Excavating a Sense of Pride over Certain Aspects of the Prop. 8 Win

You all know me and know that I did not favor Proposition 8. I was sorely disappointed when it passed, although my sense of disappointment was tempered by an Obama win–very exciting, particularly here in Chicago! And the fact that it took awhile for the result on 8 to be called gave me an opportunity to get used to the idea of it passing. Also, I thought of Derrick Rose, the NBA no. 1 draft pick of the Chicago Bulls. He has won at every level, but now he is going to have to get used to losing much more than he has experienced in his life. But, as the veterans have taught him, in the NBA the next game comes so quickly that there’s no time to obsess over the losses; you’ve got to keep focused on the next contest. I don’t doubt that this is just one step along the way in a process, and eventually when the culture catches up there will be gay marriage, in California at least.

So anyway, I have tried to look at the bright side of this, and there actually are some aspects of the whole Prop 8 fight that fill me with a certain amount of (perverse?) pride. So I thought I would try to articulate some of the ways that I take pride in my Church, even though I disagreed with its position and wished it hadn’t gone to the mattresses over this issue:

1. I have always felt a sense of pride in the good relations the Church’s highest leaders try to foster with other religious leaders, particularly in Utah. I love it when the Church makes its facilities available to Jewish congregations over the high holidays. I really enjoyed reading about how when Lubavitch Chabad sent a rabbi to SLC to work with the Jewish community there, GBH told him he believed deeply in what he stood for, and told him that if he ever encountered problems in living his religion in SLC to call him. So he wanted to put up a big menorah in the mall over the holdays, and the mall people said “No way!” One call to GBH later, poof! the menorah went up in the mall. I love that the Church reached out to American Muslims in the wake of 9/11 (because Mormons know what it’s like for the public not to appreciate the differences between the mainstream and the fundamentalists). And I loved the close relationship the Church president has had with the Catholic bishop of Utah, working together on issues of common interest.

This latter relationship was the conduit for the Mormon involvement in the Prop 8 coalition, as Bishop Neiderauer had moved from SLC to San Francisco and invited the Mormon Church to participate. It was that strong relationship that greased the skids for the Church’s heavy involvement.

While it didn’t work to my personal taste in this particular instance, I still am glad that the Church maintains strong relationships with other religious leaders.

2. You’ve got to stand back and admire the organizational efficiency of the Mormon effort. I of course prefer pondering this when I agree with the cause, such as disaster relief. When the Church marshalls volunteers from a several state area and sends them to the delta for hurricane relief; when they come for three-day weekends and camp on the church lawn; when they are told they must be completely self-sufficient and no one has to explain what that means; when they have huge warehouses of supplies already in place; when they show incredible large scale planning and small scale execution as work orders are filled: I could read about those experiences all night. That capacity for organization, planning, and efficient and effective allocation of resources is really impressive. From trekking to the western wilderness and making the desert blossom as a rose, Mormons have a greater capacity for this sort of thing than almost anyone else.

It’s kind of jarring to see these same skills used in the political arena. But I have to admit a certain grudging sense of pride for how effective the Church was. I honestly didn’t think the Prop was going to pass, and it clearly wouldn’t have but for the Church’s involvement in the coalition.

(This organizational success came at a cost–the heavy pressures put on California locals to jump in and participate. I’m glad I live far away from California; Prop 8 wasn’t mentioned once in my church meetings over the past months. Had I lived in Cal., I imagine I would have taken a vacation from Church until after the election, which probably would have been the best thing for both of us under the circumstances.)

3. Like a lot of expat Mormon men, and I hate to admit it, I kind of idolize Mormon athletes. There’s a black woman in our ward who is a member of the Church basically because of Steve Young. Her son plays football, and she was always so impressed by him, and she told her son to be like him long before she knew he was a Mormon. I remember when LaVell Edwards used to talk in almost envious terms about him: handsome, incredible athlete, smart, personable, rich; he had it all going on.

I realize that his wife Barb was the driving force behind the contribution to the No campaign and the house signs for the No position, and that Steve wanted to keep his personal political preferences on the issue private. He may have even voted Yes for all I know. But I deeply admire the way he supported his wife, especially given his status as one of the most famous Mormons on the planet. We Mormons are big on placing family first, and this episode shows that we mean it–even in a situation where the family was placed in a position contra the Church.

I wrote a comment on a blog where this was discussed to the effect that Steve Young is a total stud. And I stand by that comment. I’m proud to claim him–and Barb–as representatives of the best of what it means to be Mormon.

Comments

  1. Considering worldly promiscuity and LDS morality are at polar opposites. They are bound to clash from time to time.

    Here in California some members of my ward (including myself) put in over 20 manhours of labor in the last week.

    I have had a number of co-workers that supported the issue, but they greatly marveled at how myself and the LDS contributed labor.

    I think that LDS was well over 80% of the contingent at various street rallies and distributing yard signs, etc.

    All I saw from the non-LDS supporters were financial donors.

  2. Another observation: Committed gays are less than 2% of California population. And the LDS Almanac shows that LDS are only about 2% of the population.

    The other 96% of the California population fall somewhere in between.

  3. Perhaps the greatest irony of this vote is that the gay marriage advocates are going about preparing for the future in exactly the wrong way. Rather than reviling us, they need to look at Pres-Elect Obama’s and the Church’s campaign strategies and emulate us. (I voted for him, so I can say “us”.) After all, they lost by a very small margin.

    Also, I really admired Steve Young’s response to the attention. It was minimal and didn’t give his own opinion, but he didn’t throw his wife under the bus, either.

    Thanks for this, Kevin.

  4. I was a bit surprise by the lack of an organized counter-campaign (anti-Prop 8). Given the make-up of California, I think the Yes on 8 group really overwhelmed the opposition.

    Where was all this energy before Nov. 4. Though I think they are within their right to voice there dissatifaction and clearly the Church is not a surprising target. We are the reason (money and organization) that it passed.

  5. Chris H:

    The closest analogy is the Hillary Clinton campaign. It’s not so much that they thought they’d win, it’s that they couldn’t imagine not winning. So they didn’t organize their ground game. Clever ads will never beat face-to-face contact.

  6. I agree with Nate W.

    By the time the No on 8ers realized that a loss was possible, they were already well behind the Yes on 8ers in both fundraising and organization. They did a decent job closing the fundraising gap, but on the whole, their effort was too little, too late.

    Had they been more gung-ho to begin with, I think the election would have come out differently.

  7. Steve: You are just wrong. No on 8 outspent Yes on 8 by about $10 M. In addition, about 23% of the donations for No on 8 came from out of state while only 12% came from out of state for Yes on 8. The notion that No on 8 was outspent or just didn’t get a message out is misinformed. The fact is that 53% of the voters in California found that message to be less persuasive than the Yes on 8 message.

    What I hear from those who have targeted the Church is truly dangerous and should give rise rise to a sense of real concern for all who care about democracy. In essence, the No on 8 are targeting the Church to silence it in the political arena. What I hear them saying is: “I want to silence your voice in the political arena through intimidation because you disagree with me.” That message is truly reprehensible.

    Maybe they should direct their efforts at the 80% of African Americans and 54% of Hispanics who voted for Prop 8. Maybe they should direct their efforts at a better and more persuasive message instead of blaming the Church and the Yes on 8 for having a message that had little traction.

