More Anti-Mormon News Bias

Mormon church approves gay rights law – as long as it doesn’t have to follow it.

In the above-linked article, the author bitterly complains that the new law passed in Salt Lake City banning discrimination against homosexuals does not have to be followed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What the author so conveniently ignores is something called the First Amendment that prohibits the federal government (and all “more local” governments) from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The whole amendment is worded as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The first right guaranteed in the First Amendment is specifically given to religions. That is not a coincidence. Religions are protected by the U.S. Constitution – a person’s sexual preference is not.

The author also incorrectly refers to a film ostensibly about Proposition 8 (called 8: The Mormon Proposition) as “the church’s new film” as if the LDS Church produced and made the film. Anyone who believes Proposition 8 was a “Mormon Proposition” is either misled or disingenuous. What the LDS Church did do is encourage its members to support Prop 8 (although no one was forced to vote for it and no one was disciplined by the church if they voted against it) and be active in the political process. Why is a church – again, which is a Constitutionally-protected entity – not allowed to speak up on issues but any number of other, ostensibly secular, institutions can? Why can women’s clubs, school groups, unions, businesses, and other organizations take stands for or against same-sex marriage but religions should just mind their own business? Religions provide a key role in the moral checks and balances of our nation.

The author continues on with dishonest editorializing:

“The LDS Church will always fall back on its lame  ‘bedrock of marriage’ argument to defeat any attempts at furthering gay rights.

Remember folks, these are the same people responsible for reversing the gains the LGBT community so tirelessly worked for in California and Maine, the same people who just a few months ago faced nationwide criticism and spurred “kiss-in” protests because they detained a gay couple for having the gall to express their affection in public, then let their hateful PR spokesperson disastrously handle the situation in the press.”

Firstly, how is defending marriage “lame”? The burden of proof rests with the editorial’s author to demonstrate exactly how the LDS Church’s marriage argument is lame. Or, is it just easier to call people names or call arguments names without actually addressing the issue? Second, I thought a majority of people in California passed Proposition 8, not the LDS Church. LDS Church members are free to donate their time and money as they see fit. The LDS Church also acted completely appropriately in its role in Prop. 8. Third, now the LDS Church is responsible for the vote in Maine? I think some appropriate citations are in order by the article’s author. Fourth, the “public affection” of the two men arrested on church property included groping, making out, and drunkenness. The men were asked to leave the private property and did not. So, do homosexuals somehow belong to a protected class that does not have to follow private property laws? The only PR “problem” came from LGBT groups who misrepresented or misunderstood what happened and tried to create a controversy where no controversy existed.

Gay-rights advocates do themselves no service by writing articles like this one in The Examiner. The LDS Church stood up for gay rights as far as they are morally and doctrinally able to do. Why are some people so bitter at the LDS Church for standing up for marriage and families, which are the very foundation of our society? In the end, the author expresses disgust that the LDS Church did not change its doctrines to support the imaginary “right of same-sex marriage.” The author did not help his argument by continuing to spread misinformation, lies, and hatred about the LDS Church.

What It Cost to Support Prop 8

The Price of Prop 8. That links to a summary of many of the acts of hatred, abuse, vandalism, and crime perpetrated against supporters of Proposition 8 in California. The article provides documented cases of actions taken against those who stood up in support of marriage.

Here’s an example of some of what occurred:

“Many reports of hostility toward Prop 8 supporters involve acts of vandalism. An elderly couple who put a Yes on 8 sign in their yard had a block thrown through their window. A senior citizen who placed a pro-Prop-8 bumper sticker on her car had her car’s rear window smashed in. Some individuals with pro-Prop-8 bumper stickers had their cars keyed. One woman with a “One Man, One Woman” bumper sticker had her car keyed and tires deflated while she was in a grocery store. One man who placed signs in his yard and stickers on his cars and motorbike reported that someone egged and floured his home three times and egged, floured, and honeyed his car twice. Someone also pushed over the man’s motorbike and scraped the bumper stickers off the back glass windows of his cars. Several other individuals reported that Yes on Prop 8 bumper stickers were scraped or ripped off their vehicles or defaced.”

LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks recently stated:

“We must not be deterred or coerced into silence by the kinds of intimidation I have described. We must insist on our constitutional right and duty to exercise our religion, to vote our consciences on public issues and to participate in elections and debates in the public square and the halls of justice…. It is important to note that while this aggressive intimidation in connection with the Proposition 8 election was primarily directed at religious persons and symbols, it was not anti-religious as such. 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.

