Religious rejections of SSM

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Matt
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Religious rejections of SSM

Postby Matt » Sat 25 Oct, 2008 06:40 pm

Obviously some churches are OK with SSM, but for those that aren't I'm interested in exploring the reasoning behind why same sex marriage should not be legally recognized.

I don't want to go down the path of why one church or another is right ro wrong. For the sake of argument, I'll grant that the leaders of the churches that oppose legal recognition of SSM are inspired by God.

What I'd like to understand is why SSM should be legally prevented while most other sins that cause no demonstrable earthly harm to those that practice them are not.
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Postby Coolboyharrell » Sat 25 Oct, 2008 10:25 pm

Could you elaborate a little as to what these "most other sins that cause no demonstrable earthly harm to those that practice them are not." are?

At any rate, I would start by saying that marriage is a much more fundamental part of society. In fact, it's the basis of society. If SSM marriage is respected by society as equal to traditional families, that would completely alter everything.

It's one thing for 2nd grade curriculum to change Columbus from a good guy who discovered America and made the first steps to its colonization to a bad guy that spread disease and killed people, and another thing completely when a homosexual teachers teach children how homosexuality is completely normal and equal to heterosexual relationships. From a religious standpoint, they just aren't the same. And it's kind of a big deal.

Children won't be taught in school that adultery is a good thing, or that an abortion is really just a nifty little trick to get out of a tight spot, or that being in possession of less than 4 oz. of marijuana is OK. But none of those things are illegal (depending where you are in the US). Parents can handle that kind of thing.

To end my ramblings: If the government starts making our moral decisions for us, that's pretty sad. The church is breaking out the big guns because it's a really big issue, at the core of (at least) Mormon doctrine. It would frustrate the church greatly if SSM became legal and normal. Not to mention we'd be thought of a bunch of haters for not allowing practicing homosexuals to join the church.
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Postby Matt » Sat 25 Oct, 2008 10:41 pm

It's one thing for 2nd grade curriculum to change Columbus from a good guy who discovered America and made the first steps to its colonization to a bad guy that spread disease and killed people, and another thing completely when a homosexual teachers teach children how homosexuality is completely normal and equal to heterosexual relationships.
I'm don't see how preventing state recognition of SSM prevents this.

If the government starts making our moral decisions for us, that's pretty sad.
Is this a statement for or against legal SSM?

It would frustrate the church greatly if SSM became legal and normal. Not to mention we'd be thought of a bunch of haters for not allowing practicing homosexuals to join the church.
So the problem is how the church might be percieved by society, not necessarily with harm to society itself?
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Postby RenLass » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 01:02 am

If SSM is passed it will become a mainstream idea that homosexuality is a normal and acceptable way of life. The millions of people who believe that it is against God's laws, and can not accept it as an acceptable way of life would be labeled as bigots, hate mongerors, etc.

If SSM is NOT passed, marriage as being a contract between a man and a woman will continue to be accepted as the normal and acceptable way of life for the majority of the people. But those gays who still want and work for a defintion change, will NOT be considered bigots and hate mongerors for disagreeing with the general public.

So to me, the harm to society is the forcing an issue that will cause an increase in hate labeling and the perception over time that good, god-fearing people are actually bad and hateful people. It will turn our society topsy-turvey.

Also, can you tell me why it is so important for gays to have thier unions defined as marriage? If it is just about having the same rights as a married couple such as taxes, inheritances, medical decisions, etc. then they could just fight for those same rights and many religious people would have no problem with that.

But the only reason I can see for gays to want to define their unions as marriage is because they want the popular approval and acceptance that married couples receive. And I'm sorry, but even if SSM becomes law, they will never receive the same acceptance and approval from religious people, because marriage between a man and a woman is at it's base a religious idea.
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Postby Coolboyharrell » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 01:41 am

I'm don't see how preventing state recognition of SSM prevents this.

Well, it would certainly become much more commonplace. If it became law that the two had to be treated equally, society would have to accommodate that new sector. We could probably get creative on the effects this would have on every day life. I wont.

Is this a statement for or against legal SSM?

