Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Very Interesting Discussion on the Same Sex Marriage Issue

I like to see discussions like these where people stay so polite. I really recommend reading this post- and all the comments.

I personally have some major conflicting feelings about this issue, so I can't currently state how I feel one way or the other, but I did find the discussion in the link very interesting.

The Gay Marriage Issue at Northern Lights

19 comments:

Charlotte said...

Thank you for posting this Al. Like you, I am very conflicted inside on this issue. I'm not conflicted about the Church's policy but more about the legal issues. Every time I bring this up my family accuses me of heresy so it is SUCH a relief to know that other people are conflicted about this too. Esp. you. Why don't we talk more???

Emily said...

I think one of the biggest "fears" that the church might have is that eventually if same sex marriage is allowed by law everywhere, the church will be forced to accept the practice as well. And that's a huge violation of church and state, but you can see the implications if this is legalized everywhere. What else will the government say we can and can't do? I've read papers on some would-be politicians going so far as to say we shouldn't be allowed to even teach our children anything religious in our own homes and the only way they would know of God would be if they went and sought him (or her) out through other means. Pretty radical, but if that's the mindset of some, I fear for that person to ever hold any sort of office.

I understand the conflict. It makes sense politically, but not morally. How do we come to have the balance between the two? We don't live in a vacuum where one is not affected by the other.

Allie said...

Thanks for the comments!

I would imagine that our protections regarding church and state would ensure that the church wouldn't be forced to accept same sex marriage.

I'm not sure anyone knows what all the fallout will be from the vote in CA.

Part of me "roots" for one side, and part of me for the other. It stinks when you can't reconcile something - especially when you're slightly obsessive/compulsive and like to have things fit in nice little categories.

I suppose learning to to deal with things like that is the reason we're here, but it certainly isn't easy.

George and WP said...

If you err then err on the side where people are the least likely to be harmed. I believe Prop 8 will hurt people. I don't think it will pass, but God's army being mobilized presently in Orange County, will congratulate themselves as having fought the good fight, etc. etc. and resign themselves to the fact that it is the last days and evil is spreading across the land, i.e. the Gay and Lesbian agenda. I do not believe and cannot accept the current position of the LDS Church as an inspired one and it only emphasizes the homophobia of our culture including this religion. I regret the influences of the church/culture that influenced me negatively in the past on the matter.

I do not understand how Elder Oaks could admit on the Church's web site to a physiological basis for same gender attraction and yet the Church works so vigorously to prevent two people from enjoying the same privileges and protection under the law that your mother and I enjoy. I think there could be conflicts among the Brethren on this.

Personally, I and a number of others see this as nothing different than the phobia exhibited by the LDS leadership for a hundred and thirty some years towards the so-called descendants of Cain. If you doubt -- I can forward a totally outrageous and nearly obscene speech given by President Brigham Young on the status of the Negro. Harold B. Lee was the last of the really anti Black leaders or presidents of the Church. His tenure as president was very, very brief and reassuring to me that it was time for a change. That change came in the form of one of my several heros, Spencer W. Kimball.

We have a long way to go as a people, a legislature and regrettably a church. If we could just get rid of all of those Catholics, Jews and Protestants in the Utah Legislature and replace them with 'good Momons'.

George and WP said...

Anyone interested in additional illumination on this subject should read Carol Lynn Pearson's opinion piece in today's Trib. The link is: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_10223681

She compares the tragedy of suicides of young Gay Mormon men to that of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I agree with her. When we have benefit of history as she says, "We will be deeply ashamed."

Utah has highest rate of suicide among young men from ages 15 to 29 in the nation. Why must this be so? We have the light and fullness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, yet we fail so miserably with this segment of our population.

As a bishop I received a very worried and pained phone call from a family asking me to help find their son whom they were afraid was on an errand of suicide in the mountains. Pray that son may never be yours or if such a thing might happen that he might find compassion and love rather than fear, phobia, ostracism and exclusion. Jesus would never cast these out from us. I am certain.

