Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Old Law

7. Now there was no law against a man's belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.

8. For thus saith the scripture: Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve.

9. Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.

...

11. For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man's belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.

Alma 30:7-9, 11

California's Proposition 8 seeks to take away what has been given. This is a punishment.

California's Proposition 8's punishment is based on religious belief which would put heterosexuals and homosexuals on unequal ground.

California's Proposition 8's justification for the punishment is not based on any crimes that have been committed.

According to the Book of Mormon, this is "contrary to the commands of God."

9 comments:

  1. I don't grant your premise … you're treating the granting of recognition as something that done appropriately. But wishing a right to gay marriage into the California state constitution doesn't make it so. For many on the "yes" side of Proposition 8, they are merely taking back something that was improperly given. Reasonable people can disagree on the merits of gay marriage… but the granting of recognition was under dubious circumstances.

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  2. A couple issues here.

    First of all you say this right was fairly given? I say bull to that.

    Fact: In March 2000 California voters overwhelmingly approved a state law providing that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

    The California Supreme Court recently reversed this vote of the people. So a 4-3 decision can overturn the vote of the people and this is fair?

    On November 4, 2008, Californians will vote on a proposed amendment to the California state constitution that will now restore the March 2000 definition of marriage approved by the voters.

    Seems to me that your concept of fair means "getting things the way I want them even if it means being unfair to others in how we get them."

    Okay, I find it really, really ironic that you would use a scripture that was about Korihor (an anti-christ) to try to prove your point. What this scripture said was that, yes, Korihor had every right in the world to preach what he wanted to and believe what he wanted to even if it was wrong. But that didn't mean that if man followed him that while they may not be judged on Earth for their actions, they still faced the wrath of God. Look at what happened to him.

    I would challenge you to read the rest of the chapter to see what happens next. Just don't use a few passages of scripture that when taken out of context seems to prove your point.

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  3. You are right concerning my premise of "Proposition 8 is a punishment because it takes away what was given."

    However, making gay marriage illegal (or putting it in a lower realm of legal existence) is, in itself, a punishment -- it is a penalty placed upon one who, according to one's beliefs, is creating a family with someone of the same gender.

    This penalty is not one based on any crimes committed but on religious belief concerning what a child needs. (There are already laws in place to remove children from unsafe homes -- which laws are based on crimes committed.)

    This penalty concerning the definition of marriage is one that puts families reared by homosexual couples and families reared by heterosexual couples on unequal grounds (both of which already exist and are not being created by the law) -- again, not based on any actual offenses but on religious beliefs.

    I cannot, even if I believed that gay marriage is against the Plan of Salvation, condone the LDS Church's behavior.

    In regards to temporal law, legally penalizing someone for choosing a spouse of the same gender is "strictly contrary to the commands of God" (Alma 30:7).

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  4. So a 4-3 decision can overturn the vote of the people and this is fair?

    We can argue about the definition of "fair" and neither of us would come away happy from the conversation, but fair or not, the system worked exactly like it's supposed to.

    A pure democracy, where everything is done by majority vote, is also known as "mob rule". Our forefathers were bright enough to recognize the dangers inherent in such a system, so they built in checks and balances to temper the brutality of the mob.

    In March of 2000, as you say, 61% of voters voted in favor of Prop 22, and a law was put in place that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. That law was challenged in the courts as unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court did what it is supposed to do: it examined the facts, interpreted the Constitution of the State of California, and determined (by a majority vote of 4-3) that the law in question was indeed unconstitutional.

    (As an aside, I find it interesting that pro-8 literature often emphasizes the fact that the Supreme Court decision was a narrow one. I've seen phrases like "the slimmest of margins" and "a bare majority". If I'm doing the math right, 4/7 is 57%, and Prop 22, which supposedly reflected "the will of the people" passed with a 61% majority. Apparently there's only a 4% margin between "a bare majority" and "the will of the people")

    Those who talk about "activist judges" going against "the will of the people" don't understand the system or the way it works. The checks and balances that are in place and that allowed same-sex marriage to become legal in California are absolutely vital to protect the rights of the minority.

    For example: Not very long ago there were areas in the South where it would not have been difficult to get a majority vote on a ballot initiative that would legalize segregation. If such a proposition were to be introduced and to pass by majority vote, I sincerely hope that there would be "activist judges" who would be willing to vote counter to the "will of the people" and strike such a law from the books.

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  5. The checks and balances that are in place and that allowed same-sex marriage to become legal in California are absolutely vital to protect the rights of the minority.

    I thought that was worthy or repeating in bold.

    Crow:

    I have not taken the scripture out of context. I used it to reference how God legally treats everyone, including those who are perceived as Anti-Christs.

    Nor am I the one who is professing gay marriage to be like unto Korihor -- such is what the LDS Church is saying and using to justify their actions.

    Nor am I referencing any sort of eternal or Godly punishments or laws.

