Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Two Thoughts About Same-Sex Marriage

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My parents this past December. They have been married almost 34 years, have five children, and have blessed the lives of countless others. What great examples to me!

With the Supreme Court expected to make a ruling about same-sex marriage this summer, I have been thinking a lot about the issue lately. During 2008, I was (and still am) a strong supporter of Proposition 8. During my more recent musings on the matter, I have come to two different conclusions:

1. Supporters of traditional marriage are seeking to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The fact that it's about the definition of marriage is crucial. It can be hard to see through all the rhetoric about equal rights. Of course I believe in equal rights. Of course the churches believe in equal rights. Of course God believes in equal rights, for "God is no respecter of persons," (Acts 10:34), and "all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 26:33). What supporters of traditional marriage want is not unequal protection under the law. What we want is for the definition of marriage to be between one man and one woman. Marriage between one man and one woman is available to all. If there is a partnership between two people of the same gender, it is not marriage. It is something else. Tax benefits or visitation rights can be afforded to same-sex couples, but not because they are members of the institution called marriage, because the definition of that is a union formed between one man and one woman. In this way, equal rights are not violated. Which brings me to point number two, which is dependent on point number one.

2. The major reason the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposes same-sex marriage is to protect its rights as a church.

I am not a spokesman for the church. However, from reading and listening to statements from the church and its Apostles, I believe the major reason the church opposes same-sex marriage is to protect its rights. I say this because I think people often feel the major reason the church or other denominations oppose same-sex marriage is to discourage sin. To be sure, discouraging sin is a chief role of the leaders and members of the church. However, if same-sex marriage is legalized, it will be impossible for churches and their members to maintain free exercise of conscience without stepping on the toes of gays and lesbians. Already pressure has been put on church-affiliated adoption agencies and wedding photographers, to name a couple off the top of my head,  to go against their consciences. Nationwide same-sex marriage legalization will only add fuel to this fire, and the rights of churches across the nation will suffer as they try to do what they believe is right.

I do not support mean or unfair treatment of any person based on their sexual orientation. However, I do support the rights of people and churches to free exercise of conscience with regards to matters of sex. If the definition of marriage is changed to include same-sex couples these rights will be compromised, as people will be forced to decide between treating people unequally with regards to the laws of the land and being disobedient to the laws of their Creator. This is what we want to avoid.

One of my favorite lectures on same-sex marriage was given in an address at BYU in 2008 by Robert George, the MP3 of which can be found here.

A Return to Virtue

Lately there has been a lot on the news about different approaches people wish to take to combat budgetary, educational, health-related, and a whole slew of other problems faced by the people of our nation. As I try to follow these current events, sometimes it can be discouraging that people seem to completely miss the mark with their suggested solutions.

As I have been reading about these things, thinking about them, and discussing them with others, my mind has been brought back time and time again to a talk I heard a couple of years ago. On September 13, 2009, Elaine S. Dalton spoke to the young adults of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about leading the world in a "Return to Virtue". Virtue is sexual purity in desires, thoughts, and actions. It engenders strength and confidence. At one point during her talk, under the section entitled A Return to Virtue Could Save a Nation, she said the following:

 

We live in a world that is concerned about cleanliness and purity—the cleanliness of our air and the cleanliness of our environment, our water, and even our food. In some places we legislate against pollution and even have government-funded environmental protection agencies to ensure that we are not made ill by contaminants that get into our air, our water, or our food supply. Yet society tolerates moral pollution in the form of pornography on billboards, television, and the Internet and in entertainment and other media. We tolerate filth that invades our minds through suggestive lyrics, music, and language. In some respects we are an organic generation ensuring purity and quality in our lives, and yet we are polluting our moral fiber. I believe that the lack of virtue in our society is directly responsible for many of our social, financial, and governmental ills. I believe that the disintegration of faith and families and the financial unrest are directly related to a lack of virtue in our society. And I believe that a return to virtue could save an entire nation.

We call for a social reform, but what is really needed is a moral reform—a call for a return to virtue.

I whole-heartedly agree with Elaine Dalton. The whole talk is excellent, and the text, audio, and video can be found here. As I think about the troubles facing this nation and the world, nothing seems like it would solve more problems in our personal and collective lives than a return to virtue. As people turn from their selfish, lustful pursuits and focus their efforts outward, productivity and goodwill will increase. Many of the dangers that threaten the family will dissolve. Strong families educate and nurture the type of responsible, level-headed citizens that made America great. This bipartisan solution would be more effective than any policy I know of, and it would resolve a deep problem that directly or indirectly affects us all.

What do you think? What impact would a national return to virtue have on your life?