Friday, November 7, 2008

Conflicted Over the Religious Involvement of Proposition 8

I start writing this at 3:45 A.M. For more than 12 hours I have stewed in my internal conflict over the various reactions people are having to the passing of Proposition 8 in California, banning marriage rights for same-sex couples in that state. Facebook has been a flood of vitriol. After half a large pizza and starting my second 2-liter of Mountain Dew, I realize I need to express my feelings and sort out my thoughts. I don't want to be the angry guy; I don't want to be the guy who does nothing.

The LGB community is understandably upset, even angry. Protests in California have already been happening. This evening a protest is planned for Downtown Salt Lake City near the LDS temple and LDS Church Office Building. Law suits are already filed, one claiming Proposition 8 was not carried through the proper initiative process. A group on Facebook is supporting a petition for the IRS to review the Church of Latter Day Saints' tax-exempt status.

I have signed the petition. I did not do so with the intent of insisting point blank for the repeal of the Church's tax-exempt status due to a petition alone. My stance is more asking the IRS to audit the activities of churches involved in donating and lobbying for Proposition 8. I posted my belief before and spoken with people about how I feel the religious involvement in supporting Proposition 8 was unethical from the beginning. I am sure the LDS Church had tax attorneys involved to make sure they stayed within their technical boundaries. Still, I want to make a statement that I do not agree with what happened, regardless of the vote results on Proposition 8.

As for the protest, I feel it is somewhat misplaced in time. It seems reactionary -- a tantrum over not getting one's way. (Perhaps that is too simplistic an analogy.) Part of me wishes to join. I am angry too. Angry at all the rhetoric, arguments, and money put towards passing such legislation. At a time when so many are seeing a great sign of progress in our civilization with the electing of Barak Obama, many of us are stung deeply by the passing of Proposition 8 in California, along with similar legislation in Arizona and Florida. But I do not believe crying out in an angry protest march will help me. I do not wish to silence and repress religion. Again, I have posted and expressed my belief in a religion's rights to free speech. I believe there must be a better middle to travel. I almost want to go to the protest wearing a sandwich board that reads, "Suppressing marriage is wrong / Suppressing religion is wrong."

The LDS Church's response to the passing of Proposition 8 also upsets me. (I plan to make a more detailed analysis/response in another post.) I will say I find the response generally disingenuous. I am left to wonder how much of it is simply the required PR spin verses how oblivious they are to their actions and the effect of what they have done.

I wish I could discuss this with many of you out there. Much of what I see is a failure to communicate: a failure in hearing and speaking what the issues truly are and understanding the boundaries we are to respect. Almost no one seems capable of transcending the trite talking points and buzzwords. I cry thinking of how many I have come in contact with, on BOTH sides, screaming out with closed eyes, ears, minds, and hearts to those they attack and even to themselves.

No comments:

Post a Comment