proposition 8 – Stay N Alive

Finally, a Tactful Anti-Prop 8 Video!

With all the attacks against Mormons and other groups, I have been wondering why anyone could be against Prop 8 and support the people behind the no campaign – I was actually somewhat a supporter of the anti-Prop 8 campaign until my faith began to be attacked for supposedly not allowing me to support what I was indeed supporting. As a Mormon, I just couldn’t stand for the attacks against my faith and videos like this one. Because of that I’ve been on the defensive, perhaps supporting more of the pro-8 campaign than I would have originally felt comfortable with doing. However, finally, perhaps the anti-prop 8 crowd is getting it as this awesomely tactful and funny Anti-Prop 8 video has surfaced on Funny-or-Die. Like it or hate it – you can’t go wrong with Jack Black or Mr. Doogie Howser himself!

I introduce to you, “Prop 8, The Musical”:

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See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

To the No on 8 campaign and all those protesting my church – Let’s find more positive ways of promoting this campaign. Hopefully we’ll see much more of this in the near future.


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Salt Lake City No on Prop 8 Rally from Reid on Vimeo.

I came across this video tonight after a protest they called a “hate rally” in downtown Salt Lake in front of the headquarters of my Church. You can see the temple, one of the places we worship, and the place my wife and I were married in the background. It’s normally a peaceful, tranquil place to be – I enjoy visiting, and feeling the spirit that is there. This video was not like that. From an outside standpoint, I see a lot of anger, a lot of hate, a lot of people mad at my religion, and frankly that has an affect me because this religion brought me up to be the person I am. It hurts a lot to see so many people hating something that has brought me so much joy.

Then, I see stories like this one of people wanting to boycott Utah because “Mormons are in Utah” and “Mormons supported Proposition 8”. Tracking Utah and SLC on Twitter I’ve seen a lot of Tweets, some from people I talk to regularly and would consider friends doing the same thing. And at the same time I’m thinking for the most part I’m on their side – I don’t know what I would have voted for if I were in California, but I do know I don’t fully understand why my faith thought this proposition was important enough to publicly announce support. Frankly I don’t care and I don’t think it should matter. Do those in other states not realize that there are people in Utah on their side?

After all, the “No on 8” campaign did raise more than the “Yes on 8” campaign so surely they can’t be blaming this election on the campaign contributions of the “Yes on 8” campaign. After all, regardless of the Mormon Church’s involvement it was its members who contributed as a whole, and many members who contributed to the “No on 8” campaign as well. What happened to Democracy and the choice of the people being the reason elections are won? Campaign contributions weren’t the cause of this proposition going through. Frankly, if the Mormon church had not stepped in, the pro-campaign wouldn’t have had anywhere near as much money as the anti-8 and the vote would have been unfair. I’m not saying I’m pro-8, but I think the pro-8 campaign won this fair and square.

Then there’s these “lists” I keep seeing passed around showing members of the Mormon church who donated for Prop 8. Ironically, many of those were put together by members of the Mormon faith, living in Utah!. Where’s the “list” of those Mormons who voted against the campaign’s contributions? Where are the “lists” of Catholics who contributed, or Evangelicals or Jews who contributed to the “Yes on 8” campaign? What about Gay people who contributed? The bias in this campaign, especially after the fact seems as though the Mormons were the only ones fighting for the campaign, when in reality, the Mormons were actually in the minority when it came to total voters voting for the proposition. Add to that the Mormon-targeted videos like this, see why I feel hated?

Yesterday, I saw article after article of protesters protesting my faith’s religious places of worship, yelling at passers-by, and much of the same things you’re seeing in the video above. Yet, I see no one protesting at Catholic places of worship, Jewish synagogues, or Evangelical ministries.

This hate hits at the very cause these people are fighting for. Bigotry, equal rights, and freedom for all. As a Mormon, I don’t feel very free right now. I feel really hated. We need to all stand up for freedom, equal rights, and liberty for all – attacking a single faith for sticking up for their own rights to worship accomplishes nothing.

Freedom is accomplished peacefully, without hate or guile, with equality for all. Hate, and even anger, gets us nowhere.

I’m closing the comments on this post for the first time on my blog – if you guys want to discuss this on FriendFeed, so be it, but I’m writing this simply to get my feelings out on this subject. Those of you on FriendFeed know my position on this. I think the approach these protesters are taking is wrong.

