Sunday, April 5, 2009

Marriage is a Civil Right.

With Iowa's recent ruling the unconstitutionality of banning same-sex marriage and the upcoming elections in California and I assume elsewhere, I want to begin my arguments in support of gay marriage...again.

In this post, I will attempt to allow various definitions and whatnot to make the case for me (with some commentary of course). This is part one of a few posts I expect to write in order to make the case that same-sex marriage is indeed constitutional and the banning thereof a violation of one's civil rights, as well as another instance of the Church's misguided efforts. Readers will notice I offer backup links so they can look at the context and verify my sources themselves and that I also offer many different sources' definitions as to erase all question.

All arguments for and against my own are more than welcome. I understand some have made up their minds without intention of changing it as have I. The purpose of debates between two strongly opposing parties is to help those who haven't made up their mind or who are open to changing theirs to consider each side. While hardly a lawyer, I hope to make my case.

* * *

civil right (right or rights belonging to a person by reason of citizenship including especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th amendments and subsequent acts of Congress including the right to legal and social and economic equality) (WordNet Search, Princeton University)

“A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. Examples of civil rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places. Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. Statutes have been raised enacted to prevent discrimination based on a person’s race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin, and in some instances sexual preference.” – Cornell University, Legal Information Institute, Civil Rights.

Wikipedia offers a few definitions of Civil Rights:
1) "Civil and political rights are a class of rights ensuring things such as the protection of peoples' physical integrity; procedural fairness in law; protection from discrimination based on gender, religion, race, etc; individual freedom of belief, speech, association, and the press; and political participation."

(Remember: gender and race weren’t always part of this list. They had to be fought for, which means some believed both women and black people had no claim on certain rights, such as to own property, to be free, to vote, etc. Do we disagree with this today?)

2) "Legal rights are rights that are bestowed by nations on those within their jurisdiction; they are sometimes also called civil rights in common law jurisdictions. Contrast with natural rights or human rights, which many scholars claim that individuals have by nature of being born.

3) "Civil rights, in civil law jurisdictions, are rights or powers which can be exercised under civil law, which includes things such as the ability to contract. In civil law jurisdictions, lawsuits between private parties for things such as breach of contract or a tort are usually expressed in terms of infringement of a civil right." (emphasis added).

(Remember, marriage is a contract)

Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of The U.S. Constitution:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The Fourteenth Amendment has been used to argue for many rights, including marriage rights such as in interracial marriage. We must remember, for a time the definition of "marriage" either directly or indirectly included "between two members of the same race." Interracial marriage went against the generally accepted notion of what was not only moral but natural and God ordained. If this wasn't so, there would be no need for various court cases including California's 1948 case Perez v. Sharp and the U.S. Supreme Court's 1967 case Loving v. Virginia. Both of which concluded that marriage is a right.

And finally:

Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

(Isn’t marriage part of pursuit of happiness for those who pursue it?)


Not all rights we recognize and enjoy today have always existed. We've had to fight against racism and sexism to assert the equality our Constitution rightly demands. It is not in our interest to judge others who wish to pursue their own happiness, a happiness most recognize as selfless and beneficial to both those involved and those not involved. It's God's job to judge. According to many, there are heterosexual marriages of which God will not recognize, but we allow it because we believe straight sex to be "moral" - but only in the bonds of marriage.

And this, everyone, is what kills me.

First we tell everyone sex outside marriage is unacceptable to God and provokes his wrath. We essentially give everyone this choice: be celibate outside of marriage or go to hell. We tell everyone if they’re gay they can’t marry one of their same sex - but they can marry someone of the opposite sex (so very respectful to the poor straight partner, whether or not he/she is aware).

If anyone has ever been compelled to pretend to be something they're not for fear of invoking the wrath of those with authority over them (parents, teachers, a church), they will understand the horrendousness of such a suggestion to be straight when one is gay.

So now that we've ensured gay people cannot marry one another, if they have sex, they’ve not just the sin of homosexual sex on their hands but fornication as well. We’ve dug that grave deeper for them, taking their freedom of agency from them, first by telling them they cannot marry and then by saying because they're not married they can't have sex.

