So one of the things that's been on my mind involves the dangers of Facebook. We have a relatively short Facebook friends list, and most of the people on that list don't really say anything, so Facebook fills our feed by telling us not only what our friends are saying, but what other posts they're Liking and/or commenting on. The other day, one of our friends Liked a status talking about how the poster can boycott Ender's Game if he wants to. There's nothing wrong with that--in fact, we agree. No one is infringing on any of Orson Scott Card's human rights by not going to see Ender's Game for whatever reason. (In fact, we're not planning to see the movie, either.)
But because we're bored and crave human interaction, when something comes up that seems like it will inspire intelligent conversation, we like to read the comments. Sometimes it makes for some good brain stimulation, but since the majority of those conversations are on controversial subjects, sometimes it also leads to us being unhappy about the state of humanity. I'd say the conversation on this status post was somewhere inbetween.
What happened (if I remember correctly) was this: someone wisely chose to stop being ignorant and asked the original poster why he planned to boycott Ender's Game. We had heard why people in various fan communities are upset with Orson Scott Card, and while we do support traditional marriage, we don't support being a jerk about it. We don't know enough about it to say how big a jerk (or possibly not a jerk, we don't know) he was, but that part becomes unimportant, because the number one reason supplied by the Ender's Game boycotter was "he's a fundamentalist Mormon."
As a Mormon, that hurts. But the poster said in the same sentence that Card is on the board for the National Organization for Marriage, and okay, we can understand not wanting to support an organization you disagree with. But then he went on to say in another comment that he makes it a point to stay away from anything Twilight, too, not just because it's Twilight, but because that, too, would be supporting a Mormon, and subsequently the LDS Church.
It made us wonder if we needed to come on to LiveJournal and tell all our readers, "Don't worry everybody--we get paid a flat rate for all the manga we translate, so you can buy manga without worrying about our church getting any of the royalties." And then the negative thinking continues to say, "But what if they realize that our working for the manga companies at all means that they still can't buy manga, because the manga companies will use that money to pay us for translating something, and a percentage of that flat fee will go to the LDS Church?" And then we're like, "What if they want all Mormons to be unemployed!?"
Well, I won't deny there's a sort of sense of self-righteousness that comes with feeling like part of an oppressed minority, even if the oppression is only imagined. But just in case it's not, we thought the more constructive thing to do would be to explain what we know about tithing.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints asks us to pay ten percent of our increase to the church, and the concern is that that money is used to stop gay people from getting married. I'm pretty sure it's true that the LDS Church has given monetary donations to support things like Proposition 8, but I'm also pretty sure it's not a constant thing. Like, when it comes up, the Church makes a one-time donation. But the Church's stance wasn't so much about taking away the rights of others--marriage between a man and a woman is a key principle of our faith, and we wanted to defend our right to stay true to that principle. Whether or not that right is in any danger is not the point of discussion here.
The main point I want to make is that tithing is used for so many more things than political stuff that the amount paid to things like Prop 8 is incredibly small. We found an article about it here, but the important thing is the list of what tithing is used for. Here it is:
-Providing buildings or places of worship for members around the world. We have thousands of such buildings and continue to open more, sometimes several in a week.
-Providing education programs, including support for our universities and our seminary and institute programs.
-Supporting the Church’s worldwide missionary program.
-Building and operating nearly 140 temples around the world and the administration of the world’s largest family history program.
-Supporting the Church’s welfare programs and humanitarian aid, which serve people around the world — both members of the Church as well as those who are not members.
We feel the need to point out that the education programs mentioned (which we have experienced) are basically to teach about the scriptures, church history--that sort of thing. Like regular history classes, but centered on the events in the scriptures. Brigham Young University, our alma mater, is also supported by tithing (and student tuition).
The welfare programs and humanitarian aid services are some of the best in the world--you can read about them here.
...And I'm not sure what else I want to say. I can understand not wanting even the tiniest percent of your money to go to a cause you strongly disagree with, and I can even understand the sentiment that if an organization is oppressing people and taking away their rights, it's fair to want every one of its members to be unemployed. But I believe with all my heart that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a force for good in the world. If you think we all believe that gay people are a scourge to be eradicated, I implore you to look at this website.
I think that's about as far as my thoughts on the subject are going to be organized. Finally, I just want to restate my opinion that it's okay to disagree on stuff, but let's all try to understand each other and where we're coming from, so we can disagree without hating each other.
Today I'm thankful for tithing, getting to listen to a new Miyu Irino song, having a fairly good time at the Relief Society activity last night, the amazing peanut butter chocolate chip cookies somebody brought, and getting to stop work a little early today.