Mormon Inquiry

Mormon Inquiry


The price of voting one’s conscience

posted by Dave Banack

… and making a political donation: at the LA Times, “A life thrown into turmoil by $100 donation for Prop. 8.” The LA Times continues to write interesting reflections on the continuing saga of Prop 8. The journalist refers to activists and protesters who harrassed customers at the restaurant as “the mob.” Interesting term.



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Your Name

posted December 13, 2008 at 4:56 pm


From the article…
“she told me she has no problem with gay people.
“I love them like everybody else.”
“LOVE”??? Yeah, riiight, I believe her – not. She loves gay people enough to work toward taking away their right to equal treatment before the law.
Spare us from such “love”.



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Your Name

posted December 13, 2008 at 5:01 pm


Also from the article…
“Should Apple be boycotted by Yes on 8 people, he asked, simply because the computer company donated $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign?”
Anybody has the right to boycott any business for any reason. The radical “religious’ “right” call for boycotts against any gay-supportive businesses all the time. Just ask Disney and Ford.



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Travis

posted December 13, 2008 at 5:29 pm


Cry me a river. She bankrolled hatred. You don’t have a “right” to have people pay you to eat at your restaurant.
Actions have consequences. She made her choice. Now she has to live with the results.



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Jack

posted December 13, 2008 at 6:32 pm


Margie Christoffersen, if you or any of your family or friends chance to read this post I want you to know that you have my total respect and admiration. Any who can stand their moral ground in good conscience and simultaneously grieve because of their complicity in causing pain and division among others who disagree with their stance are true Christians, indeed.



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Gerald

posted December 14, 2008 at 4:13 am


I’m so very on the fence of this issue. In fact I have been planning on converting to Mormonism and this issue has put strong doubt in my heart. I went to a forum where they discussed the position of the church and why they took that position. The single largest reason is that in the bible. Marriage is defined as between man and woman and that this is the focus of family. I know that the church also supports prop 8 because they can be forced to marry same sex couples and if they refuse they lose their tax exempt status (which has always been given to churches because of the substantial way the help their community). For this reason i believe that prop 8 should simply be written to the effect that gays may marry in the legal sense as well as in religions which accept this and receive every right of a man woman couple. And in the cases of churches opposed to same sex marriage such as the Mormon and Catholic religions, there should be no legal requirement of the church to marry the couple. This is where my moral dilemma begins because i believe that a same sex couple has EVERY right to happiness as a man woman couple. And I know that even if my idea of prop 8 were an option, the Mormon community would still not support the right to same sex marriage because it is simply not something they will support. I have voiced this concern to Mormon friends and the response i get is support the presidency of the church. They know more than we do and they don’t ask us to understand, just to have faith that they do what is right. If anyone takes even 5 minutes listening to any member of the first presidency they will know that these are good people who mean nothing but good. The same can be said for any good member of the church. I just don’t know that i can support the idea of (as it was explained to me) tolerance but not support. They truly harbor no ill will toward homosexuals but they do not support the way of life.



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Karen Brown

posted December 14, 2008 at 8:49 am


Gerald, anyone who has told you that churches can be forced to marry people due to Prop 8 or lose their status is either lying, or uninformed.
Remarriage after divorce is legal all over this country. Catholic priests can still refuse to marry divorcees without losing their tax exempt status.
Interracial marriage is legal, AND supported by the Supreme Court all over this land, but nobody can force an Aryan Nation sort of clergy to marry an interracial couple.
The only one that I can think of who has to marry people based on this laws are JP’s, because they are government officials.
The government doesn’t even deal with religious marriage, only the civil version. This part involves the license, and some sort of event in which witnesses and some agent of the court are present and the two parties verbally state their consent. You know, where the officiator, whether priestess, preacher, or Justice of the Peace says.. ‘By the power of the State of…’
THAT is all they concern themselves with. That, well, and who is legally able to have sex. So, you can have your preacher religiously (though not civilly) marry your dog, but if your state has beastiality laws, you can’t consummate it.
So, no. If they have resisted Prop 8 because they thought that meant Mormon clergy would have to religiously marry gays, that’s as wrong as thinking they’d have to religiously marry non-Mormons (who are, after all, LEGALLY able to wed, after all).
If they did so because they wanted the Mormon view of marriage imposed on those who are not Mormon (or Catholic, or Muslim, or insert your faith here), that’s a whole other matter. Feel free to explain why, under our legal system, that should be the case.