Good point. I didn't think that out very well.
There's a gray line somewhere that divides when the actions of one infringes upon the rights of another, and the public decides where that is by a vote (yay for The Constitution and the amendments). As you said, some things are that morally wrong, but are still legal and the church doesn't make much of a fuss over it other than to counsel us against them. I can only suppose that this is because the church's standing on SSM is that it is morally wrong, and if the majority of our nation accepts "The Right to Marry" (which is what Apple.com calls it), then we've got problems.
A major theme of the Book of Mormon is that when the nation kept the commandments, they progressed and prospered, and when they didn't, they fell into turmoil and were oftentimes destroyed. We know from the Bible that Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed for its wickedness and it currently resides under the Dead Sea. Their big sin was rampant homosexuality. Apparently, the church isn't content with a "advisory" stance on the issue due to the potential harm it would cause (as we believe it would, while others would be willing to argue against pretty much everything I'm saying here).

So the problem is how the church might be perceived by society, not necessarily with harm to society itself?
I wasn't very clear here. But I've already addressed a piece of this.
The LDS church does believe that SSM would cause harm to society. The poor publicity of the church as a result would be a nuisance, for sure, but it's already been through worse things.

(Somewhere in all this I'm having a problem keeping the process of legislation in order. In my last post I referred to "the government" making the decision and now I've switched gears to the public voting on an amendment. I'm getting accustomed to the courts legislating through decision instead of the public or even congress taking care of it (and sometimes even overturning the result of a public vote).)

And as par usual, in the time it's taken me to write and re-write this, someone else has already posted something better than what I have. Thanks RenLass!
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Postby jds88 » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 03:09 pm

It's also worth noting that there's not currently a movement to make fornicators, R-rated movie watchers, or coffee drinkers a "protected class" under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. There is such a movement on behalf of gays. That would put the First Amendment squarely on a collision course with the Fourteenth where the church's policy on gays is concerned.

We can guess where SCOTUS would come down conflicts of this nature now, but we don't really know what the makeup of SCOTUS will be fifty years from now. The beauty (and the danger) of a living constitution is that, when all is said and done, it means whatever the judges want it to mean. And the judges making that call will be products of the culture in which they live.

In that respect, I'm with RenLass in that I think the Church is in this fight more for the long-term cultural implications of gay rights generally, rather than the short-term legal or sociological consequences of same-sex marriage.

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Postby Matt » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 03:28 pm

It's also worth noting that there's not currently a movement to make fornicators, R-rated movie watchers, or coffee drinkers a "protected class" under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. There is such a movement on behalf of gays. That would put the First Amendment squarely on a collision course with the Fourteenth where the church's policy on gays is concerned.
I'm not sure I follow. Are coffee drinkers being denied marriage rights by the state? Should they be? Are there any currently protected classes that the church is required to recognize? If a Jew wanted to go to an LDS temple, would the church be required to allow that? If a woman wanted the priesthood, could the church be compelled to allow it?
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Postby jds88 » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 08:04 pm

I'm not sure I follow. Are coffee drinkers being denied marriage rights by the state? Should they be?


My point is that there is not a politically powerful group of coffee drinkers that, in the short term, might leverage that power in order to get what they want from the LDS church.

Are there any currently protected classes that the church is required to recognize?


Not that I can think of off the top of my head, unless you count church-run universities. Church members, of course, are governed in their individual lives by federal anti-discrimination legislation and by California constitutional jurisprudence (which, for example, was recently used as a bludgeon to compel a fertility doctor to help a lesbian couple become pregnant even though doing so violated his personal religious beliefs).

If a Jew wanted to go to an LDS temple, would the church be required to allow that? If a woman wanted the priesthood, could the church be compelled to allow it?


Under current First Amendment jurisprudence: Probably not. Fifty years from now? Really, it depends on what the American culture as a whole believes--because those beliefs will eventually "trickle up" and find their way into judicial interpretations of constitutional law.

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Postby Matt » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 08:28 pm

I'm still not seeing the relevance to SSM. "Married" is not a protected class, regardless of whether individual marriages involve the correct number of man parts.

The case of the California fertility doctor involved an unmarried lesbian woman. Again, nothing to do with SSM.

These arguments support discrimination against homosexuals, not the prevention of SSM.

