God vs. Gays: Prop 8 and The LDS Church's Vendetta

As most Americans are aware, Proposition 8 was a highly controversial piece of California legislation regarding same-sex marriage. Its aim was to amend the California constitution to read specifically that marriage would only be recognized by the courts as being between a man and a woman.

In November 2008, the proposition was passed in to law by a narrow margin. Gay rights activists, crushed, protested in the streets throughout the entire country. Many people were outraged at the outcome of this bitterly divisive decision.

One particular issue that has set off a firestorm of heated debate is the high degree of support the California proposition received from a church headquartered in Utah.

*It's important to pause quickly to note that not all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) are in favor of Proposition 8. It's also important to mention that this article examines the church as a political entity and is in no way meant to insult or offend its members.*


Here in Utah, the LDS church has a huge presence. The Mormons settled the Salt Lake Valley and most of the surrounding area. Their main temple is located downtown and is the central point from which our city is plotted, like a graph. I can see its steeple from my window at this very moment. It's a beautiful piece of architecture and I'm glad it's there.

I have often disagreed with some of the political leanings of the church - anyone who has lived in The Beehive State knows that church and state DO mix here, like it or not. I've come to find, though, that most Mormons are absolutely amazing people. They, if I may generalize here, are usually kind, hard-working, generous, and welcoming. Some of the dearest people in my life, past and present, belong to the church. The church itself performs some of the most swift and sizeable humanitarian operations in the country. In fact, LDS aide groups were some of the first to arrive in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Currently, the LDS church is financing a project that will absolutely revitalize our flagging downtown area. They are sinking billions in to improving the city for all of its residents. The plans are lovely and have taken in to account sustainability and environmental concerns.

For such reasons, I have come to a develop a hard-won respect for the church over my years living in Salt Lake.

I've come to expect the church to meddle in Utah laws - you should do a search on our liquor laws if you want in idea of what I mean. I have accepted that to live in this state is to be among a huge Mormon demographic. I've come to the conclusion that, despite the differences in opinion, the LDS presence is more of a positive aspect of our city than a negative one. I figure, if the worst thing I have to complain about in my town is some over-zealous religious types then I've got it pretty good. It's not like they do drive-bys and throw Books of Mormon through peoples' windows!

However, I was totally shocked to learn of the huge amount of monetary support given to Prop 8 by the church. Wait a minute. Now they're trying to influence California's laws to support their moral leanings? I thought.

This seemed to really be pushing it. I've always been able to see past the bizarre breaches in personal freedoms because I have agreed with LDS lawmakers on some more important issues. Like keeping Italian nuclear waste from being stored in our deserts. But, they just went too far on this one.

The following statements reflect what is publicly known regarding the church's support of Prop 8:

The church reports spending just under $200,000 on an aggressive pro-Prop 8 campaign.

Church volunteers spent thousands of man-hours working on the effort. Church President Thomas S. Monson officially called on all members to donate of their "time and resources" if they could.

Members allegedly donated almost $3million to the cause.

Television commercials, leaflets, door-to-door visits, radio programs, and other resources were exhausted in spreading the message.

When the church faced heavy criticism for it's vehement meddling, it reminded the public that it's perfectly normal for a church to weigh in on social and political issues relevant to its followers. Fair enough. Then they said, "While the Church does not endorse candidates or platforms, it does reserve the right to speak out on important issues."

That's where I believe that they are blatantly misspeaking, to put it nicely. How is their enormous anti gay-marriage campaign not endorsing a certain platform?! They are very much supporting a platform and have invested quite a lot in convincing California voters of its righteousness.

A smidge of research reveals that this is nothing new. The LDS church has actively been involved in national politics as far back as news has been recorded. In fact, they had a large hand in pushing back the enacting of women's rights laws, fearing that such legislation could discourage women from exhibiting so-called feminine behaviors. Seriously.

This is also the group that, in the 1970's, suddenly received a revelation from God that it was okay to allow black men to hold the priesthood on the heels of threats of a lawsuit from the ACLU. What timing.




This brings us to the issue of taxes. As a religion, the LDS church currently holds a tax-exempt status in the eyes of the IRS. As part of the stipulative conditions for maintaining said status, a religious entity must adhere to the following:

In general, no organization, including a church, may qualify for IRC section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying),” and “The organization may not intervene in political campaigns.”

