Not Again… Love Thy Neighbor

Here we go again. My Church has come out again and said two different things, and it’s driving me crazy. On the one hand, the church released a statement saying that the church is neutral in political elections but encourages members to participate in the process. On the other, they come out in favor of bigoted legislation that narrowly defines marriage in order to exclude other people from the legal rights we enjoy.
Why? What’s the point? Just like in 2006 when the constitutional amendment was in front of the US Senate, this is an election year ploy meant to drive evangelicals to the polls to hate on some gay people. That’s all. There’s nothing moral or ethical about it. It’s hateful election year tricks meant to build up people by tearing others down.
I can’t stand it. We didn’t go to church for almost two years after the last time a letter like that was read from the pulpit, and now people are being threatened with excommunication for being against Prop 8. Why does this have to come back up now just when we’re going back to Church and although I adamantly don’t agree with the Church’s position, we’re attending again.
So, if this gets me excommunicated for thinking for myself, fine. I’m all for gay marriage. It has not effect on my marriage. I don’t think homosexuality is a choice. I don’t think we, as Christians, should be persecuting anyone for things they can not change about themselves or judge them. I know enough gay and lesbian couples to know that they love each other in the truest sense of the word and denying that love, pretending it doesn’t exist because it doesn’t fit into our small definition of it is wrong and un-Christlike.
It was only a hundred years ago that Mormons were persecuted for our unpopular ideas about marriage. For us, even after all these years, to persecute others (and make no mistake, that’s exactly what’s going on) is hypocrisy plain and simple. It’s hate, bigotry and the worst part of ourselves, and I’ll have no part of it.
bq. Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them. — Mosiah 23:15
Marginalizing people is not love. It’s contention for political ends, a cheap trick to rile people up and get them to the polls – nothing more.
Update: I’ve been thinking about this pretty much all last night and this morning, and a single phrase keeps coming back to me from The Declaration of Independence (emphasis mine):
bq. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Throughout our history, we’ve not done a very good job of living up to the ideals laid down in our founding document (the one that kicked off our struggle for independence). Whether it was slavery, segregation, women’s rights, internment or meddling in other countries’ affairs, we’ve obviously still got some work to do to fulfill those ideals. I can’t stomach the idea that we’d take a step backwards by denying our fellow citizens’ “pursuit of happiness” and liberty just because we don’t agree with it. The divorce rate is over 50% and has been for years. It seems we have some work to do on our own marriages (one might say we have a “beam in our eye”) before we go meddling with others’. I don’t know why people think this will “save” marriage. If we spent as much time worrying about our own marriages as we did about denying the rights of others to marry, we’d probably all be a lot happier.
And that’s what this is about for me – happiness. I can’t judge someone else and deny them their pursuit of happiness. Gay couples being allowed to marry doesn’t infringe on my rights or anyone else’s. It doesn’t somehow degrade my marriage – only I can do that. It doesn’t make me any less married or any less in love with my wife. It brings happiness to the world and to the people who are finally able to enter into that covenant with the person they love, and I’m all for it. Mazel tov.

2 thoughts on “Not Again… Love Thy Neighbor”

  1. Very well written, I completely agree. The thing that I can never understand is that most religions teach to not judge. I believe the quote is: “Judge not lest you be judged”. We will all be judged in the end, so let it play out.
    People need to stop expecting society to raise their families. If they don’t like certain practices, then simply teach your children your beliefs so they will live the way you think they should. Don’t expect the schools to teach them your morals and beliefs.
    Thanks for sharing this Kevin.

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