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Jack

posted December 14, 2008 at 11:20 am


“Feel free to explain why, under our legal system, that should be the case.”
I think the short answer to this question is: Most voters are informed by something larger than themselves with regard to morality/ethics. Whether it be by virtue of religion, academia, culture, or what-have-you nothing can stop the free flow of information from such venues without running the risk of infringing upon First Amendment rights.



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Gerald

posted December 14, 2008 at 11:59 am


Thanks for pointing that out to me. I can’t believe that didn’t occur to me. What i said is something i heard a good number of times so it seems as though i was misinformed. I know that the reasoning was that in giving same sex couples the same rights to marriage eventually some would demand to be married in the temple and if they were refused they would sue the church and stand a good chance of winning. An example to support this point was given about a doctor. He was asked by a lesbian couple to artificially inseminate them but his beliefs were such that he could not do that. So the doctor told them he wouldn’t and put them in contact with another doctor who would. They sued him for refusing to do the procedure. And i know there are several such cases, such as a catholic adoption agency sued for not giving children to same sex couples, etc.



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Your Name

posted December 14, 2008 at 12:40 pm


gerald,
“I know that the church also supports prop 8 because they can be forced to marry same sex couples”
This is a bald-faced lie. It. Is. Not. True. It is the bearing of false witness (aka a SIN! – don’t ever forget that).
Religions are not “forced” to marry anyone if it goes againnst their tenets. Or has the Catholic Church now been “forced” to re-marry divorced persons?
“and if they refuse they lose their tax exempt status”
This is likewise false (although I very much wish it were true).
“For this reason i believe that prop 8 should simply be written to the effect that gays may marry in the legal sense as well as in religions which accept this and receive every right of a man woman couple.”
There is/was no reason to re-write Prop H8. In fact, there’s no ‘need’ for it at all. What you propose is exactly the way things were before Prop H8 was (UN-Constitutionnally) put on the ballot.
“And in the cases of churches opposed to same sex marriage such as the Mormon and Catholic religions, there should be no legal requirement of the church to marry the couple.”
There isn’t, wasn’t and probably never will be any such “requirement”.
“This is where my moral dilemma begins because i believe that a same sex couple has EVERY right to happiness as a man woman couple.”
Thanks. Me too.
“And I know that even if my idea of prop 8 were an option, the Mormon community would still not support the right to same sex marriage because it is simply not something they will support.”
Sad, but true. However, what they (or any other faith) will or won’t support isn’t supposed to matter in a country that ‘promises freedom of religion. Why should anyone who isn’t Mormon (or Catholic) be forced to abide by their religious tenets in the first place?
“I have voiced this concern to Mormon friends and the response i get is support the presidency of the church.”
That’s called blind adherence. It still doesn’t justify kicking some citizens out of their Constitutional right to equal protections before the law.
“They know more than we do and they don’t ask us to understand, just to have faith that they do what is right.”
It isn’t “right”; it’s merely their tenets. If they are members of that Church and agree with their tenets, let them follow them. Do not let them impose them on others, especially those who are not of that faith. Isn’t America the “Land of the free” anymore?
“They truly harbor no ill will toward homosexuals”
I disagree. Kicking gay citizens out of the Constitutional protections ‘guaranteed’ to all citizens is not an act of “good will”.
“but they do not support the way of life.”
Being gay is not a “way of life” It is life for gay people. Some gay people are good, devout Christians who just happen to have a different set of beliefs. And again, in America, one’s faith is not supposed to matter.



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Your Name

posted December 14, 2008 at 12:47 pm


Jack,
“Most voters are informed by something larger than themselves with regard to morality/ethics.”
Sorry, but my committed, loving, consenting, adult, human relationnship with my (same-sex) husband is neither ‘immoral’ nor unethical. Nor, for that matter, is it any concern of “most voters” since it does not affect them
Morals have to do with how we treat one another in society. The Bible (and the world’s 13 major religions) put it this way: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Bible says this is “the sum of the laws and the prophets”.
This should/would mean we get to vote on your “right” to marry; we get to vote to kick you out of your Constitutional right to equal protections and treatment before the law, since that is what Prop 8 did to gay citizens.