Many times, the church has pushed the boundaries of this legal jargon - because, really, who can pinpoint what constitutes a "substantial part" of the church's overall doings? Of course, legalese is usually configured ambiguously anyway (especially when it comes to tax code) so that entities who employ expensive lawyers can have it interpreted to suit their agenda.

For a group who claims to have founded Utah to escape persecution, they sure know how to dish it out. Not only has the fiasco over Prop 8 made the church look hypocritical on many levels, it has pitted its own members against each other. Gay mormons (yes, those do exist - though most have been officially excommunicated) have banded together, pleading with the theocracy to at least engage in a dialogue regarding the issue. So far, the church presidency has been unresponsive to its misfit sons and daughters.

LDS church members who have gay children have also taken up arms against the church, imploring the higher-ups to stop their hateful campaign. Some argue that the church's own Doctrine & Covenants dictate tolerance and acceptance of others who are different.

The church continues to issue the same refrain: that marriage between heterosexuals is somehow threatened by allowing homosexuals to legalize their unions. That line of logic holds no water when tested and, frankly, they need to come up with something better. That "argument" only serves to further support the assertion that they are far outside the boundaries of what a tax-exempt religious entity should be doing with their time and resources.


So, What Do You Think?

Should the Church's Tax Exempt Status Be Reviewed by the IRS?

See results without voting

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Comments 61 comments

sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 7 years ago

RooBee, being in India, I am as far removed and ill-informed about the developments in Utah as possible.

However:

1. I believe in the right of the individual to practice same-sex marriage

2. There are instances of same-sex marriage even among animals so it is probably not as uncommon or unusual a thing as popularly believed. if you want details about nature, I can send them to you

3.I believe Religion, Politics and Social issues should be kept apart


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

sabu singh, I very much appreciate your coming to comment on this. I agree with your points and am definitely interested in knowing more about same-sex relations in the animal kingdom. Thank you.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Hello, RooBee! I positively enjoyed this article, very good presentation of facts and your take on it. Kudos!


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Elena, thank you so much for the good feedback. I appreciate it very, very much!! :D


Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

I am with Elena on this one. I loved the way you presented it. Two thumbs up. :)


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Yay! Thanks, PM, means a lot. I go on, encouraged greatly! :)


Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

and rumble ye forth, shield held high. :)


Sunny Robinson profile image

Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

I'm with you on this one, RooBee! Very insightful. I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to Prop 8 because it looks too controversial for me and a lot of political jargons confuse me. I just know it's bad, bad, bad, and I wish people would stop making a big deal out of people's personal behaviors and orientation. Homosexuality and different sexualities have been around since the dawn of time for many different reasons, no legalities will change that. But so has persecution, so most likely there will always be a clash on that.


trooper22 profile image

trooper22 7 years ago from Chicago

I have being saying for many years that Churches that insist on stumping from the pulpit need to be taxed. Especially LDS and the many Vatican outlets, in addition to all of the fanatical television Evangelists. These groups (some of which are VERY powerful) seem to forget that there is a very good reason for Separation of Church and State, yet they continue to shove there idealism down the throats of those that do not agree with them by campaigning and lobbying for their backward thinking.


Pete Maida profile image

Pete Maida 7 years ago

This should not be an issue. There should not be a vote. Should there have been a vote to determine if the slaves should be free? A human being's individual rights should not be left up to other people. No one has the right to stop people from performing a peaceful act as part of their pursuit of happiness. If a church doesn't like they have the right to refuse to do in their church but that is the only right they should have. Why don't people get that?


pgrundy 7 years ago

It is heartening to see (so far) 100% 'hell yes' answers on your poll. I do think that if churches must spend money on political issues they should lose their tax exempt status. That's only fair. If the state has to stay out of Church affairs, the Church has to stay out of state affairs. That's my view, and not just for the LDS Churches either, for all of them. If individuals feel strongly they have the right to both attend a church that supports their views and work politically toward implementing those views, but churches should not have the right to pour money into politics and retain their tax exempt status.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Roobee, this is a well-written article and it's made me really think about the reasons and motives behind the activities of proponents and opponents of gay marriage. I'm neither Mormon nor gay, and I wish the state would stay out of personal matters entitrely -- which means I am one of the few people who wish that all marriages were un-legalized: no special rights for married people. No special rights just because you happen to be in a committed sexual relationship of whatever sort. Isn't having that wonderful relationship reward enough? Do you have to rub it in for all the people who are single that not only do you have a special thing going, but also you get tax breaks and a leg up finding a job at your partner's academic institution and special breaks if one of you wants to stay home with the kids?