    Again, my context is within temporal law, how the Book of Mormon teaches God views such, and how such is not how the LDS Church (whose keystone is professed to be the Book of Mormon) is acting in regards to this perceived Korihor, gay marriage.

    This is not a matter of "getting things the way I want them even if it means being unfair to others in how we get them" but a matter of achieving what is legally just.

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  6. @a crow's view: if you're going to argue the point, at least get your ducks in a row. It doesn't matter one iota that the people of California overwhelmingly supported the law in question. It was a question of whether the law was constitutional. Folks in the South overwhelmingly approved segregation and a host of other crimes against civil society. And in many cases the high courts were right to strike them down as unconstitutional. This decision, however, has little leg to stand on in that regard. The justices didn't snub the will of the electorate — they besmirched the constitution they've sworn to uphold by pulling a fictitious right out of their collective arse.

    @chednar: I don't know how you can keep a straight face… "making gay marriage illegal"? Civil unions are still the law of the land in California. This is about defining what "marriage" means. And how can you construe something that has been the law of the land — and the law of our fathers' lands — for centuries as some type of newly-christened punishment? You're straining at gnats, and not doing your side of the argument any favors.

    I've said it elsewhere… but it's worth repeating: the side that wants to change the status quo has the onus of proving the righteousness of their cause — and whining that it's not fair doesn't count.

    "This … puts families reared by homosexual couples and families reared by heterosexual couples on unequal grounds". It does … but I'm not entirely sure why that matters. I'm gay. I prefer men. It's not that I prefer penises to vaginas … I prefer the male creature to the female creature. My being gay is a testimony to the differences inherent in men and women. Gender matters. So why shouldn't the role (subtle and inscrutable as it may be at times) which gender plays in the family dynamic not be enshrined in law?

    @Scott: and Prop 8 is the continuance of that inspired processes.

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  7. silus:

    If the law states that marriage is only between a male and a female, then marriage between a male and a male or a female and a female is illegal (or prohibited by law). Yes, there are civil unions, but marriage is prohibited by law (i.e. illegal).


    And how can you construe something that has been the law of the land — and the law of our fathers' lands — for centuries as some type of newly-christened punishment?

    1) Just because something is in place (no matter how long) does not mean it isn't what it is.

    2) No matter what term you use, there is in place a penalty for those who seek out companions of the same gender to create families. I use the term punishment as it fits -- according to Dicionary.com to punish is "to inflict a penalty for (an offense, fault, etc.)"

    If I am the first to label it thus, I don't know, but it is a punishment, none-the-less.

    I've said it elsewhere… but it's worth repeating: the side that wants to change the status quo has the onus of proving the righteousness of their cause — and whining that it's not fair doesn't count.

    This is not whining -- nor is it discussing fairness, but justice. And justice dictates that one is innocent until proven guilty.

    Status quo does not equate to justice.

    However, that being said, the righteousness of the cause of gay marriage is being proven constantly by those gay couples who are doing an amazing job raising children.

    Ignorance is not grounds for sustaining the status quo.

    "This … puts families reared by homosexual couples and families reared by heterosexual couples on unequal grounds". It does … but I'm not entirely sure why that matters.

    It should matter, quite a bit, actually, especially to those who profess in the absolute truthfulness of the Book of Mormon -- as it clearly states in the scripture I quoted in my post that such is "strictly contrary to the commands of God."

    I prefer the male creature to the female creature. My being gay is a testimony to the differences inherent in men and women. Gender matters. So why shouldn't the role (subtle and inscrutable as it may be at times) which gender plays in the family dynamic not be enshrined in law?

    I am not quite seeing your logic here: "Gender matters because I am male and I prefer the male creater; therefore, why should we not enshrine in law the role gender plays in the family dynamic."

    Although, I will say this:

    1) The role gender plays is not played by penises and vaginas but by what is masculine and what is feminine. These roles can be played by either gender -- especially and even more specfically in the case of homosexuals.

    2) The law should enshrine just that: the roles gender plays -- quite frankly, your being gay is a testimony that gender roles are not confined to the physical (as it is the male's gender role to be attracted to females); therefore, in enshrining gender roles, we should not restrict our sights to the physical.

    3) Gender does, indeed, matter. And all gender roles are being successfully upheld within the households of gay couples.

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  8. Correction: "These roles can be played by either [sex]"

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  9. To both Silus and Crow:

    In order for you to prove your claims that my words are doing a diservice to my side you will need to prove the following:

    1) That legally defining marriage as an institute between only a man and a woman does not inflict a penalty upon homosexual couples raising families -or- that the penalty is based on actual wrongs done.

    AND

    2) Legally defining marriage as an institute between only a man and a woman does NOT put anyone on unequal grounds.

    OR

    1) The Church's desire to define marriage as an institute between only a man and a woman in temporal law is not based on LDS doctrine.

    If you cannot prove the first conditional, then your beef is not with what I have said but with what the Book of Mormon teaches concerning temporal law.

    If you cannot prove the second conditional, then there is some hypocrisy within the Church (that is, unless you can prove the first conditional).

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