A Divinely Inspired Lack of Historical Perspective

“During my lifetime I have seen a significant deterioration in the respect accorded to religion in our public life, and I believe that the vitality of religious freedom is in danger of being weakened accordingly,” Oaks said. “Atheists and others would intimidate persons with religious-based points of view from influencing or making the laws of their state or nation.”\
That’s a quote from LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks that I found in this lovely article from the Salt Lake Tribune via this post on blurbomat. In a speech given at BYU Idaho, Oaks said:\
bq. These incidents were expressions of outrage against those who disagreed with the gay-rights position and had prevailed in a public contest. As such, these incidents of “violence and intimidation” are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic. In their effect they are like the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation. (emphasis mine)\
The “incidents” you speak about are isolated and rare, especially when compared to the violence and intimidation inflicted on the gay community by supposed people of “faith”.\
Your two statements are connected, Elder Oaks, but not in the way you think. Why have we lost respect for religion in public life? Why have we lost respect for religious leaders of most denominations? Because they say blatantly stupid things in public and then stand behind them. They ignore Christ’s teachings and support persecuting the different, weak and those in the minority. They incite hatred, persecution, inequality and show no empathy. They use phrases like “alleged civil rights”. I don’t understand the Church’s support for Prop 8 at all. It’s hypocritical when you look at our history as a people. The early members of the Church were actually persecuted for their beliefs – tarred and feathered, shot on sight and driven across the country – not yelled at or protested against. Why? Because they were different. Because they believed in a different interpretation of marriage than the majority of the country. Does that mean the early Saints were wrong? Does that mean that outlawing that form of marriage was just or right?\
No\
It wasn’t right then, and it’s not right now for the majority to inflict its imperfect morality on the beliefs of others – especially when those beliefs, those claims of rights, have absolutely no impact on the rights of others. Has the entire church forgotten the second great commandment the Savior gave, to “love thy neighbor as thyself”? If it wasn’t right for the government to outlaw polygamy, then it’s not right now to outlaw gay marriage. That’s showing a shocking lack of empathy.\
And you expect people not to be angry when faced with your hypocrisy – with your persecution of the different? You claim that people who want to deny others their right to the pursuit of happiness are being persecuted by the very same people you’re persecuting? And then, to top it off, you equate the fight against your campaign against others’ rights to the fight for civil rights by a truly oppressed minority? Divinely inspired lunacy is the best thing I can think of to say about it.\
I would have been fine if the Church had said nothing. But, the Church asked members to donate to Prop 8 organizations and donated an unknown sum of money itself. That support is why I stopped going to church – and you’re not making me doubt my decision, Elder Oaks.

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.

Love is All Around Us

I’m 3,000 miles away from my sweetheart today, so all I’ve got for you is a quote from one of my favorite movies about the subject, Love Actually:

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspision love actually is all around.

I am a pretty, pretty princess

Tons of people, or like five, helped make my anniversary really special. (Thanks, everyone!) Should I tell the story in chronological order or by category? Hmm, I think ‘by category’ will illustrate how spoiled I truly was.\
The presents:

* Last fall I found a ring I wanted to mark the occasion (10 years, yo!). I was drawn to the sapphire stone because it represents loyalty and fidelity (except for Princess Diana, oops) and because the dark blue is so pretty. I was psyched when I found this and Kevin bought it for me:

Photobucket

* A couple of weeks ago, Kevin accidentally surprised me early with a second present. (I opened it thinking it was something I ordered). It was new digital photo frame, like the one we got my parents for Christmas. I was oooing and awwing over it so much, Kevin decided not to wait until Mother’s Day. YAY! The first picture I want uploaded:

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The activities:

* Since we knew Kevin was going to be out of town on our anniversary, we scrapped our original plans and celebrated last Saturday. We went to The Cheesecake Factory and saw Juno. Woot. It was the perfect movie to see and an overall great night. (Spoiler alert: Ellen Page is the cutest thing ever. And Jennifer Garner made me cry.)

* My MIL called yesterday afternoon and offered to babysit the kids so I could go out. I whooped, “Hell, yea!” I saw 27 Dresses which was cute and perfect for the evening. (I’ve only been a bridesmaid/maid of honor six times. I feel like an underachiever now.) While I was out, my MIL and the kids cleaned up the toys in the tv room and did the dishes. Super woot!\
The deliveries:

* Shortly after breakfast I received two dozen long stemmed roses, perfectly arranged. They were beautiful and smelled so good. YAY! I love roses.

