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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Getting Political

I know that there’s already been quite a lot of discussion about whether or not it is appropriate for a Mormon to support gay marriage (see Abelard’s blog), but I feel like adding just a little more.

The church has clearly stated that its members should support legislation to protect marriage from homosexuals. In the August 2005 Ensign, we see the reasons why the church is stepping into politics:

“Church leaders have consistently affirmed that children are better off when born and reared in a family with both a mother and a father…. Research by family scholars supports the Church’s position. A recent publication compares children of single or cohabiting parents with children of married parents. While single parents often succeed in rearing well-adjusted, responsible children, the report concludes that, taken as a whole, children who live with married parents are less likely to divorce or become unwed parents themselves, are less likely to experience poverty, tend to have higher grades, are more likely to attend college, and experience lower rates of unemployment. On average, children of married parents also experience better physical and mental health, have lower rates of substance abuse, experience less child abuse, and are less likely to commit suicide or engage in criminal behavior. Parents can give children no greater gift than the example of a strong, loving marriage… If governments were to alter the moral climate by legitimizing same-sex marriages, gender confusion would increase, particularly among children, and this would further blur the line between good and evil”

I’m sorry, but this is absolutely ridiculous! Taking research gathered from observing single and cohabiting parents (which were probably heterosexuals living together out of wed-lock) and then projecting those results onto gay couples in committed marriage-like relationships is not only setting up a bad argument- it’s just downright deceitful! Talk about twisting the facts! Maybe the church is just afraid to publish real research about homosexual couples because the findings are not so supportive of its cause:

“…studies indicate that sexual orientation has no measurable effect on the quality of parent-child relationships or on the mental health of children.”

(http://www.narth.com/docs/does.html)

There was no evidence in any of the studies of gender identity of any difficulties among children of lesbian mothers.”

“Taken together, the data do not suggest elevated rates of homosexuality among the offspring of lesbian or gay parents.”

“Results of research to date suggest that children of lesbian and gay parents have positive relationships with peers and that their relationships with adults of both sexes are also satisfactory. The picture of lesbian mothers' children that emerges is one of general engagement in social life with peers, with fathers, with grandparents, and with mothers' adult friends-both male and female, both heterosexual and homosexual. Fears about children of lesbians and gay men being sexually abused by adults, ostracized by peers, or isolated in single-sex lesbian or gay communities have received no support from the results of existing research.”

(http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/lgpchildren.html)

The church has no substantial empirical evidence to show that gay families will hurt society. Alright- but God has commanded that it is wrong, so aren’t we justified in trying to ban gay marriage? The problem here is that the church is also committed to protecting religious rights (11th Articles of Faith). All we need to do is imagine a situation in which a gay couple seeks to marry because, according to their religion, they believe that God has commanded them to marry and that such a marriage would be acceptable. Since there is no proof that letting this couple marry will be harmful to society, in theory the LDS church should not interfere with their marriage.

So all Mormons should support and not support allowing gay marriage. I didn’t know that God liked sending such mixed messages.

13 comments:

Peter said...

The Church should allow gay marriage also because children raised by married parents are better off than those raised by co-habitating parents, and its own research indicates. Gay couples are going to form families no matter what- the Church can't stop that. It is better for the Church to help those families become legal, stable, and committed than it is to force those families to jump through hoops.

Sneakers in Sacrament said...

The thing about gay parents is that they are going to be better parents then almost any one parent house hold. A gay couple cant have "mistakes." There is no prom night baby, or wow i just got so drunk. A gay couple that wants a child has to put a significant amount of planning into accomplishing that goal. Due to this they will likely be much more prepared for what is to come.
Also i love how the article says the lines between good and evil would be blurred, meaning homosexuality is evil and heterosexuality is good. Wow.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

Doesn't that suggest that the church ought to support gay marriage, because married couples raise better children? That's what I get out of it, as confusing as it was.