Dallin Oaks stated that the effects of intimidation towards those who supported Prop 8 were like voter-intimidation in the South during the civil right movement. Oaks did not say that what occurred in response to Prop 8 was necessarily as bad as blacks faced in the South; he said that blacks faced acts that were meant, among other things, to intimidate them and keep them from voting. Many people in California faced acts meant to intimidate them from voting in support of Prop 8. Voter intimidation is anti-democratic, as Oaks said.

As I’ve written previously, it is hypocritical for people who preach “no hate” to turn around and instigate acts or words of hatred against supporters of Prop 8. In any case, we must, regardless of consequences, be willing to stand up for what we believe is right. There is plenty of room for disagreement – as there should be – but there is no room for incivility.

Prop 8 Stands!

In a 6-1 vote, the California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8! This is wonderful news for traditional marriage. However, keeping the existing 18K marriages as legally-recognized will only create some sticky political and legal situations. A lot of lawyers are going to make a lot of money over the years as a result of this. I understand why the Court kept the existing marriages, I just don’t agree with it – it leaves too many things open in the future. I’m glad the Court did not put the created “rights” of a small group of people over the will of the majority. There is no civil right to same-sex marriage.

I think Thomas Jefferson’s words are appropriate at this time: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever” (Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, 1781).

What rights we have are God-given rights. From the Declaration of Independence (also written mainly by Thomas Jefferson): “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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (emphasis added). Read more on this subject here.

Here is a link to the entire decision: http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/glrts/cal-prop8-same-sex-marriage.html.

I think it is interesting to see the number of attorneys in the briefing. There are roughly 7 pages of attorneys on the anti-Prop 8 side to just about 1 page of attorneys arguing for Prop 8 (does that mean those fighting Prop 8 spent roughly 7 times as much money just on legal counsel?). Even with all that legal firepower, Prop 8 still stands. Even with all the money that the anti-Prop 8 side spent (it was a lot more money than Prop 8 supporters spent), Prop 8 still passed. So far, no matter how much money same-sex “marriage” advocates spend on propaganda for their cause, the majority of people in California (and in the nation) still support traditional marriage.

I have to add another observation. I’ve been following the Prop 8 discussion on Twitter. Almost every post is against Prop 8. Talk about a biased sample. We know that a majority of Americans are in favor of traditional marriage (even Pres. Obama believes that marriage is between a man and a woman) but you sure wouldn’t think that just by reading tweets on Twitter.

The hate from some anti-Prop 8 people is astounding (there are a lot of anti-Prop 8 people who are not hateful – the extremists just stick out): [name removed] “thinks anyone who supports #prop8 deserves to be raped…then get beaten to death. EVERYONE deserves the right to marry.”

Also, many tweets are calling for people to vote “No” on Prop 8. Aren’t they 6 months too late?

I also think it’s funny that so many people are spreading the following Abraham Lincoln quote: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” What they conveniently leave off is the context of the quote: “This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it” (Source). Pres. Lincoln was talking about slavery. Are homosexual people slaves? Are they living lives that are anything like the lives of slaves? Are they owned by another person? Are they denied their basic God-given rights? Are they forced to work without pay and beaten on a whim? The answer to all these questions is, “No.” Using that quote by Abraham Lincoln as if it somehow supports same-sex marriage is offensive to the memory of a man who gave people real rights – the God-given rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Gay “Marriage” Slippery Slope

One common logical fallacy is that of the slippery slope. It goes something like this, “If we allow X, then Y, which is much worse, is soon to follow. This will be followed by Z, which is even worse.” While this is a logical fallacy (in part because you assume a worst-case scenario in predicting the future), on occasion it does represent the actual order of events in real life.

Here’s an example of a slippery slope. In 2000 the Vermont legislature approved civil unions for same-sex couples. While some were content with the law, others kept hoping it led to a new definition of marriage. They wanted to be fully “married” and not just “unionized.” They were honest about the slippery slope – they never denied it exists, although many downplay the significance of redefining marriage (civil unions are just a small step away).

In one news article back in 2000, we read: “‘All of the horrible things that opponents say will happen are not going to happen,’ adds David Smith, a spokesman for The Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights group in America. ‘Hopefully, by example, many parts of the country and many people will become more comfortable with the idea.'” This reminds me of Alexander Pope’s immortal quote: “Vice is a monster of so frightful mein, as, to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.” That’s what same-sex “marriage” advocates want. They want the public to be familiar with the idea of gay “marriage” then we will eventually embrace it fully.