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Your Name

posted December 14, 2008 at 12:57 pm


“it seems as though i was misinformed.”
Yes, Gerald, you were misinformed. Intentionally so. (Speaking of unethical!)
“I know that the reasoning was that in giving same sex couples the same rights to marriage eventually some would demand to be married in the temple and if they were refused they would sue the church and stand a good chance of winning.”
No, they wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hades of winninng such a suit. The divorced/re-married Catholic example and the Aryan Nations “Church” examples are (or ought to be) more than ample examples.
IOW, they lied to you to ‘win’ the vote. (Weapons of mass deception, anyone?)
“An example to support this point was given about a doctor. He was asked by a lesbian couple to artificially inseminate them but his beliefs were such that he could not do that. So the doctor told them he wouldn’t and put them in contact with another doctor who would. They sued him for refusing to do the procedure.”
And rightly so. Doctors are not religious agents, after all.
“And i know there are several such cases, such as a catholic adoption agency sued for not giving children to same sex couples, etc.”
A very different case in which the Courts did not see the adoption agency as being a religous agency. And the adoption agency chose to close instead of giving up their State (i.e. taxpayer) funding. Most psychologists and psychiatrists and social agencies recognize that gay people are just as good at parenting as heterosexual people. It is love and wanting the child that makes for good parents, not the gender of the person the parents love.
I’m sorry that you have been decieved by the Church. You are not the first or only person, and this is not the first or only time they have spread false information about God’s gay and lesbian children. I hope you will look more closely to what you are told by them in the future.
Cheers.



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Stephen M (Ethesis)

posted December 14, 2008 at 2:10 pm


Too bad that these sorts of discussion seem to be swarmed by talking point recitations that are not completely accurate, though filled with pointed accusations and claims.
And too bad the way the poor woman was attacked — much like boycotting a business because it employs democrats.
A lot of sadness all around.



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Jack

posted December 14, 2008 at 6:36 pm


Gerald,
There are varying degrees of understanding of Consitutional Law among Mormons as there is among any other group of people. Perhaps some have gone too far with their fears as to how prop 8 might affect religious freedom in the future. But that doesn’t mean that their efforts were ill-intended and it certainly doesn’t mean that they should have no fears at all with regard to legalizing SSM. I personally believe that there is legitimate cause for serious concern.



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Seth R.

posted December 14, 2008 at 9:09 pm


Wow Dave,
Ever since you went to Beliefnet, you seem to have inherited a few of its shrill single-issue bloggers. Lot more undirected rants than before.



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Karen Brown

posted December 15, 2008 at 1:36 am


Jack,
That explains why the voters vote the way they do, so to speak. (Though people on BOTH sides are being informed by their respective consciences.)
It is not, however, an answer to the question about why our legal system should enforce one religion’s rules over those who are not adherents of that religion.
In other words, if the faith and morals that were informing said voter’s votes was, say, Islam? Or Hinduism, or.. well, it was, after all, the informed moral choice of voters that often legislated against Mormons, for that matter.



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Chino Blanco

posted December 15, 2008 at 5:40 am


An interesting response to the LAT piece this post links to:
http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/12/14/7342



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Your Name

posted December 15, 2008 at 9:46 am


Jack,
“There are varying degrees of understanding of Consitutional Law among Mormons as there is among any other group of people.”
Yeah, like from minimal to zero if the postings here are any indicationn.
“Perhaps some have gone too far with their fears as to how prop 8 might affect religious freedom in the future.”
Yeah, lieing and fear-mongering is always going “too far”, especially since SSM has no affect whatsoever on religious freedoms. Oh, except for the religious freedoms of those faiths that do support SSM. Their religious freedoms have been shat on by Prop h8.
“But that doesn’t mean that their efforts were ill-intended”
When is taking away some people’s rights ever ‘well-intended’?
“and it certainly doesn’t mean that they should have no fears at all with regard to legalizing SSM. I personally believe that there is legitimate cause for serious concern.”
Then feel free to delineate what fears people should have so that we may allay those fears with logic, reason and fact instead of lies and more fear-mongering. What are those “legitimate” causes? What are the “serious concerns”? Curious minds wanna know.



