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Looking at 2009: The Year Gay Rights Trump All?

January 5th, 2009 · 22 Comments

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If Barack Obama’s campaign rhetoric is put into law, 2009 will be the year homosexuality becomes a civil right.

During the campaign, Obama said the issue of gay rights “is about who we are as Americans.” On Change.gov under the heading “civil rights,” Obama promises legal protection for “gender identity” and “gender expression,” expansion of “hate crime” statutes and homosexual adoption rights, the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and of the Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell rule for military service.

Adopting homosexual behavior as a civil right apparently trumps majority rule at the ballot box, as well. Last November, California voters passed Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment which defines marriage as “the traditional union of one man and one woman.” However, after the voters had spoken, homosexual activists embarked on a beyond-statewide witch hunt, targeting the Mormon church, getting prominent supporters of traditional marriage fired and boycotting businesses whose owners had contributed to the “YES on 8″ campaign. A loud, self-righteous media campaign painted the voting majority as hateful bigots (except the blacks and Latinos, of course) and the homosexual campaign to suppress democracy a defense of basic civil rights. The over-zealous attempt to link the black civil rights movement to homosexual rights tripped, though, when analysis of the vote revealed that majorities in the black and Hispanic communities voted yes on Prop 8. No-on-8 proponents have said this was because they were “lied to” by the devious Yes-on-8 campaign– ’cause obviously these minority communities would never consciously vote against gays’ “civil rights.”

A legal challenge by homosexual activists to the constitutionality of this amendment was filed with the California Supreme Court. State Attorney General Jerry Brown at first vowed to defend the right of the voters to define marriage, then reversed himself– either under pressure from homosexual activists, or betting such political posturing would better his chances in the 2010 gubernatorial election against Gavin Newsom. The California Supreme Court, whose unprecedented 4-3 vote invalidated Proposition 22 which adopted traditional marriage in the 2000 election, has yet to rule on Proposition 8. The justices are now hearing the rumblings of a recall movement not experienced in California since voters removed Chief Justice Rose Bird in the ’80s when the court refused to enforce the voters’ desire for a reinstatement of the death penalty.

Labeling homosexuality as a “civil right” seems to trump everyone else’s civil rights, too. Just as illegal aliens seem to have more rights than citizens, homosexuals use their “civil rights” to bully and prevail over everyone else’s.

Case in point: Four San Diego firefighters are ordered by their lesbian fire chief to participate in a “gay pride” parade, in uniform, driving a city fire truck. Fire Captain John Ghiotto reported that along the parade route he and the other  firefighters were subject to verbal sexual abuse, with spectators crying out “show me your hose” and “you can put out my fire” and “give me mouth to mouth” all the while “exposing themselves, grabbing their crotches, rubbing their nipples and exhibiting tongue gestures.” For decades now, such behavior between men and women has been defined as sexual harassment, subject to severe penalties. However, when the four firefighters alleged a violation of their civil rights in a civil suit against the City of San Diego, they lost. Their right to be protected against homosexual sexual harassment was subordinate to the homosexual parade spectators’ right to ignore city laws against public nudity and harass the firefighters.

You don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way this wind is blowing.

One of my closest friendships was threatened recently over the issue of gay marriage and civil rights. I was engaged in what I thought was a spirited debate over Prop 8 with a longtime friend– a member– who, over the years, has become increasingly liberal. Since he makes his living in academia, I thought we were on safe ground, locking horns without getting personal. Suddenly, however, he said “goodbye” and terminated the conversation. Stunned, I emailed him, apologizing if I offended him and saying how I thought it was just a sparring exercise. His response was that talking about this subject had led him to experience negative feelings toward old and dear friends, and he just couldn’t do it anymore.

It hit me like a bucket of ice cold water: This damned issue– which seemingly came out of nowhere– has reached a tipping point that isn’t only exponentially infecting the country, but also the Church membership. I realized already that many in the ranks didn’t approve of the Church’s public position on Prop 8– it was all over the blogs– and even a few lug nuts decided to leave the faith because of it. To have it hit so close to home, though, makes me realize just how toxic a poison it is. Satan’s laughing his ass off.

I think we’re going to lose some ground in 2009. I think the sifting process is going to claim more than its usual share of chaff and that, unless the winds change course through the judicial process (a momentary lapse of reason that I pray for), the church of secularity will claim the spoils.

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22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 queuno // Jan 5, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    I agree with you, but more importantly, I’m *shocked* that members didn’t see this coming long ago. What, we’d get Prop 8 passed and everyone would treat us as conquering heroes?

    Members of the Church have always been on the wrong side of society, and this is no exception. Any “goodwill” over the last 20 years was just the eye of the hurricane.