Allie said...

WP- do you think that homosexual activity should not be considered sinful, or that the church is right to view it as a sin, but should not interfere in the government allowing any two (consenting adult) people to marry?

It seems like things would be so much less complicated if we did like I know at least some south american countries do (and maybe europe- from what I've heard), where people who want to be married get a civil union license from the government, and then can do whatever other ceremony, religious or not, that they want to. The government wouldn't recognize temple marriages because it would be a religious ceremony.

That still doesn't follow exactly what the church is saying- they don't support civil unions for same sex couples either, but it seems a good compromise.

As my sister said to me (paraphrasing here...), I don't expect everyone in the church to make a 180 on this issue, but if people could look at both sides, and feel at least a little conflicted about it, they will be more compassionate.

I was reading the blog of the woman who wrote the article I linked to, and she was talking about being in relief society and having a sister admit to wanting to smoke cigarettes (I'm not comparing the addiction to cigarettes to homosexuality), and how the women in the ward rallied around here with love and support. She sat and wondered what would happen if she were to stand up and say she was attracted to other women. People would be shocked, they would pull away.

That's why we have problems with suicide and depression. There are a few issues we don't admit to struggling with in the church for fear of how others will view us. It shouldn't be that way. We need to worry less about what sin someone else might be committing and worry more about being compassionate servants of a Heavenly Father who loves us all.

George and WP said...

If as Elder Oaks stipulates, that there is a physiological or genetic disposition toward same gender attraction for some portion of the population then I am at a loss to understand how it is sin worthy of excommunication, or at the least ostracism by the body of Christ.

Allie said...

I don't understand that either, so I just keep reminding myself that what I don't know doesn't cancel out what I do know...

hmr said...

I'm not sure I understand your struggle. You said in your post that you continue to be conflicted about this issue. But you also say:

"We need to worry less about what sin someone else might be committing and worry more about being compassionate servants of a Heavenly Father who loves us all."

The Churches that are so adamantly pursuing the passage of Proposition 8 in California are obsessed with homosexuality, some seem to think about it more than most homosexual people do. First, the religious arguments against allowing all people to choose their spouses have no place in the U.S. government per the First Amendment. Second, the secular arguments brought to the fore (mainly by the religious groups) make no sense. We could battle them out all day, and they would still make no sense.

There is a fundamental right to marriage.
On that basis alone, the state should not pick and choose who can marry.
For the state to grant marriage to one group of people and deny it to another denies one group equality.
On that basis alone, state-sanctioned marriage should not be denied any person who rightfully requests it.

What gets lost in the argument over details is that we are ALL working as best we can to maintain relationships and to live lives that work for us. If the Heavenly Father loves us all, as you said, the struggle ends there. If God is a being with ultimate capacity for love, who are we to underestimate that capacity? Who are we to stand in the shoes of God, who will judge each of us in our time? Even if there is a sin involved (notwithstanding the fact that a discussion of sins has no place in a discussion of legal rights), this is a sin between a person and his or her God. No mortal can decide to step in and judge on behalf of God.
In my view, there is no cognizable struggle -- each of us has the capacity to look out on our fellow humans and embrace them in the knowledge that we are all here on Earth together. The differences that we focus on are petty and insignificant and serve only to divide. We need not all be the "same," but to deny the sameness that we find in our brothers and sisters is to deny ourselves the experience of being human.
What seems more of a sin to me, more morally repugnant, is to fear, hate, and deny rights to a group of people because the church has denounced them (and accepts them only if they deny themselves the opportunity for wholeness). Is it right to blindly follow a church that is preaching hatred? As George and WP said, the church's practice of hatred against black americans is, at least in one instance, "outrageous and obscene."
Must we alienate, ostracize, and traumatize another minority group before we can see the harm of embodying fear and hatred?
Must we love our fellow humans "in spite of their being gay" or rather, can we love them because of that, because of the richness different people can bring to the fabric of our lives?