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Cruz Control

posted December 15, 2008 at 12:10 pm


People have the right to speak or vote their conscience without fear of threats or violence, including Mormons, Catholics, gays and anyone else. That doesn’t mean, however, that they shouldn’t be challenged to defend the views they choose to advance in public.
But is “voting your conscience” always the right thing to do?
By using the “conscience” standard, most of us would vote against the freedom of some other group to live as they see fit, in ways that do not affect our lives at all. Thankfully, the First Amendment protects religious groups from infringement. Perhaps that’s why so many of them feel empowered to legislate their views without fear of backlash.
Many people feel strongly that overpopulation is a problem. Should they “vote their conscience” to restrict the number of children a couple may have?
Others believe contraception is sin. Should they vote against the availability of contraception for others who don’t share that view?
Many people believe that linguistic differences are responsible for the balkanization of American cities. Should they vote against speaking non-English dialects in private homes or teaching them to children?
Some religious communities find Catholic baptism and certain Mormon rituals contrary to their reading of scripture. Should they “vote their conscience” to prevent those practices? You can bet that, in the absence of Constitutional protection, some would feel called to do so under the “conscience” standard.
I’d prefer to allow individuals to make decisions for their lives–even if I’d choose differently.
Citizenship confers on us the responsibility to protect the freedoms of others as if they were our own. At times, that means voting to preserve the liberty of others to do things we find objectionable. Even for gays.



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Fran Mosely

posted December 15, 2008 at 3:08 pm


I heard a very funny song called “Save the Institution” at myspace.com/rbuch – sung from the clueless homophobe’s point of view. Absolutely hilarious.



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Your Name

posted December 15, 2008 at 4:09 pm


They are not “talking point recitations”; they are refutations of lies. And kindly point out which ones are inaccurate.
For instance, the Mormon-supported propaganda stated quite clearly that churches would be forced to go against their tenets and perform same-sex marriages. This is a lie, and I called it a lie. Please show me how that is “inaccurate”.
Many say gay people already have equal rights when, because of DOMA, there are 1,176 federal benefits and obligations of marriage that do not accrue to gay Americans. Please show me how that is “inaccurate”.
There really are 37 States in which one can be fired merely for being gay. Show me one State in which an American citizen can be fired for being heterosexual.
I ask a series of very important questions that no one bothers to answer. My guess is that’s because they cannot.
For instance, when is taking away some people’s rights ever ‘well-intended’?
Yes, I often post with some vitriol. It’s because I can’t stand the lies perpetrated by the “religious” about God’s gay and lesbian children. Lies caused Prop 8 to pass. Lies and about $21million of Mormon money that helped spread them.
Sorry Seth finds my posts “shrill”. Let me assure him that I find the lies of the ‘right’ equally shrill. Not to mention hateful.
I cannot be more than a one issue poster until gay Americans are treated equally before the law. How would you like 2nd class citienship to be foisted on you by way of a popular vote? How would you like your rights taken away? (It’s that old, pesky “Do unto others” dictum.) Deal with it. Or, you could try actually answering any of my points.



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Jeff from Merced, CA

posted December 15, 2008 at 6:50 pm


The contribution from Margie Christoffersen, manager of El Coyote (and daughter of the owner) has great significance to the gay and lesbian community because El Coyote has a large gay/lesbian clientele. The contribution was a direct affront to the large number of gays and lesbians who had supported the restaurant for decades.
Was Margie “voting her conscience” by her contribution? Most likely; however, the prhase “voting our conscience” has been one of the key methods by which Prop 8 supporters have escaped responsibility for their actions or even acknowledging what Prop 8 was – an attack on the legal equality of thousands of Californians merely for their sexual orientation. When framed this way the Yes on 8 position becomes almost unassailable, immune to criticism.
“They’re just voting their conscience,” we’re supposed to think, and not be allowed to ask them to face the realities of what they have done, not be allowed to criticize them for voting to take away equal rights and destroy existing marriages, and not be allowed to act with our own conscience by denying those who backed Prop 8 our patronage. Each of those acts is cast as an aggressive and hurtful act, where the oppressed are cast as oppressors.
Remember all those gay couples who are married and the thousands who wanted to get married but now can’t because of a dishonest campaign and an extremely tight vote? Oh yeah, them.
I’m not for targeting individual people — usually. People in power, however, need to be held accountable for their actions. I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again. Should people be allowed to benefit from gays if they don’t support their full inclusion in society, with equal rights, respect and dignity?



