This is in response to a recent blog post and letter I read. This post isn't designed to endorse LDS doctrine, but rather to affirm society's duty to set hard and fast moral assumptions upon which its laws are based.
I love "open minded" mormons. Especially the mormons who buy into moral relativism. This relativism is Satan's greatest tool to chain people up and, "Lead them carefully down to hell" (see 2 Nephi 28:18-21 and note the words "rage" and "anger against that which is good"). I agree with the separation of church and state insomuch as Jesus Christ himself is not the head of a government body on earth. I don't think it is wise for any one church to integrate their hierarchy or beliefs into a nation's political system. One church's commandments should never become secular law for everybody. That is a recipe for disaster.
Jeffrey Nielsen's letter states, "So now is the time to take a stand and keep separate civil and religious authority." Great. Keep religious authority out of America's political system. That's fine with me. But he is synonymizing religious authority with societal religiosity. The Founding Fathers were far more adamant about religious undertones and assumptions then they were about democratic ones. Why is every man equal? Because a Wise and Just Creator made them that way. Why did the pilgrims come to America in the first place? Anyway, behind every good law in America is an assumption, usually based on some religious moral, that something is inherently good or evil. Why do we discriminate against people that murder by forcibly preventing them from committing murder again and placing them in jail? Because a vast majority of Americans believe that murder is wrong. Taking something from someone is wrong. But WHY is it wrong? If you keep asking the why, it becomes a philosophical argument which ends with the comment, "It depends on your moral assumptions." Read up on the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). They are a group who legitimately feel it is right for consenting men and underage boys to engage in sexual intercourse. But that is prohibited in most states. Why? Because most people have a moral conviction (be it based on some canonized belief, some other reference to a higher power, or some philosophical rationale) that adult men should not be allowed to have sex with minors. Period. You then get into the argument about consent, and legal ages. All of which are philosophically, morally defined parameters. You have to be 18 to make informed consent in most matters. Why? Most people agree or believe that is the age when people understand choice and consequence. But it is nonetheless an arbitrary parameter.
Coming back to the issue of gay marriage, I think it is entirely appropriate for any church to urge its members to become politically active when eternal matters such as the societal integrity of the family unit are involved. It should be on the democratic ballot. If a majority of people feel homosexual marriage is "wrong" then that is what our laws should be based on. Democracy is based on what 50.1% of the people feel is good for them. Where America was on the gay issue 50 years ago is probably where we are today on the NAMBLA issue. If you keep eroding fundamental institutions such as the family through moral relativism disguised by "equality" or "anti-discrimination," it is only a matter of time before all law is meaningless and nullified.
So should California vote on such a matter? Yes. Does everyone understand the prophecy as laid out in the Proclamation on the Family? No. So does everyone understand the magnitude of the matter on which they are voting? No. But at least if the vote turns out to affirm a gay's right to marry, society as a whole will have chosen that path for themselves, and not a few marginalized individuals. In the Book of Mormon, when Moroni was off fighting and he became very frustrated that Pahoran hadn't sent him the aid he had promised, an interesting scenario resulted. After working through some misunderstandings, Moroni realized that a substantial portion of people (although not a majority) wanted to overthrow the government and replace it with a monarchy. The majority, including Moroni and Pahoran felt that was wrong. They forcibly put an end to the threat (read Alma chapters 59-62). Their society was based on assumed religious fundamentals which theoretically could not be altered. Those assumed morals permeated the entire societal and political structure. Note that at this time it certainly wasn't illegal to be a non-believer. But it was illegal to do anything against what the majority had assumed was morally right. So when people grouped together because they felt marginalized and discriminated against and confronted the government, there really were only a couple of possible outcomes.
Earlier I said assumed religious fundamentals were theoretically unalterable. But you see that later on in 3 Nephi, all organized government had ceased to exist. People banded together to live in local tribes. Why? Because of secret organizations and the erosion of moral assumptions upon which was based the law. The majority of the people ceased to affirm such morals were necessary. In short, they became morally relative. At the very end of the Book of Mormon, people were taking that which was most sacred from women and girls, while feeding to them the flesh of their husbands and fathers; it was also morally acceptable at the time. I am convinced that is the final destination to which the path of moral relativism leads.