    Do you also have grudging respect for the blatantly bigoted anti-Mormonism of the advertisements run by the No on 8 coalition showing missionaries breaking and entering to violate basic constitutional rights?

  8. Nope,

    I recognized that No on 8 closed the fundraising gap. That doesn’t mean they did a good job getting the message out or getting the vote out on election day.

  9. Do you also have grudging respect for the blatantly bigoted anti-Mormonism of the advertisements run by the No on 8 coalition showing missionaries breaking and entering to violate basic constitutional rights?

    No. I thought that ad was over the top.

    But then, I was deeply disappointed in the dubious claims coming out of the Yes on 8 campaign.

  10. Nope:

    It appears that the fundraising numbers do not back up your claim that No outspent Yes by $10 million. Do you have some data that would back that up?

  11. Steve: ZZzzzzz. From Time & Seasons: For the numbers on donations, see here: “Opponents of gay marriage ban ride wave of donations”, The San Jose Mercury News (2008-10-24). The amount reflects donations to ProtectMarriage.com under proponents and Equality for All under opponents. Donations to other organizations on both sides of Proposition 8 are not included in these amounts.

    The data show that only 12% of donations for the Pro Prop 8 came from outside of CA. However, 21% of No On 8 came from out-of-state. Jan to Oct, the donations of each side were about equal (about $27,000,000 each). However, between 1 Oct. and 18 Oct. the contributions for Pro 9 were about $2.5 M and for No On 8 were $10.7 M.

  12. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 4 – 5

    There was a very large, state-wide No On 8 campaign. I was involved a little bit. There were tens of thousands of volunteers and as I recall over 100 phone banks. I believe it was run by a consulting group (but not sure). In fact, my sense is that is was quite similar to the Yes On 8 campaign. Keep in mind how divided the state is. In some areas, it was a sea of Yes On 8 yard signs. In other areas, just the opposite.

    So it was hardly a one-sided fight, but in the end it turned out how it did. Will be fascinating to see what the next chapter brings in California.

  13. Nope,

    I’m sorry if I’m putting you to sleep, but I think I’ve debated one too many militant Mormons on Prop 8. The accusations of sympathizing with “bigoted anti-Mormon[s]” have gotten old.

  14. Why are those who support 8 “militant” and make “dubious claims” while those who oppose it are so noble? In fact, I was pointing out that the militants and those making dubious claims were actually those promoting blatant bigotry in ads and throwing garbage and painting graffiti on Mormon temples. I guess I’ve had about enough of one-sided blindness too. Perhaps I would call that sympathizing with bigoted anti-Mormons.

  15. I didn’t say that all who support Prop 8 are “militant,” nor that all of them make “dubious claims.”

    After I make a single comment about perceived shortcomings in the No on 8 campaign, you perplexingly and accusingly ask me if I “also have grudging respect for . . . blatantly bigoted anti-Mormonism.” That is what I consider militant.

    With all due respect, Nope, I think I’m going to ignore you from here on out.

  16. Nope:

    Here is the article you cite. Care to show me where it says that No outspent Yes by $10 million by election day?

    Note–this is a trick question, as the article was printed on October 24th.

  17. As Kevin points out, regardless of where you fall on the issue, the organizational efficiency was crazy. In (at least parts of) the bay area, I know, all church meetings besides the 3 hour block were canceled. Church members were asked to use the time to support Prop 8. In the two weeks prior to the election, YSA’s in the Bay Area were asked to give 16 hours of service. I know a lot of people think that the larger turnout for Obama actually helped the Prop 8 cause. Its unfortunate that the aftermath is getting so ugly.

  18. Kevin, can I suggest a 4th item for your list?

    As a result of this campaign, the Church PR effort (and many volunteers) stated repeatedly that the Church is fine with civil unions–it’s just the marriage part that was objected to.

    That seems to me a marked change from times over the last decade when the vocal Mormons were arguing against offering any recognition of civil unions and were concerned about offering any benefits to non-heterosexual couples.

    Of course, to see how much this really has affected the Church leadership’s position, we’ll have to wait for a case down the road where the dispute is over recognizing or withdrawing civil benefits.

  19. Kevin Barney says:

    Yeah, Stirling, that may have originated simply as a strategic thing, but now that the Church is so firmly on the record on it it may be tough to backtrack now.

  20. Stirling,

    That’s a great point. As recently as the Oaks/Wickman SSA interview, Church leaders were speaking against civil unions. By taking what is considered a compromise position in California (backing civil unions, but not gay marriage), the Church has essentially endorsed a policy that would be considered progressive in many other states–including Utah.

    But I also think you’re right to be cautious.

  21. Kevin Barney says:

    Here is the LA Times take on the contributions. They have the No contributions about $2.3 MM in excess of Yes.

  22. I’ll be the dark cloud here: First, the statement regarding civil unions is as follows:

    The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.

    My guess is that these two exceptions would have a way of swallowing the rule. But more importantly, non-opposition does not entail active support. In a state where the Church’s non-opposition is influential (read: Utah), I think you’ll see a similar scenario to the hate-crimes bill: Some legislators propose an amendment to allow for limited civil unions, the Church states its non-opposition, and Gayle Ruzicka lobbies the legislature, telling them that the Church doesn’t really mean that. Unless the Church actively supports these rights, members will rationalize away the stated position as just what the church had to say to win the election.

  23. This organizational success came at a cost–the heavy pressures put on California locals to jump in and participate. I’m glad I live far away from California; Prop 8 wasn’t mentioned once in my church meetings over the past months

    No so Kevin. There was no pressure–heavy or any other kind–put on anyone in our stake. Of course, I can’t make observations for what happened elsewhere in CA; but, in the Santa Maria Stake, there was no pressure at all. The leaders read the FP letters. We were asked if we wanted to be involved. If we indicated yes, we joined in where and when we could with what our means allowed. I know for a fact in our ward if members indicated they were uncomfortable or were not interested they were not pressured and not bothered about any further involvement at all. They were not asked or forced to take a vacation. They community with the community of the Saints every Sunday just like they had done before 8, and as they continue to do now post 8.

    Please do not make unfair assumptions about what went on out here in terms of pressure or the like. It simply didn’t happen that way.

  24. Should have read:

    They communed with the community of the Saints . . .

  25. Guy, I have siblings and friends in other wards that were pressured. It sounds like there was significant variation in how different wards/stakes answered the request for Prop 8 support.

  26. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 22
    I agree with you, Nate. There is nothing to indicate that the Church actually supports any legal protections for gays whatsoever, anywhere. “Does not object” is a long, long way from support. In this context, I would argue that “does not object” means ‘grudgingly tolerate because we can’t do anything about it.’

    But perhaps I’m wrong. Let’s do an experiment: Why not propose a domestic partnership registry in Utah? You know, something that gives gay couples protection in the areas of “hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights” with clear language to make sure it does “not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.”

    Should be easy enough to propose; Kaimi and others here could probably write it up. How that would go over in the beehive state? What would the Church say? How would the millions of members there vote?

  27. Steve M: I expected you to refuse to see your own biases. You can ignore me if you choose — your bias is evident to me on these issues.