Having said that, I can see why the Mormons are pushing this vendetta. Way back when they were petitioning to join the Union, everybody else made them give up polygamy. If they had to give up something that important to be accepted, then they don't feel so open to new changes in the marital relationships the mainstream supports. I bet if Proposition 8 included legalizing polygamy, there might have been more support for it from the Mormons!

 


shamelabboush profile image

shamelabboush 7 years ago

Marriage is a sacred institution and should be highly protected... That's what I think...


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Thanks, Roobee, for an informative and well written hub. I'm for individual rights, whether one is gay or not.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

PM :D:D:D

Thank you Sunny, your words are sad but true. Ever has the establishment railed against anything that they construe as threatening (read: different).

As you've likely guessed, I fully agree with you Trooper22. It is really frustrating to see the level of political allowed groups that are protected from financial auditing & such. Scary, really. Thanks so much for commenting.

Thanks, Pete, you said it right there. It boggles my mind that people will go far out of their way to ensure that someone else is denied a right. It says a lot about the inner workings of a person when they behave in this manner! Unfortunately, there are alot of these kinds of folks out there. It's a sickening pattern of hate and exclusion that seems to happen with any group that says, "hey, we'd like to also be treated as human beings. thanks" Yes, it did take a vote to get rid of slavery - well, and a civil war. *shakes head*

The poll results have pleased me too, pgrundy. :) I agree with you wholeheartedly. As I said, this isn't an attack on the religion or its followers but about the larger issue at hand. A political powerhouse should be subject to the same rules & consequences as everyone else, no matter how prettily they sing on Sunday. I really appreciate your reading and commenting. :)

Aya, thank you - I value your compliments highly. Thank you for sharing your sentiments on marriage. Seems to make a lot of sense to me. I'm not gay, mormon, or married :) but am in a commited relationship. We'll get married, because it's very important to him but I can totally understand your take on the whole thing. I don't feel that it makes a union any more or less valid, it is just a wonderful way certain people choose to solidify their relationship in their own eyes. I'm kind of neutral about it, really.

shamelabboush, I value your opinion and appreciate that you took the time to comment on my hub! To me, though, that line of logic would discount many 'traditional' marriages because there are a lot of married folks out there who do not seem to respect its sanctity. What I'm saying is that I don't believe that a hetero person's marriage is in any way diminished or threatened because gay couples get married.

alekhouse, the pleasure is mine & I'm so happy you liked it. I am all for rights too - it's a good thing! :) Thank you.


Sunny Robinson profile image

Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

Aya, you seem well-informed and have very insightful views on what really makes a relationship, married or not, sacred. I'm totally with you on un-legalizing marriage, actually. I think marriage should continue as promise between people who wish to live together for the rest of their lives, not something that state or religion should interfere in. You'd probably be interested in, or already know about, unmarried.com. I think you'd make a great Hubmob on heterosexuals who have sworn off marriage as support for those who cannot marry in the eyes of law or religion. Just a thought. ;)

RooBee, you did a great thing in writing this hub! Like pgrundy said, I'm thrilled to see the positive results in the poll. I'm also thrilled at the interesting comments shared here.


giantsteps profile image

giantsteps 7 years ago

I'm married and Mormon and didn't find your hub to be offensive at all. The whole Proposition 8 incident was quite unfortunate--that's putting it very very mildly. I live in the UK and knew little about it until after the elections, but was quite surprised. Personally, I think the Church should stay out of politics. I also think that Mormons are an easy group to attack over this issue because we are so different as a religion. The California Catholic Conference, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America worked with the LDS Church in this compaign. The main problem is that it was a compaign.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

giantsteps, thank you very much for adding to this hub by commenting. It's wonderful to get a Mormon person's perspective from outside of the US. True that the LDS church was certainly not the only group involved- which is important to note.

I appreciate your taking the time to read this and I am very happy to hear that you did not feel offended as that's far from what I aim to do!! Thanks, again. :)


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Roo Bee, not to self promote, but to discuss. I wrote a hub last year on the aspect that explained how the rights of the gay community and the religious were at odds. That the religious community were perserving their rights to be able to worship and be able to follow their beliefs. They are inacting laws to help perserve their rights. If the gay rights ended up being anything like the Civil Rights laws, the churches would be forced to do things they do not believe in.