    (That’s why I generally am nonplussed over the negative attention. I expect the worst when I introduce myself as a member of the Church, and while sometimes that is validated, generally things are better than I expect.)

  • 2 s'mee // Jan 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    I’ll say it again. It’s a matter of wheat and tares; sheep and goats.

  • 3 Karron // Jan 6, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Tsk . . . once again it is uncivil to be just a guy who loves a girl and marries so they can have babies. We should, instead, experiment with all sorts of unhealthy lifestyles while aborting babies because they are in the way of ‘progressive’ civil rights. Uh huh . . . and where does the line stop? Didn’t western humanity learn anything from the cultural fall of both the Greek and Roman civilizations? Guess not.

  • 4 xoxoxoxo // Jan 6, 2009 at 3:59 am

    Sweetie…I know thou art a wise and discerning man, but at times thou art also blinded by thy hope in others.

    There are only two Churches on earth, the Church of God…and the one that is not of “secularity”. Call a spade a spade…as far as I know, it’s still politically correct to do so. MANY members have been deceived, are being deceived, and will be deceived.

    The people who reach the tree and eat the fruit in Lehi/Nephi’s dream are CLINGING to that rod…both hands…with all their might. And yet even some of the ones that taste of the sweetness of the fruit are embarrassed enough by those in the GASB to walk away.

    The story is ageless, the plot is the same. Only the players change. We have to get past being dumbfounded that there are always those who KNOW how that story ends time and time again STILL choose to play the roles they do.

    Who’s on the Lord’s side who?
    Now is the time to show.
    We ask it fearlessly, who’s on the Lord’s side who?

    We age no common war.
    Cope with no common foe.
    The enemy’s awake,
    Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

  • 5 xoxoxoxo // Jan 6, 2009 at 3:59 am

    “age” should be “wage no common war”…oops

  • 6 David // Jan 6, 2009 at 4:59 am

    xoxoxoxo,

    Dearheart… I took the phrase “secular church” from the man, Neal Maxwell (genuflect):

    http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6197

    Basically it be one and the same to which you are referring. Or something like that. Now get us some cookies, that’s a good girl.

    Nevertheless, I know what you’re saying is true. It’s like Joseph Campbell’s Myth of Man. The plot is set, the outcome inevitable.

    And I always feel like I’m on the H.M.S. Pinafore when we sing “Who’s on the Lord’s Side, Who?’

  • 7 Shoes // Jan 6, 2009 at 6:36 am

    This year for Christmas, my dad, a larger Prop.8 donor, received hate mail postcards.

  • 8 Anthony E. Larson // Jan 6, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Mormons should have seen this coming, given our history. We’ve always been on the receiving end of persecution and opprobrium due to our political and doctrinal stands. For my take on all this visit:
    http://mormonprophecy.blogspot.com/2008/12/warning-from-our-past.html

  • 9 xoxoxoxo // Jan 7, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    H.M. S. Pinafore????? ROFL! You kill me.

    (genuflects as well at the mention of “the man” and offers penance for not knowing the reference by heart)

    I’m also torn between handing you a handful of Oreos (and grudgingly I might add) and copping a feminist attitude and telling you to get your own ^%$# cookies. Decisions decisions….:P

    Anthony-I personally wasn’t shocked at the response, and I expect our historical persecution to continue and most likely increase. What DID surprise me a little was A) that Mormons were singled out of the entire group of organizations that participated, especially since Focus on the Family approached US, B) that almost NOTHING has been directed at the actual VOTERS, who in the end are the ones who determined the outcome, and C) the very UN-tolerant and UN-accepting attitudes of those who seem to constantly demand tolerance and acceptance from the rest of society.

    But my surprise doesn’t equate with concern or anxiety…it is what it is.

  • 10 David // Jan 7, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    xoxoxoxo,

    To that list I would add my surprise over the vocal in-house dissension there was over the Church’s involvement. Not that I didn’t expect any resistance– the Daily Universe proves every week that any action will piss SOMEONE off– but I even caught the outrage from close friends. It didn’t, for a moment, make me question my support, but it did wake me up to the reality of the sifting of Zion– it was practically a Mormon version of Stephen King’s “The Stand.”

  • 11 xoxoxoxo // Jan 8, 2009 at 8:05 am

    AH….great point. That did surprise me as well…and if ANYTHING about the whole deal concerned me…it would be that aspect.

    That you have read and saw a parallel in “The Stand” is just another reason why I adore you…just tell me that you loved the book and hated the movie as much as I did…

  • 12 David // Jan 8, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    LOVED “The Stand”– it’s my favorite King novel.

