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02 December 2008

A Response

I browsed across this video on a blog I visit. The woman who posted it seemed to be looking for a response. This is what I said. Perhaps some others would like to comment for her as well? She's very far to the Left, but she's polite & informative. And she's also got some great birth stories and information!


As I am assuming that your posting of Olbermann’s video means that you share his questions, so I'm going to try to answer them.

I think that Mr. Olbermann’s assertion that it's about love is childishly simplistic. His display of emotion about an issue that he so carefully distances himself from strikes me as contrived and manipulative.

Love has very little to do with what's happening here. This is about freedom and about society's ability to continue as a functional civilization. There is a much more at stake here than who can be married.

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Let me briefly sketch for you the doctrinal foundation that I work with. Although I know that you will likely reject these ideas, I think that a reasonable dialog needs to be based on understanding of where the other person is coming from. In my case there is a dual interest in the issue. My private feelings on the matter are faith-based. My public concerns with homosexual marriage are concerns for the preservation of freedom. However, humans are messy creatures and it is often hard to completely pull the two sides of the coin apart.

In 1995 the Church issued a statement of our beliefs about the family, gender roles, and other related issues. This statement expresses very well what I believe. In our view, marriage and the family are holy institutions which continue in the next life. Gender and gender roles are Divinely determined prior to our birth. God makes no mistakes in creating His children as male or female.

The Church has also posted information about our faith's stand on homosexuality on our website. I quote from that article:

This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like “homophobic.” In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. Given these trends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must take a stand on doctrine and principle. This is more than a social issue — ultimately it may be a test of our most basic religious freedoms to teach what we know our Father in Heaven wants us to teach. (emphasis added)

I don't know if you've seen the mobs of GLBTs and their supporters that have formed and marched on the Church's most holy places, but the ones who most loudly demand that all tolerate their whims and excesses are the least tolerant when they don't get their way. Look at the signs they carry. They openly announce that they want to strip the freedoms of those who oppose them. "Ban Mormons" (Freedom of religion?) "End tax exempt status for bigoted Mormon church. They preach hate and buy votes" (The Church does no such thing, but they'd like to punish us for it anyway. So far as I am aware, the Church's official efforts involved a letter, and possibly some flights for leaders to get together with other pro-Prop 8 leaders. The money and man hours came from individual decisions to donate time and money.) "Go back to Utah" (Restrictions on where Americans can live?)

Orson Scott Card (novelist and member of the Church) wrote a great piece about why homosexual marriage is a bad idea. He's writing following the Massachusetts court decision, so some of his comments are a bit dated, but the vast majority are still applicable. One of the things that Mr. Card does very well is talk about the effects of the changing of the definition of family on children, and thus on the society they create. The word "family" has, for time immemorial, meant "Mom, Dad, and kids." It usually includes extended family as well: Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles, ect. This creates stability for the children and also teaches them a myriad of things ranging from self-esteem to gender roles. Mr. Card talks at length about the societal benefits of monogamous traditional marriage. I'll give you a sampling:

But society has a vital stake in child-rearing; and children have a vital stake in society.

Monogamous marriage is by far the most effective foundation for a civilization. It provides most males an opportunity to mate (polygamous systems always result in surplus males that have no reproductive stake in society); it provides most females an opportunity to have a mate who is exclusively devoted to her. Those who are successful in mating are the ones who will have the strongest loyalty to the social order; so the system that provides reproductive success to the largest number is the system that will be most likely to keep a civilization alive.

Monogamy depends on the vast majority of society both openly and privately obeying the rules. Since the natural reproductive strategy for males is to mate with every likely female at every opportunity, males who are not restrained by social pressure and expectations will soon devolve into a sort of Clintonesque chaos, where every man takes what he can get. ...

Civilization requires the suppression of natural impulses that would break down the social order. Civilization thrives only when most members can be persuaded to behave unnaturally, and when those who don't follow the rules are censured in a meaningful way. ...