Under current First Amendment jurisprudence: Probably not. Fifty years from now? Really, it depends on what the American culture as a whole believes--because those beliefs will eventually "trickle up" and find their way into judicial interpretations of constitutional law.
A lot of things *could* happen, but reinterpreting the first amendment to the extent necessary for your fears to be founded would be an unprecedented event. Do you realize that even today that a church could exclude blacks from membersship if it wished to do so? Given that, this seems like a desperate argument.
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Postby jds88 » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 08:36 pm

Re your first point, see my prior post:

In that respect, I'm with RenLass in that I think the Church is in this fight more for the long-term cultural implications of gay rights generally, rather than the short-term legal or sociological consequences of same-sex marriage.


Re your second point: It could, but a school that that church operated would be subject to a number of disadvantages. And there would not be a lot of tears shed by mainstream Americans if the federal government started making life very unpleasant for that church.

Again, it isn't a question of "where are we now?", but of "where are we going?". Moreover, if there is anything we should learn from opinions like Davis v. Beason, Reynolds v. United States, Wickard v. Filburn, Lawrence v. Texas, Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education, and D.C. v. Heller, it's that we should never underestimate the power of the Supreme Court to fundamentally change the rules of the game in one fell swoop.

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Postby Matt » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 08:54 pm

Re your second point: It could, but a school that that church operated would be subject to a number of disadvantages. And there would not be a lot of tears shed by mainstream Americans if the federal government started making life very unpleasant for that church.
Private schools can discriminate all they want. But again this is an issue regarding discrimination against gays. Nothing to do with SSM.
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Postby Matt » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 09:07 pm

What I think I'm getting is that there isn't necessarily any known measurable negative impact for allowing SSM but that allowing SSM would be a further normalization of homosexuality which has the potential to marginalize the church and frustrate it's efforts to obtain converts, keep members, and otherwise perform its mission.

There are also unspecific concerns about harm to children and the concepts of family and marriage. There is a further belief that these concepts, in their current form, are fundamental elements of society and that SSM fundamentally changes these concepts in a way that is harmful to society.
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Postby alanyst » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 10:01 pm

I think that a lot of what's said about same-sex marriage skirts one of the core issues, which I suspect is at the heart of a lot of religious opposition to the idea. It is this: marriage, whether you view it as merely a social construct or as a divine institution, is at its core an authorization of sexual relations between individuals. It's not (just) a matter of whether a couple can have offspring, or whether they love each other, or would be positive forces for good in their community, or any other argument that is commonly given for why SSM is (or isn't) desirable. I think it boils down to whether society condones the sexual relationship--not just tolerance of it, but bestowing recognition and respect on it. (I'm sure there are some very interesting anthropological insights into this notion but I'm not qualified to offer them.)

This makes the most sense to me because it explains both why the religious orthodoxy opposes same-sex marriage (because it puts society's approval of homosexual behavior as right, proper, and good in opposition to God's displeasure with it), and why many homosexuals push for it despite having the alternative of civil unions that give them the same secular benefits.

So, if you have religious beliefs that regard homosexual behavior as sinful, then you might not want your society giving its official sanction to those relationships. Or, on the other hand, if you personally approve of homosexual behavior, you might not want such behavior to be regarded by society as officially illegitimate, even if it's widely tolerated and legal alternatives exist to provide other similar benefits. Both sides are equally entitled to put forth their voices, to seek for society to reflect the views of its members. Both sides are likely to feel infringed upon if the other side prevails: the religious orthodoxy being "forced" to condone homosexual acts, or else the homosexual community being "forced" into a second-class role in society.

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Postby Sara without the H » Sun 26 Oct, 2008 10:42 pm

Matt wrote:there isn't necessarily any known measurable negative impact for allowing SSM


This is a key concept for me. SSM is an idea that is historically untried. Marriage between a man and a woman is about as universal of a social idea as you can get. I know homosexuality isn't new, but putting homosexual relationships on an equal plane with heterosexual marriage is new.

I think SSM will lead to unintended and unforeseen consequences. Often it takes generations for the consequences of an idea to be fully known.

That's where this intersects with my religious beliefs. I believe that God knows more than me. I believe the prophet can see further than I can. I don't know exactly what the danger of SSM is because I can't see the future, but I trust the wisdom of those who can see better than me.

