Friday, June 28, 2013

In light of recent events...

Long post ahead. Pretty religious, pretty political. Be forewarned.

Wednesday, the Supreme Court somehow overturned a proposition that was passed in California some years ago that was commonly known as Proposition 8. This act basically defined a marriage as between a man and a woman, a "spouse" being someone that you were legally married to as someone opposite your gender. It was strange, because the majority of voters were the ones to pass it in the first place – and now there's 5 out of 9 people saying it's wrong, therefore declaring it "unconstitutional." Here is a statement from the Mormon Newsroom, posted that day:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement today regarding the decisions announced by the United States Supreme Court on cases involving marriage:
"By ruling that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to bring this case to court, the Supreme Court has highlighted troubling questions about how our democratic and judicial system operates. Many Californians will wonder if there is something fundamentally wrong when their government will not defend or protect a popular vote that reflects the views of a majority of their citizens.

"In addition, the effect of the ruling is to raise further complex jurisdictional issues that will need to be resolved.

"Regardless of the court decision, the Church remains irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman, which for thousands of years has proven to be the best environment for nurturing children. Notably, the court decision does not change the definition of marriage in nearly three-fourths of the states." Original source, emphasis added.
An unbiased summary of the events as well as reactions from both sides of the issue, as written in part by an acquaintance of mine, can be found here.

For those who might not know, I happen to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons. I strive to live by its teachings by no one's choice but my own. (Why that is the case, I can discuss in a later blog post.) Never have I seen any messages of hate, or offense, or anything of the sort come from the LDS Church, and I've been part of it my entire life. It's been the target of many attacks, especially after having heavily supported Prop 8, but has never gone out of its way to show anything but love and support for others. However, this statement, while strongly worded, is one that I completely agree with. In a time where it feels like our votes don't "really" matter all that much in the first place, this is just icing on the bitter cake. I don't currently live in California, nor was I there when Proposition 8 was originally passed, but I almost fear living there if it means that my voice will no longer be heard.

Marriage is something I believe to be sacred, and sustained by God, and between a man and a woman. It is a privilege, not a right. I do not believe that people should be denied certain rights or privileges based on orientation, gender, skin color, disability, or anything of the sort. If someone should be denied rights or privileges, it should be based on their actions (or, in certain cases, lack thereof). True, there are certainly people who happen to have feelings of attraction toward their same gender. But just because I feel like doing something doesn't mean I have to go out and do it. An example: say I'm at work in an office one day, and I get overly stressed. A fairly common situation for some people, depending on the job. But this one day, I'm so stressed that I just get this crazy idea to start smashing things up in the workspace – not hurting anyone but destroying their computers, their desks, their personal belongings. No one would actually be hurt, but things just wouldn't be the same any more. Damage would be done. It would make me feel great, but others would feel hurt from my actions, they would feel offended because of my actions.
Do I have to go and smash up that office because I have a strong feeling to do so? Because I really, really want to? Of course not. Am I even allowed to? No, not without repercussions. Do two men or two women who feel a strong attraction for one another have to sleep together? ...This is where it begins to get fuzzy. No, of course they don't have to sleep together, but people say that they're more than allowed to. If they're in love, society today dictates that they probably should start sleeping together. And apparently the law says they're entitled to marry each other and have the same privileges that I would have if I had a wife. Am I personally damaged by that? No. But I feel like I am, because something that I have always believed to be sacred is now being redefined by a court of a few imperfect people. (I say imperfect here; there was of course only One perfect man to walk the earth, and I don't know that I would be any better than any of the Supreme Court Justices on a day-to-day basis.) And their definition is ruining the sacredness of what I believe. Yes, I know I can still go on and get married on my own to a woman I love, but it just feels... wrong to know that Joe Shmoe and John Doe would try to have the same full relationship that I'd have with my wife. I just know they're not acting right, and I just know that there is so much more they could get out of life.
What infuriates me most is how the issue gets promoted and dealt with over and over and over again. Many times I feel like it does get shoved in my face, despite claims of not doing so. Don't believe me? Look at the following picture:
YouTube's logo, flavor text highlighted, for today, 6/28/2013
Should the Supreme Court not have voted the way it did on Wednesday, I can guarantee that that picture would not be there today. It's a victory banner, and because it's on a website viewed by millions of people every minute, yes it's shoving it in our face. Why can't there be pride in the traditional values that have held up for THOUSANDS of years? Why can't there be pride in a man loving a woman, the woman loving the man, them wanting to have children, raise their own family, teach them correct principles, and live full, meaningful lives? Because that's biased, sexist, and offensive. And now unconstitutional.


*sigh*
I don't write what I write without thinking about it, nor without pause or patience. I know that if I were to truly write things out of anger or spite, mashing my keyboard to quickly get a point out, I'd be sure to offend a lot of people, many for whom I care deeply. These are personal thoughts that I post because I need to get them out. Yes, my beliefs are firmly rooted in the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I'm not ashamed to say that. For those who want to understand where they (and I) come from on this issue, there are a number of resources. First is a statement that came out in 1995, entitled "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." It is an organized list of statements as given by the presiding council of the LDS Church of what exactly a family is and how it should function. Why it's important that there's a man and a woman in the home. It's not long, only about a page or two in length. Second is a response that was given to a petition by the Human Rights Campaign from about three years ago. It is a statement given regarding certain bullying events that took place because of the sexual orientation of certain individuals, and it has many points relevant to the topic at hand. Third, there are a few websites to look at, produced by the LDS Church, and perfectly visible to anyone who wants to see them: mormon.org, a site geared toward those who don't know much about the Church and want to know more; lds.org, where most of our doctrine can be found in detail; and a newer site called mormonsandgays.org, dedicated specifically to how we wish to interact with and include those who deal with homosexuality on a regular basis. Again, nothing of hate. Nothing of ill will. Nothing about discrimination. Just offers of hope and love, which we really need more of in this world.
At the time of writing, I don't feel like I'm anywhere near the moment shown in this picture. But when I get there, I want it to be as sacred, special, and memorable as possible.

3 comments:

  1. I would comment that if you believe the institution of marriage is truly sacred then you must believe it is entirely sacred because of God's own doing. It is only by lack of faith that you can believe that something as insignificant and perpetually rampant as man's sin could ever tarnish what has has given us.

    Not tax benefit, no visitation rights, no joint banking account could ever validate the sacred union that God's love offers us. To mire it in human institution is to divert your attention away from the Lord and instead redirect it onto the mundane, material, and, above all, perishable.

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