If you heard from family or friend that you are loved "even though you are a woman," the result is a denial of your womanhood. It is impossible that that person truly loves YOU if he or she can separate out your self from your being a woman.

I suppose the main reason I don't understand your conflict is that I don't understand what it has to do with you. What is the threat in your own life?
I do see that it's not been easy for you, and I appreciate that you're willing to entertain a struggle about the conflicting feelings.

Allie said...

HMR- I struggle, because I don't fully understand the reasoning behind my church's stance, but at the same time, I can't ignore what my church is saying either, because I know that it is God's church.

I tend to agree with a lot of what you said, but then that goes against the teachings of prophets who I believe speak for God. I can't reconcile it.

"If you heard from family or friend that you are loved "even though you are a woman," the result is a denial of your womanhood. It is impossible that that person truly loves YOU if he or she can separate out your self from your being a woman."

That is perhaps what makes it the most difficult for me, because I don't want to hurt anyone, and I don't want people I love to think that I don't "truly" love them.

hmr said...

Perhaps your struggle is born of inconsistent messages that the churches teach. Jesus said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." He did not say, 'love thy neighbor as thyself unless you can find a reason not to.'

I am not convinced that God would want to have a church in God's name that picks and chooses who it accepts.

It seems you would rather continue to follow the teachings of the church than to completely embrace your friends and family. I cannot fully understand that. [You say you don't fully understand the church's reasoning. I think this is to be expected when "reasoning" is really just emotional rhetoric based on fear and bias.] No matter how inspired the church is, no matter how important in your life, it doesn't seem right to use the church to continue to deny a whole section of the population equal rights. It doesn't seem right to deny what you feel (that you want to truly love someone for his or her WHOLE self, that you think all people deserve equal rights) for something that the church is teaching. It seems that this practice serves to deny your own personal relationship with God in order to follow mortal interpretations.

"George and WP" seems to be saying that the church held a similar stance against blacks (for 130 years). Now, I hope, they know that that teaching was not right -- it was an embodiment of bigotry and elitism and fear -- and it was also not right to use God to advance that fear.

>>"That is perhaps what makes it the most difficult for me, because I don't want to hurt anyone, and I don't want people I love to think that I don't "truly" love them."

I'm not sure how they could think anything else if you, and the church, decide that some aspects of our fellow humans are inherently unloveable, especially when that decision is as arbitrary as it is.

Allie said...

I don't want to argue with you. :) Especially when I agree with you on most things.

I'm not comfortable with my church being involved in pushing our religious beliefs on all people. I don't think it is appropriate.

"I'm not sure how they could think anything else if you, and the church, decide that some aspects of our fellow humans are inherently unloveable, especially when that decision is as arbitrary as it is."

I guess I will just hope that they know and understand how I feel.

Nothing in my church teaches that anyone is inherently unloveable. People may make choices that we disagree with, but that has nothing to do with whether we love them or not.

Allie said...

I also wanted to add that I felt hesitant to say that I can't ignore what the prophet says because I know this is God's church, because I realize how crazy that must sound to someone with different beliefs, but it is what it is, and it isn't something I can change.

hmr said...

I didn't intend to argue.

I think that with your last comment, though, I will have to disagree, call it argument if it fits:
"Nothing in my church teaches that anyone is inherently unloveable. People may make choices that we disagree with, but that has nothing to do with whether we love them or not."

First, if there is a part of someone that makes it so you cannot accept them, makes you wish they were different, or makes the church not want them, it seems to me that means that part of them is not loveable -- not included in loving a whole person for herself -- her whole self, not included in the 'love thy neighbor' statement.

Second, I also disagree with "people make choices that we disagree with . . .." If you're talking about homosexuality being a choice, I'd like to offer that it is not a choice any more than heterosexuality is. We're all, as humans, so much more the same than we allow ourselves to believe.

When one 'disagrees' with the very nature of who someone is, I think it's quite possible that the person does not feel accepted and loved. No matter the hope behind it.

Allie said...