    Alas, the TV movie was the dismal result of a Greek tragedy. When the book first came out, George Romero (of “Night of the Living Dead” fame) bought the rights and he and King collaborated on the theatrical project for a number of years. The problem was, they couldn’t trim the sucker down to a script shorter than 300 pages (translated: 5 hours) For over a decade they tried to make it work, to no avail. Then ABC offered to make the 6-hour miniseries, but didn’t use King or Romero to work on it. And, well… you know the results. In retrospect I think (and had they held out just a few more years, they probably would have seen this, too) King could have had his 6-8-hour epic done right on HBO or Showtime as a series. On the up side, there’s nothing stopping them from doing that now– the ABC version was so forgettable, no one would complain.

  • 13 David // Jan 8, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    BTW, there is now a “Stand” comic book:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stand:_Captain_Trips

  • 14 Devery Anderson // Jan 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I think the whole Prop 8 issues shows that when you advocate discrimination, just like America and the church at large did against blacks and integration in the 1950s, people aren’t going to like it. Discrimination neve wins in the end, and we are niave to think it will in this case. We get nostalgic for the days when the church was really persecuted, and so we are good at immediately putting up the “persecution” whine whenever people criticize the church at all. In this case, the church and its members encouraged, paid for, and rounded up thousands of volunteers to ensure that people would not have certain rights, rights which would not have diminished thier (the church and its members rights) one bit. In this case, the church was criticized, admittedly to an extreme, because they were the persecutors. I don’t think the discriminator can ever really be persecuted because they are the ones with power. However, they can be criticized and condemed. But there is a certain irony when the one time persecuted become the persecutors. I can’t blame anyone for being upset with the church because it advocated discrimination. When we get puzzled why family members walk away from this discussion, that is the bottom line. It is not like debating a tax law, a good friend of mine recently said in a letter to the editor in the Salt ake Tribune. Families are being torn apart and rights diminished. That is a whole different issue.

    The church has been on the wrong side of history before, and time will show that they are this time as well. I suspect one day they will react as they have in the past: let enough time pass, and then play down the fact that they ever taught anything but civil equality for gays. If our history tells us anything, it is that we can sanitize our past pretty easily.

  • 15 Shannon // Jan 11, 2009 at 2:02 am

    I completely agree with Devery Anderson (above). When I heard the letter from the Prophet about supporting Prop 8 from the pulpit, I was blown away. I immediately thought of the church’s opposition and the Equal Rights Movement and what a mistake that was.

    Judging by the attitudes you expressed in this post you may not care about this, but the term “homosexuals” is really an inappropriate term to use. It is better to refer to the community at large as GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) or LBGT not has “homosexuals.”

  • 16 david j. // Jan 11, 2009 at 2:11 am

    I thought devery anderson’s above commits reflect the sad truth of the situation. The church and its members supported discrimination and in 15 years the church will again appear on the wrong side of civil rights. Just like blacks and the priesthood and the equal rights ammendment, the church has made a mistake in supporting prop 8.

  • 17 David // Jan 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Devery,

    I think it’s too easy a temptation to look at this as another example of the Church discriminating against and persecuting a group. That’s secular thinking. The focus, IMHO, should be on marriage as a God-created institution. We don’t ban gays from church or the Gospel, we don’t exclude them from our circles of friends, but we can, should and do try to protect marriage from losing its original meaning.

    Centuries ago the only ones the Lord allowed in the temple were Levites. How does the secular mind wrap around that?

  • 18 Devery Anderson // Jan 14, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I hate to point to any Old Testament practice as anything but uninformed people writing in the bronze age. Do we really think God wanted people stoned for breaking the Sabbath, or God acting like a terrorist in slaughtering women and children? The Bible condones slavery much more than it condemns it. If we want to use the Old Testament for a precendent for much of anything, we are in trouble.

    To really get a grasp that the Lord never banned the priesthood from Blacks — humans influenced by U.S. culture did, read Lester Bush’s 1973 article in Dialogue on the history of that policy. It was church leaders, not intellectuals and secularists, that came up with all the justifications behind it, such as blacks not being valiant in the pre-existence, being under the curse of Cain, and then conveniently forgetting that Blacks did hold the priesthood in Joseph Smith’s day. Here, the theology created as a justification fo the policy did tremendous damage. The secularists and intellectuals were saying what the mainstream church says today. It was leaders who were behind the times, clinging to an outdated theology and just plain stupid folklore.

    Keep in mind also, that the “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach to Gays in the church is relatively new. Read what the brethren said in the 60s and 70s. Again, it is just a matter of time before compassion emerges as acceptance of civil rights in this area. I guarantee that.