(By the way, nobody has ever said any Church would be forced by law to sanction such unions. If need be, I can dig up the specific wording of both the May 15, 2008 California ruling and the most recent Iowa ruling.)

Before we demand lifelong celibacy out of anyone, I suggest we consider what it would be like for us - and this doesn't just include marriage but dating, too and anything which we believe God would consider sinful or lustful outside marriage. And we've quite a list of "no-no's" which even the most faithful have difficulty following. Because we don't want to be alone, and even God has said it is not good for man to be alone.

So why marriage?

Marriage provides stability (for children). Marriage provides security (for children). Marriage forces us to act like adults and commit. It does not point a gun to anyone's head to force anyone to accept it, God especially. Not everyone who marries is religious anyway.

The fact is we all have our own beliefs and we all teach our children those beliefs despite the world who may or may not fight against them. But this is no theocracy. I cannot say that enough, and that is why so many like me reject with zeal and with even patriotism that no religion's beliefs should even try to impede on non-member's lives. And that is what this is all about.

Many straight couples/individuals today engage in behavior which I would consider detrimental to the family unit, yet we don't fight against them because it is their right to do so and my right to avoid them and their behavior. That makes the "it's moral" argument incomplete. If we're so concerned, we ought to legislate against all couples who, in our eyes, morally threaten the sanctity of marriage/the family regardless of sexual orientation.

Fear of marriage is unfounded. Fear of having any religion led by men dictate our laws and what constitutes a right is totally founded (I don't care if he's the Prophet, he's still a man).

The Church was wrong about blacks and interracial marriage and expressed racist statements in official settings which lend to the impression of divine authority and blessing. Later they argued their beliefs were merely due to the times and culture of which they grew up and belonged in, and further that they were working with limited knowledge. Fair enough - but they can be and I believe are wrong regarding gay marriage today in much the same fashion.

26 comments:

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

Thanks for this. I just wish the Mormon church would take logic and reason into consideration before it made its pronouncements. Unfortunately, we all know it doesn't.

Lori Ann said...

Maybe this is coming out of left field, but I would actually like to hear your opinion:) The people I have run it by treat me like I am crazy.

What about the idea of enabling any two people (above the age of consent) to have a domestic partnership, marriage, or whatever you want to call it?

Some examples would be:

Heterosexual couples
Homosexual couples
Brothers and Sisters
Friends
Even at adult parent and child

Why should the benefits of parternship be based on two people within a sexual relationship?

And why only two people? What if you have a man who is in love with two women and they are all committed to a partnership?

Or an adult married couple and one of their elderly parents? Wouldn't it be great if they could put an aging mother on their company health insurance plan?

What do you think? I am geuninely interested in your perspective.

p.s.- I found your blog on "myregisblog"..totally drawn in by his "be careful, she's liberal" description. I hope you dont mind:)

Lisa said...

Craig: No, it doesn't. It may take some years, unfortunately.

Fortunately, though, we've time on our side and people (not members) will tire quickly of religion's getting in the way so blatantly of their government.

One can hope. I choose to, at least.

Lori: Ahhh, I always loved that Gatsby placed that extra description next to my name :) Welcome!

So. Questions. I'll do my best (an chances are you'll think I'm nuts)

To be fair I obviously have to place my feelings of ickyness aside when dealing with other groups people as yourself challenge my views with. You're certainly not the first, but I do appreciate the respectful tone you phrased your questions in. Truly. Thank you.

First I want to point something out:

The argument is not for something as left field as incestual marriage. To my knowledge there are no groups out there calling for these rights, and I do have my thoughts concerning them. I cannot imagine the civil rights codes including "without regard to age, sex, orientation, race, ethnicity, and familial relationship."

It just sticks out like a sore thumb.

The gay community has been fighting for rights in more arenas than just in the marriage arena. For example, in Utah an employer can fire a gay man/woman just for their orientation.

This is more about who a person is than who they marry. Do you see the difference?

Anyway. As a child/adult marriage would be considered child abuse/rape regardless of relationship, I'll deal with something like a brother/sister marriage.

