Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My thoughts on the election

The election is finally over! A new president was selected by the people. He isn't the man I voted for - but I will accept and support him as the president of my country. The people voted for change. Only time will tell if Obama will accomplish the changes he campaigned for - and if the people will be satisfied with the changes.

Initial results show that proposition 8 in California has passed by a narrow margin. For many in the GLBT community, proposition 8 has been more important than the presidential race. It has been particularly divisive here in the queerosphere - even though most of us didn't vote in California.

Many have been hurt by the involvement of the LDS church in the proposition 8 campaign - particularly those who live in California and were subjected to anti-gay rhetoric in their church meetings. Sadly, this probably did not end yesterday as it will likely be a subject of conversation for weeks to come with in-you-face smugness; but, it will, hopefully, die down with time.

Many of us in the queerosphere opposed this measure; and, while we may not be directly impacted by its passage - we are disappointed in our church leaders, and particularly in some of our brothers and sisters who live in California. There is no denying that there was some overzeleousness on the part of the membership and local leaders in California. On one hand, we can say that this probably wasn't the intent of the general church leadership; on the other hand, they didn't do anything to quell it either.

And, there are some in the queerosphere felt it their duty to heed the call of the church leadership and support proposition 8. There were some very hurtful things hurled at them because of their support for the measure.

My heart goes out for those who are directly impacted by this decision. Gay culture is seen by many as one of promiscuity, drugs, and a generally hedonistic lifestyle. But not all gays buy into this culture; in fact, many want to distance themselves and simply want what their heterosexual counterparts already have and take for granted - and now that has been taken away from them.

I have a new calling - I am the seminary teacher for the youth in my ward. My seminary lesson yesterday morning included a segment on diversity and tolerance which said
Invite students to think about their attitudes toward people of other religions or those who seem to be sinners. Ask the students to write down what they think the Savior might say if He were to talk to them about their attitude. Read the following statements or give them to the students as a handout.

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: [emphasis added]
“I plead with our people everywhere to live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith. There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies. We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry.
(in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94–95; or Ensign, May 1995, 71).
This is the church I believe in. These are the teachings I want to incorporate into my own life. What happened in California is an aberration - it's not my church.

I was particularly struck by the comment in the lesson about those who seem to be sinners. There are some in the queerosphere who seem to be sinners - at least in regards to LDS doctrine and teachings. Others may feel that those of us who choose to remain in the church are misguided, perhaps even blinded. Regardless of where we stand with the church - we need to love and accept one another. While we may or may not agree with the choices made by some - we need to be tolerant of one another and celebrate the diversity we have in the queerosphere.

I have to confess, my testimony was shaken a bit by all of the rhetoric, misrepresentations, half truths, and outright lies being flung about regarding gay marriage by church leaders and members in California and elsewhere. Someone recently commented on an old post of mine and took me to task for my use of the term "Mormono-fascist". Yet that is exactly what we saw in California with father being set against son and brother against brother. I cannot predict the long term effect this may have on me as I'm not sure I will ever view my church leaders as I once did. But, for now, I choose to forgive them and move forward.


J G-W said...

I checked your blog only after posting my own responses to the election, and found that you've pretty much summed up my feelings about this...

I guess I've been mildly surprised by how many of my gay Mormon (heterosexually) married friends have expressed opposition to Prop 8. I mean, after all, wasn't Prop 8 supposedly designed to help folks in your situation stay on the path of righteousness?

Needless to say, I feel pretty wounded about this right now... We were so happy about being able to be married in California last summer. Now the postscript to Prop 8 is that the success of the measure throws the validity of our marriage into question. I find it hard to express how sad that makes me feel.

I'm also struggling not to feel angry about the smugness of the "winners," including statements about how their action supposedly takes nothing away from me... I don't get that. How would they feel if a powerful majority voted to take their marriage away... ?? But I don't want to dwell on that because I know that ultimately the anger will corrode my soul and not solve anything right now.

At any rate, I don't know why, but your words here and elsewhere are a comfort to me. All of your words here in this post, especially the ones you've quoted by President Hinckley. Thank you!

Bravone said...

Abe, Thanks for the post. I share many of your feelings. I have dear friends in California that are gay and married. It has been so intensely personal for them that I hurt too. Today I am not as critical of beauty contestants who say "I want world peace." So do I.

Anonymous said...

I felt the same way about "the church I believe in." I'm starting to think I'm like a man who believes the claims of infomercials. Is the church I believe in just the marketing for the real church?

As a non-gay LDS CA resident, I was constantly amazed at how other members would express shock that people might assume they hated gays. They would usually conclude that gays were just hateful people.

I made church attendance very hard. When I disputed a "fact" on the ward prop8 mailing list, I was stunned by the number of people who just openly didn't care if it was true or false, because "gays shouldn't be doing that anyway."

I don't know what happened to the church I believed in. I'm wondering if it ever really existed.

Kengo Biddles said...

“I plead with our people everywhere to live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith. There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies. We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry."

What a powerful quote.

I just had a heated discussion with a co-worker about this, and was somewhat hurt/annoyed with two people I swam with this morning by their response to the issue.


Now that voting's done, does it mean it will go away?

Philip said...

Honestly, I'm not concerned about myself or any of you. We are all adults and whatever our feelings are right now we will survive.

I am concerned about the damage being done to yet another generation of gay youth. I can no longer recall the emotions I felt back then but if I had a gun I would have used it.

So I can't be concerned for me or you all. We may have hurt feelings now but we'll get over it in a few days. We're survivors.


Superstar said...

I'm also struck by the line in the sand drawn by the church that has resulted in a bitterness that may take a while to subside.

The church is now recognized statewide in California as a political force to be reckoned with, at a heavy cost.

Many to whom the church may previously have sought to reach out have been painted as opponents. A cultural chasm has been opened, one not easily bridged.

It may now be much more difficult for those seeking for truth and light to accept LDS missionaries without questioning their political baggage and seeing them as political proponents rather than as representatives of Jesus Christ.

Amanda said...

Wow, Superstar, you've spoken my thoughts almost exactly, and in a much clearer way than I could ever speak them.

I cannot begin to express my disgust that this measure passed, and my anguish at the death of all those families. :(

Ezra said...

Last night I marched in a protest against prop 8, and there were many anti-Mormon signs. The church offered hate, and is receiving hate and misunderstanding in return.

I used to be happy when I saw the missionaries. Now I'm starting to feel exactly how superstar described--like they are an occupying force in my community, manipulating people to believe as they do in Salt Lake City.

I'm actually pleased that they are protesting in front of the Temple in LA. They deserve it, and I hope it never stops. If you wanna get your hands dirtied in politics, then you're gonna get filthy. Welcome to the fight. No holds barred.