Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'm coming out...

... I'd rather be one of those that you know exactly where I stand - rather than someone who pretends.

I'm LDS. I'm also called a Mormon. I'm also an Asian Mormon...and for some - that is enough to point and stare because ... I'm like a strange freak-show.

I also have friends that are gay and friends that aren't. That is totally fine with me. I like having diverse friends, in age, beliefs, ethnic origins...etc. I also believe in marriage. I believe in the essence and purpose of it because I am not a person that can separate what I believe from who I am day-to-day. That doesn't make me perfect... far, far, far away from it. But it does mean that I am unafraid to state who I am. This doesn't mean I have a right to be arrogant or disrespectful of someone who has a differing opinion. So it always bothers me when someone who doesn't believe the way I do - decides that it's ok for them to be arrogant and disrespectful.

This is why the decision in California...the state I love to live in - is frustrating to me. I am proud of this country for the decisions that are made for the people... by the people. We are a democracy. We the people decide on our actions of voting and also ... even more powerfully by our inaction, when we choose not to vote.

This is why whenever a court arrogantly decides they know better than the people, what the people need - it gets under my skin and ticks me off. It also makes me upset that people would agree with the principle that a judge can make a decision without the will of the people in mind. That that kind of behavior is conducive to a free society. It's not. I don't care what issue... whenever a decision is made without the will of the people - that scares me. I wonder, how long until we really have a dystopia of thought police.

Californians rallied and voted back in 2000. I was there. I walked the streets, knocked on doors and gathered petitions. I believed in protecting the sanctity of marriage. I believe that marriage progresses our species, our order in society and rears responsible citizens. I know there are exceptions - there are always exceptions - but exceptions don't make the rule. By and large - marriage keeps a country stable.

So when an arrogant court showed blatant disrespect for the population of California... it rankled me. To see people cheer this miscarriage of justice, and to erroneously call it justice is disappointing. The ironic thing is that the people who cheered this decision consider themselves to be intelligent. Yet they are ignorant when it comes to how this decision was made. They lose sight of how flaunting the law, disregarding how our system works, is ultimately dangerous to our way of life... our freedoms. They're too busy fighting a battle to see that democracy...keeping that democracy is a war.

It also frustrates me that while I believe in protecting marriage, and I maintain a respectful view towards all people - the people that want to demolish my belief are doing everything they can to belittle, disrespect and arrogantly tell me that I'm "insert any prejudicial label". It's quite telling. The bible talks about how by their fruits you shall know them. Pay attention to the vile attitude, and the arrogance that drips off of people who attack those of us who believe in marriage. It's strange. Why is it that I can be calm and kind - but somehow the reverse is impossible? Why is it always that way with certain issues? That there is always that one side that insists that their opinion is more valuable and more "right" than yours? Why do they always take it so personal? I don't know... there are of course small groups of folks that are calm, rational and respectful - but they are the exception. It seems... there's a lot of hypocrisy going on. The same people who willingly mock and laugh at good people who are homosexual, are the same ones running to jeer at and spread disdain on those of us that would like to protect marriage.

And... if it comes down to the fact that the population of California really doesn't want that amendment to protect marriage to pass - I would be at peace. But, I think we must let the people choose. It almost makes me wonder - why instead of letting people choose they keep working the courts to dictate our lifestyle?

I'm beginning to think this isn't just about same-sex marriage - it's about preserving the right to freedom. To following the dictates of our own conscience.

ps. Obama... scares me. If someone like Obama wins - we can kiss our personal rights goodbye. See this article on Gays Defend Marriage.

California and Same-Sex Marriage

SALT LAKE CITY 30 June 2008 The following letter was sent from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Church leaders in California to be read to all congregations on 29 June 2008:

Preserving Traditional Marriage and Strengthening Families

In March 2000 California voters overwhelmingly approved a state law providing that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The California Supreme Court recently reversed this vote of the people. On November 4, 2 008, Californians will vote on a proposed amendment to the California state constitution that will now restore the March 2000 definition of marriage approved by the voters.

The Church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children. Children are entitled to be born within this bond of marriage.

A broad-based coalition of churches and other organizations placed the proposed amendment on the ballot. The Church will participate with this coalition in seeking its passage. Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.

We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.
###

Considering this letter... see also this post in regards to marriage and the upcoming presidential election: LDS Church vs. Obama on Same-Sex Marriage

pps. If you want to comment...please read all the links before doing so. Be informed.

8 comments:

La Yen said...

That is why it drives me nuts when Judges are appointed, rather than elected.

I don't see this happening in Texas. But you never know...

Lucky Red Hen said...

Yeah, I agree with yen.

and

I just spoke in sacrament Sunday about same-gender romantic relationships in regards to The Proclamation on the Family.

I've never heard so many specific positive compliments of something I've said EVER.

soybeanlover said...

Thanks for the LDS church vs. Obama link! It totally explains the answers I've been getting when I pray about the election. Thank you.

That being said, there are times when the court contradicts the will of the people for the greater good. I remember being in 8th grade or so and studying US history and learning about the historic court cases in the south desegregating schools, businesses, etc. The population didn't want it, but it was important to do. There is also the case of Loving vs. Virginia where the court decided that interracial marriages were lawful and should no longer be illegal not only in Virginia but in the whole US as well. Yes, the court can be frustrating at times, but there is a reason that the judicial branch exists, and why it can at times override the will of the people.

Marriage is it's own issue. I'm disappointed with the ruling, and I just re-sent my voter registration with this issue in mind ( I don't want to live in fear of having to close down Temples or having Bishops and Stake Presidents in jail because they denied entrance or recommends based on the standards the Lord has set). Thank goodness the process continues, and the check and balance system created by our forefathers will continue to work together to hopefully come to a better conclusion.