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Seth R.

posted December 15, 2008 at 8:18 pm


I see no particular need to address your points. It’s nothing that hasn’t been said already about a bazillion times online.
And for the record, I’m a Democrat, and I opposed Prop 8 on basically libertarian grounds. I don’t typically much care for the right-wing or their talking points.
My argument has always been that government should be removed from the marriage license business completely. The only thing government should give to A1NYONE is civil union laws. Marriage should be confined as a religious matter.
So no, I don’t think gays have a “right” to a government endorsed religious marriage. Neither do Hindus have a right to a government endorsement of Vishnu. So no, you don’t have a right to a government marriage, and neither does anyone else. All it really amounts to is different groups trying to get the government to force people to like them.
Sorry, no one has to like you. Neither does anyone have to like me.
So, no state-endorsed marriage for anyone, and we’re square. Right?



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Husband

posted December 16, 2008 at 10:35 am


“I see no particular need to address your points.”
Why am I not surprised?
“I don’t typically much care for the right-wing or their talking points.”
Despite their ‘shrillness’ or their falseness? Hmmm.
“My argument has always been that government should be removed from the marriage license business completely.”
But it isn’t. I deal with what is; you deal with what you think should be.
“The only thing government should give to A1NYONE is civil union laws.”
Perhaps. But they don’t. They legally recognize (only some) religious marriages.
“Marriage should be confined as a religious matter.”
Again, perhaps. And if that were the case, the ‘right’ would still have lost the battle since there are an increasing number of faiths that do perform same-sex marriages.
“So no, I don’t think gays have a “right” to a government endorsed religious marriage. Neither do Hindus have a right to a government endorsement of Vishnu.”
That’s a non-sequitur. Hindus do have a right to have their religious marriages recognized by the government. Endorsinng a Hindu God is irrelevant.
“So no, you don’t have a right to a government marriage, and neither does anyone else.”
Tell that to the RRR, to the Mormons, to any person of faith and see just how far you get with that argument. A lost cause, I fear. Besides, you’re just playing with semantics. You feel no one should have a “government marriage” but you’re okay with a government “civil union” (which, don’t forget, the fundagelicals ‘think’ is the “equivalent” to marriage for gays, and the fact that many RRRers don’t want gay citizens to even have “civil”unioions).
“All it really amounts to is different groups trying to get the government to force people to like them.”
I care not a whit if the government “likes” me. (Nor if Mormons “like” me.) I care a great deal that I am treated equally under the law. Currently, gay citizens are not.
“So, no state-endorsed marriage for anyone, and we’re square. Right?”
Not hardly. Not until betterosexuals give up their state-endorsed marriages, which is simply not gonna happen.



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Karen Brown

posted December 16, 2008 at 5:30 pm


Exactly.
Interesting that those who are proposing that there should be NO ‘state endorsed marriages’ aren’t making any proposals eliminating their marriages.
If what you’re endorsing is really ‘no state endorsed marriages’, then why don’t YOU go first, Seth R.
Then everyone’d be square.



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Chino Blanco

posted December 17, 2008 at 12:04 am


Steve Lopez (author of the article linked to up top in the original post) has now followed up with this:
http://www.latimes.com/news/columnists/la-me-lopez17-2008dec17,0,3975926.column



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Seth R.

posted December 19, 2008 at 11:43 am


Reading comprehension skills seem somewhat lacking here.
I explicitly advocated removal of state-endorsed marriage for EVERYONE. Which would of course include me.
Duh.
I honestly don’t care if the government recognizes my marriage or not.



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Karen Brown

posted December 20, 2008 at 12:21 am


It is easy to say you don’t care if yours is recognized when you know that it is never going to be challenged.
Actually, if you are ‘explicitly advocated removal’ for EVERYONE, you should be more than uncaring, you should be actively lobbying to have the legal status of your marriage removed.
I notice that nobody who makes that claim actually is doing so. They are only incredibly indifferent supposedly to the success of removing (or preventing) the legal status of OTHER people’s marriages. People who DO want a ‘state sponsored marriage’.
Not much that is ‘square’ about that. It is like a person who claims they wouldn’t care if they committed suicide saying they are square with a person who is being threatened with murder.
There’s a slight difference involving that you supposedly want that state for yourself (as well as everyone else), but are apparently doing nothing about it. They don’t want it and are having it forced upon them.



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