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Postby Card » Mon 27 Oct, 2008 12:40 am

alanyst wrote:I think that a lot of what's said about same-sex marriage skirts one of the core issues, which I suspect is at the heart of a lot of religious opposition to the idea. It is this: marriage, whether you view it as merely a social construct or as a divine institution, is at its core an authorization of sexual relations between individuals. It's not (just) a matter of whether a couple can have offspring, or whether they love each other, or would be positive forces for good in their community, or any other argument that is commonly given for why SSM is (or isn't) desirable. I think it boils down to whether society condones the sexual relationship--not just tolerance of it, but bestowing recognition and respect on it. (I'm sure there are some very interesting anthropological insights into this notion but I'm not qualified to offer them.)

This makes the most sense to me because it explains both why the religious orthodoxy opposes same-sex marriage (because it puts society's approval of homosexual behavior as right, proper, and good in opposition to God's displeasure with it), and why many homosexuals push for it despite having the alternative of civil unions that give them the same secular benefits.

So, if you have religious beliefs that regard homosexual behavior as sinful, then you might not want your society giving its official sanction to those relationships. Or, on the other hand, if you personally approve of homosexual behavior, you might not want such behavior to be regarded by society as officially illegitimate, even if it's widely tolerated and legal alternatives exist to provide other similar benefits. Both sides are equally entitled to put forth their voices, to seek for society to reflect the views of its members. Both sides are likely to feel infringed upon if the other side prevails: the religious orthodoxy being "forced" to condone homosexual acts, or else the homosexual community being "forced" into a second-class role in society.

And this is my 100th post. Took me long enough.


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Re: Religious rejections of SSM

Postby Eric's Fat Brother » Mon 27 Oct, 2008 01:55 am

Matt wrote:... For the sake of argument, I'll grant that the leaders of the churches that oppose legal recognition of SSM are inspired by God.

What I'd like to understand is why SSM should be legally prevented while most other sins that cause no demonstrable earthly harm to those that practice them are not.


If you're REALLY granting that the leaders of the churches are inspired by God, then you don't need "demonstrable earthly harm."
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Postby jds88 » Mon 27 Oct, 2008 07:40 am

Private schools can discriminate all they want.


That's cold comfort to a school whose students can't get student loans or Pell grants, or which is in danger of losing its accreditation because of its "backwards" philosophy.

What I think I'm getting is that there isn't necessarily any known measurable negative impact for allowing SSM but that allowing SSM would be a further normalization of homosexuality which has the potential to marginalize the church and frustrate it's efforts to obtain converts, keep members, and otherwise perform its mission.


For me, at least, that's pretty much it--except that I think the issue is more about preserving the Church's overall ability to function (and its members' ability to incorporate their beliefs into their everyday lives) than it is about maintaining membership numbers.

We don't remember Edmunds-Tucker because of what it did to our membership stats.

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Postby RenLass » Mon 27 Oct, 2008 09:45 am

What I think I'm getting is that there isn't necessarily any known measurable negative impact for allowing SSM but that allowing SSM would be a further normalization of homosexuality which has the potential to marginalize the church and frustrate it's efforts to obtain converts, keep members, and otherwise perform its mission.


For me, at least, that's pretty much it--except that I think the issue is more about preserving the Church's overall ability to function (and its members' ability to incorporate their beliefs into their everyday lives) than it is about maintaining membership numbers.


Did what I say not make sense, because it seemed clear to me. (I'm not trying to be smart alec; I really want to know how to clarify my thoughts so they are understood.) Matt said: What I think I'm getting is that there isn't necessarily any known measurable negative impact for allowing SSM.