AzĂșcar said...

First of all, there will be no temple closings or jailed brethren over this issue. The state has no authority to regulate what happens in a temple.

Marriages are civil in action and although officiants are certified by the state, including those who work in our temples, officiants are allow to perform or not perform any marriages that they want. The only officiants who would be mandated to provide a marriage certificate would be those who work for the government (like a Justice of the Peace.) In most countries around the world, there are civil marriages and religious marriages. You can get married in the temple, or in a cathedral, or anyplace else, but you still have to go down and have a government official witness the signing of the certificate (or whatever else the process may be.)

If it TRULY became an issue (which I do not believe will happen in practically any stretch of the imagination) then the church would give up the ability to practice civil marriages and after being sealed, couples would go to the government office for the legal portion. This stands to reason as it's what we do in almost every other country on the planet.

Thinking that brethern would be jailed, or temples closed demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of how the separation of church and state works in the US.

I read the 16 small stones article, and I disagree with him.

I was far more interested in this article today, subtitled, "McCain, Obama oppose gay marriages, but how to ban them is the issue." So Obama supports civil unions, but not same sex marriage. He supports the states making the decision (that in itself should make any good, of which I am not normally numbered, federalist happy.)

J. Max Wilson said...

Interesting thoughts all around. I enjoyed this post, but I am a little embarrassed by all of the negative attention my post at Sixteen Small Stones has received from elsewhere and my defensiveness in responding to it.

AzĂșcar,
You are likely right that there will not be jailings of general authorities or forced temple closings.

However, currently religiously-based adoption agencies are able to avoid adopting to same-sex couples by requiring that the people adopting be married. Once same-sex marriage becomes legal, then LDS adoption services will have to allow adoption to same-sex couples or cease operation. This is what has already happened to Catholic adoption agencies in Massachusetts.

The danger of jail and temple closing is at the moment remote, but possible from a "slippery slope" point of view. As homosexuality gains mainstream acceptance and hate-crime laws continue to be passed, it is certainly conceivable that at a future date LDS teaching that homosexual practices are sinful could be considered hate-speech and punishable by law.

If temples came to be considered "brain-washing" centers that promote "hate" for gays, the government could move to shut them down.

In the Reynold's Polygamy case, the Supreme Court ruled that the religious freedom granted in the constitution only applies to belief--not practice. So if the government decides that a specific practice (aka excluding gays from temple worship, teaching that homosexuality is a sin) is harmful to society, they can and will act to restrict the practice.

Again, this is a slippery-slope view, but not irrational or inconceivable.

As far as I can tell, Obama's views as reported at MSNBC contradict the letter I cited in my post (the letter was confirmed by the Obama campaign as authentic). Perhaps you are right that he is more moderate on the issue than I have said, but at very least we should be worried that he is saying contradictory things to different groups.

A couple of good articles against same-sex marriage from a non-religious point of view:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_3_gay_marriage.html

http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html

J. Max Wilson said...

Actually, the second article is actually against gay marriage, it just shows that the worries expressed by opponents of gay marriage are neither irrational or without merit from a non-religious point of view.

J. Max Wilson said...

Rats...that should say..."isn't actually against..."

Fabio Ferrari said...

Until this morning I had no knowledge that such a dialog was taking place this last July (I had no knowledge of this blog either). I personally know Stephanie and Jon and as a former Mormon, ex-pat Italian, living in New York, I'm also a gay man still looking for his home.

Stephanie, as I kept reading your posts, I am now distinctively fearful of your "passion". I cannot but shake off the image that, were such passion multiplied by the millions, my very life would be possibly at risk.

It is thanks to the Judicial System of this incredible Country of yours that I, today, can feel somewhat protected. The most you can feel threatened by is what exactly? Not your life. Not even your marriage will ever be. What's threatened here is having to curb your otherwise natural desire of expressing yourself and shouting the words "sanctity" and "eternal" for the sake of others' different views on marriage. No one likes to be told to "tone it down" but there is no other choice if indeed Freedom for all is what we say we ultimately value. And if we want to dig really deep now, "sanctity" is not by virtue of what others think of it, but by its very existential nature. Just like you. Your value, your immense value, as a person is not dependent in any shape or form by how others view you (female, Asian-American, etc.) but by the very fact that you exist. Should others' opinions one day become a threat to your inalienable right for a fulfilled life, then you can count on me among those who will fight for you, but I will not fight for your (and anyone's) desire to "drive around with the car sound system at blasting volume."

Jon, when we last saw each other, I was so happy to see what a wonderful family you and Chastity have become the creators of, and how happy your children are. I wish parents like you and chastity could be in greater number on this planet. But in light of what I've been reading here, a question now beacons. When I was playing with your and your cousin's children this past Winter, did you, deep down feel uneasy, that maybe, (who knows?) by them liking me so much (too much?) might somehow get "contaminated"?

Soybeanlover and Azucar, reading your posts made me breath again. Thank you!

To every heterosexual out there, of all religious or non-religious affiliation, until you finally understand that gay is not a choice (just like Asian, smart, female, Californian, Utahn, Italian, talented, witty, blue-eyed, or just ravishingly beautiful--yes, Stephanie, would be you) I just can't feel safe.

No matter how non-homophobic you all claim yourselves to be, this inability to accept this one fundamental thing, makes you all incapable of seeing and consequently relating with me in a truly authentic way, because it is not who I really am that you are interested in embracing, loving, and hoping for a fulfilled existence.

When that day comes, I'll will have found Home in the Land of the Free.