Yeah, it is sad that the church thinks it can manipulate statistics to try to make people agree with their skewed stance. I don't know why so many in the church, and in leadership positions especially, seem to take these nebulous ideals as fact over the actual facts and reality of our world. Regardless of the church's stance, the reality is that children who have homosexual parents are NOT worse off, and no amount of weird messed up logic.

If governments were to alter the moral climate by legitimizing same-sex marriages, gender confusion would increase, particularly among children, and this would further blur the line between good and evil

Wait, the church said that?

That's almost the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard! So gay marriage would cause children to be confused about their gender? How exactly? I know the church likes to use "gender confusion" as a synonym for homosexuality (where in reality gender dysphoria is quite another matter).

Just another example how stodgy and out of touch with reality some of the people are.

Also... where, exactly did God command that gay marriage was wrong? Is that in 2nd Packer chapter 1 verse 1?

I am convinced that the church's stance on homosexuality and gay marriage are not God's position, but rather that of some really old, well meaning, culturally conditioned men. (It wouldn't be the first time, either). God isn't sending any mixed messages - the church is.

Skyhawk said...

If you're all against the Church's stance....it's really easy to request a name removal from the Church records. Just ask your bishop, he'll fill out the application to the First Presidency.

Geez, guys. I can't get on and read this stuff anymore. It's gone from a question of faith, to justification of your opinion regardless of modern revelation (and don't spew me some junk about not knowing or proving or some other philosophical bogus reasoning: it's true, you believed it once - accept it or drop it).

As individuals, I respect what you choose, I can't make a decision for you (especially you, Draco). But, at the same time, I can't condone behavior I know to be wrong. I love you, but you're going to have to make your own call on this one. Best of luck, and may the Lord bless you and keep you.

draco said...

My dearest Skyhawk,
It's a good thing I like you so much lol.

I think I've said this a couple of times before, but I don't think it's wrong to justify an opinion or a belief. You justify your faith in the church and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that.

If you don't want to read my blog anymore then that's fine- I understand. We generally don't like reading things that go against our beliefs.

It's easy to dismiss something you don't like by just calling it junk and bogus, but that doesn't prove that it really is junk and bogus. It's easy to say "I have my testimony- I have the answers and I don't want to hear anything more about it." It feels more comfortable to be in that position (I know because, as you said, I once believed that way)- you don't have to question anymore and you can feel like you're right all the time. And you know how much we both love being right ;) lol. It's like having the unstoppable karate move (yes- you know which one I'm talking about). So what happens when someone comes up to you and tells you that they can beat you up? Well you just tell them that you know the unstoppable karate move so you're not even going to bother fighting them- you know that you would just win. So you walk away- but how can you ever really know that the unstoppable karate move is unstoppable unless you put it up against other karate moves (some of which also claim to be unstoppable!). Sorry- I usually try to avoid analogies, but I couldn't resist- this one was just too funny :P

As for modern revelation- I believe in it, but only when it makes sense. God is not a God of confusion, so when I see contradiction it makes me wonder.

Sorry I missed you this weekend- I was really looking forward to spending time with you. Hopefully this Saturday will work better.

Your amigazo, Draco

Abelard Enigma said...

You know where I stand on the topic of gay marriage.

With that, I think your reasoning is flawed.

Your logic suggests that we should accept anything and everything that other religions teach. By that logic, we should also support polygamists marrying 15 year old girls and religions that refuse medical treatment for their family. In fact, taken to its extreme, we should accept the Jihad against the US and all convert to Islam as is being demanded. Of course, that would put us all in a pickle since merely being gay can carry a death sentence in some Islamic countries.

It's like having the unstoppable karate move

I'm dieing to know, what is the unstoppable karate move? Is it anything like the funniest joke in the world?

draco said...

Good point, Abelard- but that's why I included this clause in my logic:

"Since there is no proof that letting this couple marry will be harmful to society, in theory the LDS church should not interfere with their marriage."

On the other hand, I think it would be fairly easy to come up with empirical data proving that polygamist relationships, refusing medical treatment, and Jihad terrorists are detrimental to society. Of course the church isn't bound to support allowing religious practices that are clearly harmful.