Proposition 8 – It’s Not Exactly Cut and Dry

your_vote_counts_button_3.jpgI’ve been standing back for awhile listening to the various sides in the blogosphere on Proposition 8 in California. The proposition is in response to a Judge overturning proposition 22, a law which attempted to define marriage being between a man and a woman. The Judge declared the law unconstitutional, making Gay marriage legal in the State of California. Opponents against the Judge’s decision have organized Proposition 8 to amend the State Constitution, thereby making marriage between two of the same gender illegal. I thought that since many of my readers are in California I would chime in.

As a Mormon (aka, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), like Louis Gray, I’m very torn on this issue. I had several gay friends in High School, and while I wasn’t very close with them, they were some of the nicest people I knew. Frankly, I wish the world had more people as nice and genuine as many of the gay people I know. I know many of my gay friends would never be able to change even if they wanted to – it’s part of them. It’s something as natural to them as eating is to you and me.

At the same time, my religion teaches me “that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” To me, our church’s manifesto on this subject, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World“, is one of the most beautiful and divinely inspired pieces of writing in these modern times. It teaches me that “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” This includes those that are Gay – yes, we believe they have a part in God’s plan as well, and I believe this to be true. Unfortunately, in my religion it cannot include marriage.

While I’m grateful I don’t have to make the decision on whether I’m voting for or against this amendment, I do understand the great difficulty others are having showing love towards those with same-gender attraction, while at the same time following what their faith teaches them is sacred and true. Here are some of the major issues they are contemplating:

Natural/Human Rights

Those against the amendment say that Gay people are born gay. There are conclusive studies that show there could be genetic evidence of being gay in both gay and lesbian people.

At the same time the pro-8 supporters argue that despite some being born gay, regardless of whether it can be proven or not, that voting “no” on proposition 8 will encourage under-age “experimentation” for those that may not have been born with the trait. At the same time, some studies of a “gay gene” have been debunked as being biased and lacking concrete evidence, supposedly because the scientists themselves were homosexual.

The Human Rights issue simply isn’t clear enough yet to prove someone can be born gay or not to make it as clear as someone being black or white, or man or woman. And even if it were, there are other issues that come into play that add a whole lot more complexity to the legal definition of marriage and how that definition could affect society.

Parental Rights, Education About Homosexuality

This is one I can’t quite wrap my mind around (of course, I can’t quite wrap my mind around most of this). Those for voting “yes” on 8 argue that parents will lose power to control what their children are being taught in schools. In fact, there are cases in Massachusetts, where a Kindergartner was taught a story about 2 gay parents without notification of the parents. The “no” on 8 would argue that the parents were told about this in a letter sent out earlier in the school year. At the same time, in San Jose a professor was fired for quoting a textbook, stating that homosexual behavior could be influenced by “genres” and “environment”. There are also many other cases from Massachusetts legalizing Gay marriage listed here.

All this ends up sounding very bigoted however to the “no” on 8 supporters, if you can prove, and believe that homosexuality comes from birth. Based on the links above though, these are both highly contested viewpoints in the scientific community. I think you’ll find in the comments below that this continues to be contested (if I can predict correctly).

Church Rights / Freedom of Religion

If I were to have to vote, this is the main thing that would end up influencing me. To me this is the most convincing. The fact is, entire religious doctrines are at stake with this amendment. This is the main reason the LDS Church is involved (and just to set the record straight, it was the Catholic church, not the LDS church that instigated this).

If this amendment takes place, I predict there will come a time when all religions have to accept Gay marriage into their doctrines. Already, this has become an issue in Massachusetts where at least one religious faith is being sued for not allowing a Gay marriage to take place on their property. There are also other cases. This isn’t a matter of letting religions just do what they want to do and keeping the legal definition separate from the religious. Things all change when it becomes legal. I can’t have government forcing my religion to change its beliefs. That takes away from my right to worship. I’m very concerned about this one.

As you can see, the issue of Proposition 8 isn’t very cut and dry. There are many studies, and many issues, all conflicting with each other. The one fact I think we all agree on is that we want our Gay friends and neighbors to all have the best life they can possibly have – I think we all agree they have a right to that. I’m just glad I’m not the one having to make the decision to vote for or against Proposition 8. I hope I’ve presented at least some of the studies, on both sides, for you to make your own decision. Please feel free to discuss in the comments!