Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The attack on the family

In Elder Russell M. Nelson recent address The Family: The Hope for the Future of Nations he states
Furthermore, those who seek to undermine traditional marriage and family would effectively limit the rights of those who do uphold the sanctity of these institutions. This consequence leads to another major concern— the eventual erosion of religious liberty, including the liberty to defend, promote, and practice traditional family values.(7)
And, to make sure we know that it is the queer community who is seeking to undermine traditional marriage and family, he includes footnote #7 which states
7. In countries where same-gender marriage is adopted with no religious exemptions, all religions could eventually be required to perform gay marriages or to accept gay priests—even when that violates their most basic doctrines.
I find this very interesting - in a disturbing sort of way. in LDS literature, footnotes are always used to denote sources of information for statements made in an article (as evidenced in the other footnotes in this article). Having a footnote of this sort is so out of character that it makes this particular footnote stand out. Did he put that in as a 'statement of fact' that we should already know? Is there any data to justify such a belief? This is crucial: Because, if it is, in fact, untrue then the whole premise of his article becomes suspect.

As far as I'm concerned, it's just more fear mongering. The fact of the matter is, there are a number of countries where same sex marriage is already legal - countries that do not enjoy the same level of freedom's that we have in the US - yet none of them force churches to perform or recognize gay marriages when their doctrine and beliefs are against such. And, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that will change.

In fact, other countries have separated legal civil unions (both heterosexual and homosexual) from the religious ceremony. You have to have a legal civil union in order for your marriage to be recognized by the government - and you can optionally opt to have a marriage religious ceremony. In that context, the statement that "all religions could eventually be required to perform gay marriages" doesn't even make sense.

Neither does the second part of that statement, "... or to accept gay priests", have any precedent. Not a single country in the world forces the LDS church to recognize women holding the priesthood. If governments are going to start interfering with religious practices - it seems far more likely that they will force religions to accept women in the priesthood before they force them to accept gay men. So, where is the outcry against that?

It's these sort of political commentary statements coming from the LDS church that are really testing my faith. I have a difficult time sustaining Elder Russell M. Nelson as a prophet, seer, and revelator when he is using his position of authority to push a political agenda. And, it's not just him, last year I blogged about similar fear mongering by Elder Bednar where he said
You're going to have the possibility of the inevitable clashes between religious liberty and free speech; and, if your religious doctrine is such that you believe marriage between a man and a woman is the only definition of marriage then that smacks up against free speech; because, if marriage is defined in a more broad way between members of the same gender - then you can't talk about that.
He is basically claiming that if gay marriage is legalized then we will loose our free speech right to preach against gay marriage. Where do they come up with this stuff? Alcohol has been legal for many years - yet nobody is telling us we can't preach about the evils of alcohol. Elder Bednar is an educated man with degrees in communication - I'm sure he knows exactly how to carefully choose his words to make it all sound plausible.

Personally I think they have it bass ackwards. Gay marriage doesn't threaten traditional marriage - it strengthens it!

There is no question that the family is under attack - but homosexuals are not the enemy! The queer community is trying to strengthen the family by introducing marriage and family values into a community that is traditionally known for promiscuity and hedonism.

I live in a very conservative, very red, community. I've raised 4 children in this environment; and, what I see around me is rampant divorce, broken homes and dysfunctional families. My daughter once observed that we're the only 'normal' family she knows of. Maybe the heterosexual community ought to take a clue from the queer community and start cleaning up their own house instead of throwing rocks at the queer community. Talk about glass houses.

I just cannot accept that God is directing these men to preach such falsehoods and fear mongering. If he is then there is no God - at least not a god I want to worship and return to live with.

I just wish I had the nerve to wear this t-shirt which says
Gay's. The biggest threat to heterosexual marriage
Because all of the best men are gay!

Thanks to Evan for first posting about the Russell M. Nelson article.


live honest said...

You have given me a LOT to think about. Thank you for your articulate expression of this matter.

And, Abe, my dear, I thought we were clear on "loose" and "lose"- weren't we? LOL

Happy day!

How is the quest to become a math teacher coming along?

Beck said...

It's fearmongering. It's feeding on the "what if" or the "could". The possibility of something horrible about to happen if we don't stop it.

But, another way to read it is to say that the Brethren want to protect religious rights and freedoms, that if there is to be gay marriage, then lawmakers must give religious exemptions and protections.

Is that necessarily bad?

missmoon said...

