternal, and ANY document that seeks to protect these rights, under the premise that these are rights given from God, should be fought for, regardless of what form the government may take. I'd be the biggest fan of socialism and communism if they worked to maintain the rights, liberties, and freedoms of the individual -- I'd support these systems of government if they were in line with D&C 134. But they don't maintain these things, and they're not in line with our religious scripture. It doesn't really work to be a "Mormon" if you don't believe the doctrine that is taught, does it?

If you're interested in finding out what our Church leaders have actually said about government, society, freedom, liberty, agency, socialism, communism, health care, the welfare state, world events, and the government dole -- I'd be more than happy to direct you to some very well known books.

mfranti said...

s. logan, you're a bore. you really like to hear yourself speak don't you. sigh.

ben: "that rights are granted or given by the government, then you are so fundamentally screwed up on your understanding of any principle as to make it impossible to converse with you. Rights are not given by government. They are given by our Creator."

i suppose you should tell that to black slaves in the 1830's or working children before 1938 or black citizens prior to the civil rights movement or to women in the workforce in the 60's

if i had to guess, you are a middle class white man and the only thing you've ever had to really work for was a good grade.

you people with your fancy ideals of what history was and what rights are....you make me ashamed.

S. Logan said...
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S. Logan said...

Alright then Mfranti, what IS the history of marriage? What IS the history of licensing? How do YOU explain government legitimacy from the beginning? How do you (re)define what "inalienable" rights are? How do YOU reason away the Enlightenment? If you're so ashamed, please, tell us what the truth is. Be an American - stand up for something for once. Problem is with every liberal I've always talked to is that they cannot use history to support their sophistry; they can only slam the guy who does as "being an intellectual", and then redefine words to contort to their ideology. I'm certain YOU are the exception to the rule... Please, use actual history to disprove me... I'm listening if you can make a fact based and legitimate claim. Please, tell me how governments and societies have naturally come to be throughout history -- I'm really begging to know.

BEN said...

Mfranti
I would be glad to tell it to them, but they understood it better than you do. They should have understood that they had rights whether government recognized them or not. A right is inalienable. Honestly, you obviously don't even understand the word right. Read the Declaration of Independence. Read the Constitution. Read something! All these state that the government is not to infringe on certain rights. That means the rights existed before government, not because of it.
To say that rights come from government is absurd. Rights come from our Creator. The whole premise of the United States is built on this concept. That you don't understand it is disturbing. The government derives its power from the people, not the people their power from the government. To say rights come from government is to make government sovereign, not the people.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"Why would gay marriage be a threat to the Church?.. How does this effect the Church? How does this effect my own heterosexual marriage? How does this effect my life? Well, because I live in Provo, Utah it doesn't."

S.Logan, for once we agree on something.

But tell me, how would your fellow Utahns respond if you got up in sacrament meeting and said "Gay marriage is not a threat to the Church. The real enemy is your gov't who is interfering in marriage. Let everyone define their own marriage and let them adopt children, whether they're straight, gay, married or not. Making sure that America's children are raised by a mother and father is not as important as whether your gov't makes you get a marriage license or not."

If marriage is solely a religious rite, as you want it to be, then that means that anyone -- gay, straight, bisexual, common-law couples, polygamists, bigamists, will be able to adopt children. After all, who would the gov't be to dare to regulate who gets to adopt and who doesn't, since marriage is none of their business and would not be recognized civilly? But this is precisely what Mormons don't want. They want families to consist of a married mother, father, and children -- nothing else. That has been the entire premise of Prop 8 -- to protect families and children from being raised by anyone but a married mother and father. Preventing adoption by gays was one of the biggest reasons for Prop 8, but if marriage is not civilly recognized, adoption by such "undesirables" is exactly what will happen. Your argument abandons the Church's mission totally because if marriage is solely a religious rite, then more children, especially adopted children, will be raised by people that the Church does not think should be raising them. Many people choose to be married civilly because they don't want to be affiliated with any religion. So if civil marriage is gone, they will not be married. And then we have more kids being raised by common-law couples, heterosexual or homosexual. Even in "evil, socialist, liberal Norway," children can only be adopted by married couples. But under your theory, marriage is solely religious and therefore the gov't cannot dictate that couples who want to adopt are married.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"No homosexual is going to keep me from attending the temple; however a government mandate, like what some homosexual groups have already drafted in a legal law suit, to accept homosexual "marriages" in our temples WOULD hinder the progression of the Lord as the Church would stop all marriage services in the temple or churches."

