Last Tuesday was a huge day for our country. Our first African-American President has been elected. Change is in the air. But last Tuesday was not all about progress. In fact, for some of us, it was the exact opposite.
The passing of Prop 8 is a move in the wrong direction
A lot of attention and anger has been turned towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Otherwise known as Mormons.
I was born and raised in the Mormon Church. I grew up attending services every Sunday. I am also gay. While I no longer affiliate myself with religion in any way, there will always be a part of me that is tied to the Mormon Church. My parents are actively Mormon. My oldest sister is actively Mormon (I think...) So for me, there is no escaping a connection with the organization.
The Mormon church was by far the largest financial donor to the campaign to pass Proposition 8. For those of you that live under a rock and don't know what Prop 8 is, it's the piece of legislation that overturned California's Supreme Court ruling to allow marital rights to same-sex couples. Californians had made a step forward and with one swift vote it was all undone. Because of their involvement in the campaign, there have been protests at the Mormon temples in California and at church headquarters in Salt Lake City. Tonight, New York City is stepping out and protesting at the Mormon temple at Lincoln Center. An acquaintance of mine is at the forefront of organizing the rally, and asked me to prepare some remarks about my own feelings regarding the church’s involvement. And while it doesn’t look like I’m actually going to get to speak at tonight’s rally (I’m kinda bummed and kinda relieved!) I’d like to leave my thoughts here. I know it’s not a platform like tonight would have been, but it all just needs to be said.
One of the first things you learn growing up as a Mormon are the Articles of Faith. These are the 13 tenants of the church as written at its conception by Joseph Smith.
The 11th Article says: “We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege; Let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
This is an echo of a right that had already been granted to the young church by the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Mormons exact the right to worship and live according to the dictates of their own hearts, and they “claim” to allow the same to all people. Yet if that were true in practice, instead of just in thought, wouldn’t that mean that we should have the right to do whatever our own consciences dictate? Regardless of what they choose to believe the eternal consequences are, is it still not my choice to choose?
Freedom of Religion inherently entails a Freedom from Religion. And the church’s actions exact a non-excusable hypocrisy.
The 12th Article of Faith says: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”
Again, something they hold as a tenant of their religion that they are seemingly unable to abide by. The article does NOT say “We believe in subjecting kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates to obey, honor, and sustain our own moral law”. But by their actions, is this not what they are doing?
The obvious and frequent retort from the church is they are just being part of the democratic process. It is their right to vote however they see fit. And they are not wrong here. It is the inherent right of every American to have their say.
But if they’re going to vote according to the dictates of their religion, shouldn’t they be consistent? The man who founded the religion, Joseph Smith, claimed to receive revelation directly from God himself. These revelations are contained in a book called the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 134 deals with the relationship between the church and government, and it is there that Joseph Smith, acting as the voice of God himself, dictated:
“…we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish bguilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.” (D&C 134:4)
“…we do not believe it right to interfere… nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life…” (D&C 134:12)
So stop meddling! Cast your vote – that is your right. But the millions upon millions of dollars that the church has invested in actively working towards this hurtful and unconstitutional legislation? Well, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t feel like the actions of an organization that claims to believe that the law shouldn’t interfere in "private devotion". It certainly is not the action of an organization that believes human law should “never suppress the freedom of the soul”!
I wish I could shake the church by its shoulders and yell “Stop! You’re hurting us!”
You don’t like the way that my love looks? Fine. Don’t come to my wedding. Don’t bring me cookies when my husband and I move in down the street. But don’t tell me that I don’t have the same choice as you do – to attempt to commit my life to someone. Don’t tell me that my relationship is worth less.
If I get married tomorrow, it won’t affect the Mormon population in any way shape or form. We all could go on living our own lives, according to our own hearts, and continue in our individual pursuits of the ever-elusive Happiness guaranteed to us by our country’s Constitution.
But when any organization works against equality we do not get the same result. We get a large population rejected and treated unfairly.
So why is this decision hard?
Equal Rights does not entail embracing our private lives. You don't have to go out and find a new gay best friend.
What it does entail is allowing us the rights and privileges granted to everyone else. Regardless of what your skin looks like. Regardless of your heritage.
Regardless of the one you choose to spend your life with.
Ladies and Gentlemen, yesterday was my Best Friend's birthday!
The lovely and unbelievably amazing Marcine Lake is celebrating the anniversary of her existence tonight in SLC at the Woodshed, and it kills me that I can't be there to celebrate with her. For reals... if you know Marci then you know why I'm so bummed I can't be there. I LOVE YOU, MARCI!!!
I'm in the process of concocting a plan to convince her to move to New York... Any suggestions?
Last night my boys and I stumbled onto another birthday celebration.
For this guy.
Pretty hot in movies. I am definitely a fan of his work. But in real life?? He kinda looks like this...
Our conversation was short. "Hey, happy birthday" "thanks, man" "glad we ran into each other" "ya dude, good to see you..."
The better conversationalists were guests Alison Pill
and Connor Paolo.
Connor is pretty tiny. I mean, he looks small on Gossip Girl, but in real life he really IS that small. Nice kid though!
yada yada yada
It's Friday. Thank god! I'm so ready to have a nice weekend and to sleep in!!!!
Tonight I'm supposed to be seeing an all male production of "Company" which (for those of you who don't know me that well) is like my all-time favorite musical. I think an all male envisioning of it is ballsy, and I'm curious to see how/if they pull it off...
Tomorrow is my bestie J's bday party. There's a small gathering downtown to celebrate. It's also my friend Cheryl's bday party... so it's going to be a full night of "happy birthday to you! happy birthday to you! happy birthday, dear whoever-i'm-singing-to-at-the-moment... happy birthday to you!"