Even though it looks like churches are doing gay bashing (which i say is being done up front by members, not the church), behind the scene in the legal area, the churches are trying to preserve their rights. If the gays community would not try to trod on the churches rights, and meet a common ground, both would be able to get what they want, and have a win-win situation. And we can move on.

Keep on Hubbing!


morbid angel profile image

morbid angel 7 years ago

RooBee, thanks for such information and nice post indeed, I really did liked this post. Good job.........


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

eovery, thanks for sharing your hub. I read it and think I understand your sentiments. From my understanding, no - the church would not at all be forced to perform gay marriages. That is always within the church's own discretion. For instance, it is currently legal for me to get married but I certainly don't meet temple marriage qualifications. The church is in no way liable for not allowing me to marry in their facility.They have the right to tell me, "no way, our temple is not open to someone who doesn't meet our standards." Similarly, the church will be under no obligation to marry gay couples, either. Making something legal isn't the same as making it mandatory for everyone to perform it. It just means that if a church (or other group) chooses to perform a ceremony for a gay couple, the union is considered legally binding. That's all.

I think that's what is so hurtful to many activists. All they want is the same validation for their union that straight people enjoy. I honestly don't see how this treads on the rights of the church in any way. The church could condemn homosexuality and continue to excommunicate gay members as it always has whether prop 8 had gone through or not.

I agree that some common ground needs to be found, as you say in your hub. However, I've gotta say that a taxpaying gay citizen should have way more political clout than a tax-exempt religious outfit.

In any case, I'm very glad you took the time to read and comment on my hub. While we certainly don't agree on certain aspects of the situation, I'm really glad to open up dialogue about it. Come back anytime!! :)


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

morbid angel, thank you and I am so glad that you enjoyed this!


shibashake profile image

shibashake 7 years ago

What is really sad is that they managed to convince the people of CA to vote their way with their marketing campaign. D'oh - I don't know what else to say.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Hello, shibashake! Yeah, I agree that it is very sad. "D'oh" sums it up rather nicely. :) Thanks for coming by.


sneakorocksolid 7 years ago

Roobee nice try! The guidepost for morality and whats moral hasbeen the Bible. With all my memory on overdrive I can't remember any reference to marriage in the Bible that even suggests same sex marriage is part of this Holy union between a man and a woman. So if its just that necessary to ruin the institution of marriage by rewriting the Bible then may be you should see if that will set well with God first. Look call it a club, not marriage, a place or state of mind where members hang out and do whatever. Call it a union lets secure rights for your partners and then promise to go away. Do we have to know someones sexual orientation?

If you don't think people of the same mind won't speak against something they find offensive then what would bring them together for anything? All we seem to hear about is gay issues, are you telling me that's all one person? Gay people don't unite to support a cause? And aren't they proud they are so vocal that little children are confronted with gender issues. I guess some causes even eclipse the innocence of a child.

Lets face it you knew that lifestyle was going to be an issue, maybe it should maybe it shouldn't, but it is. I personally don't get it and I know I'm not the only one that feels that way. Why not find a more quiet and peaceful place in society? Don't on top of everything be a sore loser! Honestly what position did you think they would support ? You know I haven't heard one mean comment from the LDS church, but the gay right supporters wanted a lynch mob.

Don't try and rewrite the Bible to include your sin and you know it is! If you're going to be a sinner be a good sinner and take the hit you know you got it coming. Jesus said Love Heavenly Father and Love each other. We don't have to like each others dirt we only have to clean-up our own.

Rubee no offense intended. Your piece was well written and presented a position as well as any could be.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

sneakorocksolid..are you sure you're not The Shark in disguise? lol

Seriously, though, I'm not offended at all. I'm used to disagreeing on this subject with some of the people in my life. I care for them no less, nor do I think they are stupid or anything like that.

I would never propose to change a book (the Bible). My thoughts on the Bible are for another time & place.

As far as the "club" analogy, I feel that it's not apt. It's as if somebody said that they were proposing to outlaw marriages between anyone who practices sexual deviance according to the churches  - and this would include swingers, s&m types, people who practice certain unconventional sexual things on eachother, and a whole host of others - you can bet they'd get together and protest.