That said, I think I've successfully dodged your pickle, leaving the church with a pickle of its own.

The unstoppable karate move that I mentioned- well you have to see it to appreciate it. Maybe someday I'll make a YouTube video.

Christopher said...

I haven't decided yet where I stand on the subject of gay marriage. It seems to have worked just fine up here in Canada! I have not yet seen society and family values flop over dead.

I know that I am against anything that interferes with a person's right to choose. Anything otherwise would be right up Satan's alley. I would like to say that if two men or two women choose to marry, let them marry. I dislike laws saying stores can't open on Sunday, against banning alcohol, and all other laws that make other non-criminal activities illegal. I think I still teeter on the gay marriage issue only because I'm a wimp and am leery to go against what the church says.

October Rising said...

i should probably send you my essay.

skyhawk3485 said...

My last encore visit to your blog:

Your basis is lack of empirical evidence that it is harmful.

http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS01J3

http://www.narth.com/docs/
RationaleBasisFinal0405.pdf

http://www.acpeds.org/?CONTEXT
=art&cat=22&art=50

Quote:
"Given the current body of research, the American College of Pediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or by reproductive manipulation. This position is rooted in the best available science."

Look where you want to, and somewhere you'll always find the answer you want.

I imagine your viewpoint as this: You must view me as a bystander you have already passed on the road to Truth, stuck where I am because I'm comfortable there and don't want to move, calling out to you to come back...but you continue forward, walking down the path doing the "unstoppable karate move" on your way to Truth.

What I see: In reality, I may not be clutching the iron rod as tight as I should, but I'm still close thereby, and I'm calling to you, but there you are still doing the "unstoppable karate move" (which, I do confess, IS unstoppable - but in this case, a little silly looking), going off into the mist....and the prospect of adventure in the unknown must be exciting, because you don't seem to be hearing me or even looking back.

I see no problem with trying to solidify/justify your beliefs. However, you've tossed aside the only evidence you will ever have for a belief in God (faith) as "non-empirical" or some other big word I don't know :) I hate to tell you this, but I'm afraid that without faith, you're never going to find Truth - regardless of where you look.

Now, you've said that you have faith - this is good, VERY good. But what is your faith in? I hope it's in God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. If it is, then I hope you also have a soft spot for the 8th article of faith as well (which, come on, you know what it is!) Which then leaves room for.....TA-DAH!! The fruits of the Spirit - not just feelings, but also the results of spiritual experiences - the Spirit will leave you with its fruits.

The second that this faith becomes evidence that is valid in your courtroom, you jump back to how you felt that summer day at the top of the Blue Mountains (or Foothills - hehe), because then the Spirit exists, and the fruit of the Spirit is everything you felt that day - enough to make you change your ENTIRE LIFE. That is Truth - you had it once, and those basic beliefs will help you to remember it.

Now, without that, you're stuck thinking that there is more than just one lonely tree to explore....well, FYI, there is. There's a river, a mist of darkness, and even a great and spacious building to explore!! As I've always said, though, the choice is up to you.

Now, as direct as I can be without being rude, quit searching for what you want, and start searching for the truth - in your heart of hearts, it might be closer than you think. (Or want to think)

Love, tu hermanazo

draco said...

You'll be missed skyhawk.

But just in case you can't resist looking one more time to see if I respond to your comment- here's my response. :)

I checked out your links and have to say that the the list of MDs in support of gay parents is a lot more hefty looking than the list of those in opposition. The vast majority of organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the American Bar Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all officially support adoption by same-sex couples. Sorry.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_parenting)

This is how I view you, skyhawk. You believe you have found Truth and are happy and at peace with what you have. I think you have found truth (note the little-t) and that there's nothing wrong with that, but there's always more truth to seek. I still believe that God works through the Holy Spirit and I believe that He is leading me to a different place. I've prayed about it A LOT and meditated about it A LOT and have felt truly deeply His gentle voice guiding me along. That doesn't mean that my place is better than yours- it's just different. I also believe that God wanted me to join the LDS church. I don't for a minute deny all of the wonderful spiritual promptings that led me to where I am today. I'll elaborate on all of that some other time- we still owe each other an in person chat.