    Nate W. The article fully supports the numbers — and I believe that I was more than up-front about the sources and the date of the article. However, updated sources show what Kevin suggested: No on 8 spent $2 M more than Yes on 8 and had nearly twice the percentage of contributions from out of state as Yes o 8 had.

    It is also very significant as Sterling has noted that the Church has stated on the record that it does not oppose same sex unions. That is like a seismic shift and it has been completely missed by those picketing the Church and the media.

  28. Stirling #25,

    Clearly different local leaders approached this in different ways. And, unlike Kevin, I am unwilling to make sweeping generalizations that all members were pressured throughout the entire state. That is why I made clear in my remarks that at least within the confines of the Santa Maria Stake, there was absolutely no pressure whatsoever. This fact alone (from our stake) contradicts Kevin’s overly broad and sweeping generalization that:

    This organizational success came at a cost–the heavy pressures put on California locals to jump in and participate.

    I would be curious to hear more about the specifics of your siblings and friends. What were their specific experiences? What specific pressure(s) was exerted, and by whom? What specific consequences, if any, were implied if they did not volunteer? Were there any specific consequences to any specific instances of non or lack of participation on the Prop. 8 campaign?

    Again, I’m not saying that in some limited circumstances some local leaders may have gone off the reservation; but, it was clear from all directives from Salt Lake City from the members of the Quorum of the Twelve and the Seventy, that there was never any overt or even suggested subtle pressure for members to become involved. If you can provide me with some specific source(s) of such pressure either from General Authority level leaders or even local leadership I would like to review them and have a chance to comment.

  29. Guy, I mean no offense by this at all, but are you sure that a person who willingly volunteered for Prop 8 activities would be in the best position to know if there was pressure brought to bear on those that were not so forthcoming? If you have other ways of knowing other people’s perspectives, I have no reason to doubt you. I was just curious about your basis for knowledge.

  30. There was intense pressure in my ward in Southern California as a young adult student ward. I heard the wheat and the tares talk, and much more. Wow, Guy, I can’t believe you think there was no suggested subtle pressure. It was overt in my ward. They sent around a sign up sheet during the 3rd hour of church and expected everyone to sign up in front of each other, so it was very high pressure. I know people who were asked to donate a specific amount of money. We were asked to donate time, 8 hours during the week, and 8 hours on the weekend. You can find many more examples here on the blogs as well.

    Talking about pride over Prop 8, I received an email that my stake was having a “Prop 8 Party” last night for all of the influential people (which did not happen to be me) working for the prop. I wrote back and told them how I felt about this party and how appalled I was they would be celebrating the passage of the proposition while protesters lined the gates around the party. The local organizer wrote me back and told me he agreed. If I hear much at church about Prop 8 tomorrow I will probably scream.

  31. Guy, I don’t think you were lying by the way. Sorry if it came across that way. I can’t believe there was no subtle pressure in your stake. That is wonderful.

    My stake and ward leaders were very cognizant of the fact that this issue is very divisive and that we were to approach it with love.

  32. This is a fascinating discussion. May I suggest that we continue it over on the Police Beat Review #10 thread?

  33. The Right Trousers says:

    #26: I think I’d be in favor, and I consider myself conservative. But I’ve also spent a lot of time determining what it is about same-sex *marriage* I disagree with. I suspect it’d be hard for most Utahns to accurately predict what they’d think if it actually came up.

    My one concern with such a law is whether it could be used to justify extending actual marriage, like it was in California.

  34. Nate W. #29

    Based on our prior interactions I have no reason to believe you meant offense, nor do I find your comments or tone offensive. I think that’s a fair question, which in turn can be asked the other way. Would those members who did not agree with the official Church position on Prop. 8 reflect a certain amount of bias when they were approached by local leaders? Perhaps. That is why I would be curious about the specific instances, facts, conversations, etc. etc.

    Of course I have no personal knowledge of what went on all over the state of California in every stake and ward. I do have very specific personal knowledge of what happened in our ward having been involved from the inception as part of every PEC meeting in which it was discussed, and throughout the campaign. I observed what our local leaders did in terms of approaching the ward as a whole, talks given and the like. Of course, I was not involved in any private discussions between the bishop and members–assuming any occurred; however, I heard nothing and observed nothing that lead me to believe leaders at our local level were pressuring anyone other than reading the FP letters and organizing the efforts.

    I suppose the overall point I was trying to make is that I felt Kevin’s statement about “heavy pressures” put on the members was an overly broad and unfair generalization. I provided a specific instance in which at least one ward and one stake did not appear to engage in any such practices. And, I further have seen no statements from General Authority level leaders suggesting pressure be exerted. To the contrary, the General Authority level pronouncements went out of their way to make clear that they were aware many in the Church would disagree with the Church’s official position.

    That said, I don’t think my willing participation in the campaign would necessarily blind me to instances of actual pressure that would otherwise be observable. I would like to think I would be able to separate my personal views from objective instances of such pressure.

    One minor example. Prior to Prop. 8 being endorsed by the FP and the Q12, there was an instance in a PEC meeting in our ward when a stake leader brought up the issue of gathering signatures for the initial petition drive to even put the thing on the ballot. I expressed my strong opposition that any such thing even be brought up for discussion in the context of a Church meeting without the specific authorization and/or request by the Brethren. And, at that time, it had not yet been endorsed by the Church leadership.

  35. That’s fair, Guy. Thanks for the explanation.

  36. Merkat #30

    Wow, Guy, I can’t believe you think there was no suggested subtle pressure.

    Well, I believe Kevin’s phrase was “heavy pressure.” Regardless, I think it unfair to paint with such a broad brush that the entire Church leadership was exerting heavy pressure. That just is not the case. And, as I have already stated, I’m sure there were some instances in which some local leaders may have crossed the line of appropriate “persuasion.” That is unavoidable in an organization as large as the Church in CA. All I’m saying is that I don’t think it was as wide spread as Kevin suggested in his statement. Nor do I think it was nearly as wide spread as portrayed by some in the media.

    They sent around a sign up sheet during the 3rd hour of church and expected everyone to sign up in front of each other, so it was very high pressure.

    Ok I have no reason to disbelieve such a sheet was sent around. What, however, do you mean by it was expected everyone sign up? Did the leaders, i.e., the bishop specifically say, I expect everyone to sign up? And, if the did, were specific consequences discussed? If so, that sounds pretty much out of harmony with what the General Authority level leaders were saying in their official Church pronouncements. And, if that is what happened in your ward, then I would agree it was inappropriate pressure.

    On the other hand if that is simply what you assumed by the fact the list was being passed around–well that’s something altogether different–don’t you think?

    I know people who were asked to donate a specific amount of money. We were asked to donate time, 8 hours during the week, and 8 hours on the weekend. You can find many more examples here on the blogs as well.

    I don’t see how this is “intense” or “heavy” pressure. We were asked to do what we could do. I was asked to take the entire day off work on election day to help monitor at the polls and also do other tasks. I told the bishop and by extension the stake president, my work schedule would simply not allow me to do that. I didn’t feel “intense” or “heavy” pressure. I felt they were doing their job in trying to get volunteers. I couldn’t fulfill that specific task. And, my understanding was that we were to contribute of our time and means, as we were able. I did exactly that–as I was able. Some times I was able, and participated. Other times, I was unable, and did not participate.