* A little later, the doorbell rang again. Max excitedly announced, “It’s another delivery!” It was a big brown box… for Kevin. Oh well, can’t win them all.

* But then! Late in the afternoon, I got an awesome gift basket from Kevin’s work peeps. Wheee. It contained pampering supplies and a gift certificate to a nail salon. I’ve never had a professional pedicure and I am really looking forward to it. (Thanks, Kevin’s work peeps!)\
The expressions of love:

* Kevin tells the world how he feels about me. Little old me. Aww, shucks.

* Kevin made me a heart. I think out of everything I received and did, this is my favorite. I can just imagine him in front of the laptop, making sure the heart looks right on the monitor; I love how his pinkies aren’t touching; and the expectant look on his face as he peers over the top of the heart at the camera. It makes my insides all squishy and my heart go pitter-pat. Thanks, hon. I love you.

Kevin making a finger heart.

Happy Anniversary, Lady!

Kevin Lawver making a heart with his hands in a very cheesy self-portrait photo.

Jen already posted her list, but since I’m in California, I’m not late with mine. I honestly can’t believe it’s been ten years. It certainly doesn’t feel like it. She said all the important stuff – that it’s been way easier than we thought it would be, and while we’ve had “issues” over the years, we’ve figured them all out together and come out the other side stronger and happier for it. Jen puts up with a lot. I travel too much, work long hours, am distracted when I’m at home sometimes (part of my New Year’s resolution, and I’m getting better, but it’s still hard to switch gears) and other stuff that’s not as important, but probably just as annoying.\
Jen already gave a partial list of stuff that sticks out to me, but I was thinking about it last night, and here are some other things that have made the last ten years fly by:

  • Jen’s verbal dyslexia. I wrote a blog entry about it a long time ago (thanks for finding it, Dave!), but she sometimes mixes up the first syllable of two words (like “toin coss” instead of “coin toss”), and then gets this look on her face like she knows she just said something funny but can’t figure out what. My all-time favorite is “Moodist Bunks”.
  • It’s that we’re pretty much always making things fun, no matter how stupid, icky or menial they are.
  • She makes me want to be a better man.
  • She’s understanding and never makes me feel bad about things I can’t control.\
    Like I said five years ago, I’d do it all again in an instant. The sun definitely still shines out your ass, sweetie, and you’re gorgeous (if you haven’t seen Juno, you really should). Actually, since both of our asses have “settled” a little over the years, it shines even brighter.\
    I love you.

The Big 9!

Hey peeps! What’s up?\
There is a new Veronica Mars on tonight. Woohoo! It’s counter programming to all of the lies and filth being shown on the other channels tonight. Check it out, 9pm EST on The CW!!\
Also, it’s my anniversary people, let’s PAR-TAY!\
Over the past 9 years, Kevin and I combined have experienced:\
2 kids,\
4 in-town moves,\
2 dye-jobs,\
4 broken bones,\
1 super horrible hair cut,\
buying 1 house,\
4 operations,\
1 cross-country move,\
buying 4 cars,\
1 helicopter ride,\
6 wedding rings,\
1 heart attack of a parent,\
2 family weddings,\
1 car crash,\
1 BFF divorce,\
1 trip in an ambulance,\
3 tivos,\
3 uncles that passed away,\
4 prescriptions for anti-depressants,\
2 family vacations,\
7 trips overseas,\
3 parents retiring,\
12 business trips in the US,\
6 trips to visit family,\
1 big snowstorm,\
and 4 sets of neighbors.\
What have you experienced in the last 9 years?

Three cheers for Kevin

I have the best husband ever. I would love to tell you all of the reasons why he is so wonderful, but then you might get jealous and want him for yourself. But you can’t have him. So then it would just seem like I am gloating. And gloating is rude. So, I will keep all of the reasons to myself. Just know that he is awesome and I am very appreciative of him.\
In completely unrelated news, (heh), Kevin and I have this weird dynamic where one of us will want something- a bigass diamond ring, a really expensive car, to repaint the living room, etc- and after talking about it for awhile & the other person finally agrees, the person who originally wanted the thing changes his or her mind, realizing that spending the money isn’t the best decision.