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What can I say, I was in choir.

I knew a lot of Mormons in high school, and was, in fact, friendly with a great many of them since I did choir in a small town that housed a Mormon ward, and god damn, do Mormons ever love them some choir.

Needless to say, having been involved in both choir and theatre, I also knew and was good friends with a lot of gay people in high school (of both the out of and in closet varieties). And a lot of those Mormons also ended up knowing and being good friends with a lot of those gay people.

Some of those young California Mormons lived in denial about the sexual identities of their gay friends. Some went ahead and, after a lot of soul searching and struggle, decided to accept and embrace it. They remained committed to their faith but decided that they had to break with their religion's teachings on that issue. Some, however, when forced to acknowledge that these close friends of theirs were gay, tried a different tactic altogether; the good ol' "Hate the sin, love the sinner" shtick.

They believed that despite the fact that their beloved friends were surely damned, they were still good people. Sinful and destined for the outer darkness, but still acceptable friends material. Why we all put up with that crap I don't know, other than the fact that this was all a decade or more ago and it probably seemed like the best we were going to do. I guess it can be chalked up to late 20th Century pragmatism. But really, we were doing exactly what they were doing. We were repulsed by a lot of their Mormon beliefs about homosexuality, women's rights, adherence to a cult-like dogma, etc., but we recognized that they truly were kind, loving people who were doing their best to live in a way that felt right and good to them.

The current Prop 8 situation feels to me like that whole subterranean conflict of my high school years finally coming to an ugly, pustulent head. California Mormon voters make up about 46% of the voter support for Prop 8, and probably at least that much of the funding and ground support. Quite literally, without Mormon support and votes, there would be absolutely no question of this amendment succeeding. Even with their support, things were looking grim until they poured even more money in and started spreading lies about churches being forced to perform gay marriages, losing their tax exempt status, and children being taught pro gay marriage rhetoric in public schools.

Despite the fact that the survival of their faith was only made possible by the American separation of church and state that they consider to be "divinely inspired," when asked why this amendment is okay, they often respond that God's law is the true law. When asked why we can't just let God make those judgments in his own time, they often respond that he will, but it's their responsibility to make our law on earth like his.

It truly makes me think. As a religious, spiritual person, it really makes me think. How will God (however or whatever you see God as) evaluate us all? How will some of these old friends of mine answer to him when, as they believe it will, the time comes to do so? Will they stand before him and say, "Lord, I lived in a time where countless children, at home and abroad, were dying of starvation and curable illnesses, and I spent millions of dollars to ensure that two people couldn't go into a city office and get a certain piece of paper. I lived in a time when countless people lived in pain and destitution, and I spent my time ignoring them in favor of legislating people's personal relationships. I lived in a time when lies and deceit plagued the world, and I chose to treat dishonesty as an acceptable means to an end. I lived in a time where countless people lived in loneliness, isolation, and despair, and I rejected your message of perfect love in favor of judgment, bigotry, willful ignorance, and civic persecution. And I proudly testified to the world that I did it all in your name."

I have to hold onto faith that Prop 8 will not pass tomorrow. I have volunteered and donated to prevent it from doing so, but at this point, it's in the hands of voters. But if it does pass, I really don't think I'll be able to view the Mormon church at large as an association of essentially good people anymore. I don't think I'll be able to view them as sincere and well-intentioned. At that point, to me, they'll be another instrument and symbol of everything that is wrong with religious thought in the world today. Things will have simply gone to far for a benign tolerance of something that is so deeply anti-spiritual and wrong.

Comments

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amazonvera
Nov. 3rd, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and appreciating, Pumpkin :*.
yolen
Nov. 3rd, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
Excellent post. We have to stop being benign and "understanding" in the face of bigotry and hate disguised as "religion".

Also, I am repeatedly disgusted by all the people who work towards ending legal abortion, but do JACK SHIT to help underprivileged or abused children. GMAFB!
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