  37. Guy, I have relatives in 4 stakes spread all up and down the state. Your experience is different from all four of our experiences.

    Intense and heavy are very appropriate terms for what we’ve seen. I don’t want to go into much further detail, out of respect for the privacy of my family members, and out of respect for my local leaders whom I love. But allow me to suggest that your aggressive questioning of people’s experiences is unfounded.

  38. Kleermaker says:

    Sounds to me like yours were the local leaders going “off the reservation” on this one, Guy.

  39. Peter LLC says:

    I don’t see how this is “intense” or “heavy” pressure.

    Perhaps your beef with Kevin is one of semantics? It may be more productive in this case to apply the insights of pragmatics, i.e., to look at how more is communicated than explicitly stated.

  40. Sign up sheets were sent around with missionary dinner calendars and the other usual stuff in my ward. I was never pinned down and I only became involved because of a phone call informing me of an activity months after the first appeal was made. I asked who would be there and was told he didn’t know but he would be there. That was my pressure…the personal kind where you have to decide if you are going to assist a brother in the gospel who is willing to stand alone. I got one direct request from the bishop on the day of the election to go help make phone calls because there was no one there. (More eventually showed up including an Evangelical) Only a fraction of my ward participated. My sister reported more direct pressure in her ward. Rather than passing a clipboard, someone came into their classroom and put the lists on the board. There was stuff read or talked about beginning in August(talking in class time only). I found it all annoying at first but it didn’t make me feel singled out to do anything…and no one was keeping tabs on anyone. So if you are one of those who feels guilty anytime something comes down from the pulpit you would feel a lot of pressure to comply. But direct pressure would depend on the people in charge of organizing and that is going to vary as much as it does in any other church situation.

  41. nasamomdele says:

    They sent around a sign up sheet during the 3rd hour of church and expected everyone to sign up in front of each other, so it was very high pressure.

    That kind of pressure is why I’m anti-sealing assignments. And moving the Jones’.

  42. nasamomdele says:

    MikeinWeHo,

    “Does not object” is a long, long way from support. In this context, I would argue that “does not object” means ‘grudgingly tolerate because we can’t do anything about it.’

    That’s a slanderous and immature statement. That kind of shrill voice is one reason why the No on 8 vote lost.

  43. As an outsider with limited grasp of the implications of Proposition 8, can anyone tell me the liklihood that failure of Proposition 8 may have led to a time when same-sex civil marriage, recognised by law, might become a legal basis for seeking same-sex ‘eternal’ marriage?

    Would this have figured anywhere in LDS authorities thinking, or are there too many other caveats likely to prevent the matter ever getting that far eg status of LDS church membership, for one.

    Just a question.

  44. Merkat, I can’t believe you think that if a sign-up sheet is passed around you are “pressured.” Give me a break. We get sign-up sheets passed around in our ward every Sunday, sometimes three or four every Sunday, for different service projects, feeding the missionaries, etc. Any pressure you felt was internal, just as it would be for these activities.

  45. Kevin Barney says:

    I thought it would be obvious that experiences would differ by location–that’s the way it always is in our lay church. But when the Stake President comes into your living room and asks you point blank for a five-figure donation, that’s not pressure? In the Mormon context where we’re not exactly acculturated to resist or reject appeals from bishops and stake presidents? Or when during a church class people are asked to arise physically and go to this corner if they’re going to work the phone bank or this corner if they’re going to ring doorbells, so that the only way you can avoid doing either is by very publicly walking out of the room, for all to see and gossip about?

    I’m characterizing this as pressure just based on reports I’ve heard from people I know and trust. If you didn’t feel pressured, that’s great. But I know an awful lot of Mormons who did.

    But yes, the intensity of the pressures of course varied by the sensitivity of local leaders, as always.

  46. MikeInWeHo says:

    Cool! I’ve been called slanderous, immature, and shrill on the basis of one sentence. I wish my words “In this context, I would argue….” might provide some protection against your indictment. I was just trying to express my perspective.

    My libelous rampage might have something to do with being at my parents house in conservative rural Michigan for the weekend, so far from all the activity. They go to bed at night and then I sneak off to blog. Anyway, it’s back to WeHo tomorrow!

  47. I’m from a family ward in North County San Diego.
    I am not aware of any instance in my stake or elsewhere where anyone was intimidated into participation. However we had sermons and discussions every Sunday on the importance of passing Prop 8. I did not seen any negativity towards this during the old time.

    Participation varied per person, no funding raising quotas given. At first they asked for to donate 1 hour per weekend, then 2 and it increased as we closer to election date. Those that had accepted callings contibuted a massive amount hours on the last couple of weeks.

    In fact – in fund raising we were told to stop making donations because our stake had easily hit its quota.

    On Nov 3rd, our ward had 75 people turn out for a big street rally near the local Wal-Mart, a really good showing.

    We were also told not to have any election day celebration parties – and they cited a general authority letter.

    I had several co-workers give me high praise for me and my church’s involvement in the campaign.

  48. I can only sympathize too well with your desire to recover something from the wreckage of an unethical enterprise, Kevin. Germans have to deal with that all the time.

    Fortunately, Proposition 8 will sort itself out. The generational voting patterns are unfavorable to gender discrimination and foreshadow its eventual defeat.

  49. Nope #7, you need to take the timing of fund raising into account.

    Early money is like yeast. A dollar during the last week of the campaign is worth much less than a dollar collected in August.

    By the time the opposition had finally raised enough money to sustain TV buys on a sufficient scale, the proponents had been on the air for two and a half weeks. During that time, the proponents had defined the issue.

    The proponents were organized and hassled. The opponents were disorganized and late.

    If you look at the evolution of public opinion, it is clear that the proponents’ media campaign decided the campaign.

    During the summer, large majorities rejected Proposition 8. Only when the TV campaign stoked fears about supposed threats of marriage equality to children and religious freedom did majorities flip.

  50. MikeinWeHo:
    In accuracies sake, shouldn’t you refer to yourself as MikeinRuMi when you’re visiting your parents?

  51. I am aware of at least one case where it was suggested that the person’s failure to donate to Yes On 8 was grounds to have their temple recommend revoked.

    According to my wife, in her ward (here in Southern California) Prop 8 was mentioned exactly once: the original June 29th letter which her bishop quickly read verbatim and offered no further comment. Even the sunday before election day, when all California bishops were ordered to offer the closing prayer in SM, petitioning with God for 8 to pass, the bishop did not mention 8, just asking for wise decisions on election day.

    I think her bishop was a closet “No on 8″ person. His name was not listed on mormonsfor8.com, but other bishops in the stake were.

  52. Steve Evans says:

    “That’s a slanderous and immature statement. That kind of shrill voice is one reason why the No on 8 vote lost.”

    Nasamomdele, you might fancy yourself a remarkable defender of the faith, but that kind of crap will get you banned around here. I’m not really paying close attention to this thread, but that comment struck me as particularly egregious. Regardless of whether your moral stance is right or wrong, that comment was wrong.

  53. Kevin #45

    I thought it would be obvious that experiences would differ by location–that’s the way it always is in our lay church.

    Except that’s not what your wrote, which was:

    This organizational success came at a cost–the heavy pressures put on California locals to jump in and participate.

