31 January 2010

A Visit From Mr. Bigelow #5

This one has multiple parts. Mr. Bigelow's statements are in italics, mine in regular font.

5. The Church was wrong to endorse "Salt Lake’s ordinances spelling out special protections for those who’ve chosen to pursue their gay inclinations." Its support "counters what some apostles have said" and Mr. Bigelow "seriously doubts" the Church's move was "based on revelation."

This one puzzles me. You are obviously keen to toe a very conservative Church line in so many ways, but when the Church itself states an opinion different from yours, you say the Church is wrong. Please explain why this should not be construed as indicating you will support the Church only when it agrees with your opinions.

It was Church PR who stated the position, which is different from a proclamation from the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12. If those 15 want to come out with a real, unanimous proclamation or revelation, then I'll have to deal with that. But it's easier for me to dismiss what I think was essentially a PR-driven move, even if the PR guys or even a couple of liberal apostles convinced Pres. Monson to go along with it in the back rooms of the Church. But unless and until Pres. Monson himself says something definitive and public on the issue and unless all 14 other apostles publicly agree with him, I don't give much of a care about what a salaried Church PR spokesman says in an attempt to do damage control to the Church's reputation.

Please explain how an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, which is a condition and not an action, is both unnecessary and a "special protection" as opposed to an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on the conditions of race or gender.

Sexual orientation is based solely on the claim of the person: there is no visible evidence that a person really is 100% homo, and every person has a different mix of reasons why same-sex attraction is an issue for them, and everyone has a different mix of homo/hetero orientation, whereas with race or gender there is visible evidence of an obvious, incontrovertible 100% biological nature. Sexual orientation is something that a person chooses to acknowledge in himself, and it is rarely a black and white thing, and it can change as a person matures. I know that some people really do feel same-sex attraction, but some people also feel attraction to children of either or both genders, but no one is saying we should give pedophiles any special protection against discrimination because they've chosen to express or act upon their perverted desires. (And by the way, I am not saying there's any connection between homosexuality and pedophilia, and I think pedophilia is much worse than homosexuality.) Society has become permissive enough to allow homosexuality, and that's a sign of society's corruption, because homosexuality perverts God's purposes for his children to bring children into the world, form eternal families, etc. Also, the practice of gay sex itself is an unholy and impure practice, in my opinion, especially when anal, and I don't think society should be granting special recognition or protection for people who choose to pursue that.

The Church took a very public position in support of these ordinances. There is no way it would have done this without President Monson's approval. You point out that it contradicts what some of the apostles have said. Please explain why this should not be construed as acknowledgement that there is disagreement amongst the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve over this issue, and if so, why we should not therefore conclude that the matter is not yet settled even within the ranks of those sustained as prophets, seers and revelators.

I already touched on this above. Oh, I totally agree that the matter is not yet settled among them. I'm sure there are 2-3 apostles who are somewhat confused about the gay issue, just as there have been individual apostles confused about blacks, the Catholic church, and a number of other issues in the past. That's why it's so great that we have to wait until everybody is unanimous among the big 15, because then 2-3 confused guys can't hijack the Church and take it in the wrong direction. There is no way in hell that all 15 big boys are ever going to go green light on gay, but hopefully their discussion will help everyone be more understanding and sensitive. You have to admit, the Church has made a lot of progress over the past 40 years on this issue, in terms of dealing with it more realistically and compassionately.

You "seriously doubt" that the Church's support for the Salt Lake City ordinance was "based on revelation." Please explain why, if you are right, you believe the Church took this action without any revelatory guidance, and why your statement should not be construed as an admission that sometimes the Church makes statements and takes actions which are not inspired or revealed but rather based on individual leaders' decisions or even political calculations. And if so, how are we to tell the difference when the Church itself doesn't make the distinction?

Again, when you see a unanimous public declaration or proclamation by all 15 prophets, seers, and revelators, then you're on really solid ground. Anything less than that is, as you say, based on individual leader biases, political calculations, etc. So the Church DOES make the distinction, when you get the whole 15 openly and publicly together, not just sending some PR guy to a press conference without any information on who reviewed the policy, OKed it, etc. Even Pres. Monson acting alone would not suffice for me; it's gotta be all 15 together, out in public together with it.

5 comments:

Scott said...

I wonder how you feel about laws preventing discrimination on religious grounds? Let's take some of your words:

Sexual orientation is based solely on the claim of the person: there is no visible evidence that a person really is 100% homo, and every person has a different mix of reasons why same-sex attraction is an issue for them, and everyone has a different mix of homo/hetero orientation, whereas with race or gender there is visible evidence of an obvious, incontrovertible 100% biological nature. Sexual orientation is something that a person chooses to acknowledge in himself, and it is rarely a black and white thing, and it can change as a person matures.

... and change a few of them ...

Religion is based solely on the claim of the person: there is no visible evidence that a person really believes 100% in the church they claim to belong to, and every person has a different mix of reasons why religion is an issue for them, and everyone has a different set of religious beliefs, whereas with race or gender there is visible evidence of an obvious, incontrovertible 100% biological nature. Faith and religious belief are things that a person chooses to acknowledge in himself, and they are rarely black and white things, and they can change as a person matures.

So... should we abolish protection from religious discrimination? And only protect people from discrimination based on biological, physical characteristics?

(And then what do we do when they isolate a gay gene, or determine that there are, in fact, specific biological indicators--prenatal hormone influences, etc.--that influence one's orientation? Then we're stuck with protecting gay people and not protecting religion aren't we?)

I'm not sure we really want to go there.

The Wife said...

Although I do not agree with almost everything of what Mr. Bigelow has had to say, I do think it is courageous of him to knowingly submit himself to so much criticism--putting his opinions in a forum of which probably 99% of its readers will disagree is brave.

I wonder, after all is said and done, however, will either side come out any more "enlightened" after all this discussion and debate? Mr. Bigelow's arguments haven't swayed me any.

Good to be Free said...

Sorry to disagree publicly with you Camilla, but I don't think courageous is the right adjective to describe Mr. Bigelow's intentions.

Love you. :)

Matt said...

I think it's good to know how other people think. For me, Mr. Bigelow's words are like a window into the minds of certain family members.

I'm grateful he's responding, even though I don't agree with him and he's not swaying me.

Chedner said...

I agree with Matt.

I know some of my family members are thinking the same things as Mr. Bigelow, and it's nice to have that window.