15 October 2008

Two Points on Prop. 8

I've read a lot of vigorous debate recently about California's Proposition 8 which would put into that state's constitution a definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I understand the arguments on both sides and have tried to be careful not to say which way I would vote on it.

I have, however, reached a couple of conclusions. Not about the proposition itself, about which I will continue to keep silent because there are people whom I respect on both sides of the issue, but about how the debate has been conducted and one thing which I think has been lost sight of.

It seems many Prop 8 supporters are willing to accept without question some very far-fetched claims about this proposition and its potential effects, claims which I know from my own research, reading and experience are untrue, and which have been shown to be so. Some Church members seem almost to have a conspiracy theory mindset about the issue. This is not the case with everyone, and I admire those who have clearly put lots of time and thought into their opinions on both sides. Kudos to them all. I won't quarrel with anyone's beliefs one way or the other. But it is disappointing that in a Church whose theology is founded on individual responsibility to seek wisdom and learning by study and also by faith (note that it's both, not just the latter), so many Church members seem to accept instantly without question anything they hear as long as it aligns with their previous beliefs and (sadly) prejudices. That is a natural human tendency, I know. But in the LDS Church we at least profess to aspire to something better.

The point I think has been lost sight of by some is this. I recently talked with a friend who's well-connected in Salt Lake and was actually privy to some of the discussions and internal review there which preceded the First Presidency's letter on Proposition 8. He quoted the Church's own top lawyer as saying “of course people are free to disagree with the First Presidency” on the issue. With emphasis on the “of course.” Many supporters of Prop 8 recognize this and again, kudos to them. But I've seen other Prop 8 supporters question the faith and testimony and commitment to the gospel of those who dare to say that they may not completely agree with the Church's stance on the issue. That is disappointing. It seems that such members have forgotten that the 11th Article of Faith applies within the Church as well as outside it.

Whatever the result in California, I have faith that God sees more than we do, and that He will order all things for the benefit of those who try their best to live according to their faith and knowledge of the gospel in following the Savior's teachings.


Scott said...

Whatever your personal opinion is, I appreciate your level-headed perspective.

I've enjoyed your blog so far, and look forward to following it and learning what you have to share.

October Rising said...

very true.

Z i n j said...

Hey Alan...how about those Phillies. Sorry but I'm a Dodger disliker and a hard core dare I say it..Yankee Fan. I know..every one hates them but my Dad worshipped Mickey, Billy & Whitey and I grew up in Yankee Nation & have the cards to prove it going back to the 50's.

On your comment. I agree that we have more individual freedom & responsibility than some would have us believe. Thanks for sharing.

Alan said...

Well Zinj, the Dodgers deserved to lose last night, the way they played. Those errors made them look like Little Leaguers. Gotta give the Phillies credit, they just outplayed the Blue Boys. No grudges here, congrats to the Phils fans.

Mattisimo said...

I really liked your perspective on the Prop. 8. Like scott said, very level-headed.
I find myself contemplating both sides of the debate and hope that no matter what happens with the marraige proposal, that equality for gay people will be better established after this election.