    Continuing:

    But yes, the intensity of the pressures of course varied by the sensitivity of local leaders, as always.

    And,as Nate W correctly pointed out #29 above, the intensity of the pressure varied by the individual as colored by their perception of the issue.

    You and I Kevin, come at this issue from very very differing perspectives. You either approve of gay marriage or you don’t object to it, based on prior posts you have made and comments you have made at BCC and elsewhere. You may perceive pressure, where I do not. I will grant you that–it is a fact.

    I felt your comment was probably colored by your perception of Proposition 8 and your acceptance of gay marriage. You clearly were against the Church involvement. You clearly had a right to be against the Church involvement. General Authority level leaders specifically said as much–not that they needed to–but they did.

    That doesn’t mean you are any less a member of the community of Saints than I or anyone else who supported Proposition 8. I would venture to guess you are quite likely a much more faithful Saint than am I.

    I just wish you would not have made such a generalized and sweeping statement implying most if not all of the success of Proposition 8 was a direct result of “heavy pressure” exerted by most or all leaders. Particularly given your public persona as a defender of the Church. I thought it unfair to most Church leaders at the local level who had the unenviable task of implementing a very unpopular (as viewed by most all of Babylon–and many even within Zion) direct request for action from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

  54. Hellmut: “I can only sympathize too well with your desire to recover something from the wreckage of an unethical enterprise, Kevin.”

    What was unethical about what the Church did, Hellmut? I support its efforts and applaud its efficiency. Any organization has a right and even a duty to let its members know of its stand on moral issues and to organize to effectuate a change in law. It’s part of the democratic process. In addition, it seems to me that churches have a particularly important place in our culture of challenging cultural morals and letting their voice be heard. Churches were a vital motivator behind the civil rights movement. Just because you disagree with the Church doesn’t make its efforts an immoral enterprise.

  55. Okay, right, the sign up sheet was not intense pressure. The past month or two just felt like there was a heavy cloud of Prop 8 weighing over me. So I am being very subjective here.

    I’m sorry I didn’t explain it very well, but this sign up sheet was not like a “feed the missionaries” sheet. There was a long and impassioned speech before “I truly believe this issue will separate the wheat from the tares”…”It is our Zion’s Camp.” And the leader sort of stood there and looked expectantly at us as we passed it around. It was creepy. I’ve never seen anything like it at church. I’m sorry I used the terms intense and heavy but I felt like there was a literal weight over me. I’m sure people that fully agreed with the prop felt less horrible, but all of the politics at church was extremely difficult for me, and I’d expect members on either side of the issue to differ in their subjective feelings of being pressured.

  56. Holden Caulfield says:

    Local pressure probably varied due to the personalities of the local leaders. My ward (I was against prop 8) was a good ward to have been in, I feel. There were still horrible comments made. My least favorite was in Sunday School, where one sister reminded us that “we need to remember who these people (gays) really are.” She now knows that my son “really” is gay.

    In my sister-in-law’s ward, pressure must have been a little bit different. Her recently released bishop got into a shoving match with a no on prop 8-er in the foyer during meetings. Sorry I missed that one.

  57. Holden Caulfield says:

    The smiley face was an accident….there have been few smiles in our house lately…..

  58. Steve Evans says:

    GST in #32 is right. Please take all conversations to the Police Beat thread.

  59. Nope, Proposition 8 is unethical because it imposes religious standards on non-believers. You are entitled to your believes but your liberty ought to end where it begins to impose on the freedom of others.

    With respect to democracy, the founding fathers were quite clear that depriving minorities of their rights amounts to the tyranny of the majority. That’s why they created a Republic, which limits the scope of majority rule.

  60. Hellmut: Your position seems simply reprehensible in a democratic society. You take the position that if my political views are informed by my religious beliefs that I cannot express them in the public arena. That is just so much nonsense in my view — but dangerous nonsense since you seek to disenfranchise my views. The implication of what you seem to be saying is that those who have religious beliefs ought to be disenfranchised from having any say in the democratic process. That is truly scary to me. My exercise of my democratic right to speak out on issues and to have them considered in a democratic referendum doesn’t end when I consider my religious beliefs to be relevant to an issue.

    Further, rights are what are established by the Constitution — a written document — and not by judges. You seem to think that the vote of 4 judges on large political and social issues is more important than the voice of electorate. The so-called “right” of gays to marry was created by judges and not by that document. Further, that document, the California state constitution, got amended in Proposition 8 and there is nothing immoral about that. Virtually every state constitution in the United States is subject to amendment either by legislative vote or referendum vote. In that sense, all are subject to what you call “the scope of majority rule.” The basic social and political issue is whether gay marriage ought to be a basic right, and that issue cannot be resolved by simply mandating judicially that it is. It is a larger social issue for the electorate to decide.

    Now if you don’t like that California law provides for the state constitution to be amended by a majority vote, that is fine. But it is hardly immoral for proponents of Proposition 8 to follow the law and amend their own state constitution as it provides it can be amended.

    I think that when you call it “immoral” you are doing nothing more than expressing a dislike something like an emotional “ooohh, I don’t like that.” But when you imply that my voice ought to be silenced in the political arena because I have religious beliefs and I consider them when I vote, I consider your view to be very scary and inimical to truly basic rights.

  61. Kevin, props for always trying to see the morsels of good in things….

  62. Thomas Parkin says:

    “Only when the TV campaign stoked fears about supposed threats of marriage equality to children and religious freedom did majorities flip.”

    I think the dismissal of the concerns of the church and others on this point is where SSM backers are missing an opportunity.

    The word ‘marriage’ is significant in and of itself. The state applying it universally means that the teachings of the church and this word in the law will be out of sync. We will desire to continue to teach that marriage between the sexes is sacred and profoundly more desirable than marriage with only one sex involved. The letter of law will make no such distinction.

    Now that doesn’t mean that there will be any legal problems with the teaching of our religion today, or tomorrow, or next year. But history is long. What do we want? Everything we want! When do we want it? NOW! That is how we all think, but that is not history. When I first moved to Seattle and lived on Capitol Hill in 1991, gay folks were still protesting outside businesses on the Hill where they felt they were being discriminated against. Capitol Hill in the center of Gay life in one of the most liberal cities in the country. The change over a mere seventeen years has been remarkable. (I also note that in those days, many gay people were still rejecting the idea of family life and marriage as undesirable in and of themselves. They didn’t want marriage, to say the least. Another huge change is a relatively short period of time.)

    So, what about twenty more years, or fifty? What will be the movement of history, and where will the church sit within society decades hence? What is the zeitgeist? The current political leadership among gays is dismissing these concerns as manifestations of hate, etc. And gays now say they would never try to interfere with the internal teachings of a religion. And maybe that is true, broadly speaking, or maybe it isn’t. (I’m sure it is true of many or most). But I think the scenes in front of temples, with the venom that they demonstrate (justified or not) is probably not reassuring on these points.

    If instead of dismissing these concerns out of hand as paranoid, Gay leadership approached them with some understanding, it seems to me there may be opportunity to write laws that satisfy the desires of our gay brothers and sisters, and at the same time assuage the fears of those who see trouble in the direction history is moving. It seems to me that the kind of language we see from SLC is far more amenable to compromise and understanding than the language

    I lived for many years in the heart of the left – and, in fact, I do still consider myself on the left, especially on economic issues – I’m practically a communist. I know perfectly well the kinds of feelings that exist towards conservatives in these communities, that feelings match the ugly rhetoric. Over the last decade, I was constantly astonished that these folks could hold themselves out as examples of tolerance.