Civilizations that enforce rules of marriage that give most males and most females a chance to have children that live to reproduce in their turn are the civilizations that last the longest. It's such an obvious principle that few civilizations have even attempted to flout it. ...

Let me put it another way. The sex life of the people around me is none of my business; the homosexuality of some of my friends and associates has made no barrier between us, and as far as I know, my heterosexuality hasn't bothered them. That's what tolerance looks like.

But homosexual "marriage" is an act of intolerance. It is an attempt to eliminate any special preference for marriage in society -- to erase the protected status of marriage in the constant balancing act between civilization and individual reproduction.

So if my friends insist on calling what they do "marriage," they are not turning their relationship into what my wife and I have created, because no court has the power to change what their relationship actually is.

So what about if Prop 8 had passed? What if homosexual marriage was allowed? Would that have been the end of it and the GLBT movement will now leave the rest of us alone to get on with our lives? To think so is as childish as Mr. Olbermann’s original question. Having accomplished their goal of redefining what a marraige is, they'd continue to squash "discrimination" by insisting that everyone, regardless of their own beliefs, act in accordance with this vocal minority's beliefs. We would all need to teach our children not only that homosexuality is an option, but that it's as good or better than any other option. Mr. Card addressed this eventuality as well:

Once this is regarded as settled law, anyone who tries to teach children to aspire to create a child-centered family with a father and a mother will be labeled as a bigot and accused of hate speech.

Can you doubt that the textbooks will be far behind? Any depictions of "families" in schoolbooks will have to include a certain proportion of homosexual "marriages" as positive role models.

Television programs will start to show homosexual "marriages" as wonderful and happy (even as they continue to show heterosexual marriages as oppressive and conflict-ridden).

Can there be any doubt what a short trip it will be from this situation to outlawing the preaching in churches that denounces homosexuality?

Had I been in California (or the other states that had similar measures on the ballot) I would have been actively supporting Prop 8. My sister does live in CA, and did do some work to help it pass. I'm sure that eventually I will get my turn.

It's a very long answer to Mr. Olbermann’s short question. Love has very little to do with it. It's got to do with what is right and wrong, and what is best for the society as a whole. I believe that the movement for homosexual marriage will not be satisfied with "simply" redefining the word marriage, but that they will continue to seek to silence any that say anything whatsoever against their choices. I believe that my freedoms are threatened by their radical agenda. (I think their own freedoms are threatened by their actions and that they are too short-sighted to see what they are doing to harm themselves in their zeal to have what they want right now.) I have nothing against people who choose a homosexual lifestyle. I prefer that ALL people around me leave me in the dark about their sexual practices, regardless of what they are.

I believe that homosexual behavior is a choice and a wrong choice. I don't know that this alone would motivate me to oppose Prop 8. However.

I believe homosexual marriage is very bad for society. Therefore I oppose it.


Karies place said...

Wow, good response!

Tianna said...

I really like your response. I went to read the original post, and if you posted everything that is here, then I believe the blog author may have taken it off, because I didn't see your full post...

Ritsumei said...

I actually left her 2 comments, and she's only posted the one. Really, this is a very long thing to put in someone else's comments. I didn't realize how long it was at the time, till I posted them both. I've been thinking that I'd go back and leave a link and see if she'd post that. But the original post was so very full of difficult issues that I broke my comments apart. That and I didn't watch the video at first, but once I had I felt that it really needed a reply.

Keeley said...

"...which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry."

Uhhhh...what right?
And the only reason they were allowed to marry in the first place was because five activist judges overturned the voice of the people. Stay tuned. I'm sure they'll try that tack again.

Your response was excellent and well thought-out, Ritsumei.

Ritsumei said...

Thanks, Keeley.

I too am sure that we haven't heard the last of the activist judges. We can hope that our judges will remember that their job is to interpret the law and nothing more than that, but "we have learned through sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will begin to exercise unrighteous dominion..."

Cristina said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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Ritsumei said...

Welcome, Deborah! I'm glad you like my blog, and it makes me happy when people decide to leave me comments, so thanks!


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