Here’s a similar quote in a New York Times article: “Gay rights advocates say they are eager to show that the sky will not fall. ‘Same-sex couples will be forming civil unions and the state’s not going to fall apart,” said Beth Robinson, a lead lawyer in the case that prompted the civil unions law. ”It’s just going to be better, and that’s going to be the most helpful part of this dialogue. Because the longer we go with the law in effect, the more incredible the claims of our opponents will be exposed as being.” Yet, proponents of same-sex “marriage” have no problem trying to force acceptance of their immorality on society as a whole.

Now the Vermont senate just approved gay “marriage”; it is expected that the bill will pass through the house without a hitch. The governor may veto the bill though – he supports traditional marriage. However, it is likely that the legislative branch could override the veto. This case of the legislative branch trying to redefine marriage is different from what has been done in other states – the legislative branch, for once, is actually making the law; it’s not a court ruling legislating from the bench.

However, a caption from the CNN.com article about the issue is a little misleading though: “Vermont could become the first state to legalize same-sex marriage without prompting from courts.” Even though the courts were not involved directly, they were in the 2000 legalization of same-sex civil unions. Back then the state supreme court forced the legislature to pass something on the matter; instead of gay “marriage” they allowed civil unions. So, it really was court action that lead to the recent passed bill allowing same-sex “marriages”.

We just need to hope that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) stands so other states (and the federal government) are not forced to recognize same-sex “marriages” (or even civil unions). We also need to deliberate very carefully about same-sex civil unions because a slippery slope really does exist in this case. As a nation, we’ve slid from view marriages as sacred institutions for raising children, to viewing them as little more than legal arrangements then to not really valuing them other than as self-serving ways to enhance personal satisfaction (hence all the divorces when people feel justly or unjustly victimized), then to inconveniences (and we certainly can’t have any inconviencing children!), and lastly to any relationship between any two (or more, in some cases) people, regardless of gender. The majority of people in the U.S. still believe that marriage should be just between a man and a woman but the times, they are a’changin’, as Bob Dylan sings. This change is not progress; it’s immoral.

LDS Church Further Clarifies Its Role in Prop 8

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following article today on their newsroom site:

Media Reports on Proposition 8 Filing Uninformed

The article is fairly brief but very comprehensive. If anyone still doubts the Church’s financial role in Prop 8, they are just willfully rebelling against the truth. The Church was always very open about its role, they never tried to hide any part of their involvement in Prop 8. LDS Church members were encouraged to vote in the election and to vote in defense of traditional marriage but no one was ever forced to vote a particular way. The LDS Church became involved in the issue because it is an important and fundamental moral issue. Marriage and family are the foundation of society. Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples is a radical shift that could have unintended negative consequences on society for generations. It is an attack on the sacred bond of marriage and family.

Prop 8 Spending Update (and Lies)

The final numbers are in. “The final tallies show that opponents of Proposition 8 raised $43.3 million in 2008 and had a little more than $730,000 left on hand at year’s end. The measure’s sponsors raised $39.9 million and had $983,000 left over.” (Source). Many opponents of Prop 8 are bitter about the measure passing. Some say that the LDS Church bought Prop 8 (see below), yet opponents raised and spent more money on the measure than proponents did. The hatred toward the LDS Church is mind-boggling. I don’t mind the hatred though but I do mind the lies.

Here are a few inaccurate headlines/articles describing the LDS Church’s role in Prop 8.

How the Mormon Church Bought Prop 8 (this site is full of hatred; I just skimmed some of the comments to the article. They were appalling). If the LDS Church bought Prop 8 with their $190,000 of in-kind (non-monetary) donations, that’s quite a good return on their money considering that is less than 0.44% of the total money spent by opponents of Prop 8. In other words, if the LDS Church bought the proposition then their $190,000 of non-monetary donations was more effective than the $43.3 million spent by opponents of Prop 8. That’s quite a good return on money. So who bought the election (it of course begs the question that the election results were purchased)? Even if you factor in contributions by individual LDS Church members (and of course, church members do not equal the LDS Church in any political or legal sense), they still raised and spent less than half of the money opponents raised and spent.

Separation of Church and State…except in Utah and, Uh, California. I will not provide much commentary on this article (because their dishonest portrayal of the issue has already been addressed by the LDS Church). The author completely misunderstands the 1st Amendment (and separation of church and state, for that matter). I love this drossy gem: “There’s no point in asking if what LDS did is ethical; clearly, it is not. But that didn’t stop the church from intensifying its disregard for the rule of law and the political system in this country.”