If God doesn't like it, he won't honor the union in the spiritual sense so what harm does it do the earthly churches? There are plenty of heterosexual people who defile the sanctity of marriage constantly. Because of that fact, I don't believe that the logic presented by anti gay-marriage factions holds up.

My intention here certainly wasn't to bash LDS people or the church in general. It's meant to be an examination (obviously framed with my personal opinion) of a particular issue. I am grateful for the weekly HubMob for the writing prompt or I may never have thought to write it. I have to re-iterate what I said in my hub - that (while I may not always share the same beliefs as them) I have deep respect for the church and am very close with many members. They actually put up with me, imagine that! lol

Again, no offense taken. I hope you'll take none to my reply. I welcome your comments anytime!


AsherKade profile image

AsherKade 7 years ago from Texas

I don't believe the gov't should meddle in church affairs and visa versa. I don't want to go to church and be preached at by a politician, but a minister instead. I didn't know Mormons supported gays. I am not even going to go into my views on that...


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Great hub. Agree with everything you said. I feel the language of the legislation helped enormously. To vote "yes" was to actually vote "no" -- no gay marriage and to vote "no" was to support gay marriage.

When you have big churches supporting a cause, you infuse it with more than money. You add a well-organized grassroots coalition. Hard for someone who does not have such resources to counter!


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

That's totally cool, AsherKade. I appreciate you coming by. :) Mormons don't support gays, so I'm not sure what you mean by that.. I may be confused about what you're referring to. Thanks for commenting - I sincerely appreciate it!


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Hey Mighty Mom, I just bookmarked your hub about Hospice to read later when I don't have so many distractions. Funny you were here reading mine! I imagine there was plenty of confusion based on the ambiguous (sp?) language. I'm so glad you came by and commented. Thank you! :)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

I had no idea that the Mormons were involved in prop. 8 at all. Thanks for the enlightenment!


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

They were definitely involved, Christoph. :) Imagine that, me telling you something you didn't know. Go me. :D Thanks for stopping by.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi RooBee

Speaking from across the pond, I'm more than a little bewildered by the whole Proposition 8 thing. Marriage as a union blessed by the church is a completely different issue to marriage as a union blessed by the State, and therefore conferred with various rights and priveleges to do with child-care, pension rights, and rights over property after the death of a partner. How did the two things ever become so entangled?

Your article is very enlightening, and I'm sure that the Mormon church does wonderful work within the community as a whole, but it does sound as though they're putting their noses in to issues that should be none of their business.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I'm bewildered too, for the same reasons as Amanda. A church marriage and a civil marriage are chalk and cheese. I agree the Mormon Church should keep itself out of political issues.

More broadly, I just don't get why some people think that gay couples marrying affects them, or is any of their business at all.


sneakorocksolid 7 years ago

Roobee thanks for your response and knowing Mormons as you do, you know they want all people to be blessed. They wouldn't wish ill will on any one. They are truly committed to setting the right example for everyone. If you have a friend that's a Mormon you know you have a true friend who would do anything to make your life better and do it in the right spirit. i don't know any member who would want to do anyone harm. I know they will always stand for morality in a polite, respectful, and sensitive way. They walk the Christian talk.

I'm smart enough to know I don't know everything. I just believe sexual behavior is private and wish it could remain private. When I heard people speak badly about the LDS church(not you) and the members I was sad to see mean things said by the other side of the argument.

They truely believe they have been tasked to help save everyones soul, and help protect them from disasters man-made or natural. They will not quit because they believe its a blessing to serve some one and are grateful for the opportunity.

They believe marriage is eternal and sacred. This they won't compromise and will never change to be inclusive. So to fuss about their position is an exercise in futility. Preserving the Lords work on earth is their business.

