I've remained more or less silent on this issue as I have done some studying and pondering about it. For anyone who is not Mormon, it just seems like some religious fanaticism or someone cramming their spiritual beliefs down your throat and trying to blur the boundaries between church and state. But for Mormons, it's something different than that.
I was very surprised and caught off-guard with a letter that was read during church one week. It was official from the leaders of the church, encouraging us to donate means to helping protect the family. Some years ago, a proclamation was issued by the church on the family and the church's views of the family. But the LDS church has always believed in agency, or the ability of people on this earth to choose for themselves how they want to live. Yes, they may break laws instituted by the nations in which they reside, and then they are bound to the consequences of breaking those laws. The LDS Articles of Faith declare some basic tenants of faith held by members of the church. I find #12 to be of particular interest here in looking more closely at Proposition 8, as it relates to laws.
You see, my initial reaction of shock to the letter encouraging support of Proposition 8 came because it seemed like such a statement as to say, "This is what members of the church believe." I know lovely people of different backgrounds-- cultures, ethnicities, races, religions, socio-economic status, sexual orientations-- and I think they should all be able to make whatever decisions they want in their life, accepting the consequences (for better or worse) that come with those decisions. Isn't that what agency is about? So why would I support Proposition 8?
A lovely, sweet woman at church wanted to organize a "calling party" at her house, where we would bring our cell phones and start dialing to talk with people in California about why they should vote yes. I rolled my eyes (inside, because if I were to actually do that, it would be rude!). She started to reference this article in her reasoning as to why our getting involved in any way is important. Well, what she was saying caught my interest (genuinely), and I decided I wanted to read the article.
So I later looked up the article and read it with interest. The part that really struck me started in the section of "Tolerance, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom" where the author wrote:
"The prospect of same-sex marriage has already spawned legal collisions with the rights of free speech and of action based on religious beliefs. For example, advocates and government officials in certain states already are challenging the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and only place children in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in Boston has stopped offering adoption services.
"Other advocates of same-sex marriage are suggesting that tax exemptions and benefits be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not embrace same-sex unions.  Public accommodation laws are already being used as leverage in an attempt to force religious organizations to allow marriage celebrations or receptions in religious facilities that are otherwise open to the public. Accrediting organizations in some instances are asserting pressure on religious schools and universities to provide married housing for same-sex couples. Student religious organizations are being told by some universities that they may lose their campus recognition and benefits if they exclude same-sex couples from club membership.  "
So religious organizations will be forced to act in accordance with practices/views/etc of people outside their organizations or risk lawsuits, fines, loss of rights, loss of accreditation? I have a problem with THAT. I mean, wasn't this country founded on the premise of religious freedom?
However, as I've learned more about other aspects of the arguments against allowing gay people to marry and how there are flaws in those arguments (for example, children CAN be pulled out of health courses due to religious beliefs by their parents, so no one can FORCE them to be taught something a parent does not want them to be taught), if what I'm reading is correct, who is to say that there isn't a flaw in this line of reasoning as well? So why am I to believe that these things that "could/would" happen actually "could" or "would" happen?
Yes, people are told to take a stand for what they believe, and I believe both sides are doing just that. Yes, religious people often believe that they must take action when their religious freedoms are being threatened. Yes, LDS people are taught to share beliefs/convictions with others through word and deed. But is trying to cram something down someone's throat helpful or harmful to "the cause" you believe in (this goes for both sides)? I know not everyone is cramming, but I also know I feel crammed! All the way up here in Washington state.
Why should I support this proposition? I'm conflicted thinking about the different sides of the issue and hearing valid points on both sides. I'm just glad I don't live in California (or Arizona or Florida for that matter). I know I'm not alone in feeling this way.
So, fellow Mormons, is this something you are backing on faith alone that the church leaders will not lead you astray? Is this something you've decided to trust is necessary? Or do you really believe it is necessary, and why? I'm not asking to mock. I'm asking to understand. Because if I am supposed to support this proposition (which it sure sounds like I am), I want to make sure that I'm supporting it from an informed perspective where I can really get behind the cause. Even after reading the article, I'm not sure how (and if) I can. And if I can't, is that okay? How am I supposed to know that it's okay to disagree with this issue if I can't bring myself to agree with it?
And to anyone and everyone else out there, what are your thoughts?