(btw, ever read "Flowers in the Attic"? Excellent book)

As icky and wrong and...ICKY as that sounds, it does happen. My feeling is that as long as these two people do not agree to have children (ensure they cannot) then whatever.

Why? Because it's a medical issue. Children born of incest often have severe medical issues, often plain to the eye. If you do a little research on royal families in the past, you'll find they engaged in incestual marriage as to keep the royal line within the family, but physical deformities raged and really beat up the children borne of such unions.

Now, polygamy.

I hate polygamy, but it is my belief that if this is a union willingly entered into by all parties (and I do mean willingly), than I have no problem with it.

My issue comes strongly with situations like a church basically forcing its members to partake of such unions. This happens in the FLDS community and has happened in the LDS community. Couples were excommunicated if they ignored/rejected the direct call of the Prophet (as in, he showed up and said "hey, i need you to take another wife/i need your wife to marry me")

Any union borne of coercion like that is not okay with me. But some people really do find fulfillment in something as a polygamous marriage. I don't understand it, but I do believe some really like that sort of arrangement. Whatever. Just as long as I'm not forced to do it.

Or an adult married couple and one of their elderly parents? Wouldn't it be great if they could put an aging mother on their company health insurance plan?

Actually, if the adult married couple provided for half+ of that aging parent's needs, I do believe they could claim that person on their taxes at the very least. I wonder if it would translate over to a health insurance plan (as a dependent). I don't believe marriage would be an issue here.

But yeah, if that was the only way an elderly person could get health insurance, than what the hell.

Jake said...

What about if they weren't marriages in any sort of conventional sense, but simply legal contracts between two people agreeing to certain things, and given specific benefits similar to marriage benefits? Why must a "domestic partnership" be based on some sort of sexual relationship?

In the eyes of the state, is not a marriage simply a contract with certain rights and obligations? Why not simply, in the eyes of the state, eliminate the word marriage and use civil union or domestic partnership instead? Then, anyone who wants a "marriage," can go to their religion or other group of their choice and be "married" in the eyes of that organization. This way, all "marriages" are equal in the eyes of the state, and religions don't have to marry anybody they don't want to*.

Inbreeding, which is what you meant by incest since incest can also be a social taboo without actual family relationship, does not necessarily cause genetic diseases. It increases the prevalence of homozygotes, which may or may not code for hereditary diseases. The problem is when you get a family with the defective gene inbreeding over several generations, increasing the prevalence of defective homozygotes within that family.

*I do realize religions are not required to marry people they do not want to under current marriage law nor under any of the same sex marriage laws enacted/proposed in the US. I assume it is the same in other nations, but I am not very active in the debate, so I simply do not know.

Steve M. said...

Lori Ann,

Heterosexual couples
Homosexual couples
Brothers and Sisters
Friends
Even at adult parent and child


From the California Supreme Court in the Marriage Cases:

"We emphasize that our conclusion that the constitutional right to marry properly must be interpreted to apply to gay individuals and gay couples does not mean that this constitutional right similarly must be understood to extend to polygamous or incestuous relationships. Past judicial decisions explain why our nation's culture has considered the latter types of relationships inimical to the mutually supportive and healthy family relationships promoted by the constitutional right to marry. [Citations omitted.] Although the historic disparagement of and discrimination against gay individuals and gay couples clearly is no longer constitutionally permissible, the state continues to have a strong and adequate justification for refusing to officially sanction polygamous or incestuous relationships because of their potentially detrimental effect on a sound family environment. [Citations omitted.] Thus, our conclusion that it is improper to interpret the state constitutional right to marry as inapplicable to gay individuals or couples does not affect the constitutional validity of the existing legal prohibitions against polygamy and the marriage of close relatives."

Rights aren't absolute. Laws that infringe rights and liberties may be constitutionally suspect, but if the State can point to an interest furthered by the law that meets the appropriate level of judicial scrutiny, then the law will be upheld.

What the California court is saying in the above passage is that there are compelling state interests that justify laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages, which are inapplicable in the case of gay marriage. Therefore, protecting same-sex couples' right to marry does not require recognition of a right to incestuous or polygamous marriage.

With regard to friends getting married, I don't see what the problem is. The law doesn't forbid it.

LokiGrinning said...