The same way that black people got all the temples to shut down and "hindered the progression of the Lord" by getting a gov't mandate to allow them to be married in the temple year after they got their civil rights?

Oops, but they failed to force the Church to let them in the temple. Why? For the exact same reason that gays will fail on exactly the same thing.

The Faithful Dissident said...

FYI: I'm moving tomorrow and not sure when we'll have the internet hooked up in the new house. So if I don't respond to comments, that's why.

RAP08 said...

I hesitate to enter the fray as the hair really seems to be flying :)

I did want to clarify one thing, the purpose of Prop 8 was never and it will not prevent a same sex couple from adopting. The ‘protect the children’ aspect of the campaign was related to education of children regarding marriage. If Prop 8 failed there was the concern that children would be taught that SSM was equal with 'traditional' marriage. As a parent I want to be able to teach the values that I hold not have them indoctrinated in what some other group of people think is important. As it stand here is California there is a requirement that marriage be taught if a school opts in the comprehensive sex education program, which 95% of schools do. There was also some indications that gay organizations wanted this teaching to be exempted from the opt-out and notification requirements of other sex education.

I agree with Faithful that there is little chance that gay marriage will be performed in the temple as the requirements for all members to enter the temple would prevent them from even going inside. We do not discriminate on sexual orientation just require a level of worthiness. A gay person can attend the temple and even get married albeit to a person of the opposite sex in the temple as long as they meet the worthiness requirements.

I do not think the government can fault the churches policies. I guess that could change if, as has happened in other countries, a US judge decides that a religion can not teach homosexuality as a sin and to teach against its practice is hate speech. He or She could then revoke our authority to perfom weddings if we did not comply with marrying same sex couples. We may then take the same approach as we do in other countries, marry civilly at the court house and then get sealed in the temple. We would then not be performing legally recognized weddings but would still be able to receive the ordinances requisite for exaltation.

On a side note I have seen a number of posts, may not have been here, where people state the church does not recognize marriages other than those performed in the temple. This is clearly false as when families join the church and we do not tell them that they are adulterers and that they need to remarry. We do hold that those marriages will end at death and have no efficacy in the eternities and encourage them to be sealed. It may be what the posters meant but I think the distinction is real and these statements are misleading.

I may agree with a lot of what S. Logan is saying but in my mind the boat has already sailed on a lot of the issues he raises. We are always encouraged to vote our conscience and would expect him to vote for people or to run for office to implement a repealing of all the laws that are counter to the ‘real’ intent of the constitution. I personally have not made as detailed a study as it appears he has and am still forming my opinions so I appreciate the perspectives that he shares, though I think he could work on his winning ways, I am sure we all could do so :)

RAP08 said...

Have fun moving, got all the boxes packed? We get to move back into our house after a 6 month remodel later this month and are not looking forward to the move but can't wait to get of this small apartment.

djinn said...
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S. Logan said...

FD:

I’ve talked to several members of the church concerning the government’s role in marriage and how this creates a long train of abuses concerning the implementation and practice of religion, the freedom of conscience, and the decay of many individual liberties. They’ve all agreed with me. I agree with The Family: A Proclamation to the World that children are “entitled” to grow up in a home with a mother and a father.