    Tolerance is a two way street. It is very easy to be tolerant of people who look, act, think and feel exactly as you do. It is very difficult to be tolerant of people who hold views that you find deeply troubling. Yet – if a man salutes only his brethren, indeed – do not even the democrats so?

    I’m not hopeful. I think these things will get worse and worse. I think there may be non-negotiable points on both sides. But, one can hope.

    I found this a step in the right direction: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/11/08/18549731.php

    ~

  63. You may perceive pressure, where I do not. will grant you that–it is a fact.

    The difference being that at the end of the day, you are right and Kevin is wrong, right?

    I mean, it simply won’t do to have a world in which the same thing is both good and bad.

    rights are what are established by the Constitution — a written document — and not by judges.

    What about the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland? Not a written constitution as far as the eye can see. As a matter of fact, the written documents they do have are practically drowned in a sea of whig-wearing activist judges.

    Ronan can correct me if I’m wrong, but despite this deplorable situation, the English (with the possible exception of Northern Ireland) do enjoy rights.

  64. Erratum: “British”, not “English”

  65. s a matter of fact, the written documents they do have are practically drowned in a sea of whig-wearing activist judges.

    I didn’t know it was custom for judges to bedeck themselves with William Pitt. Or do you mean a wig?

    :)

  66. I appreciate Kevin’s ability to step out of the box and look around. There is no denying there was pressure but it becomes offensive when it is assumed that was the only reason for participating when most of those who did would probably not see it much differently than the other endless demands on our time. And I see no recognition of the demands of a political campaign. That is what we were participating in. The tasks were not coming from “the church” they come from the campaign. The church’s part was to ask us to participate and ask they did. But the tactics were textbook and being done all over the country in every campaign. As for eye rolling stories…there will be no end to them. Of course there will be more antics in such an intense and compressed period of time. We will see the best of people and we will see the worst. But I am seeing a lot more of the best when people work that hard and don’t celebrate a win out of respect for those that are hurt by this. There is a palpable level of disdain throughout the bloggernacle and we culprits are obviously expected to bow our heads. That is why I prefer it be said to ME, the one who actually did it. The game changes and the same words said to me instead of about me are suddenly off limits. Maybe it is not just us who should be re-evaluating our actions. All I know is something I choose not to express in this environment occurred as I stood shoulder to shoulder taking the raw and honest version of what is being gift wrapped and delivered by some here. I have little doubt gay marriage will eventually prevail. I will be happy for them. I will even be relieved. But in the meantime, some of us were able to experience something that does not deserve to be kicked to the gutter until every detractor can say with unshakable assurance that our leaders are dead wrong on this. When I stood on the riverbank at Nauvoo where the wagons crossed I wondered why they did it. I was sure I would have stayed behind and mumbled the right things to satisfy the mobs until they left me alone rather than walk off into very cold and uncharted territory because a man told me to. This is nothing close to that, of course, but it gives me a tiny ray of hope that I might have been among those Saints. However, the church has publicly allowed for members to disagree so maybe the point is not just the choice but the behavior. I am proud of how those who campaigned for Prop 8 have treated those who are angry with them in the face of some spiteful recrimination.

  67. Nope, Proposition 8 is unethical because it imposes religious standards on non-believers.

    I’m guessing Hellmut didn’t vote for President-elect Obama.

    I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.

  68. Nope, I am sorry that you are upset. I would appreciate it, however, if you addressed my actual arguments instead of leaping to matters about which I may or may not have an opinion.

    Let me repeat my position for you: just because you happen to be in the majority that does not give you the right to impose your religion on the minority.

    If that were the case then the majority might outlaw Mormonism tomorrow. Clearly, that would be wrong, no matter how large the majority.

    It is unethical for majorities to impose their religious views on non-believers.

    How would you feel if Baptists imposed their prayers on your children because the majority in your part of the country happened to be Baptist? That happened recently in Texas.

    You are hurling rocks in the glass house when you are resorting to majoritarian mechanisms to push your religious rules on non-Mormons. Religion ought to be a matter of conscience, not coercion.

    When you pass laws then you are mustering the coercive powers of the state. You better have a secular reason for doing so. Otherwise, you might be the next party who will be constrained by somebody else’s religion.

  69. CTJ #66, I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with viewing the world in a religious manner.

    It is wrong, however, to muster the coercive power of the state to impose a religious point of view on non-believers.

    Legal restraints require a secular justification that can withstand empirical scrutiny, especially if it is a matter that is essential to people’s humanity.

    There is no such justification for Proposition 8. Marriage equality exists in many jurisdictions. There is no observable harm to marriage in any of them.

    Barack Obama, by the way, understands that. Although he does not yet support marriage equality, he opposed discrimination in the California constitution.

    I would be very much surprised if you did not know that Obama opposed Proposition 8.

  70. Peter LLC says:

    I didn’t know it was custom for judges to bedeck themselves with William Pitt. Or do you mean a wig?

    Spelling lapse duly noted. Now go ye forth and labor to free the BCC from split infinitives and other tares among the wheat!

    8)

  71. Hellmut: Your assertion that Proposition 8 is the imposition of a religious view on the minority is just preposterous. Anyone who tried to invalidate it on Establishment Clause grounds — as you implicitly do — would and ought to laughed out of court and out of the conversation. You simply fail to give due credit to the real issues and caricature and demean the proponents of Prop 8 as if they had no other reasons for voting for it than mere blind faith. You have missed the social dynamics and societal interests at stake.

    Note carefully: gays are not asking for the State to stay out of their bedroom or let them engage in sexual relations whenever they want. They are asking the state to protect and promote their relationships, to spend money and taxes and to use coercive force of government to do so. In my view, you have missed the crucial issues at stake. In fact, you have it bassackwards.

  72. No on 8 outspent Yes on 8 by about $10 M. In addition, about 23% of the donations for No on 8 came from out of state while only 12% came from out of state for Yes on 8. The notion that No on 8 was outspent or just didn’t get a message out is misinformed. The fact is that 53% of the voters in California found that message to be less persuasive than the Yes on 8 message.

    What I hear from those who have targeted the Church is truly dangerous and should give rise rise to a sense of real concern for all who care about democracy. In essence, the No on 8 are targeting the Church to silence it in the political arena. What I hear them saying is: “I want to silence your voice in the political arena through intimidation because you disagree with me.” That message is truly reprehensible.

    It is the core message that many in the Church outside of California have taken away from the entire issue.

    Also, MikeInWeHo, since the 70s or so, Salt Lake County has had equal employment protection for gays in County employment. I’d like to see a civil union registry proposal put forth next, a well done one.

  73. Again, Nope, you need to put words into my mouth just to keep up. It should give you pause that you cannot argue with what I actually have to say.

    Instead you have to invent stuff that I never said, which is merely betraying your impotence and desperation.

    Religious freedom is a larger matter than the United States Constitution.

    Gays are human beings. Traditionally, same sex orientation has been regarded as a deficiency. However, the scientific consensus has contradicted that view for more than a generation.