Lisa,

Long time reader, now to comments here.

OK, like you I could never imagine living in or wanting to live in a polygamous relationship, however, this argument is so often brought up as what would logically follow is gay marriage becomes legal. I have never understood the logic because existing marriage law covers a partnership only. Expanding that to cover a partnership of the same sex is relatively easy. Changing husband/wife to spouse in the law pretty much covers it and while I am sure there may be more to it, nothing else really needs to change as we have seen where it is legal now.

Relationship with multiple partners are not covered at all under existing codes and laws. I believe that a whole new legal code would need to be created in order for polygamy to become legal. It is a completely different system with entirely different rules for both how the relationship is created, standing of the individuals involved, and dissolution of the marriage, etc. Not to mention dependents and insurance questions that would need to be considered. To me at least, it seems like a much more complicated issue from a strictly legal standpoint. Again, I have no issue with polygamy if all partners agree and consent.

Lisa said...

Jake: I have to claim ignorance here. What are you trying to get at?

In the eyes of the state, a marriage is a sexual relationship. That is part of the contract, I believe, as cold as it sounds. You know: there is a societal benefit to be had for stable and committed monogamous relationships. Also there are, to my knowledge, grounds for divorce should one be infertile or against sex. It's just not fair :)

Loki: Thanks for taking the time to comment, and welcome!

I, too, see the disconnect. From a legal standpoint the changes to paperwork and other laws would be astronomical and so I would imagine there would have to be a HUGE demand before anyone would even pretend to entertain this idea.

But I've made that argument before. People still insist on making it. So I like to try to play the game ;)

(nevermind that with the interracial marriage these same arguments were undoubtedly used - ESPECIALLY in the then semi-recent wake of the LDS polygamy issue)

Lori Ann said...

Lisa,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. No matter their perspective, I always appreciate a persons view points more when they are able to engage in a civil exchange:)

I just wanted to clarify that I was never advocating for incest or anything like that. I think any of us that have a siblings, feel that automatic gag reflex at the thought of that!

You kind of addressed what my problem is with this comment you made..

In the eyes of the state, a marriage is a sexual relationship. That is part of the contract, I believe, as cold as it sounds. You know: there is a societal benefit to be had for stable and committed monogamous relationships. Also there are, to my knowledge, grounds for divorce should one be infertile or against sex. It's just not fair :)

Why does marriage have to be a sexual relationship?

Maybe the gay rights movement can benefit other disenfranchised people as well.

I worked in a nursing home during college and I met a lot of older woman who had never married. They had no pictures of grandbabies or old wedding albums.

If a woman today were able to enter into a domestic partnership with, let's say, her brother, her chances of being able to adopt would go up, her ability to stay at home with the kids and be on her brothers insurance as a 'spouse' would be good. (if she chose)

Anyway,

My point is, if we are going to take procreation out of the argument of what defines a marriage, I think we should open the doors for any two adults, regardless of relationship.

As to the polygamy thing, I think it should be allowed but there have to be certain stipulations and it has to be examined closely.

Lisa said...

Lori: :D (I hope this makes sense. I just woke up)

I don't believe we've taken sex from the equation. The homosexuals who wish to marry have sex. Some would like to have the ability to wait until they are married (alas, we're making that impossible!)

There should be something available for the situation you described. Now, I do think something like that would benefit further from a label such as a "domestic partnership" since there's no sex involved.

I don't know though. Maybe it wouldn't matter. It would rid the "couple" of the stigma of marrying close family if it was understood to be a contractual relationship with the intention of raising children. The problem when extended to a gay "domestic partnership" is that it would be, to my knowledge, extremely difficult for a gay couple to adopt just by virtue of their orientation.

And the relationship would be decidedly different. (I want to bring this back to the issue even a little, though I love what you've brought up)

Like Steve said, With regard to friends getting married, I don't see what the problem is. The law doesn't forbid it.

And why? Because generally speaking it would be between a man and a woman. As long as the friends' married outside a relgion or by an authority who wouldn't deny such a union, there would be absolutely no legal protest.

Lisa said...

A thought. Again, just woke up but a thought.