I believe there is a known negative impact on society - society, not just "the church". An increase in negative attitudes and hate-mongoring. Only whereas now, hate crimes regarding gays applies to the gays, if SSM became the norm, then I fear the hate crimes will be turned against the christians who will still have to morally oppose it. They will become the ones "different" from the accepted status, and as we sadly know, "different" is too often unacceptable in our society. But whereas hate crimes against gays are comparatively few (and still completely unacceptable to me) I think they will be much more often against christian people. I make this assumption based on percentages. Lets assume hate crimes against gays is 1% of the total gays in America. Well, 1% of christians or people opposed to the gay lifestyle will be a much larger number because there are a much larger number of them. (Of course with the approval of SSM, more people may want to experiment and that lifestyle could soon take over the number of people opposed to it)

except that I think the issue is more about preserving the Church's overall ability to function
I DON'T think it is about preserving the church's ability to function. That would necessarily assume that the church is in the world only for itself. Matt, I know you aren't a member of the LDS church, so I don't expect you to agree, but I am hoping you can at least comprehend our point of view.

We are ALL God's children - everyone - Mormon, gay, Buddhist, Muslim, agnostic, etc. The church teaches principles they believe are best for ALL God's children. That is why they sent the Family Proclamation to the world and not just to the church. They don't believe the traditional role of family is best for their members - they believe it is best for the entire world. Likewise, the church doesn't oppose SSM because they believe it's acceptance will some how negatively affect the church, they oppose it because they believe it will negatively affect the entire country. Individuals in the church may feel different, but the church itself, represented by the prophet and the 12 Apostles is in this fight because they believe it has eternal consequences for the world. It is not for some self-serving reason. If they were to believe that this one law could somehow marginalize the gospel or limit the functionality of the church, then they would be revealing themselves to be frauds, because they claim to believe this is God's church, run by God, and nothing can stop God's work.

I also wrote :
Also, can you tell me why it is so important for gays to have thier unions defined as marriage? If it is just about having the same rights as a married couple such as taxes, inheritances, medical decisions, etc. then they could just fight for those same rights and many religious people would have no problem with that.

But the only reason I can see for gays to want to define their unions as marriage is because they want the popular approval and acceptance that married couples receive. And I'm sorry, but even if SSM becomes law, they will never receive the same acceptance and approval from religious people, because marriage between a man and a woman is at it's base a religious idea.
Matt could you address this from your perspective (and Pizzo too, if you are checking in to this thread)? Are there any other reasons for SSM other than approval?
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Postby iamroch » Mon 27 Oct, 2008 09:46 am

I totally agree with Alanyst, that the aim of SSM advocates is the societal legitimization of homosexual relationships, not just tolerance of them.

As a society, we have long decided which realationships we would encourage and promote. Typically in the western culture this has followed Judeo-Christian values. When the LDS Church practiced polygamy among some members, it was considered "wrong" by many people. The U.S. goverment enacted laws to prevent the legitimization of polygamous relationships by its citizens.

The fact is, homosexuals do have the "right to marry," however they may not be allowed to marry the person that they want to. A gay man can marry a woman, he is not denied the right to marry at all. It would probably not be the relationship that he wants, but society has decided that there are some relationships that we will not support and legitimize. Polygamy, incest, pedophilia; these are all relationships not supported by society. I believe that if you were to ask most SSM advocates, they would agreee that those types of relationships should not be supported and their practicers not be allowed to marry. It's probably fair to say that they believe there should be a line drawn, but they just don't like where it's drawn right now.

I can't give you secular evidence that SSM would cause damage to society, but I don't need to. My church leaders have counseled me to support traditional marriage, so that is what I do. Government's role in society is to enforce the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority. As I said before, homosexuals can marry someone of the opposite sex; they are not denied a right based on their sexual orientation.

I have much empathy for the situation they find themselves in. It would be terribly difficult to feel as though you are not accepted in society, but I would say that nearly everyone feels that way for some reason.
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Postby RenLass » Mon 27 Oct, 2008 09:47 am

I have another thought spinning around in my head that I would like to try to verbalize if I can. In thinking about every other law against human rights that has been overturned - slavery, woman's right to vote, segregation, etc. there were opponents who strongly believed in the desirability of keeping those restrictions, but as society's views changed and grew, the majority of the people came to realize that those freedoms were really self-evident, and they did a 180 and accepted those freedoms. There was no religious or moral reason to oppose them.

But with SSM, the only way society as a whole is going to be able to accept this is if they reject God and the Bible and morality. It wouldn't be a matter of growing up, maturing. It would be a matter of letting go of righteousness and God. (Which I realize to some people would seem the more mature thing to do, although I disagree)
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