Mormons Caught in $188,000 Lie. I’m sorry but the only lies being told are by the opponents of the LDS Church on this matter. The LDS Church acted in accordance to law. The reported every expenditure within the time frame that they were legally required to. If you argue that the Church was trying to hide their involvement, then you have to argue just as strongly that all other groups on both sides of the issue who just reported their financial contributions were hiding their involvement as well.

There are more inaccuracies along the same lines. The LDS Church already responded to the issue. They hid nothing. They did not lie. They acted well within all legal, moral, and ethical bounds. The only lies being told are those who spread this misinformation about the LDS Church.

The LDS Church Contributed $190,000 in “In-kind” Donations to Prop 8

UPDATE: I corrected the figures in this post now that we have the actual amounts. I will post a reprint of the LDS Church’s clarification of news stories about the issue.

On Friday the LDS Church filed a report outlining their contributions to the Prop 8 campaign in California. They spent $190,000 (a GLBT site reports the amount was “more than $190 thousand.” Notice how the amount creeps upward as sites become more pro-homosexual. Note: I don’t know what the actual amount is; news sites have just been rounding the number – some up and some down). $96,000 of that was spent paying some church employees for their time (e.g., designing a website or things like that). The rest came from flying church officials to California (and putting them in hotels and renting cars and similar expenses). The Church did not donate any money directly. When a complaint was filed against the Church in November 2008, the LDS Church stated they would be making all required declarations by the time they were legally required to. They were not required by law to declare their contributions until February 2, 2009.

The articles I linked to generally do not give the LDS Church the benefit of the doubt (searching the related headlines in Google News reveals such biased gems as “Mormon Church Misstated How Much It Spent in Prop 8 Fight”). The news bias is not surprising given that all 10 major California newspapers editorialized against Prop 8. Only the SF Chronicle even bothers to mention the Feb. 2 deadline for reporting contributions. However, those who filed the complaint against the Church believe that the Church was required to report their contributions earlier.

The Yes on 8 campaign spent $39.2 million out of a total of about $41 million spent (Source). Older estimates had supporters of Prop 8 spending $35.8 million with opponents spending $37.6 million (Source). We’ll see what the revised number is once opponents of Prop 8 declare all their contributions (it is likely higher than the $41 million spent to support Prop 8). While LDS Church members donated a sizable portion of the money spent to support Prop 8 (possibly as high as $20 million – but those are estimates are by anti-Prop 8 groups and so may be on the high end of the actual amount), the LDS Church as an entity donated a whopping 0.45% of the total money spent to support Prop 8!

True, individual LDS Church members might have donated 50% of the money spent in support of Prop 8 (again, this is based on unofficial estimates) but church members who donated are citizens and are allowed to donate however they want to. Hollywood celebrities contributed large of amounts of money to fight Prop 8 (for example, Brad Pitt donated $100,000). At least churches are Constitutionally-protected entities unlike Hollywood. The LDS Church encouraged time and money donations but never forced anyone to donate. It’s ironic how some who “fight against hate” hate the LDS Church so much. Where are all the complaints against entities who made anti-Prop 8 contributions?

Showing their intense hatred of hate, Californians Against Hate has a “Dishonor Roll” that includes people who donated more than $5000 to support Prop 8. Way to fight hate! It’s the kind of list I’d like to be on.

Parallels Between the Abortion and Same-sex “Marriage” Movements

Dallin H. Oaks, a lawyer and LDS Church leader, spoke these words about abortion in 1999. I’m posting them here for two reasons. The first is because of his stance on abortion. The second is because of the applicability of his message to the same-sex “marriage” movement today. I’ll post his words, then write a little more about them.

Because choice is a method, choices can be exercised either way on any matter, and our choices can serve any goal. Therefore, those who consider freedom of choice as a goal can easily slip into the position of trying to justify any choice that is made. “Choice” can even become a slogan to justify one particular choice. For example, in the 1990s, one who says “I am pro-choice” is clearly understood as opposing any legal restrictions upon a woman’s choice to abort a fetus at any point in her pregnancy.