Two friends decide to marry. It's been thirty-five years and as twenty-year-olds they made a pact to do this should they remain single.

In the eyes of the law this isn't a big deal. And why?

Well, first because it's a guy and a gal.

Second of all, because their sex life or lack thereof isn't any of our business.

(it used to be. "you may kiss the bride" at civil ceremonies is symbollic of a time when consummation took place with witnesses present to ensure it happened)

Sodomy laws are no longer in effect. Why? Because an adult couple's sex life is not any of our business.

The Church, yea even the LDS Church, says it does not care (to a certain degree) if a non-member gay couple has sex.

The issue is that the term "marriage" lends the impression of a blessing upon such sexual relationships.

But again: Marriage is not religious for all who marry; NO church would be forced to marry such couples (you don't see us forced to marry non-member couples or even member couples in or outside the temple, do you?) so that issue is null.

A person or couple's consentual sexual relationship in or outside of marriage is none of our business.

And so California has two answers in the works for next year: Leave gay couples the hell alone and let them get married because their sexual relationship is none of our business; or, call all marriages within California domestic partnerships.

Either way we'll be equal as we should be (much as I hate the term "domestic partnership")

natalie said...

And now Vermont! And now Vermont!

natalie said...

Oh, and now that I've gone back to read these comments... :)

"Contracts" like the ones some of you are talking about have existed in the past. We have tons of them on record from Medieval times, when two men would "adopt" each other. The agreements were usually a marriage in everything but name.... they included sharing resources, deeding over land titles, etc. Same sex advocates look at these stories and say, "See? Gay marriage HAS been legal!" The opponents like to say, "No, those weren't marriages, those were civil/social partnerships."

Either way, the practice stemmed from a Roman practice that allowed any two people to form some sort of contractual agreement that would have some legal weight.

I think coming up with such a system is very rational, though we'd have to wait a few hundred years to get away with calling it 'marriage'.

What of single older people without a lot of family? What if they and a close friend have good reasons for wanting to combine their finances and give each other power of attorney?

I think what people have been trying to say is that the bundle of rights that now only come with "marriage" don't necessarily have anything to do with sex. There could be ample reason for other, non-sexual relationships to enjoy these same protections and privileges.

Interesting to think about....

Heather said...

Lisa,

When I read this quote I thought of you. I so admire your courageous heart and willingness to stand up. You are a good and kind person. This is the quote: "There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. IT MAY INTERFERE WITH SOME OF YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS. It may interfere with your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and couse the heavens to shake for your good, and his name's glory." Harold B. Lee (December, 1970)

This is what I don't understand. I am just trying to be a friend, I'm not trying to judge you. If you are uncomfortable discussing it, I understand but what happened in your life to trigger all this with the blog, and going against church leaders? I really want to understand. Did someone offend you or did you just wake up one day and decide that certain parts you could do without living, I'm just honestly confused and very worried about you. I just care and want to understand. Email me if it's something you can't respond to on here or if you think I'm being too nosy or rude you don't have to respond at all.

Grégoire said...

This is what I don't understand. I am just trying to be a friend, I'm not trying to judge you. If you are uncomfortable discussing it, I understand but what happened in your life to trigger all this with the blog, and going against church leaders? I really want to understand. Did someone offend you or did you just wake up one day and decide that certain parts you could do without living, I'm just honestly confused and very worried about you. I just care and want to understand.

Good heavens...

Lisa said...

Heather: We say we believe the leaders to be infallable, yet when they speak (no matter what they say) in any (semi or not) authoritative setting we will do whatever it is they say.

That is frightening to me. On a few levels.

Historical precedent exists which says the leadership is not always correct. I also believe hell is not at the gate should we choose to not follow some of their statements. When the week cools off and I have some time away from house hunting and car repairs and homework, I plan on continuing this little series for further explanation. I hope to do it justice.

Again, I understand your worry and I appreciate your concern. You've always been kind to me when disagreeing, and I appreciate that. I appreciate very much your courage to come into the lion's den here and voice your disagreement/concern.

