Freedom of Religion

I truly do love the opportunity these Anti-Prop-8 comments give me to (a) think outside my frame of reference, and (b) share what I come up with as a result.  🙂 

Here’s the comment for those who missed it:

First of all – quite sincerely – I congratulate you for standing up for your beliefs. I disagree with your beliefs completely, but I support your decision to quit using Google’s blog software because you disagree with their political endorsement.

(Though I hope that if one of your children realises she or he is gay, that you never refer again to your belief that your God wants them to be celibate and alone all their lives and never mention it again: Committment and sincerity are good things, but parents with your views have driven their children to suicide when they decided their religious beliefs were more important to them than their children’s lives.)

That said: How do you justify your belief that Americans ought not to be allowed freedom of religion? You argued in your blogpost over at your googleblog that the government ought to enforce legal/civil penalties for what your religion defines as “sin”. That’s fine for you (not necessarily for your children) so long as the government is enforcing your religion. Once drop freedom of religion, however, and you cannot assume that the government in power will always be enforcing your religious rules on other people: they may enforce other people’s religious rules on you.

Thanks for your sincerity and your support about my switching over from blogger.  🙂  I’ve been most pleased with the respect and caring shown me by those with opposing views.  I hope I come across as showing the same.  In turn, thank you for posting what is obviously a contradicting opinion on the matter.

Here’s the deal.  We aren’t controlling behavior.  We are setting (or attempting to set) the legal definition of marriage.  Well, re-setting, seeing as a ton of people already voted on this 8 years ago.  Same exact words.

If this Constitutional amendment passes, it will not change in any way the legal rights of gay/lesbian domestic partnerships. 

If it fails, and a VERY few people are allowed to overthrow what a MAJORITY of voters put into CA code, then I foresee the following consequence:

The religious freedom of individuals, families, and organizations being severely persecuted.  (And I do believe this is primarily a religious-freedom issue, by the way.)  Why? 

Let’s say a homosexual couple wants to rent out a church for their marriage.  The pastor says, “Sorry, but I believe homosexual behavior is sinful, and I won’t perform a same-gender marriage.”  The couple sues and easily wins the case because *legally* the pastor can’t discriminate there – thanks to that handful of judges.

Please, my Anti-8 friends, explain to me why that would be fair?  I invite your comments and will try to respond fairly and respectfully.  I know in your eyes, that case up there would be a victory… But can you see why it’s so wrong to impose your beliefs (that same-sex marriage is okay) on others?  That pastor would be totally in a bind.  Same with, say, a wedding photographer that refuses to shoot a gay marriage, an adoption agency refusing to sponsor a homosexual couple, or a doctor refusing to perform artificial insemination for similar reasons. 

And what of religious private schools?  To say nothing of what will be taught in public schools, and how it will affect children being taught at home that homosexual behaviors are wrong?

If Prop8 passes, it would protect private & religious institutions, schools, and companies.   I’m sorry for the pain this must be causing individuals who want to marry someone of their same gender.  No matter how gently it’s handled, approached, debated, it’s going to cause a lot of hurt, and I recognize that.  Please know that in no way at all do I feel hate towards people identifying themselves as homosexual.  It isn’t fair to ask me to accept their behavior, however. 

More to say on the subject.  I didn’t at all address that 2nd pgph.  I’ve sacrificed all the sleep I can afford to sacrifice, though.  If only time had a pause button!  🙂

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8 Responses to Freedom of Religion

  1. Husband John says:

    Jesurgislac, et al (re-posted from the prior thread in case it was missed) —

    I expect unmarried individuals, my children and yours, to remain chaste irrespective of sexual orientation. Likewise, I expect absolute fidelity between spouses, my children and yours; gay or straight is irrelevant. Not married? No sex. Married? Sex only with spouse. Hetero or homo doesn’t alter expectations of complete chastity before marriage and absolute fidelity thereafter.

    Re: suicidal inducement, that smacks of a straw man argument.

    At the risk of putting word’s in my wife’s mouth, I don’t recall her proposing that Americans “ought not to be allowed freedom of religion;” perhaps if you provide the quote in context? As Americans (should) know, religious freedom is paramount (though the notion of “separation of Church and State” is itself an independent issue worthy of long, long discussion). What you may not know is that religious freedom is also a fundamental teaching of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our religious denomination (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/a_of_f/1/11#11).

  2. Sidney Carton says:

    Well said. We reserve the right to stand up for our own beliefs. That said, as your post most excellently demonstrates, we have neither need, nor desire to indulge in hatred, bigotry or paranoia in order to do so. Freedom of religion is the first right enshrined in the Bill of Rights, It was done that way because should freedom to express belief (or unbelief for that matter) ever be curtailed, it would render all of our other freedoms null and void in short order.
    While many may mistakenly fault us for bigotry and the backwardness of our beliefs, we may confidently respond that anything worth believing is worth defending, and to not defend these beliefs is to frankly admit that the sanctity of the family, Prophetic leadership and revelation are truly unimportant to us in the face of political pressure. Were we to do so, we would effectively be admitting that our whole religion was both bankrupt and empty. Hence we stand up for our beliefs, regardless of their unpopularity, after all none of us became Mormons, or have remained so because we thought it would win us popularity contests.