"I do not believe that people choose their sexual orientation any more than they choose their skin color or gender." In a temporal sense, I agree with this. In an eternal sense, I don't know that the agency we exercised before this mortal life didn't determine those. But to help out Nielsen's argument, I'll agree with it. I believe there are a substantial number of people who have biologic tendencies to being homosexual. But I believe they are in the minority. I feel that argument is used so that a much larger portion of misguided and disenfranchised youth and young adults can feel justified in their decisions. I don't believe that EVERY homosexual was born that way. There are societal and familial influences that play into the decision to be homosexual. And I feel the Perfect Judge will take all that into consideration.
If you buy the purely genetic homosexual argument, you probably tend to think more left-winged liberally. That is an assumption. Usually those people lean more toward believing the doctrines of evolution (which an entirely different argument). I can't believe that evolution would repeatedly evolve genes that promote a lifestyle that CAN NOT PROPAGATE LIFE. That goes against the ultimately fundamental belief of evolutionism. Humans once had tails, and gills, and smaller brains, etc...Why is that we don't see healthy, adult humans with these traits? Because they die off early in embryogenesis or in their infancy. These traits are not conducive to propagating life and therefore are selected against. You don't see homosexuality running rampant in earth's most successful species. Take ants for example. Don't see too many ants having sex on the sidewalk, do you? Nope, they have a specific genetically programmed societal structure which evolutionarily has worked extremely well for them. Take even an unsuccessful species, the Panda. Worthless species that can't adapt to changing conditions worth a dime! What if homosexuality ran rampant, and was socially acceptable? Loveable Chan Chan and Ling Ming might be the last Pandas we ever see. With only 1600 living bears, they don't have room to play evolutionary roulette. If homosexuality truly were an evolutionary, genetic trait, it would have been weeded out long ago. It wouldn't keep "reappearing" every time society's morals accept that behavior (and reappearing at an evolutionarily phenomenal rate, might I add).
Furthermore, we are all born with natural man tendencies which tempt us all. I am a man. It is the guttural instinct, for many men, to have sex with as many beautiful women as they can. I have had to suppress that instinct throughout my post-pubescent life. It isn't very hard, because I feel I know how to effectively cope with those feelings and thoughts. I feel the day-to-day way in which I care for my marriage squelches those temptations, so as to deny them consideration in even the remotest recesses of my conscious mind. But I would be insane to think, "I'll never be attracted to another woman." I personally buy into the argument that each of us is born with different trials and weaknesses and temptations. It is God's expectation that we overcome those. Some people are more prone to being homosexual than others, and they need to deal with that while striving to live the gospel which God has lovingly, wisely and prophetically laid out for us.
"If anyone could give me a single reasonable argument against marriage equality in our civil society, which doesn’t make fallacious appeals to tradition, misplaced appeals to religious authority, or make some ridiculous claim about nonhuman animals, then I would like to hear it. So far, no one has been able to present me with even a single justifiable reason." I think I have provided several justifiable reasons. Finally, Nielsen mentions marriage equality. That is exactly why California is voting, to define the word marriage. If the majority feels marriage should only be between a man and a woman, than that is just it. Marriage won't be a platform of discrimination, because any man will have the right to marry any woman and enjoy the same rights as any other married couple. That fits the classic description of equality. If society says two men can't enjoy marriage, then there is no discrimination. I can't choose to be black if I'm white. I can't choose to be a woman if I am a man. And I can't choose to be married if I am a homosexual wanting to marry homosexually. It falls under the same moral assumption as to why I can't choose to legally murder someone else, or to legally have sex with a consenting minor.
In the end, this vote is utlimately deciding where California and America draws the moral line in the sand and says, "we will not cross this line." And I applaud that democratically fundamental principle of our government, and any church's desire to affirm that.