Again Rubee you responded beautifily and theres no way to be offended with honest exchange of ideas. Peace.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

Excellent article - and I learned almost as much fomr the comments as the Hub, lol. Thanks so much for this piece.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Thank you, Amanda. I do like to hear everyone's take on this, given their different perspectives from various places in the world. I'm appreciative of your comments and am so glad you stopped in! :)

LondonGirl, I also have an impossible time figuring out how gay marriages would affect so-called 'traditional marriages' anyhow! Don't know when or how the issues of unions, partnerships, marriages, and spiritual beliefs became so terribly entangled. Thanks so much for commenting.

sneakorocksolid, I think your comment illustrates a very important point about this issue. That, for the most part, neither side wishes any ill on the other and most of those involved are acting out of good intention. That's what's so difficult, really. It's easy to villify one group or another until you have sat and had dinner with them and then you realize that rarely does there ever exist a clear-cut "good-guy", "bad-guy" situation. Thanks, again. :)

Hi RedElf, thanks so much for reading and commenting. This hub has definitely stimulated some good conversation in the comment boxes! I appreciate your compliments.


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York

I did not read the comments already posted here so please excuse the repetition, if any. I strongly feel that religion and social issues should not be intermixed; they should be kept separate. Besides, gay marriages have been legalized in countries like India (that's what I heard recently) despite the fact that religion plays a dominant role there. I fail to understand what stops the western world to legalize such wedlocks especially when it has been known all over the globe for its 'freedom' factor.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Hi anjalichugh~ I would agree with you about the separation. I did not know that about India, I'll have to look in to it. That would certainly be surprising! Same sex marriages are still legal in some states, I believe. California is a big precedent-setting state, though - also California is usually considered somewhat progressive so this is a really big upset for a lot of people. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment here!


sbeakr 7 years ago

This is my favorite article to date. Regardless that I'm new to hubpages, I am pretty well-versed and deeply invested in this issue for contrasting reasons. The author's sensitive, rounded, and informed approach, as well as verbal concision and clarity of insight, is highly commendable!! My first fan club membership is going right here.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Well . . . I have enjoyed reading all of your other Hubs but this one . . .

1st: I am not a Mormon but those people above commenting about the Church "attacking" are completely misguided.  The Church is playing defense and that is a substantive difference.  The institution of marriage—the very bedrock of civilization itself—is under attack.  The Church has every right stand up for the Truth.  The amount they spent is a minuscule portion of the LDS budget so it in no way jeopardizing their tax exempt status.  It is ironic to me that the "tolerance" crowd are the very people who say everybody should have a say in the public square EXCEPT Christians.  That is intolerance in the extreme.  The one fella above always attaches the word "fanatics" to any mention of religious people.  Why not "gay fanatics?" 

You can see yourself the Mormons, as a whole contribute greatly to the good of society.  Has it ever dawned on you that that might be because they support traditional values and objective truth and reject the celebration of rebellious sin?  And that "separation of church and state" old tired canard pulled out again and again.  There is no such thing in our Constitution.  It comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to a minister assuring him that the State be separated from interfering with the church.  He never meant it to be the other way around.  The 1st amendment guarantees "Freedom OF religion" not "Freedom FROM religion."  That law you site prohibits the Church from endorsing particular candidates.  It is beyond established that any church can support any amendment or legislation or referendum. 

Your one commenter above says churches are "shoving their ideas down people's throats."  Wait a minute.  Marriage has had the same meaning for a minimum of six thousand years.  A small group wants to change the meaning now.  THEY are trying to shove their ideas down people's throats.  All people have the exact same rights to marriage.  Any man can marry any woman.  All have that same right.  Nobody is being denied the rights others have.  They are being denied a new right they want that nobody has ever had. 

I don't know if these commenters really have such a limited understanding of human history and marriage and the law or what.  It is astonishing. 

Anyway, you seem like a nice person. 


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

sbeakr - your praises are very much appreciated! The comment you left has made my day. Thank you.

James, Thanks for taking the time to read and comment even though it was not pleasurable for you to do so. Yes, as I indicated in the hub it has "dawned on me" why the church feels the way it does. I think their intentions are good.

I cite no laws regarding church & state in the article. The only legal statement I quoted was one of the stipulations of qualification for the tax-exemption status held by the church. (Which I admit has ambiguous language, a real surprise in tax code -- harhar.)

I'm fairly knowledgable when it comes to history, and the intertwinings of law and religion. I don't hold my views out of ignorance of what has happened in the past or how the law as a general concept is structured - they are just my personal conclusions and nothing more.