While this is about my political views, it is so much more about being silenced and told to ignore my own conscience which has yet to steer me wrong. Am I free to think differently? Yes. Am I free to talk about it? No - I'm not. Not without the threat of a bishop's call, disfellowship, or even excommunication looming. At the very least not without someone questioning my faith and testimony in the Prophet of the Church. Nothing about questioning my testimony in the Holy Spirit or even Christ whom I feel I'm being more true to.

And Prop 8 was a straw to break a back. This began years ago and not because of offense. I know (especially after the last apostasy lesson, of which I was present for) that is difficult to comprehend because the Church teaches it so zealously, but people do leave/disaffect for other reasons. Good reasons. Not for sin, offense, or otherwise. People who read their scriptures and pray and pay their tithing and attend the temple and magnify their callings for years while questioning and getting nowhere. It happens.

On the same thread I could accuse you and others like you of ignorance and blind obedience. Many are okay with it though. The Prophet has spoken. God has spoken. We don't know everything; we don't have to know everything.

Trust me, I know all the answers. I've made myself physically ill over all these answers. But I reject them because there are other answers, more rational answers, answers which don't bring me a stupor of thought. Those who disaffect with other religions (like the Jehovah's Witnesses) experience the same exact issues.

I've exercised blind obedience before and have had it work for me. It's not always a bad thing. But I told myself years ago I would follow my own conscience/the Spirit before I would follow the leadership every single time. They don't always agree, and this time is one of them.

I have to live with myself. I have to answer to my conscience. That's really it in the end.

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

It's amazing to me how one dimensionally many Mormons view those outside the church, or those in the church who dare to have their own opinions and express them. I think it's a sad commentary on any religion when that religion encourages and fosters stereotyping and judgementalism and self-righteousness, no matter how well-meaning.

Jessica said...

I don't understand the criticism of Heather for being "judgemental" when the two who criticized her just turned around and were judgemental right back. That's why people with opposing views rarely get anywhere in a conversation. They're too concerned about being judged and judging others in return.

It gets tiring.

Grégoire said...

It gets tiring.

What actually gets tiring is this sort of passive-aggressive "help" which comes from true believers. Not just Mormon true believers. I have a friend who used to be a Scientologist. They do it too.

Of course, no one would leave the pure teachings of Scientology behind simply because they aren't interested in them, or they aren't superstitious, or because they found something else that's more interesting. It has to be because the were offended by some other Scientologist, or perhaps the dissident is a drug addict, sexual deviant or psychopath. In any event, what the apostate needs is more time in auditing and every true-believer feels it to be his or her duty to make wonderfully helpful, unsolicited suggestions in as loud a voice as possible, preferably in public.

I can't speak for the next fellow, but of course *I* judge. Every normal person who finds out I have a Mormon background goes a bit pale and I have to apologize for the lack of boundaries and strange behavior of the true-believers on a regular basis. I suppose it's the cross we bear.

Jake said...

Why does a domestic partnership/civil union/marriage have to be about sex? Just because lack of sex or infertility could be grounds for divorce, it doesn't mean the contract must be about those things. Can two people get married without being able and/or wanting to have kids? Of course, happens all the time. Can two people get married without wanting to have sex? It does happen.

I'm just saying marriage law grants certain rights and responsibilities, why must this ready made contract be solely reserved for two consenting adults wishing to engage in a sexual relationship? Why not allow others to take advantage of some of the rights such as visitation rights, communal property, joint taxes, etc.? I'm not a lawyer, so their may be strictly legal reasons why such a situation may not be feasible in the current legal framework. This different from allowing multiple simultaneous partnerships, since that requires a complete overhaul of existing marriage law as pointed out by Loki.

Lisa, I also think you meant we believe in fallible leaders, yet are expected to obey them in a way that treats them as infallible. We all know accepting that a leader can make a mistake is the first step to apostasy, heaven forbid we think a leader actually made one. All the while ignoring the officially acknowledged mistakes of past leaders, speaking as a man, personal opinion, etc.

Lisa said...

Jake: Did I say the opposite *slaps forehead*

Yes, that's what I meant.

Jessica: I don't remember judging her. Or really Gregoire. Craig made an observation - I don't know that he was judging per se.