I wasn't referring to homosexuality being a choice. I don't believe it is. I'm not going to get into that any more because that's where part of my conflict starts and I can't articulate how I feel about it in a way that makes sense to me.

I don't think sexuality is a huge defining factor of "who" we are. It may be a very important part to us, but I don't believe it is a defining part.

If love was based on agreeing 100% with everything a person does, there wouldn't be much love in the world.

Again, I am very sorry if anything I say hurts you or anyone else. I hope that at some point I'll be able to resolve things, whether through my own study or through something else.

hmr said...

I appreciate your willingness to engage and try to explain the internal conflict. Even though understanding eludes me and your thoughts are painful to hear, I do know the process is an important one.

George and WP said...

For the record and I want to be clear so there is no doubt. I accept the faith of my fathers as being relevant to my life and worthy for my continued dedication, support and involvement. I accept the premise of its message that it is a restoration and fullness of truths embodied in the life and ministry of Jesus from Nazereth, the Christ, and Son of God. I believe its leaders, its presidents, and prophets speak for God. That does not and should not limit my access and ability to communicate with God in seeking answers to life's questions and dilemmas. In fact I believe that is my god given duty and responsibility to work out some of these things on my own. I must learn to walk and then maybe one day I will be able to run. I accept Paul's statement without reservation, that "we see through a glass darkly". That said there are many things I do not understand and am still seeking light upon. There is so much we do not know as a Church and people. Gross and great mistakes have been made and smaller ones too. That is a condition of our mortal existence and nature. It is in these areas or gaps, gray zones, where perhaps our Utah middle class and American culture inadequately meets our needs. Do our leaders sometimes lead by these personal or subjective cultural values? I believe so.

In science there is no harmony between the quantum world of sub atomic physics and the macro world of space and time and the universe yet for the present we do not abandon science because all of us benefit in enumerable ways. No longer do the religionists in our society sacrifice maidens because of a two year drought in California as my well is close to running dry. I urge common cause, dialogue and patience as we collectively and individually try to sort out the troubling issues of our time. We are a warlike people in more ways than committing combat troops to a war zone. We have many other deficiencies as well.

I commend you all for the discourse and dialogue. Let us do our best to love and understand and work to remove barriers that would lessen life and relationships. The things we cannot change require additional patience and effort, maybe one day they will bill resolved. Let's do our best to make them happen.

adam said...

HMR - "It seems you would rather continue to follow the teachings of the church than to completely embrace your friends and family."

I've heard this type of reasoning quite often... Putting the topic aside, even, and just looking at the principle, is what you are saying: 1-one should completely embrace their friends and family, and 2-in order to do so, one must accept everything about them, and everything they do. Is that correct?

I for one, do not embrace everything about myself even, nor everything I do. I believe we are all capable of tremendously good, as well as very dysfunctional or even harmful behaviors. There are parts of all of us that are not "lovable" but that is assuming that people can even be viewed as "parts".

I suppose a blog comment can't really cover this topic, but I am curious, because a lot of people espouse the idea that in order to really *love* someone you have to completely love everything about them and everything they do, but I disagree. My wife has to complain sometimes that I get to involved in things I do (whether school or reading or blogging etc.) It is a biological part of me. Often, it is irksome to her. I don't feel, however, that she doesn't love or accept me.

So not more is read into my comment than there should be, I support civil rights for gays and lesbians to marry.

I agree with you that we should focus more on the fact that we should focus on the fact that we are all human, and stop focusing so much on what divides us.

I also agree with allie in the sense that I do not view my heterosexuality (well, actually more like a 1 on the Kinsey Scale) as the very nature of who I am. Then again, this is a highly individual aspect that is bound to draw different answers from different people.

Wow that was a long and disjointed comment. :)
Thoughts are welcome, especially if they are scurvy or bumptious.

What has helped me the most with this "struggle" is realizing that I don't need to "resolve" it, but rather, just sit with it.

Carissa said...

"... to continue to deny a whole section of the population equal rights"

These "equal rights" you are speaking of are certain economic benefits bestowed by the state, correct?