I'm sure you've all heard what's been going on in LA as a "backlash" to the passing of Prop 8 and the LDS Churches involvement in that campaign. Rallies are being held and protesters have gathered outside the Los Angeles Temple, condemning the Churches powerful involvement in the passage of Prop 8. Clearly, these groups did not think that one church, or rather MANY churches of Christian sympathies, would be able to rally together and voice their opinions on such a deeply controversial matter, and then essentially "win." Well – SURPRISE! Religion is not dead. And now that the opposition realizes there are some people (religious denominations aside) who still believe that marriage should only be entered into by a man and a woman, they're now resorting to what I see very much as hate crimes. Vandalism (2 LDS churches being vandalized in Colorado), degrading religious epithets, mockery, in some cases violence, and the specifically singling out of one religion, the LDS religion, as a target for their hate and disdain is not something the Church hasn't fallen prey to before. It's been prosecuted for its beliefs in the past and as the world hastens to sink into an abyss of loose morals and crumbling ideals, I fear that it will face even greater persecutions yet to come.
That said, apparently those that opposed Proposition 8 can justify their uncivil and despicable actions on the grounds of "freedom" and "choice" yet, when the Church very civilly and with all due respect to the opposition makes their voice heard and campaigns for their beliefs, suddenly the Church is the bigots. The CHURCH persecutes. The Church shouldn't be involved. And why not? Suddenly only "freedom and agency", especially that to express belief and then take action, is only limited to the few…Apparently it only applies to those who are opposed to Prop 8.
The proponents of 8 as well as the opposition both have rights to campaign for their beliefs, specifically, of what marriage is and what it should be. If those who opposed Proposition 8 had won that battle, do you think the Church would've rallied its members to vandalize cars, target homosexual couples with degrading slurs and stand outside THEIR homes with signs condemning them? No. They would not. They have not. And they will not. What's even more interesting is the involvement of many religious groups rallying for Prop 8, and only the LDS Church being targeted. Only the LDS Church is being threatened. Suddenly, any and all other proponents of 8 have become invisible to the media as well as to those who protest the passage of Prop 8. If I may quote an article from the LA Times:
""I am appalled at the level of Mormon-bashing that went on during the Proposition 8 campaign and continues to this day," he [Jeff Flint, strategist for Yes on 8] said. "If this activity were directed against any other church, if someone put up a website that targeted Jews or Catholics in a similar fashion for the mere act of participating in a political campaign, it would be widely and rightfully condemned."
Members and leaders of the Catholic Church and other Christian churches were also heavily involved in the campaign to pass Proposition 8. The Knights of Columbus, which is tied to the Catholic Church, gave $1 million, and several evangelical groups gave millions more. But they have not come under the same kind of attack."
The Church supported the passage of this proposition, encouraged its passage, but it's the PEOPLE who voted. The people of California as a whole voted FOR the passage of Proposition 8 and I guarantee that the Mormon population in California ALONE did NOT hold enough votes within its membership to make that happen. Other citizens, others who believe that marriage should only be instigated between a man and a woman, made their voices heard too. One such significant group were Latino's and African Americans from a variety of backgrounds - religious and otherwise It's ridiculous that the Church has been so specifically targeted by these groups:
"Lorri L. Jean, chief executive of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, which organized the rally outside the temple, announced the launch of a new website, invalidateprop8.org, which will raise money to fight for same-sex marriage rights in California.
For every $5 donated, Jean said, a postcard will be sent to the president of the Mormon church condemning "the reprehensible role the Church of Latter-day Saints leadership played in denying all Californians equal rights under the law.""
Wow, great game plan. And to what end Ms. Jean? I'd like to know. Do you think that President Monson didn't KNOW that there would be these kinds of reactions? Didn't you think he KNEW exactly what would happen when he and the brethren decided to become involved in such a campaign? And your big plan is to send him POSTCARDS? And to what end? Do you think (clearly not) as a leader of a large religious group he's not dealt with "hate" mail or at the very least mailed protests against church principles or beliefs before? Do you think you've thought of something new? Do you think that will change the stance of the Church on this matter? Because I can tell you – it won't.
The point is – the ONLY reason these people (defined as those who are rallying against the LDS Churches right to support what they believe) are protesting is because they were blindsided. They thought they would win and they didn't – so now they need a scapegoat, they need a target for their hate and frustration – and they've chosen the LDS Church. Even in Salt Lake City – those who didn't even have a chance to VOTE for or against a proposition in CALIFORNIA – gathered at the headquarters and at the SLC Temple of the Church to protest such involvement. I recall seeing a sign saying "Keep discrimination INSIDE the Church." It seems like there is a deeper personal bitterness there that is only fed by the disdain someone has gained against a specific religion. Joseph Smith once prophesied that you can't be "on the fence" about the Church. Either you're in or you're not. And those that have left just seem to not be able to leave it alone. They can't just walk away – they have to destroy it. They have to hate it.
Of course protesters have the right to do that. It's not the freedom to protest I'm sickened by. That's America and that's their right. That's every one's right. However, what people forget is just as they can exercise THEIR rights to vote and believe what they want, others have that exact same right. And someone – somewhere – when votes are cast and ballads are counted – loses. It's inevitable. The real judge of character and belief is how you REACT to that situation.
I ask again – if Prop 8 hadn't passed – even with the involvement of not only the LDS Church but ALL the religious affiliates who were involved – what would the reaction have been. More specifically, since the opposition has made this so specific, what would the LDS Churches reaction have been? Would they continue to support any proposition that protected the sanctity of marriage to be between a man and a woman only? Yes, because that's what they believe. Would they have gone to the headquarters of gay-rights activists and verbally stoned them? No. Would they continue to give donations to a cause they believe is for the moral good? Yes. Would they specifically target gay couples on the streets and hurl degrading comments and words of disgust at them? No. Would they encourage that behavior? Would the vandalize? Would they create "black lists" of names of those who supported the passage of Prop 8 and plaster it on the Internet? A thousand times NO! They never will. That's the difference now between the LDS Churches principles and those who've elected to specifically target people of the LDS Faith because they stood up for what THEY believed. Class.