But it's always a fun point to make as these things do happen rather often (judging others while accusing them of judgement)

That said, Heather is a good friend. I've others who choose to ignore me entirely I'm afraid, so let's be nice.

(She does point out what many ex-mo's mention, though: What offended you for you to leave, etc. In the eyes of members, however, my actions and words regarding my opposition to Prop 8 do indicate a level of pride - oh noes! - so it does make sense to them though to the dissenters' eyes it's something entirely different)

Oh, and Jake: yeah. It could totally be a non-sexual relationship. As it is now, marriage indicates a sexual relationship. But I know we're speaking of other unions now.

I just find it rather ironic that in our zeal to protect marriage we're more than likely - at least in California - moving toward a place where marriage will be abolished in the eyes of the very same government in place of "domestic partnership" which, as we've discussed here, could easily transform into something decidedly different from the traditional marriage.

Make sense?

I've had a long, rough week...

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

I was certainly not passing judgement on any one person, but as Lisa said, making an observation that was relevant to the discussion.

Grégoire said...

Jake sez:

Lisa, I also think you meant we believe in fallible leaders, yet are expected to obey them in a way that treats them as infallible. We all know accepting that a leader can make a mistake is the first step to apostasy, heaven forbid we think a leader actually made one. All the while ignoring the officially acknowledged mistakes of past leaders, speaking as a man, personal opinion, etc.

This is a great point.

I think it does a grave disservice to church leaders (or anyone else) to expect them to be 100% correct on every issue, all the time. It must be an incredibly stressful job to be seen as the veritable mouthpiece of god on earth.

Of course they're wrong sometimes, on some issues. They aren't politicians, economists and social scientists. They're simply people with a tough job who try to give advice on ethical matters.

I think it's more sensible to put the teachings of the prophets in a historical context. Prophets can be wrong, and we should expect them to be wrong. We should also do our part and question our prophets when our conscience dictates as much.

It's easy to slip into an emotional and intellectual childhood, expecting someone else to lead you around in life and make your decisions for you. More difficult to use your own brain, but that's the price of authenticity.

Lori Ann said...

I think that until two people can come to a consensus on what happiness is, then there is no point in arguing politics, religion, or anything else.

I think that a fair person realizes that people subscribe to a political ideology because they want the world to be a better, happier place.

But if one group defines happiness differently than the other, they cannot have much respect for the ideology of the other group.

Grégoire said...

Hey Lori Ann:

I think that until two people can come to a consensus on what happiness is, then there is no point in arguing politics, religion, or anything else.

But if one group defines happiness differently than the other, they cannot have much respect for the ideology of the other group.


Once upon a time, a long long time ago, there lived a guy named Gramsci. He got arrested by Mussolini (Hitler's buddy) and was sentenced to a very long term in prison.

Gramsci was a polymath, like Thomas Jefferson. Among his other achievements he was a historiographer.

He asked the same question you're asking now. He answered it a little bit differently than you do.

Because we all have different backgrounds, and because society is so unequal, we all approach life from very different perspectives. We have an illusion we call objectivity, but for various reasons (including our differences) we can never hope to achieve it.

Someday, society will be more equal, and so it will be easier for us to approach one another from similar perspectives. Until then, what we need to do is to approach topics together authentically, without trying to exploit our intellectual and political opponents.

We'll never get objectivity this way, but we'll come close. Gramsci called this inter-subjectivity.

Of course it's easier for us to get angry at one another and beat each other up over our differences than to come together and try to understand each other's viewpoints. That's why inter-subjectivity is so rare... but it is achievable. We just have to be open-minded.

Does this make sense? If not, it's my fault. If I were brainier I'd totally be able to break this stuff down. Anyway, this has been an interesting discussion and I'm going to quit butting into it.

Karen said...

Lisa, you've hit the nail on the head for me in one of your comments... It's not so much about this particular political issue as the question "If my conscience tells me one thing, and church leaders tell me another, which is it my responsibility to follow?"

I've asked that question in other arenas and basically been told that my conscience is wrong and I should ignore it and do what I'm told.

You're right. It's frightening.

Houstonlaw said...

I totally agree with Kreig. All the religious authorities should understand this fact and the logic behind it. Their announcements affect the lives of many people.

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