As excited as I am for a Barack Obama presidency, a significant part of me is sad for the political marginalization of the evangelical, Christian right. There's no doubt in my mind that they did it to themselves (I jumped ship as soon as they got too crazy, although I really sympathized with them through the 1990's).
One of the big problems in this world is that we're going around demonizing the wrong thing.
This Book of Mormon scripture, Moroni 7: 12-15 I love, here's the quote:
12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is bevil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
So, in my view, we are completely missing the boat in acting like Democrats are evil or Republicans are evil (granted much of that talk is hyperbole, but just work with me a little bit).
So, in light of today's worldwide prop 8 protests this strikes me as a classic case of one side calling (or at least implying) a group of generally good people evil. I'm not saying that it doesn't strike both ways on this issue, it does. But this blog is only focused on today's protest and the general backlash to prop 8.
This article makes me particularly sad and a bit angry. While I'm not opposed to peaceful protests, fine. But I only wish there was a little more engagement and dialogue between the two sides. It makes me sad and angry that there isn't. And it makes me even more sad and more angry that people have been singled out and punished for putting their support behind proposition 8. That an opposing point of view on a complex issue is not tolerated.
One of the primary arguments made by the church for prop 8 is that it was really not an anti-gay point of view but a pro-family point of view. Well, why not have a little thoughtful discussion on this to find common ground? Why try to ramrod opposing point of views on each other.
Surely, can't we all agree that we need a society with strong families. Surely, most people would accept the notion that children raised by both biological parents who love them are better off. I realize this is not always possible, and that step-parents can fill in and do a wonderful job when necessary, but isn't it obvious that that is second best, not first.
To hit this point home even better, listen to this excellent podcast from "This American Life" entitled "Switched At Birth". In the show it describes a scenario in which two baby girls are switched in the hospital by accident, only find out what happened well into their adult lives.
The two families involved in the switch are extremely different from each other, and as a result the two girls switched really struggle in a family not truly their own. When they do find out, its interesting to see how the dynamics change. I can't summarize it well, and this issue is complicated, so you really have to listen to it for yourself.
But at a deep level, I just get the sense that my kids, my wife's kids are ours, and we are theirs. Their DNA runs through us, and ours through them. They look like us, they act like us, and we them. Assuming we are capable, loving, and caring parents we are, by far, the most qualified to raise our own kids.
But obviously, we live in a messy world, and it's getting messier all the time. Its harder and harder for families to stay in tact. And its because the traditional heterosexual family is in such bad shape that other types of family situations have a stronger place in our society. In fact, we need other family situations to step in where parents have completely dropped the ball. We need good and effective step-parents to step in an fill a role where one parent left his (or less commonly hers), we need grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, to step in and help a single mother raise a child, and yes, we need more people adopting children, providing stability and nurturing. There are too many kids in foster care.
But ideally, we also need more heterosexual couples to come together in a bond of matrimony, love, and commitment. And when they commit to sex with each other, when they commit to an act that can bring life into this world, they also commit (as they do) to raise, nurture and love those same children and each other until the bitter end, no matter what the trial or struggle.
I believe the reason the Mormon church has come out so strongly in favor of proposition 8 is because of the notion that the way children are brought into this world matters. In fact the act of creating life is central to our religion. Families matter. Children matter. Parents matter. To them, to me, this is not an anti-gay belief, its a pro-family belief.
Isn't there room for common ground in this framework of belief? I'm open to discuss legal policy that will work for you and for me, are you?