Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The California Marriage Amendment Debate Is Far From Over

The California Supreme Court announced today that it has upheld the amendment to the state constitution, Proposition 8, that defines a marriage between a man and a woman. The 6-1 vote indicates that the issue being argued - whether the vote was improperly placed in the hands of the voters rather than going to the legislature - was not a close call. I believe that the court made the correct choice from the legal perspective. It is immoral for a panel of a few judges to overturn the votes of millions of citizens, unless there is a clear error in the administration of the amendment process. California's constitution allows for such changes to be made by the voice of the people rather than just the legislature. This is true democracy at work. The result accurately represents the voice of the people, not the agendas of politicians. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, whether we support the marriage amendment or not, it is refreshing to me to know that the judicial system did not usurp power from the people. I also agree with the court ruling that the existing gay marriages should stand. Not that I agree with gay marriage, but those marriages were performed at a time when the law allowed them. They should stand.

So what does this mean for Latter-Day Saints? It means that next year, another election year, the effort to overturn Proposition 8 will begin again. I believe this time it will be more heated. It could become more hostile toward the Church. Remember the protests at the Oakland and Los Angeles Temples? Many temple patrons were frightened, and some physically shaken, by the actions and attitudes of the protesters. What will those protests by like when the demonstrators are more aggressive? Will it actually become dangerous to attend the temple?

I have learned that we cannot convince others of our righteous motives, or of our Christlike love for them, through political debate. This is especially true when the issue is as heated as gay marriage rights. The most convincing argument will not be heard or respected if it is in opposition to an angry group who feels deprived of rights. We must prayerfully learn how the Savior would have us defend our position. One thing I am trying to do is look to the Church's media relations department for examples of press releases and other communications to the public regarding controversial issues. I may not convince anyone of my position, but I can be kind, empathetic and understanding in sharing it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One Major Issue That Separates The Gospel of Jesus Christ From The World...

... is forgiveness, and letting the Lord judge.

I find this article, and frankly the whole story, disappointing.

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090512/ap_on_re_eu/eu_demjanjuk

The Jews still live somewhat under the Law of Moses, which calls for 'an eye for an eye'. As such, they are still trying to exact revenge against this man for war crimes that occurred 66 years ago.

There are some key issues about this story/issue that get my attention:

1) We as Latter-Day Saints accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our final judge. We realize that many, if not most, of the evils in this world will go unpunished until He, the final judge of all, will exact justice from each of us.

2) These war crimes occurred when Mr. Demjanjuk was a young man of 23 years old. He was a junior member of the SS, and he was only a guard, not a commanding officer. He was under the control, the brainwashing, and pressure, of Adolf Hitler. He probably also feared for his own life should he waiver in his allegiance to his own nation of Germany. I find it hard to believe that his actions were those of a murderer as much as they were of an obedient servant of his nation.

3) Mr. Demjanjuk has lived a peaceful, productive life since the end of World War II, having retired as an auto worker in Ohio. He poses no threat to anyone.

If the Jews are so bent on revenge for something that happened so long ago, will it make them feel satisfied to punish an 89-year-old handicapped man for simply being a guard? My opinion is that it weakens the Jewish people and diminishes their stature as victims, deserving of respect. Now they are the ones who are acting out of malice, whereas Mr. Demjanjuk probably never did act out of such malice, only out of obedience.

Thank God for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches us to forgive, and let Him be our judge for crimes gone unpunished. But let us also thank Him for providing a way that we would not have to suffer for some of our crimes if we would repent and turn to Him. What a blessing it would be to so many people if they could turn away from their lust for revenge and embrace forgiveness through the Atonement of Christ.