    Over all of the above, sprinkle the fact that the entire time the church practiced and performed polygamy (1841-1904), the only time it was legal was from 1847-1862 in Utah Territory. We broke the law to practice and encourage an alternate form of marriage that many saints still believe will either come back (which it never will, I can guarantee you), or will at least be practiced in the hereafter. I think part of this tremendous push for the passage of Prop 8 was for the church to tell the world that it was for traditional marriage, and a way to distance itself from its polygamist past.

    It isn’t always easy to be a church historian, but one thing it has taught me is that past is prologue.

  • 19 David // Jan 14, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Keep in mind also, that the “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach to Gays in the church is relatively new. Read what the brethren said in the 60s and 70s. Again, it is just a matter of time before compassion emerges as acceptance of civil rights in this area. I guarantee that.

    I hope you’re not suggesting that that acceptance of civil rights will reach the extent of allowing temple marriages to gay couple. I don’t think that’s what you meant, but if you did, in my most open of minds I can’t behind that prediction.

    I think part of this tremendous push for the passage of Prop 8 was for the church to tell the world that it was for traditional marriage, and a way to distance itself from its polygamist past.

    Emphasize “part,” and a smaller one at that. I wouldn’t presume to second-guess the possibility of divine influence, regardless of the position’s unpopularity– within the church or without.

  • 20 Devery Anderon // Jan 18, 2009 at 1:36 am

    Yes, let me clarify. I don’t believe the church will ever allow practicing gays to marry in the temple or hold a temple recommend. And that is fine, and how it should be, I think. A church can teach whatever it likes, and those who affiliate with that church should be prepared to abide by its rules or leave. The church telling others what it can or can’t do is another thing altogether, and that is the chief issue for most of us who could not accept, in good conscience, the church’s stand on Prop 8.

    I wish we could just accept the legality of gay rights in the same spirit we accept the existence of other churches. If gays being married is a mockery of the institution of marriage, isn’t baptism and the laying on of hands without proper authority a mockery of those ordinances? Aren’t they a “threat” to true priesthood authority? Why aren’t we lobbying to outlaw other churches who immitate our ordinances? Are those ordinances any less sacred than marriage? I would say not. But we have learned to accept that and simply tell those who are interested that we have something else to offer.

    If the church is going to align itself (safely, I might add, or it wouldn’t have done it) with the Religious Right with this issue, I wish it would be a leader, and not a follower, regarding the obvious: what do gays do now? Do the brethren think gays can change? Do they think they were born that way? Will living the gospel turn them straight or give them the strength to live celibately for their entire lives? Why can’t they really give an answer beyond “We dont know” when asked about these things. Here is where being the spokesmen for the Lord would come in handy and help a lot of people. Read what James E. Faust said in 1995, where he was adamant that gays aren’t born that way, to what Oaks said not long after that there is evidence that indicates that they might. Then listen to what President Hinckley said in the 2000s. It is clear that what they believe about this issue evolves based on what science is telling us, not God.

  • 21 David // Jan 19, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Devery,

    Thank you for your thoughtful alternative perspective on the issue.

    I don’t have an answer for the evolution of the Church’s position on homosexuality. Not to be lazy, but I would have liked links to the examples you cited.

    I do think, however, that comparing the Church’s views on homosexuality to its views on other churches ordinances is not fair. I think you would agree that the temporal integrity and eternal progression of the family are the Church’s main concerns. Other faiths may not possess the priesthood power to make possible the eternal goal, but they do focus on the teachings of God and/or Christ, and moral living, which reinforce the former objective. The gay movement insinuating itself into the family structure dangerously compromises its integrity. Acknowledging the same-sex partnership– or any other union other than an adult man and woman– as falling under the definition of marriage dramatically alters marriages design. To accept homosexual marriage as viable, equal and proper is to open the floodgates of its commonness, which can and will weaken the family structure and society.

    The arguments that marriage is already a mockery with its oft-times silly rituals, out-of-wedlock childbearing and high divorce rates are certainly warranted; our society is hurting and the institution is in critical need of rehabilitation. But it’s no excuse to further damage marriage through reinvention, ripping it apart to accommodate all carnal persuasions. To say such alterations are right is the same as saying that marriage is a secular invention and not a holy one.

    No one is speaking of their rights to benefits, wills, etc. A same-sex domestic partnership in California can enjoy every benefit a married couple can. Don’t presume, though, that this legitimizes their entitlement to marriage, not if you believe the family structure came from celestial origins.

  • 22 frankg // Apr 6, 2009 at 12:49 am

    You’ve got a good blog here. I’m sure the church will get a lot of heat for defending standards, and not agreeing to silence and keeping out of sight on moral issues.

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