As our society now stands, you are right – if “marriage” was politically and legally allowed (as per the government infringement of the religious rite), then all people (heterosexuals, homosexuals, polygamists, etc.) will be able to adopt or have children. I think you presuppose that simply because that’s the way things ARE currently in society that that is the way they have always been. My question is: what are the societal and political forces that have brought us to this place? To establish whether marriage was religious or secular, all you have to find is the original source. Are you seriously stipulating that it was man’s government that originally established marriage? Interestingly enough, when government didn’t regulate these things, we didn’t experience problems or questions like this. So what’s changed? We didn’t have societal problems with “un-traditional” partnerships having children or raising children in the United States before instituting marriage licensing. Furthermore, there is no account of any of the homosexual couples that were ever “married” by rogue churches through the 1800’s ever having or raising children. Why? According to your argument, without government regulation, homosexual couples would have been running rampant adopting children. This is simply ridiculous. Can our political problem concerning marriage actually be politically caused?

Most states in the US allow that homosexual couples under “Civil Unions” can adopt children (have you heard of Rosie O’Donnell?). I don’t know where your statement comes from concerning adoption; it is very well known that EVERY “right” that is secularly associated to “marriage” is granted under “civil unions” (they are practically the same). The entire argument, really, is quite ridiculous. “Marriage”, in the western world, has always been defined as the religious union between a man and a woman; for homosexuals to want to redefine the term “marriage” makes as much sense as if I thought my “rights” were being violated because the government wouldn’t call my heterosexual marriage a “homosexual union”. When the homosexual community is allowed all the same rights that married couples are under the law, where is this whole argument coming from? In fact, the LDS Church’s official policy is that it accepts “Civil Unions”; this surely doesn’t fit the mold, with all that Civil Unions are, for homosexuals to establish “equal rights” amongst the homosexuals, nor does it appear to be a direct attack of the Church trying to keep homosexual couples from adopting children.

I fully accept and agree with the Church’s position in supporting Prop 8, although I also argue that such is against a “Constitutional Republic”. It is overly evident that the United States does not operate upon the same principles, ideas, philosophies, or legal premises than it was founded on. That’s fine, countries change. Under the auspices of American political understanding, Prop 8 is absolutely necessary in maintaining and forwarding the family (between a mother and a father).

Djinn:

That’s great that you’re people were Puritans, but that doesn’t mean much. You’re right, the history of marriage would fill many volumes, but I ask you the same as I did FD: what was the original source of marriage? Man has polluted many plain and precious principles – but concerning marriage, what was the compact originally to be? How was it originally established? We can bring up the entire history of marriage, but who originally instituted government and how? Did “Adam” go down to the local courthouse to get a marriage license? I don’t care how society has polluted and prostituted the term “marriage,” I ask under what natural form was it originally given?

While some sources say that the Puritans had purely “civil” ceremonies, these sources also conveniently leave out the Puritan pre-requisites for marriage: (1) contract, (2) the announcement of the contract, (3), THE EXECUTION OF THE CONTRACT AT A CHURCH, (4) celebration of the contract at the home of the groom, and (5) sexual intercourse. If one party was found to be infertile, then the contract could be rendered null-and-void by the court (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puritan -- I hate using Wikipedia, but it was the quickest source for the time I had). Why the court and not the church in matters of contract? Government can not infringe upon the right of the people to make contracts with each other, nor forbid the form they may take, but it can become involved when the terms of the contract are violated – this is one of the legitimate stipulations of government. Government uses illegitimate power when it forces itself to be a partner between two people’s contracts. If any LDS members believe that government has forever defined marriage, they need only look to their own history to see the leadership of the Church who kept performing plural marriages after the government had illegalized it.

It’s really too bad that most members, in the US and outside, will merely dismiss or rewrite history instead of trying to understand the principles and ideas in context. Too bad indeed.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Djinn, I appreciate and accept your apology.

S.Logan, I'd like to argue several points that you made, but I simply don't have the time since I'm limited to the internet at the library for now. Will be at least a week before I'm connected at home and I will have some catching up to do by then. And to be quite honest, for lack of an appropriate English expression, "jeg gidder ikke," as they say here. In other words, I don't really feel like it. Just reading your comments will use up most of my time limit. :) I respect your beliefs and I'm sure you're a fine person, but you and I are on different political planets, and quite frankly it gets tiring to constantly have to be the one who's "in the wrong" where the Church is concerned according to conservative American members like you. Thanks for coming out.

DeweyOlsen said...
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