Your opinion is your own and I value it highly. I only wanted to respond to the more personal points you made for clarification. Again, thank you for reading as I sincerely appreciate any and all input.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Most of my commentary was in response to your other commenters above.  Your Hub was level-headed and in questioning mode it seemed.  But the comments section had a lot of untruth and one thing I cannot stand is blatant untruth.  I did not mean to cause you any displeasure.  I apologize for that.  I always enjoy your Hubs.  You are a good writer and a thoughtful person.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Hi again James- I figured as much and I meant it when I said that I value your opinion. No need to apologize - I just hope you'll come back again for perhaps a less controversial hub. :) I was actually hesitant in writing this as I didn't want anyone to be offended and I certainly didn't want to lose friends & acquaintances over it! I wouldn't have had the guts to write about such a hotly-debated subject here had it not been for the HubMob writing prompt.

Thanks for your kind words. I think it speaks highly of your character that you can respectfully disagree and calmly state your own points of view. I'd rather hang around a nice person who thinks my theories are nuts than a rude person who agrees with me. (Not that I've run in to any rude ones here so far - HubPages has been great btw). Thanks again, James A :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

You have a great sense of humor. Thanks. When your next Hub comes out, I'll be there (to quote the late great Michael Jackson).


sneakorocksolid 7 years ago

Dear Roobee, I second James comments about the truth and your balanced approached, thoughtfulness and your writing style! Keep it up!


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

sneakorocksolid, that is so kind of you to say. I will keep it up, encouraged much by your comments!!! Thank you

James, you also have given me much encouragement. I can picture you singing "I'll be there" haha. Thanks a million.


Steve Rensch profile image

Steve Rensch 7 years ago

Good hub. Very well written. Provocative.

My first wife went to the U, and I have lived for the past 25 years in the largest Mormon community outside Utah. Obviously, I interact with Mormons daily. I second your generalizations about their fine qualities, other than a little egocentrism (often, interested in their own lives only, rather than those of the non-believers . . . but that describes a lot of people). My kids are numerous and mostly blond, so people often assume mine is a Mormon family. (Discovery of the truth is sometimes awkward.)

But I also have a family member who is gay. And I cannot justify in my heart denying him anything, especially something that doesn't hurt me or mine.

Just two points of small difference . . .

First, though I did not support the activities of the Mormon church with respect to Prop 8 (nor the activities of the other churches doing the same), I'm not going to pretend that the activities of those churches were the reason 8 passed. Hatred of gays is everywhere, not just among churchgoers. The churches differ only in their attempts to legitimize that hatred.

I believe that the suggestion by one woman that the Mormon church was being singled out a little unfairly was apt. Separation of church and state would be nice, but it seems to exist more in the breach than in reality. I have a hard time experiencing the statements from the extreme right as anything other than a religious statement. Jewish-Americans are deeply involved in the making of foreign policy with respect to Israel. The Catholic church is involved to some degree in the workings of most governments on this planet, including ours.

Finally, I know there is much hypocrisy in my life, and I expect people like all of you to point it out to me over time. But the one that bothers me in the Mormon church, the Christian churches, and all other religions with which I have familiarity, is the stern and public position they take with respect to the gays while consistently looking the other way when domestic abuse and child molestation occur within their ranks. I recently worked at a law firm that was mostly Mormon. One of the lawyers, a Mormon woman, had a marriage fall apart some years ago because her husband was, to everyone's knowledge, sleeping with any woman he could. The man ended up leaving the lawyer, along with their three kids. That man continues to hold position of standing in the local Mormon church. The woman, on the other hand, was called into her bishop's office and told that, if she said anything negative about the man, she would be excommunicated. The excommunication threat has, over the years, gone away, but her scars are still there. Can anyone explain the distinction to me?


sneakorocksolid 7 years ago

Steve, I appreciate your honest comments about where you fall on any churches influence outside of church. I know Mormons are very hard on infidelity and it is a very delicate issue when it comes to the attention of the Bishop and the Stake. I've heard of this happening before but not that flagrantly. I wonder how much we're missing because normally pride gets in the way of clarity.

Domestic abuse of any nature is totally unacceptable and should be brought to the attention of authorities yesterday, period! Violence against a spouse and/or child abuse call for the most severe penalties

Gay marriage and rights are always going to be an issue because they are absolutely contrary to the Bibles teachings. There will have to be a civil solution because morally marriage isn't the solution. If it is pushed thru there will be hard feelings forever and I don't want to see that happen.Peace.