    Therefore, gays deserve to be treated with the same rights, privileges, respect, and dignity as any other human being.

    In the absence of a secular reason that would hold up to empirical scrutiny, you are imposing your religious values on people who are not members of your religion. That’s unethical.

  74. Hellmut,

    Apparently 3 out of 7 judges on the California Supreme Court disagree with your claim that there is no valid secular argument in favor of traditional marriage. Had but one of the other 4 judges decided differently then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Add in the decisions of other state courts against any right to same-sex marriage as well and it’s pretty clear that the secular analysis is far from uniform.

  75. Peter LLC says:

    bassackwards

    Well, I’m persuaded by your impeccable logic.

    Had but one of the other 4 judges decided differently then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

    If the power went out at your house, we would also not be having this conversation. Or if your neighbor’s basement flooded, and you got up to go help. Or if those 33 men had resisted Fremont’s call to sedition. And so on.

  76. Prophecy of Eza Taft Benson

    Does anyone remember this?
    It’s on the Church website. It’s entitled “I Testify”, and it was delivered
    at the General Conference in October, 1988.

    Here’s the link on the website.

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82

    620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=666927cd3f37b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    If you have trouble with the link, search “Benson testify” and it should
    come up.

    “I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our
    society. It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more
    powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for
    power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks
    to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is
    increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire
    world.

    “I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s
    leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of
    Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the
    final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all
    mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the
    kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage,
    either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested. God’s wrath
    will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the
    wicked without measure. But God will provide strength for the righteous
    and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph.

    “I testify that it is time for every man to put in order his own house
    both temporally and spiritually. It is time for the unbeliever to learn
    for himself that this work is true…to walk in all the ways of the
    Lord, to use our influence to make popular that which is sound and to
    make unpopular that which is unsound. We have the scriptures, the
    prophets, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Now we need eyes that will
    see, ears that will hear, and hearts that will hearken to God’s
    direction.”

    Keep your eyes and ears open to movements trying to restrict parental
    choice over education. Time and again, governments seek, through
    education, to indoctrinate the next generation, and one of the first
    actions taken is to outlaw private and home schools. I realize that
    public school is the right choice for some of your children, so please
    keep communication open and make sure you know what messages they are
    getting there. We are our children’s first teachers, no matter where
    they sit for school.

  77. Thanks for the link, Roland. I believe that manifestations of the growing evil testified of by Benson are the modern Republican Party, the Evangelical Right, and George W. Bush.

    queuno, the fierce Independent.

    (I”m in a charitable mood today, because our ward’s been split… Hallelujah!)

  78. Holden Caulfield says:

    Appreciate the the ETB talk. I actually preferred his comments on the civil rights movement—-“What are we doing to fight it [communism]? Before I left for Europe I warned how the Communists were using the civil-rights movement to promote revolution and eventual take-over of this country.” (Salt Lake Tribune, April 7, 1965, p.A-5)

  79. Extensively quoting from ETB is meaningless without explaining how and why his remarks are relevant.

  80. Holden Caulfield says:

    When he made comments like the one in the Trib, the first six words of your comment are my point, Steve M.

  81. Hellmut,

    Nice job.

    Explaining enlightenment principles to conservatives is hard. They are generally still ticked that the middle ages did not last longer.

    Holden,

    Communists were ahead of the curve on civil rights in the U.S. as well (that is why Pete Seeger belong in the 1930s/1940s). I am pround of them for that. It took the Dems and the GOP as few decades to get caught up.

  82. #73 Aluwid, we would have had this discussion regardless of the court. Remember, the wording of the initiative had to be changed, which means the proposition was already on the ballot before the court issued a ruling.

    Judges who are subject to the whims of the majority cannot be expected to defy convention. Sandra Day O’Connor correctly pointed out that the lack of judicial autonomy is a deficiency in many states.

    I am not particularly shocked that courts would uphold inhumanity. In the end, politics is about power. So are rights.

    The United States Supreme Court affirmed both slavery and Jim Crow until there was a movement that could assert the rights of American citizens.

    Frederick Douglass was right: Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has. It never will.

    It is going to be a struggle but facts are stubborn things. Slowly but surely prejudiced people are replaced by voters who have been better educated about the nature of homosexuality.

    We biffed Proposition 8 but eventually equality will prevail. We just have to keep at it.

  83. Thank you very much for the compliment, Chris.

  84. Hellmut, If this is a pure civil rights issue than why not the polygamists?

    For the record, The no on 8 campaign was on television a full week before the yes on 8 campaign. In addition, a month prior to that, a sympathetic group for SSM ran the very convincing ad “What if you couldn’t marry the person you love.” That ad alone put the Yes folks down about 15 points. And at the end of the day, the No side out moneyed the yes side by some amount.

    The no side was just a victim of a very poor campaign that failed to give a convincing reason why SSM should remain the law of Calif. When fairness is your only issue, you are destined to pull the short straw.

  85. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 73
    “Add in the decisions of other state courts against any right to same-sex marriage as well and it’s pretty clear that the secular analysis is far from uniform.”

    I agree with you, but would add that it’s equally clear where the secular trend is headed.

  86. Ha! I’m in the Chicago area and we had a Prop 8 talk today.

  87. “If this is a pure civil rights issue than why not the polygamists?”

    I do not think that California allowed gays to marry underage individuals.

    It is interesting that some of the strongest pro-Prop. 8 voices on the bloggernacle were also the most vocal defenders of the polygamists in Texas.

    If you are willing to concede gay marriage (not that I am arguing for it), then I will concede polygamy between consenting adults.

  88. The relative absence of substantive, thoughtful dialogue is really astounding. Does anyone know of a forum where pro-SSM and anti-SSM positions are being discussed in a respectful, solution-oriented manner? Are there any bloggers here on either side of the issue that would be supportive of a situation that involved compromise and concessions?

    I do not live in California, but my current position would have been Yes on Prop 8. Specifically, I find Hellmut’s comments to be unproductive and unpersuasive. Religious freedom as I understand it allows me to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of my own conscience. I like to follow this counsel all the time including when I am in the voting booth.

    Specifically, I felt like my religious beliefs influenced my vote on two issues on which I personally voted in this election. I live in Columbus, Ohio and took the opportunity to vote No on the casino and vote Yes for restrictions on predatory lenders for obvious gospel-related reasons which I am not interested in disputing as a result of this comment. I may have voted the same or different if I were able to completely detach myself from my religion—we’ll never know. I do not believe that is a possibility because my religion teaches me basic truths that are a part of me. I foresee my beliefs influencing my voting patterns in many circumstances in the future (same-sex marriage, abortion rights, smoking bans, drinking restrictions, stem-cell research, capital punishment, anti-obscenity or anti-pornography campaigns, drug-enforcement laws). My positions on these issues are irrevelant to this conversation. The important thing is that I think that my beliefs would influence my vote.

    I respect the position of not forcing religion on anyone and if applied with complete consistency I consider that to be a valid position as well. However, it seems that many ballot issues ask the electorate to legislate morality (or not). If I am to make certain that my own moral leanings do not have an undue influence on others, it seems that I should always vote for the perceived lowest common denominator of morality. However, at that point, am I not giving up my own religious freedom to vote my conscience?

