Sunday, December 21, 2008

This Week in Mormons in the Media

I'm a little late on this, as the issue of Rolling Stone I'm referencing is now off newsstands, but I wanted to mention it anyway.

It would be very easy (and tiring) to comment on the many stories around the church and California's Prop 8 that have flooded the media over the last six weeks, but I have chosen not to dwell on it. The main reason being, I am totally and completely opposed to defining marriage as ONLY between a man and a woman and feel terrible that I'm associated with the group that served as one of the major catalysts for getting the prop passed. It's been overwhelming to try and get my thoughts in order on the subject. Rather than rant every time I read something that infuriates me, I just choose to leave it alone.

One thing I am relieved about is that the prop passed democratically, as it should have been. There aren't enough Mormons in California to affect the vote that much, so the fact that it was the majority of resident's feelings that it should not be allowed is their business. So, all of the protests against the church and its involvement are really unfair. They only do it because they know we don't fight back. Protesters just need to realize that it was democracy in action and let it be. Besides, it's only a matter of time before it's overturned and deemed common practice across the country.

Now, when I saw that Rolling Stone was going to chime in on the Mormon's involvement I cringed and squirmed in anticipation for what I might read. I was only too relieved when I read a very thoughtful article on how it wasn't the Mormon's or the Black's or any other Christian group's fault. It was the fault of the Gay and Lesbian groups that ran, what I realize now, to be an utterly disorganized campaign. It was them that did themselves in by a lack of leadership and focus and by not playing offense early enough in the process. Hearing this from RS of all things, came as a big relief. I hope people will read the article, which can be found right here, if they're interested in the subject.

Hopefully, the next time this issue comes up, voters grant equal rights for all despite race, creed, or sexual preference. While Mormons and Blacks may not be completely to blame, I do find it sad that two minority groups (I consider Mormons in that group, as they are prejudiced against in a similar fashion) who fought so hard to be treated as equal members of American society, would fight so hard to keep those same civil rights away from others. I love the church, but I am deeply ashamed of them in this instance.


RR said...

well said. i agree. and here at ground zero, I can tell you that the rolling stone article was right. but anyone who works in politics knows that the type of ground campaign the church waged had a significant different in turning out voters and should not be ignored, ever.

keep the blog coming in 09 brother. it's awesome.

Ryan said...

Thanks Jon for the thoughtful analysis. I admire your willingness to put your opinion out there to such a degree on this and other topics.

On this topic in particular we see eye-to-eye for the most part...

But I don't agree with RS' Tim Dickinson that the passing of Prop 8 was any more the "fault" of the opposition's poorly-run campaign than personal financial collapse was the fault of Enron employees with insufficiently diversified investment portfolios. While gay rights activists clearly appear to have made some strategic and tactical mistakes in opposing Prop 8, this does not remove culpability from those instigating and supporting the measure, and herein the LDS church clearly shares in the culpability (and should share in the criticism).

And while I'd generally agree that having a proposition pass democratically is preferable, in this case I reject the premise on which the vote was based. Specifically I reject the notion that somehow there is an "us" separate from "them" (my words not yours) that gets to decide one way or the other. Who do we think "we" are? And I include myself in the "we". While I was in opposition to the proposition, not until exploring some of the nuances with a friend did I realize that the fact that we even think we have the right to make the decision is where we ran off the tracks. Simply being in the majority does not, IMO, give the majority the right to decide whether to reserve some rights for themselves. In this case in particular, the rights are so fundamental that I'm embarrassed that as a society we even have to ask the question. But that's how societies evolve, I suppose, and I agree with you that it will eventually become a non-issue, following the path of women's suffrage, civil rights, etc. Hopefully much sooner than later.

To bring it home, realize that those in the LGBT community are in fact part of our broader community. Collectively we are all one community. Why would we as a community want to limit our own rights to marry? :)