Kelly Contrary profile image

Kelly Contrary 7 years ago from Kansas--if evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve

Great hub. I can't add anything more profound that what's already been well-written above. I want gays to have marriage for selfish reasons. Many gay men are hot-looking. I see my wife checking them out. I want these guys off the market so that she isn't "tempted" to convert them to the dark side.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

I really appreciate how alive this hub has become. It has been made so much better as a result of all of you commenters adding your own insights and viewpoints. Thank you!

Steve, thanks for the compliments. I would have to agree with the points you bring up regarding the singling out of the LDS church and also regarding the inextricably linked nature of religion & legislation. Whether we like it or not, it's 'how things are.' Yeah, and don't get me started on the abuse topic..The story you shared (thanks for doing so, btw) is sadly not an entirely uncommon one.  In my own version of a perfect world, we'd all accept each other and hatred & mistreatment would disappear. However, I do understand that issues such as this are far more complicated and multi-faceted than they may seem - never the clear-cut black & white, good v bad situation we might imagine.

sneakorocksolid - glad to see you returning! I enjoy your presence here, as I am glad to have your opinions and I am fascinated at watching this hub turn in to its own interesting conversation!

Hi Kelly - thank you so much!!! Yes, those hot unattached gays are to be watched with raised eyebrow until we can get them married off. Thanks for pointing out a true problem in our society today...oooh, maybe a hub is a'brewin. ;) I appreciate the lightness, KC, thanks for reading. :D

 


Kelly Contrary profile image

Kelly Contrary 7 years ago from Kansas--if evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve

RooBee--Because of this hub, I wonder if you've read "Leaving the Saints" by Martha Beck. She was a Mormon in Utah that moved away and broke with the church. I've read another one of her books "Finding Your Own North Star" and it's great. Thought you might be interested if you haven't already read it yet.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Hi again, Kelly - sorry for the delay in responding. I haven't read the Beck books but I'd like to; I've definitely heard about them. I'll certainly check them out, I'm glad you reminded me! Thx!!


Madame X 7 years ago

This is a wonderful read RooBee, you really write beautifully. I didn't know half the info you presented here, especially about the LDS. How far a religious group can go is still a sticking point. There are so many ways in and around the arguments of how far they can go, their tax status being the least of it. It's like nailing jello to a wall. But religious organizations have always been very slippery, from the start of time, so it's unlikely that anyone will get them to back off any time soon. Very enjoyable :)


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Why, thank you so much, Madame X. Your compliments are taken with much gratitude! I'm so glad you liked this and appreciate your taking time to comment. "Nailing jello to a wall" is an apt metaphor indeed! Thanks, again. :)


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

The Episcopal Church is FREE AT LAST!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-besen/the-epis...


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Wow, RD, this looks very interesting...better read on. Thx. :)


EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV.

Hi RooBee,

I drove a truck for five years and the terminal was in SLC. Also, my sister lived in Provo for a few years. So while I've never actually lived in Utah, I've spent a good amount of time there. Utah is actually a really nice place and Mormons are very good at taking care of their own. There are also a lot of things to admire about their character and history, but I definitely feel for you when it comes to politics and some of the intrusiveness of the church into people's private lives.

As far as prop. 8 and gay related issues in general, I believe you have to just boil it down to the core issues and sift out all the religious, subjectively moral, and obviously divisive factors. I've written a few items on this subject in the magazine I write for and my blog, as well. Most of the arguments against gay rights are very easily dispelled and usually nothing more than an appeal to emotion. What it really comes down to is civil rights. Everybody deserves equal rights, not just the people you happen to agree with. Equality just doesn't make exceptions. In fact, that's pretty much what defines equality.

Finally, I do agree about the tax exemption. Problem is that you could use political involvement to eliminate just about every church's exemption throughout America. Not that I think that is a bad idea; it just would never happen.


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Well, EYEM, I agree with you - take away all the emotions and religious doctrine & dogma - and you've got a bare-bones civil rights issue. To me, it is no different than the battles that minorities and women have had to fight just to be counted among the rest of the human beings.

I think that you are probably right about the tax-exemption thing. What a tangled mess! :)

Anyhow, I really appreciate your taking time to read and leave such an intelligent comment. Thanks.


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

Roobee, thanks for an informative and well written article


RooBee profile image

RooBee 7 years ago from Here Author

Lgali, thank you for reading and commenting! I appreciate the nice words!!

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