    This is pure speculation, but I think a recent comment by Chris H. would support the idea that my “problem” is not leaving my conscience behind, but that my conscience is ignorant or somehow flawed. I stand in need of “enlightenment” so that my conscience can make judgements based on “a secular reason that would hold up to empirical scrutiny.” Unfortunately there is no empirical evidence about the long-term consequences of any of these ballot issues. They are new. That is why we are voting on them.

    So, I am left to my own flawed, incomplete conceptions of morality. A respectful, enlightening conversation would be a nice change of pace. Just tell me where and when to meet.

  89. Eric Russell says:

    Does anyone know of a forum where pro-SSM and anti-SSM positions are being discussed in a respectful, solution-oriented manner?

    Sure, it’s right over on that same forum where Israeli-Palestinian issues are being resolved.

  90. #86.

    Who said anything about underage?

    The point is that it isn’t really about civil rights but about the definition of marriage and how many people have a consistent civil rights view.

    Sen. Gordon Smith in Oregon was forced by the gay community to apologize for equating polygamy and SSM. I then ask the same question, if it is a pure civil rights issue, why not polygamists and why does the gay community want to prevent the over 18 polygamist community from enjoying their civil rights.

  91. #88 – Info to support traditional marriage.

    Hi Mateo – one major source of info used by us California LDS to begin dialogue on the merits of voting Yes on 8 with our neighbors was the website – ProtectMarriage.com.

    We also found a lot of useful resources at MeridianMagazine.com and the Proclamation on the Family (1995) at LDS.org

    The letters to the editor section in many local newspapers saw very heavy traffic in both side of the argument. Some of it very well put and some of it pure junk.

  92. I think that a good point Rich. On many non-LDS blogs I’ve been at whenever SSM comes up they seem at pains to separate it from polygamy. But if it is a general civil right I can’t see that the distinction is possible. And if the Church has good reasons to not want polygamy re-legalized (for obvious reasons) then shouldn’t it be pushing to stop SSM?

  93. I do not think that California allowed gays to marry underage individuals.

    It is interesting that some of the strongest pro-Prop. 8 voices on the bloggernacle were also the most vocal defenders of the polygamists in Texas.

    I think Chris, that this is poor reasoning. For one children have always been a special case. To say that sexual abuse of children is a civil right seems to defy logic.

    Second most of those defending the FLDS were not defending polygamy. Many, myself included, felt like much of what the FLDS got they deserved. What we defended the FLDS on was blatant civil rights violations like removing children into foster care with no due process. Certainly they deserve due process, don’t they?

  94. Hallelujah to post #18.

    I too have been very excited to hear the church come out and say this. (No pun intended).

    I am also very encouraged by a recent address given by Elder Marlin K. Jensen at my last stake conference in which he stated that latter-day saints should honor committment to monogamy wherever we see it, including gay unions. (Not marriage though). I know we have a ways to go, but when top-tier leadership sets a trend like this one towards tolerance and compassion toward gays, the members are sure to follow. Often we Mormons are criticized for “blindly” following our leaders, but if they guide is in this direction, I think such criticisms fall to the wayside. You should have heard this talk, it was stunning and very moving. I wish I had recorded it and made a transcript as most church members probably don’t believe me that such an address ever occured.

  95. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 89

    Amen, Eric. There’s another BCC post just waiting to emerge from that comment.

  96. I also appreciate the “God loveth all his children” (or whatever the title is) pamphlet produced by the church in which the idea of “de-gaying” a person through counseling/therapy is laid to rest. Progress is being made.

  97. Clark (#83),

    I was just making a passing observation. Not much reasing I guess. I was not thinking of you anyways. The rights of citizens, as equal citizens is a relevant principle in both cases.

    Mateo,

    I was not saying that you should leave your conscience behind (or anywhere else for that matter). I was just saying that Hellmut was making enlightenment arguments to a group of people who reject that foundation. I do not care if you are enlightened or not. In a democracy, I just hope that you are out voted. You win some and you lose some.

  98. Holden Caulfield says:

    “I am also very encouraged by a recent address given by Elder Marlin K. Jensen at my last stake conference in which he stated that latter-day saints should honor committment to monogamy wherever we see it, including gay unions. (Not marriage though). I know we have a ways to go, but when top-tier leadership sets a trend like this one towards tolerance and compassion toward gays, the members are sure to follow. Often we Mormons are criticized for “blindly” following our leaders, but if they guide is in this direction, I think such criticisms fall to the wayside. You should have heard this talk, it was stunning and very moving. I wish I had recorded it and made a transcript as most church members probably don’t believe me that such an address ever occured.-#94

    “As a result of this campaign, the Church PR effort (and many volunteers) stated repeatedly that the Church is fine with civil unions–it’s just the marriage part that was objected to.” #18

    Thank you for both of the above posts.

    I believe that Elder Jensen is leading the brethren on this issue, but no one is following. I am glad to hear Bro Jensen is continuing to speak on this topic. He is by far the most compassionate GA on this topic. I first realized his understanding of the issue on the PBS doc, “The Mormons”, when he stated that the celibacy of a gay person is different than that of a heterosexuality because the gay person has no hope. This is markedly different from the Oaks-Wickman presentation where Elder Wickman used his daughter as one who will be celibate because of her physical condition.

    It is wonderful that someone in authority would recognize a difference of monogamy in gay unions. Hopefully the administrative right will not send Bro Jensen the way of Leonard Arrington, another church historian.

    As to #18, I felt during the campaign that whatever acceptance there might have been in the public dialogue by church leaders of civil unions was given only because that was not part of the proposition. Laws are already in place and will not be changed. It was the politically correct thing to say given the circumstances. I think we know what the church and most members think of real gay rights because they are virtually non-existent in Utah.

    I hope I’m not right, but those are my feelings as I have searched for rays of hope from SLC.

    I am so cynical about this issue because of the woefully pathetic past statements of church leaders on this issue. As I have posted elsewhere, it seems the watchmen on the tower have been on footstools not towers on this issue. I would hope prophets would be ahead of current social climates on civil rights issues. However, they seemed to be dragged into whatever acceptance they finally arrive at.

  99. palerobber says:

    #7:

    the “blatantly bigoted anti-Mormonism” ad you refer to was not funded, produded, or aired by the NoOn8/EqualityCalifornia coalition.

    hasn’t your side done enough lying during this campaign?

  100. I’ll just give you an example of one of my experiences in my Southern California ward. We had a prayer in our sacrament meeting pleading to Heavenly Father that the opponents of Prop 8 would be destroyed. Not joking.

  101. I took a vacation from Church on Nov. 2, because my ward (in Provo!) asked us to fast for the passing of this proposition. I think that was excessive. Fasting for a girl who has cancer, deciding where to go grad school, a better relationship with Jesus Christ? I’m all for that. A constitutional amendment in a state a thousand miles away? Not so much. I decided reading the talks from the Priesthood session of Conference would be more uplifting than possible propimonies. :P

    I wish Utahns would have spent all that time and effort researching the money-sucking amendments that passed in their own state (grr . . .).

    I think marriage should be completely privatized: that the state should get out of it altogether. Then all of us can spend our time and money on more important things (like the humanitarian relief Mr. Barney mentions).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,514 other followers