Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page
It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.
Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting.
While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.
The basic point being, of course, that democracy means that we don’t always get our way. Sometimes the majority of voters don’t agree with our viewpoints. In this case, a majority of Californian voters “from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation” decided that they wanted Proposition 8 to pass. If you don’t agree, that is your right, but you don’t get to harass and bully those voters for exercising their Constitutional rights.
A second point here is something I mentioned in my last post; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints did not pass Proposition 8; A majority of Californian voters, of which Church members are a small minority, passed Proposition 8.
As far as LDS involvement in passing Proposition 8 is concerned, the Church had this to say:
It is important to understand that this issue for the Church has always been about the sacred and divine institution of marriage — a union between a man and a woman.
Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians. Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.
As I read this, the Church basically says that it does not oppose in any form the rights that many claim as the reason for seeking marriage rights for gays — in this case, rights that are already guaranteed to all domestic partnerships in California under California Family Code section 297.5. The objection comes when that union is called marriage, which is something that churches have been very involved in defining for thousands of years.
Update: Updated my second quotation and commentary to more accurately reflect the Church’s statement.
From the Los Angeles Times:
More than a thousand gay-rights activists gathered Thursday afternoon outside the Mormon temple in Westwood to protest the role Mormons played in passing Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California…
Outside the Los Angeles temple Thursday, dozens of protesters screamed “Bigots” and “Shame on You” at half a dozen men in button-down shirts and ties who looked out at the demonstration from behind the temple’s closed gates.
The men did not respond.
The pictures show the protest happening in the daylight hours. Those “half a dozen men in button-down shirts and ties?” Security and groundskeeping. It’s a work day, and Latter-Day Saints are at work, not at the temple.
While some religions have professional clergy, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not. The temple may be very important to our worship, but there won’t be a single leader of the Church at the temple today to hear the protests, with the exception of those leaders whose function is solely to preside over the temple itself. These protesters are wasting their time.
Setting those issues aside, I wonder along with Michelle whether these protestors will target all the groups that supported Proposition 8 or not. A broad group of churches and other organizations made up the coalition which put Proposition 8 on the ballot, and 52% of Californian voters voted it in, including large percentages of Latino and African-American voters. That same voting demographic was repeated throughout the country, where similar measures were passed in Arizona and Florida, and an initiative prohibiting gay couples from adopting children passed in Arkansas. Where is the rage for them?
I suppose the argument could be made that California is different because gay marriage was made temporarily legal by court fiat. However, here in Oregon the same thing happened: county commissioners in Multnomah County decided for themselves to change the law, and the voting public reversed the decision at the next election. I don’t remember huge protests or threats to burn buildings and assault people.
In the end, the bottom line is that the people of California, not just one church or one type of person, passed this law. If you don’t agree with it, there are number of legal means to try to reverse it, not just immediately but throughout your lifetime. That’s how democracy works.
Update: Apparently the rage against African-Americans has started after all. I’m really surprised to see that.
I burst out laughing when I saw this ad last night. Supposedly an earlier version has been around since August, which leaves me wondering how something this ridiculous escaped my view for so long:
It’s Smith who can’t be trusted with our wallets.
$48 billion for Iraq’s reconstruction.
$18 billion in tax breaks for big oil.
A $10 trillion dollar national debt.
The Democratic Party in Oregon is trying to win the U.S. Senate race for Jeff Merkley by blaming the National Debt on Gordon Smith.
Wish I had more time to comment on this, but I have to go to work.
Read his lips: what he’s been saying the entire time is whatever is politically expedient at the moment: