Paul on Homosexuality

The Apostle Paul preaching

Today the court struck down Proposition 8, literally accusing the majority of California voters of discriminatory intent when casting their votes. The role of the courts is to interpret and apply the law only as enacted by the people and their elected representatives, not to impose new social policies. (Source: Andy Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com)

I suspect that many of the voters of California were using the far more reliable Holy Bible as their guide when deciding how to vote, perhaps reviewing what the Apostle Paul wrote about homosexuality:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:26-27)

In the following scripture “abusers of themselves with mankind” refers to the homosexual act and “effeminate” refers to Catamites, adolescent boys in a sexual relationship with an adult male.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Obviously “them that defile themselves with mankind” refers to homosexuality:

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Timothy 1:9-10)

More Comment: Deseret News editorial: A bad same-sex ruling
Rickety signature.

Five 2009 Predictions


Seeing the Future by Cuppojoe.

Fear not for the future, weep not for the past (Shelley)

I am joining in the fun and releasing my predictions for 2009. See you back here at the end of 2009 to see how I fared. What do you predict for 2009?

1. The Dow will exceed 12,000 FAILED

In October 2006 the Dow Jones industrial average crossed over the 12,000 mark briefly for the first time in its 112-year history. The Dow crossed the threshold twice, before retreating slightly, closing just under 12,000. Yesterday the Dow ended the day at 8,668.

2. Gas will stay below $2 a gallon in Kaysville FAILED

The price of gas here in Kaysville, Utah is currently $1.29 a gallon.

3. Proposition 8 will be struck down FAILED

Sadly I am predicting the worst for Proposition 8. With the California judicial, executive, and legislative branches all bent on reversing the will of the people look for Proposition 8 to be no more in 2009.

4. Gold will pass $1,200 an ounce SUCCEEDED

Since 1968 the price of gold on the open market has ranged widely, from a low of $252.90 an ounce on 21 June 1999, to a high of $1,023.50 an ounce on 17 March 2008. Since April 2001 the gold price has more than tripled in value against the US dollar. Indexed for inflation, the 1980 high of $850 an ounce would equate to a price of around $2,400 in 2007 US dollars.

5. Unemployment will remain below 7.5% FAILED

The 2008 national unemployment rate was at 4.9% in January and by June had risen to 5.5%. November saw joblessness at 6.7%. I expect the rate to keep rising but then level off and remain below 7.5%.
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Proposition 8 and the Mormon Church: The Aftermath

A couple outside the Salt Lake Temple

A couple outside the Salt Lake Temple

We all saw the demonstrations against the Church after the passage of Proposition 8. We read about the Church members who lost their livelihoods simply because they donated to a worthy cause. So was Proposition 8 involvement really a rickety P.R. fiascofor the Church? If we were to make our judgment based on popular news media reports and the Internet, where there is usually more noise than signal, we could conclude the Church’s involvement was just not worth it. However, it may be beneficial to step through five items of interest and then make our conclusions.

A Winner

Americans love a winner. The Church entered the Proposition 8 campaign at the eleventh hour by requesting its members to donate of their means and time. With a huge effort expended by many groups Proposition 8 was passed. To put it bluntly, they won. Hence some of the losers vented their anger on Mormons. But Americans also don’t like sore losers. So even though some see the Church’s efforts as negative, I don’t see it that way. Who do you want on your side in a moral battle? A proven winner or a sore loser? Consider also that the cause was just, somewhat like the fight the armies of Moroni were engaged in:

Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church. (Alma 43:45)

Soon the negative publicity will pass. In fact, something that appears negative to the Church can in the end be helpful. For example, very few people like to see any sacred religious structure the target of demonstrations and deliberate vandalism. This type of action generates sympathy, not for the demonstrators, but for the members of Church. And we all know that if the Church wished it, hundreds of thousands of counter demonstrators could be summoned.

Impact on the Church: Small. In contrast, see this post for an example of high negative impact. Remember, real friends are friends still. New friends are gained.

Tax Exempt Status

Consider this statement by a disappointed No on 8 supporter:

The Mormon church overstepped its boundaries by being a tax-exempt organization. They clearly are not supposed to be involved in political activities. (San Francisco Chronicle, “Tax-exempt benefit disputed in Prop. 8 campaign,” 28 November 2008)

As is pointed out in the article, the church almost certainly has not violated its tax exemption. While the tax code has a zero tolerance for endorsements of candidates, the tax code gives wide latitude for churches to engage in discussions of policy matters and moral questions, including when posed as initiatives. This is one aspect of why some No on 8 supporters become so angry at the Church’s involvement — they do not understand this simple principle. However, it appears that the Church may have overlooked some minor non-monetary contributions. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. I suspect it will come to nothing, or perhaps a small technical infraction will be found. This will be a good learning experience which can be utilized the next time marriage is threatened and the Church comes to its defense.

Impact on the Church: Zero to minimal.

Missionary Work

While missionary work may slow for a time in California it needs to be remembered that the missionary program is worldwide. Conversions rates were already slowing in Europe and the U.S. anyway. Resources are being redirected to nations where the field is white already to harvest. For example, my son Jake recently returned from the Mexico City North Mission where near the end of his mission convert baptisms averaged 500 a month. Because there are never enough resources to cover the world, when opposition grows too great in one area, over time efforts will be redirected elsewhere. For example, in January my son Daniel will arrive in Mongolia where prior to 1992 missionaries were not allowed to enter.

Impact on the Church: Minimal, newly called missionaries will be sent elsewhere if necessary.

The Wheat and the Chaff

This topic is more internal to the Church and its members though disaffected members provide a mountain of publicity from a molehill of fact. There are those members who actively campaigned against Proposition 8. Each would have his or her reasons, which I will respect. However, I believe that when the Church gets heavily involved in a cause a continuing sifting process is going on wherein the wheat and the tares are separated. There should be no need to explain further. Although losing members is not my idea of fun, ultimately the Church will be stronger. New opportunities and friendships for the Church will be generated from those who respect the members they worked with to pass Proposition 8.

Impact on the Church: Minimal, negative publicity from disaffected members fades quickly.

Boycott Utah

The Deseret News reported:

Utah’s growing tourism industry and the star-studded Sundance Film Festival are being targeted for a boycott by bloggers, gay-rights activists and others seeking to punish the LDS Church for its aggressive promotion of California’s ban on gay marriage. (Deseret News, “Utah boycott likely after LDS Prop. 8 push“, 11 November 2008)

When I first read this I almost fell off my chair in hysterics. Consider for a moment the skiers who work at my office. They want to go skiing when the slopes are not busy. With a boycott and a few discounts you can make up the difference with local skiers. Turns out it was, as a Salt Lake Tribune article recently said, all just words. Gays just don’t have the economic clout they think they have.

But don’t give up now. Why not try boycotting Utah’s largest employer? 30,000 workers — now that would have an impact. But I don’t think Hill Air Force Base would take kindly to a boycott and gays are not on the best of terms with the military. Oh well.

Impact on the Church: Zero. With discounts others will fill any void.

Summary

If you lose your job or business is down because of support for Proposition 8 then the impact on you is major. However, my purpose is to examine the impact on the Church itself. My overall evaluation is that it is minimal. Some learning experiences now will enable the Church to be even more effective in the future.
Rickety signature

Yes on Proposition 8 Response to Lawsuit

Yes on 8

Lawsuit Lacking Merit

Of course Equality California would head for the courts after the votes counted are not in their favor. I think it is a rickety course to pursue. Andrew Pugno, General Counsel of ProtectMarriage.com, said:

The ACLU/Equality California lawsuit is completely lacking in merit. It is as if their campaign just spent $40 million on a losing campaign opposing something they now say is a legal nullity.

Mr. Pugno further states:

The lawsuit filed today by the ACLU and Equality California seeking to invalidate the decision of California voters to enshrine traditional marriage in California’s constitution is frivolous and regrettable. These same groups filed an identical case with the California Supreme Court months ago, which was summarily dismissed. We will vigorously defend the People’s decision to enact Proposition 8. (ProtectMarriage.com News, Statement By Andrew Pugno, General Counsel of ProtectMarriage.com)

Right to Amend Constitution Reserved by the People

Most people know that the right to amend California’s Constitution is not granted to the People, it is reserved by the People. The People’s exercise of their sovereign power has reversed an interpretation of their Constitution through the initiative-amendment process. Mr. Pugno cites two cases in his statement to explain how the process works.

In a way, one wonders what all the fuss is about. Consider Elton John:

I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership,” said John. “The word marriage, I think, puts a lot of people off. You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships. (USA Today, “Elton John: Where Prop 8 went wrong“)

Back to the lawsuit. Ron Prentice stated:

ProtectMarriage.com also wants you to know that a strong legal defense of Proposition 8 is being prepared. We anticipated that Prop 8’s passage would result in advocates of same-sex marriage turning to the courts to attempt to overturn the People’s affirmation of traditional marriage as a societal good. We will be announcing our legal strategy next week, but rest assured that we will vigorously defend the People’s will to enshrine traditional marriage in the state Constitution. (ProtectMarriage.com News, Statement of Ron Prentice, Chairman, ProtectMarriage.com — Yes on 8)

Phenomenal Effort

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. If the lawsuit passes then the final say on what becomes constitutional will be in the hands of a few judges for every future proposition. It will effectively leave the people of California with no recourse. Every proposition result will be subject to judicial review. But for now my congratulations to the historic campaign to pass Proposition 8, a phenomenal effort. Said Mr. Prentice, “This victory would not have been possible without the support of our 70,000 contributors and over 100,000 dedicated volunteers. It was accomplished with the strong participation of about 80% of California voters, or nearly 14 million people participating in this expression of the People’s will.”

Related Articles

Same-Sex Marriage and Proposition 8. Includes LDS documents, interviews, video, and links to websites.
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Proposition 8: Where Do Rights Come From?

California State Capitol.

Comment On Proposition 8

The purpose of this post is to examine the merits of one statement among many made in the comments of my post entitled Yes to Proposition 8 — No to Same-Sex Marriage Instruction. The statement is as follows:

Prop 8 is simple: it eliminates the rights for same-sex couples to marry. Prop 8 would deny equal protections and write discrimination against one group of people—lesbian and gay people—into our state constitution. (Rickety blog comment)

All other arguments would seem moot once it is established whether or not there is a right to same-sex marriage. And so with that intent we will proceed.

Where Do Rights Come From?

First let us look at two sentences from the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and signed by 56 influential men.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed. (Declaration of Independence)

We can identify from the Declaration that unalienable rights are given to us by our Creator. These unalienable (or inalienable) rights are natural rights which do not depend on laws or beliefs. They are always present and are universal. We also observe that governments derive their power from the governed and are to protect these natural rights. Government also passes laws to give legal rights (also called civil rights) which are not absolute but relative.

Is Same-Sex Marriage a Natural Right?

So is same-sex marriage a natural right? Let us examine these natural rights, those rights that come from God, for any clues. From the following scripture we can see that God meant for man and woman to be one flesh (married) and that man was not to break that union:

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6)

Marriage between a man and a woman is a natural law. It is approved by God, is universal, and has been practiced from the beginning. Now consider the following scriptures:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:26-27)

It is obvious from the above scripture that God does not approve of the act of homosexuality. This is not an isolated scripture. In the following scripture “abusers of themselves with mankind” refers to the homosexual act:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

“Effeminate” in the above scripture refers to Catamites, adolescent boys in a sexual relationship with an adult male. Obviously in the following scripture “them that defile themselves with mankind” refers to homosexuality:

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Timothy 1:9-10)

It cannot be said that same-sex marriage is a natural law. It certainly does not come from God.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor of California.

Is Same-Sex Marriage a Legal Right?

As of May 2007, twenty-six states have passed constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriage, eighteen of which, including Utah, prohibit the legal recognition of any same-sex union. Nineteen additional states have legal statutes that define marriage as a union of two persons of the opposite sex. As of October 10, 2008, Massachusetts, California and Connecticut permit same-sex couples to marry. In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman amongst other stipulations.

So whether one likes it or not, in Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut couples have the legal right to a same-sex marriage. We are concerned with California so we will look at a little of her history:

Since 1977 the California Civil Code has defined marriage as:

…a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary.

Here we see that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman hence same-sex marriage was not a legal right. It was non-existent. I will however make an important point: if same-sex marriage was a natural right then we could claim that the government was suppressing a God-given inalienable right. But no such natural right for same-sex marriage exists.

At the March 7, 2000 primary election Proposition 22 was adopted by a vote of 61.4% to 38%, thus adding § 308.5 to the Family Code, largely replicating the 1977 enactment. The one-sentence code section explicitly defines the union of a man and a woman as the only valid or recognizable form of marriage in the State of California. With Proposition 22, the majority of voters effectively determined that same-sex marriage was not a right.

On May 15, 2008 the California Supreme Court struck down California’s existing statutes limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples in a 4-3 ruling. The judicial ruling overturned the one-man, one-woman marriage law which the California Legislature had passed in 1977 and also Proposition 22. For more details see Same-sex marriage in California.

Now same-sex marriage is a legal right in California, even though the majority had previously said it was not. And so we arrive at Proposition 8. If it passes, then there will be no legal right to a same-sex marriage. It will be as if the right never existed. Except of course the constitutional amendment will likely not be retro-active and therefore some Californian same-sex marriages will still exist. It was unfortunate, and in my opinion irresponsible, that the judges did not stay the implementation of their decision until after the November election.

Summary

The commenter says that passage of Proposition 8 would discriminate against gays. By definition the state constitution cannot deny equal protections or discriminate because the constitution is the supreme law and defines the rights for the state. As shown, same-sex marriage is not a natural right. It can be a legal right depending on the will of the people. Where the people’s vote decides there is no legal right there cannot be any discrimination. The right simply does not exist, natural or legal.

Related Articles

Same-Sex Marriage and Proposition 8. Includes LDS documents, interviews, video, and links to websites.
Rickety signature.

Proposition 8 and the LDS Church

Yes on 8 yardsign.

A Challenge

The latest challenge to traditional marriage is from Jonathan Lewis, a political activist and entrepreneur from Ohio, who has challenged Hollywood to donate to fight Proposition 8. Lewis said in a statement:

With Election Day five weeks away, we are concerned that the entertainment industry hasn’t stepped up to the plate to fight this unnecessary initiative. My family and I are issuing a $500,000 challenge to the entertainment industry. We will match the next half-million dollars that entertainment industry leaders contribute.

Meanwhile Ron Prentice, Chairman of Protest Marriage, says:

Our powerful first ad, featuring San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsroom, has been viewed tens of thousands of times online, and has helped raise nearly $200,000 from our online supporters. Please watch the ad and keep the momentum going by sending a message to Proposition 8’s Hollywood opponents.

Protect Marriage Fund Raising

Since July 1st. the Yes on 8 campaign has raised about $22.8 million as of Tuesday 7th October. More than 62,000 Californians have contributed their financial support to pass Proposition 8. About two-thirds of all donations received have been $100 or less. Ninety-five percent of all donations have come from within California. The latest YES on Proposition 8 campaign finance report was over 5,000 pages, so large that the office of the California Secretary of State needed extra time to load the report onto their Web site.

[Read more…]

Proposition 8 Television Ad

Protect Marriage has produced their first television ad. According to the Protect Marriage Campaign:

For the past two months, California voters have been presented with twisted, inaccurate and false information about the same-sex marriage issue. Wealthy gay activists and Hollywood liberals like Brad Pitt have spent $5 million on an 8 week media buy airing an issue advertisement designed to create public support for gay marriage. They even got Attorney General Jerry Brown to rewrite the official description of Proposition 8 in order to bias voters against the measure. And last week our opponents began spending millions on their official campaign ads. It’s no wonder that some polls have reported a drop in support for Prop. 8.

Tomorrow, voters will begin to hear the rest of the story.

Which is where the television ad comes in. It appears that the purposes of the ad are threefold:

  1. To educate voters that redefining marriage has broad consequences for all Californians.
  2. To remind voters that gay marriage has been imposed on California, against the express will of over 4 million voters.
  3. To let voters see the arrogance of our opponents who expect voters to accept gay marriage, “whether we like it or not.”

Vote Yes on 8
I watched the video (no longer available) to see if the three purposes were communicated. It was easy to see “the arrogance” of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom right at the start of the video — you can’t really miss it.

The second purpose is communicated well in the scene with the judges. One point that I will make here is that 4 million does not sound like a lot of people when one considers the total number of voting age Californians. Perhaps it would be better to express the number as a percentage. That would make it clear that it is a majority of the people that voted.

Having law professor Richard Peterson with the backdrop of newspaper articles is a nice touch. It accomplishes the first purpose to educate voters. This is the strongest argument of the three because it informs, however briefly, that there are consequences involved.

Overall  I liked the ad. I wouldn’t have put Mr. Newsom in the video. I would have slipped in a family with children in that time slot. With a message similar to, “Children deserve to be raised by a father and a mother.” I am assuming that there are still traditional families in California. Still, very well done for the short time span.
Rickety signature.

Proposition 8: Politics and Religion

Protect Marriage bumper sticker.

Tax-exempt

Whenever The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes a stand on a moral issue the n’er do wells crawl out of the woodwork. The cry rises, “The Church should lose its tax exempt status!” This time around it is Proposition 8 and though I haven’t heard any cries of protest here in Utah, I have read the usual, “Take away their tax-exempt status” in various blog comments.

So it was with interest I read on the Protect Marriage website Joint Statement To California Religious Leaders Regarding Proposition 8. This is a summary of the article.

A Right to Speak

Religious leaders have the right to educate members of their congregation about Proposition 8. Under the federal tax code, religious leaders may speak freely and forcefully on important issues of public policy, including Proposition 8. Pastors and other religious leaders have the right to discuss legislative issues, support or oppose legislation, encourage their members to support or oppose legislation, and offer facts and materials about important legislation as long as the information is educational and is not designed to support a particular political party or candidate. Tax exempt religious organizations may lawfully spend an “insubstantial” amount of their funds (less than 10%) yearly on issue lobbying for Proposition 8.

Voter Registration

Religious organizations have the right to conduct non-partisan voter registration drives. Such registration drives may also include a church setting up a voter registration table or petition signature gathering table in their lobby or mailing registration cards to their members.

Other Rights

Religious organizations cannot currently be forced to perform same-sex marriages. The California Supreme Court stated very clearly in its recent ruling that its opinion does not mean that same-sex couples can demand to be wed in churches across California.

In addition to state rights, churches and religious organizations have substantial protections under the federal constitution and federal law. Even the leading proponents for same-sex marriage agree with this principle.

As well as the Joint Statement there is another document on Protect Marriage called Churches and Politics by the Alliance Defense Fund that goes into much greater detail.

See also:

The Divine Institution of Marriage: A Summary
Protect Marriage Status
Protect Marriage Update
Protect Marriage Campaign
Protect Marriage News
Rickety signature.

The Divine Institution of Marriage: A Summary

Introduction

The original document The Divine Institution of Marriage runs to 3,884 words. This summary attempts to reduce the word count to 1,000 while still giving you the essential reasons why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in favor of Proposition 8.

The Church has accepted an invitation to participate in ProtectMarriage and has asked that Church members “do all [they] can to support the proposed constitutional amendment.” At the same time the Church does not condone any kind of hostility towards homosexual men and women.
The First Presidency.

Marriage is Between Husband and Wife

Jesus said:

Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. (Matthew 19: 4-6)

Only a man and a woman together have the natural biological capacity to conceive children. Marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. Married couples in almost every culture have been granted special benefits aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. Co-habitation under any guise or title is not a sufficient reason for defining new forms of marriage.

Extensive studies have shown that in general a husband and wife united in a loving, committed marriage provide the optimal environment for children to be protected, nurtured, and raised. This is not only because of the substantial personal resources that two parents can bring to bear on raising a child, but because of the differing strengths that a father and a mother, by virtue of their gender, bring to the task.

Constitutional Amendments

In recent years in the United States and other countries, a movement has emerged to promote same-sex marriage as an inherent or constitutional right. This is not a small step, but a radical change: instead of society tolerating or accepting private, consensual sexual behavior between adults, advocates of same-sex marriage seek its official endorsement and recognition.

Forty-four states have passed legislation making clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. More than half of those states, twenty-seven in all, have done so by constitutional amendments like the ones pending in California, Arizona, and Florida.

Six out of eight state supreme courts have upheld traditional marriage laws. Only two, Massachusetts and now California, have gone in the other direction, and then, only by the slimmest of margins — 4 to 3 in both cases.

Because this question strikes at the very heart of the family, because it is one of the great moral issues of our time, and because it has the potential for great impact upon the family, the Church is speaking out on this issue, and asking members to get involved.

[Read more…]