October 11th, 2008


Religion and politics

On Wednesday, we went to a broadcast where Elders M. Russell Ballard and Quentin L. Cook encouraged members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to organize in support of Proposition 8, which I think everybody knows by now is the proposition to add an amendment to California's constitution defining marriage as only being between a man and a woman. I promised kilerkki that we would report back to her about what it said, but so many things have been running around my head lately that it's been hard to keep everything straight. We heard a lot of the same stuff I mentioned last time I posted about this, only this time with more details backing it up.

To help get my thoughts sorted out, we went to the Church's news website to read the article they kept referring to, "The Divine Institution of Marriage". The article was written to explain the Church's stance on same-sex marriage, and it really explains it all waaaaay better than I could, so if it's something you want to know about, please click the link and read away! If you don't have time, we might be able to help with specific questions.

The site turned out to be a lot more helpful than I thought, as there was a video with excerpts from the broadcast right there on the main page. It also had a bunch of other neat links, like a list of links to articles on the Church's official stance on other political issues, including this one on political neutrality. It has a list of what the Church does and does not do in politics. I think the one most relevant to this post is this one:

"[The Church does] Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church."

This is why the Church is getting involved in elections like this. I mentioned in another post that if Proposition 8 fails and same-sex marriage is legalized, it could affect our rights to worship and work in accordance to our beliefs. It's been argued that that's just a scare tactic, and it would never really happen because of our Constitutional right to freedom of religion. However, they also had a link to this article, listing several examples of how religious groups are already having to compromise their beliefs, stop doing business, etc., right here in the United States because of anti-discrimination suits.

Speaking of discrimination, some of the articles (including the one I linked before on the divine institution of marriage) have some things to say about tolerance. Here's a quote from Elder Dallin H. Oaks!

"Tolerance obviously requires a non-contentious manner of relating toward one another’s differences. But tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination."

The article goes on to say:

"The Church does not condone abusive treatment of others and encourages its members to treat all people with respect. However, speaking out against practices with which the Church disagrees on moral grounds – including same-sex marriage – does not constitute abuse or the frequently misused term 'hate speech.' We can express genuine love and friendship for the homosexual family member or friend without accepting the practice of homosexuality or any re-definition of marriage."

I think this entry is getting kind of long, so I'll just address one more issue, and that's the idea that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints thinks that God hates gay people. This idea is false. Most of the Church stuff I link to says it, I think, but I want to emphasize again that we believe that we are all God's children and he loves every one of us, and as such we are to treat each other with love and respect as well. I hope that we and our other Latter-Day Saint friends have been good examples of this. But loving someone doesn't mean condoning what we believe to be sinful behavior. (For more information on what the Church has to say about homosexuality, check out this article!)

And for the heck of it, here's a link to an article in the LA Times with a secular opinion on why Proposition 8 is good for the children (written by a liberal Democrat).

Today I'm thankful for blankets fresh out of the dryer, Swiffers, shiny classical music packages, Mom making brownies for us yesterday, and new makeshift beds for kitties.
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