More than 30 years ago, as a young law professor, I published one of the earliest articles on the legal consequences of abortion. Since that time I have been a knowledgeable observer of the national debate and the unfortunate Supreme Court decisions on the so-called “right to abortion.” I have been fascinated with how cleverly those who sought and now defend legalized abortion on demand have moved the issue away from a debate on the moral, ethical, and medical pros and cons of legal restrictions on abortion and focused the debate on the slogan or issue of choice. The slogan or sound bite “pro-choice” has had an almost magical effect in justifying abortion and in neutralizing opposition to it….

Being pro-choice on the need for moral agency [also called free will or free agency] does not end the matter…. Choice is a method, not the ultimate goal. We are accountable for our choices. (Source).

Just as abortion activists turned abortion away from a moral and ethical issue to an issue of a woman’s “rights”, same-sex “marriage” advocates also are trying to turn the issue to one of “rights” and “choice”. The parallels between the movements are striking. The marriage issue is not one of rights or choice, it is one of morals and doing what is in the best interest of society.

Standing Up for the Divine Institution of Marriage

Definitions in dictionaries reflect common usage of words. As such, definitions may change over time (which is what same-sex “marriage” advocates are trying to do with the definition of marriage; in fact, if you look up the word marriage in many online dictionaries, it’s already been changed to reflect the application of “marriage” to same-sex unions; however, online versions of dictionaries change much faster than printed versions). The Oxford English Dictionary, often viewed as the definitive source for meanings of English words (in the print edition), has this as the definition of marriage in its online version (which will have to suffice for now): “The condition of being a husband or wife.” This is further modified by “A particular instance of matrimony between a husband and wife.” As a verb: “The procedure by which two people become husband and wife.”

Now, some cultures also allow marriage between one man and multiple women (or very rarely, between one woman and multiple men). In these cases, marriage is still between people of the opposite sex. Marriage has never meant anything but that – a union between male and female (of course, I’m open to information about instances in history where this was not the case).

In the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights it states, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State” (Ariticle 16{3}). Marriage is the way to form a family (and family implies children).

Now quoting from The Divine Institution of Marriage:

Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special benefits aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these benefits to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family.

It is true that some couples who marry will not have children, either by choice or because of infertility, but the special status of marriage is nonetheless closely linked to the inherent powers and responsibilities of procreation, and to the inherent differences between the genders. Co-habitation under any guise or title is not a sufficient reason for defining new forms of marriage.

I reiterate, changing marriage to include same-sex relationships is a drastic change to the institution that is the “fundamental group unit of society.” As The Divine Institution of Marriage states: “In recent years in the United States and other countries, a movement has emerged to promote same-sex marriage as an inherent or constitutional right. This is not a small step, but a radical change: instead of society tolerating or accepting private, consensual sexual behavior between adults, advocates of same-sex marriage seek its official endorsement and recognition.”

I’m not opposed to same-sex couples receiving “[rights of] hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference” (from The Divine Institution of Marriage). I’m just opposed to marriage being redefined to include same-sex relationships. My position is not one that attacks others, I’m just trying to defend the institution of marriage. This position is sometimes labelled as bigoted and prejudiced but it’s not. I do not condone any hatred or hostility towards homosexual women or men.

Marriage is a sacred institution. Marriage and families are the foundation of civilized societies. Again, this post isn’t about attacking others, I’m standing up for families and marriage.

Same-sex Marriage Is Not A Civil Rights Issue

Following the passing of 3 new marriage amendment to state constitutions – in California, Arizona, and Florida – advocates of same-sex “marriage” have staged and are staging protests across the country. Most of the protests have been peaceful but there have been cases of vandalism and disorderly conduct on the part of the protesters. The main message of the protesters is a call for civil rights. They argue that being denied marriage is a violation of their civil rights. This argument is calling for something that is a myth.

Marriage is an institution whereby man and woman form an entity into which they may bring children. Marriage is a way for a couple to have self-fulfillment, but marriage is mainly about having children and creating a family. Families are the basic (and essential) unit of civilization. What same-sex “marriage” advocates want to do is redefine the definition of marriage. This is why the issue is not one of civil rights – they already have the right to marry (someone of the opposite sex).

The brilliance of their labeling this as a civil rights issue is people will actually believe that it is a civil rights issue when in fact it isn’t. Labeling it as a civil rights issue is brilliant because who isn’t for civil rights? I generally support civil rights when they are real rights. What I don’t support is something that will change society at such a fundamental level. Again, this is not a civil rights issue, it is an issue of a minority group of people trying to legislate (or sue to get their way) their lifestyles and beliefs onto the majority.

I will write more on this later.

Here’s another perspective on this issue.