  3. Zenobia says:

    Anita- I think you have a wonderful point here, and a point that has not been spoken of enough. I found your thoughts well written and argued and think that John did a great job of finishing up the argument for you.

    Let us hope and pray that during these last few days, and many I know will be dedicating a fast as well. And so, we must have faith and hope that all may be well in Zion.

  4. Tami says:

    Bravo Alisa for being willing to discuss these issues with those who feel differently. I think we often avoid it because we don’t like confrontation and we don’t feel like we can adequetly describe how we believe. I appreciate you being brave enough to do it, and intelligent enough to do it well.

    My older kids and I have had some very good discussion around these issues, they are hearing about them more and more with this election. It’s a good opportunity to hear what they think and dicuss what we believe and know to be true. In our discussion yesterday in the car (great place to get kids to talk!) we ended by talking about the higher law of loving as the Savior loved. I am so grateful for my testimony and your willingness to share yours with others in a discussion.

  5. jesurgislac says:

    At the risk of putting word’s in my wife’s mouth, I don’t recall her proposing that Americans “ought not to be allowed freedom of religion;” perhaps if you provide the quote in context?

    Your wife said: “We can (and should) make the statement that -no, sorry- marriage is *only* between a man and a woman. Why? Because God says so.”

    The context of that was your wife’s desire to have what she believes “God says” written into the law of the land so that no one is allowed to marry unless it’s according to what she believes “God says”. That’s a clear and definite attack on freedom of religion.

    What you may not know is that religious freedom is also a fundamental teaching of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

    Which they have evidently abandoned, since they are supporting Proposition 8, which is a fundamental attack on freedom of religion.

    Let’s say a homosexual couple wants to rent out a church for their marriage. The pastor says, “Sorry, but I believe homosexual behavior is sinful, and I won’t perform a same-gender marriage.” The couple sues and easily wins the case because *legally* the pastor can’t discriminate there – thanks to that handful of judges.

    You know, this kind of scare story is basically on the level of “Proctor and Gamble are Satanists”. Really.

    Think about it for a minute. There are all sorts of religious rules in all the different faiths about who can and can’t get married. A rabbi has the absolute right to refuse to wed a Gentile to a Jew. A Catholic priest has the absolute right to refuse to marry two people if one of them has been divorced. A Quaker Meeting can refuse to marry two people if neither of them are Quakers. And pastors who believe their God made some people lesbian or gay but wants them to be celibate their entire lives have the right to refuse to marry a same-sex couple. Can you name a single instance of rabbi, priest, Quaker Meeting, or pastor, getting sued for refusing to wed a couple who do not fall within their religious guidelines? Ever?

    Same with, say, a wedding photographer that refuses to shoot a gay marriage, an adoption agency refusing to sponsor a homosexual couple, or a doctor refusing to perform artificial insemination for similar reasons.

    These are not the same as your first case: a wedding photographer is required to photograph for hire, not discriminate because it’s an interracial marriage: an adoption agency is required to find good parents for children in need of homes, not discriminate because they don’t like Jews, and a doctor who provides fertility services is not allowed to refuse them just because he thinks there are already “too many” black people in the US. Or to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation, which is exactly as wrong as discriminating on grounds of race or religion.

  6. jesurgislac says:

    The religious freedom of individuals, families, and organizations being severely persecuted. (And I do believe this is primarily a religious-freedom issue, by the way.) Why?

    Going back to that: Yes, it is primarily a religious freedom issue.

    There are people (mostly Christians) claiming that homophobia is the central tenet of Christianity – and perhaps it is, for them: that if they are not allowed to discriminate against LBT people, they are being prevented from practicing their religion. They want the legislature to enforce their religion – their belief that same-sex marriages can’t be allowed, that LGBT children ought not to grow up knowing that they are normal – on people who do not share it.

    I’ve written at more length about why I disagree with this definition of Christianity here: What I like about Christianity.

    My point here is: If you believe in freedom of religion, you must believe that it is wrong for the state to impose religious beliefs on those who do not share them. Proposition 8 is an attempt to enforce your religious beliefs on people who do not share them. Even if you agree with the principle that same-sex marriage is morally wrong, the principle of freedom of religion absolutely requires you to support the right of same-sex couples to marry legally. It may be against your religion, but that has nothing to do with the right to civil marriage.

  7. Husband John says:

    I wrote a reply that covers this issues/comments, but it was, ahem, rather lengthy. Rather than re-post to here, too, I encourage the reader to peruse the other thread: https://happilysmithing.wordpress.com/2008/10/31/at-the-risk-of/#comments.

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