I do think that you're being biased and somewhat closed-minded- I could say right back to you, "quit searching for what you want, and start searching for the truth."

There's a wonderful little analogy that comes from a book of Jewish parables. Someone asks "What is the meaning of knowledge?" and the wise man responds, "Knowledge is like building a brick wall. We build and build and then step back and think 'wow- look at all of my knowledge!' But in the process of building up the wall, one loses sight of what's on the other side."

I love Mormons and I have loved being a Mormon. I just can't believe in a lot of LDS doctrine. And it's not just the whole gay issue. My faith is still very strong in God, in Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. I love being a spiritual person.

As for the unstoppable karate move- well- I realized how silly I looked doing it and found out that it wasn't so unstoppable. Right now I'm flying around looking at other people's karate moves and testing out some original ones of my own... ? Sorry- I got lost in my own metaphor. Hi-yah!

Love you bud

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

If you're all against the Church's stance....it's really easy to request a name removal from the Church records. Just ask your bishop, he'll fill out the application to the First Presidency.

First of all, we're not against the church's stance, necessarily.

Furthermore, you don't need to "apply" to resign from the church. All you have to do is give a piece of paper to any church representative. Legally, as soon as it is in their hand, you are no longer a member of the church. There is (and legally should not be) no waiting period, or bishop interview, etc.

Now, as direct as I can be without being rude, quit searching for what you want, and start searching for the truth - in your heart of hearts, it might be closer than you think.

But why must the thing we want and the 'truth' always be opposing? Why must the hard decision always be the right one?

It is a curious thing in mormonism that we have decided that the hard, gruelling path must needs always be the most correct and most righteous. We are so obsessed with suffering and sacrificing that we often forget that God wants us to be HAPPY.

I find it mildly offensive that you assume that Draco and many others (including me) are simply looking for the easy answer, the selfish way out. While I don't know the intricacies of his situation, it seems to me that he, like me, has done a lot of soul-searching, praying, supplication, and communion with God/Christ/The Holy Ghost. I have come to the conclusion, based on what God has told me (not just what I decided one day to believe), that he wants us to be happy, and that he does not expect those who are gay to live a mentally and emotionally unhealthy, lonely life.

I really wish that you could respect our own spirituality and relationship with God, and not try to foist your own understanding and experiences on everyone else. That is a very dangerous thing to do.

So often in the mormon cultural tradition, we are given these false dichotomies to choose between, and then told that we just have to believe in them and live according to them because "GOD SAID SO!!!" But when we start to question them, and start to unravel the fallacies surrounding these things, and ask God for his input on the subject and then come up with a totally different conclusion, we are told we are being faithless, selfish, we are wandering in darkness and mists, etc.

We never said we didn't have any faith, yet you constantly accuse us of that. We may not have the same beliefs as you do, and may see things differently than do you, but we haven't thrown away our faith just because we've changed our views on some things.

The fact is, that regardless of whether you agree each of us or not (and I guarantee we each have differing views on all of these subjects) it is, as a member of the LdS church, your responsibility to love and respect everyone. Even if you think that having a gay relationship is against God's commandments, it is not your place to force someone else to obey your interpretation of God's wishes. It is your place not to judge and just to love, support and serve.

Also, your sources as to the harm homosexuality can cause really ought to come less biased sources.

Sully said...

I think it is sad that the Church's stance is being backed up by what the Church regards as psychological truths. If the Church is seeking justification of its "revelations" through empirical psychology, why don't they look at statistics of depression and suicide among closeted gays and those who openly embrace their sexuality? Why don't they look at empirical evidence for anything else, for that matter? It's highly hypocritical.

Thanks for writing and sharing. We don't know each other, but thanks for letting me post on your blog.