And Sunday I'm guessing will be filled with a whole lot of nothing. Maybe a movie day? Anyone down?
Last night, after a short familial detour, I was able to meet up with my boys and watch the election coverage. As the numbers rose and our excitement soared, we couldn't help but be blown away by the History we were watching!
Which of course made us all think about the other truly "Historical" things that have happened in our relatively short lifetimes and where we were when they happened. I thought I'd share a few with you...
Space Shuttle Challenger: January 28, 1986
So I was almost 4 when this happened, but I have absolutely no memory of it. Where was I? Who knows... probably playing barbies with my friend Elizabeth...
The Death of Princess Diana: August 31, 1997
We all remember the tragic car accident that ended her life. How could you not?
My dad and I were in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for a racing event and antique car show. I was really into cars when I was younger, so this was something that my dad and I attempted to make into an annual event. It might have been the only thing that we really related to each other over. Anyway, we would go watch the races, innertube down the Mighty Yampa River, and spend hours searching for our mutually favorite vehicle -- The Cobra!
I believe it was early on Monday morning (could be wrong... might've been a Sunday). My dad was showering and I woke up and turned on the TV. Every channel was running the breaking news: Princess Diana Has Died.
I remember totally breaking down. Like, sobbing out of control. And I remember at the time thinking that it was so strange! She wasn't the princess of my country. Hell, we didn't even have royalty! But for whatever reason, the tragedy of it all really hit home for me.
And I will never forget that morning, watching the news coverage at the Rabbit Ears Motel in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
The Bombing of WTC: September 11, 2001
I feel bad for people that have birthdays or anniversaries on 9/11. I can't imagine how that day played out for those people. They probably woke up full of excitement and anticipation for parties and presents! And then....
I had just started my Freshman year. It was a Tuesday morning I believe, so I was up very early. Part of my scholarship was contingent upon teaching in the dance department. Every Tuesday I taught a Dance Aerobics Class at 5:45 a.m., and then an Intro to Ballroom Dance Class at 7:00 a.m.
I had just started leading warm-ups for the dance class when the head the Entertainment Bureau came in and interrupted. "An airplane flew into the Twin Towers!"
I remember thinking he'd lost his marbles. We all filed out into the lobby area of the dance center and huddled around the television. We gathered around just in time to watch the plane hit the second tower.
Horror is all that I really remember as I watched. We were instructed to go home. America was under attack.
I didn't live far, so I was able to drive home pretty quickly. I ran inside yelling "Somethings happening!" and woke my boyfriend up. We turned on the TV in our room and climbed back into bed. And that's where we stayed until the towers fell. And for many, many hours after that. He and I had a really big bed, so it wasn't long before our friends started crawling in with us with their boxes of tissues and broken hearts.
I'll never forget being in that bed with those people. Feeling like we all lost something huge, and being so glad that we all had each other. Ugh, I get teary just thinking about it! lol
The Presidential Election: November 4, 2008
And then there's last night.
After a short familial detour, I went over to watch election coverage with my boys. We played games and watched the coverage, our excitement and hopes getting higher and higher as the night progressed.
And then there was this moment.
And that's when I started to cry and scream and cheer!
I cried and screamed and cheered with all of the people in Chicago, all of the people in Times Square, all of the people out on the streets of NYC (from the window, of course...), and all of the people in our country who had just given a HUGE sigh of relief because we knwe what had just happened was absolutely unbelievable. America was going to be ok!
I immediately updated my FaceBook status. Because that's the natural first impulse, right? Almost every single person that I'm connected to on there had similar statuses: "Yes we can, and Yes we did!" "I'm so proud to be an American!"
It's really an amazing thing, and John McCain even mentioned it in his concession speech (which I thought was good except for the part where he tried to make himself a martyr...) He said something to the effect of him "respecting" Obama for awakening a generation that up until this point had been indifferent and nonchalant in their role in government because they had never felt like what they had to say mattered. Which is true!
So, where were you back in 1986 when the shuttle didn't make it? Where were you when you got word that Di had passed?
Where were you last night when our generation made history?
Write it down, and always remember. Because one day, not too far away, our kids are going to be reading about this in their history classes. Our kids will want to know where we were and how we were feeling.
Well kids, last night cinched it -- I'm not moving to Italy!
It was my fear that those middle states that the rest of us would like to pretend don't exist would have enough pull to elect GWB again (in the form of McCain, obviously) If that had happened, I would be booking airfare and finding away to make living abroad a real possibility. For the next eight years at least. You only think that I'm kidding...
But last night, we got it right!
This man is our next President of the United States!
I'm not very "politically savvy". I mean, I can hold my own in an issues debate, but I don't have the kind of passion or thorough knowledge that my dear friend Doug or my dad has. But I know watching President Obama that this is right. This is Hope. This is Change.
This is the future!
I couldn't be happier. I couldn't be more hopeful. I couldn't be more nervous for all of the challenges still to come to get our country out of the steaming pile of you-know-what we're currently sitting in. I couldn't have more faith that this is the right person of the job to do it.
After what seems like an endless campaign and race for the Presidency, it's really truly about to be over! I'm so excited. And a little bit nervous, should the country not make the right decision about who our next presidential team should be.
But I've done the most that I can do. I got my ass up early and voted!
I AM: Young, SINGLE, 5 ft 7 inches, and have blue eyes.I AM: loyal, opinionated, well-spoken, and very into my family and friends.I AM NOT: mean or boring.I LOVE: theater, Margaritas, old movies, good food, and new adventures.I HATE: bugs, liars, and waiting in line.
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