I agree. All the best guys are gay. That's why I married one.

marriedtoamoho said...

I'm trying to link my "secret" blog with my identity. forgive me.

Abelard Enigma said...

But, another way to read it is to say that the Brethren want to protect religious rights and freedoms, that if there is to be gay marriage, then lawmakers must give religious exemptions and protections.

That may be a valid argument; but, if you read the entire text of his speech before the World Congress of Families - that is not what he is saying. He warns of those who would "mutilate these long-established, time-tested social norms" and says "Any attempt to broaden the definition of marriage to encompass a contractual relationship between adults outside of the traditional family weakens the institution of marriage."

Essentially what I get out of this speech is warnings of dire consequences if we redefine marriage to include same sex couples

* churches will be forced to do things that contradict their beliefs and doctrines

* Youth will choose lifestyles that lead to emptiness and despair

* Society, as a whole, will be weakened

Goldarn said...

I felt a sickening feeling when I sat there, with the rest of the adults in my stake, and watched the Prop 8 satellite broadcast from the GAs. It was hard to watch people I had respected sit there, stare at the camera, and bald-face lie.

They stated things as being facts, but they can't being to explain why those things are true. When they do explain, their explanations tend to be false, exaggerated, or just plain factually wrong.

They *have* to know they're wrong. The alternative is that the leaders of the Mormon church are stupid and ignorant dupes of the right-wing political establishment. How can the members of the church trust someone like that to be a "Watchman on the Tower" if they are so easily fooled?

And if they aren't being fooled, if they really are telling falsehoods, why don't they trust us? Will telling us the truth make us not support them?

That satellite broadcast created so many new thoughts in me. My head was spinning by the end of it. I haven't been able to look at a GA the same way since.

Beck said...

I want to believe that they are seeking to be truthful and protect religious rights verses being nothing more than fearmongers.

You're making my faith and hope in this belief, sadly, to be less credible... :(

Anonymous said...

“I do not believe members of this Church can be in full harmony with the Savior without sustaining His living prophet on the earth, the President of the Church. If we do not sustain the living prophet, whoever he may be, we die spiritually. Ironically, some have died spiritually by exclusively following prophets who have long been dead. Others equivocate in their support of living prophets, trying to lift themselves up by putting down the living prophets, however subtly.”

Beck said...

ANON: Speaking for Abelard, as I feel I know him quite well, as well as myself, I think there is a true desire and want to nothing but sustain the living prophet and to be spiritually "alive" in doing so! There is no desire here to equivocate support for the Prophet.

All that is going on here are some well thought out questions and deep and personal concerns that are being raised... and some real and direct answers to those questions, without political double speak, or hidden footnotes, would be nice to hear.

Nothing more.

Much is taken on faith. Spirituality thrives on faith. Faith is still central to this questioning.

It was questioning after all, with faith, that brought Joseph to the grove.

don said...

I have come to the sad conclusion, as a gay man, that I can't be part of an organization that promotes hate and fearmongering. I haven't had my name removed from the church records because I love the culture of mormonism, it's who I am, but I cannot continue to support blatant lies like this.

Anon said that you can't be in full harmony... Agreed 100%, but neither do I want to be in full harmony with people who use their power and authority to lie, to discriminate, to promote hate.

I live in South Africa, one of the first countries to allow gay marriage more than 10 years ago. None of what the church claims will happen has yet "come to pass". Nor is their any talk about trying to force churches to recognize gay marriage if is against their belief system. What has happened is that I prefer living in SA over living in SLC, because you have eliminated at least one form of discrimination that is very important to me (not marriage but accept people for who they are rather than what you want them to be...).

Anonymous said...

You are either very naiive or deeply self-deceived if you believe that it will be as easy to teach about the evils of homosexuality as it is about the evils of alcohol, which you stated in your article. By 2015 we have seen that those who are proponents of gay marriage refuse to have a two-sided discussion about it, and that those who oppose gay marriage are labeled "haters" and "fearmongerers" and shouted down. There is no freedom of speech where this issue is concerned. We've seen people who refused to bake a cake for a gay marriage, based on their religious liberties, lose their homes and their businesses. Maybe in 2009 when you wrote these things, the situation hadn't progressed to where it is now. But in 2015, nobody who opposed gay marriage or the gay agenda has any freedom of speech in America. And to deny that is to have your eyes completely and deliberately closed to what's going on today.