Monday, October 13, 2008

Why Voting No on Prop. 8 is so Important to Me

I strongly believe in equal rights for all. As a Christian, I have a special interest in people marginalized by mainstream society. There are many reasons for this, but one is because Jesus lived a life where he continuously embraced those on the margins. He befriended and showed love to tax collectors, prostitutes, people covered in disease- the outcasts of society.

We are at a time in history when the church has a chance to embrace a particular marginalized group in society, a group that merely wants the right to get married. Yes, they could have rights without being married, but they don’t see that as equality. They want to get married just like everybody else.

This would be an incredible opportunity for churches to reach out to a community that has been repeatedly disregarded by the mainstream church, but what do churches do in response? They hang banners on their buildings that say, "Yes on Prop. 8," which are strategically placed so they can be seen from freeways. What message are they sending to the marginalized in society? They are saying if you don't fit into their definition of what a good Christian looks like, you are not welcome. Christian organizations are spending ridiculous amounts of money on campaigns to take away this right of marriage. For example, Focus on the Family has given $300,000 to the Yes on Prop. 8 campaign when we as Christians are called by Jesus to give food to the hungry, drinks to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger, clothes to those without, and attention to the sick and those in prison. Jesus taught us to embrace the marginalized as if they were him. He didn’t say to first try to change these people and make them repent for any sin they may have committed.

If Jesus embraced those on the margins all throughout the Gospels, why do churches find it so difficult? Churches need to love their neighbors, not ostracize them.

So what is really more important, making sure that we keep the “traditional” definition of marriage (that really doesn’t hold much credibility anyway when over half of these traditional marriages end in divorce), or embracing a marginalized group of people that has been completely neglected by the church time and time again?

I will choose to embrace the marginalized and show them my support by voting No on Prop. 8.

8 comments:

  1. And i agree wholeheartedly! thanks for putting it so succintly.

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  2. You dangerous dangerous Christian. I don't know about you and your folk.

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  3. Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not taking away anyone's rights. The definition simply distinguishes a union which is biologically designed to produce its own children. Whether a married couple has children or not, I feel like this deserves a separate name--even the potential is kind of a miracle.

    Actually this definition can be seen as the ultimate expression of equality our society has to offer: it takes one man and one woman. One could see a lesbian union as a marginalization of men, or a homosexual union as a marginalization of women.

    Equality is especially important when it comes to raising children. Children deserve/need a father and a mother. Neither parent should be marginalized.

    Yes, many children are already growing up in single-parent homes. Prop 8 should be a reminder to everyone that as a society we need to assist and strengthen families as much as possible. Really, as a society we should be most concerned with the success and health of our families.

    http://emiliadelmar.blogspot.com/2008/10/legislation-and-social-issues.html

    http://gr8prop8deb8.blogspot.com/

    peace!

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  4. Ms. Lee,
    I appreciate your polite and kind comment and the resources you shared. I want to be clear that I am writing this response to have an educated conversation with you, and am in no way writing it to start an argument.

    I was especially interested in paragraph two of your response discussing the marginalization of men and women. That is an interesting point that made me think. I personally don’t agree with the idea that one could see a lesbian relationship as a marginalization of men, because the word marginalization refers to the placement of a group of people in a lower social standing. Thus, homosexuals are marginalized in our society because many people see them as lower than themselves. I don’t think homosexuals look down upon heterosexual people in the same way.

    While you rely on the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman to justify your position, I don’t think marriage needs to be defined in this way, but I am making a separate argument where the definition of marriage doesn’t need to be addressed. I am merely saying that the church in this situation needs to refocus its attention. It should begin focusing on love and inclusion, not exclusion. I also think it should stop spending so much money to promote this exclusion. I read your blog and saw that you were a member of the Mormon Church. According to its website, mormonsfor8.com has spent $12.7 million on its campaign against Prop. 8 as of September 30. That is $12.7 million that could have been used to spread the love of God through helping the poor and oppressed in this country and this world, which is exactly what Jesus called us to do. Instead, it has been used to further marginalize a group of people that I think Jesus would have liked the church to reach out to. Do you think that any homosexuals would be interested in going to a Mormon Church at this point?

    I agree that as a society we should be interested in the success and health of our families, but there are many homosexual parents that provide a much healthier family environment than heterosexual parents, where they ensure their children have both male and female adult figures actively involved in their lives. If we are trying to promote healthy families, this is not a key battle in that war. Poverty would be a better battle to fight, and the money would be better spent here.

    Thanks,
    Brooke

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  5. Thank you for your awesome response.

    Yes, mormons have donated a ton of money to this cause. it's because we see marriage as the most sacred religious rite. As a church we also donate tons tons tons more money to humanitarian causes, we donate 10% of our annual income to the church (mainly for charity purposes, our clergy is not paid).

    for more info:
    http://www.newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/background-information/humanitarian-services

    I completely agree that people struggling with same sex attraction should be reached out to.

    In our religion no one is perfect. We are all trying our best to be better. I don't know why some people struggle with same-sex attraction, just like I don't know why there are a lot of other sad/hard things in this life. The answer is not to extend the definition of marriage. In fact, I think this makes the situation worse for a lot of people struggling with this issue morally.

    (I know tons of people will respond in opposition to my view point.)

    In my religion any one struggling with same-sex attraction is welcome. They are afforded full membership as long as they are following the commandments of Christ, one being the law of chastity. Everyone in our religion is taught to respect this law.

    Again, thank you for a delightful and intelligent response. i wish you lots of happiness and success.

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  6. kara murano (formerly vizzini)October 14, 2008 at 9:23 PM

    I came across your blog through trav and I am really enjoying your posts. I agree with the things you said regarding this prop, I cringe everytime I see "Yes on Prop 8" from the 71 freeway and on the back of many cars. Thank you for speaking out in an intelligent way, it was a pleasure to read. Take Care

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  7. While I do see your point and do definitely agree with your argument that The Christian church has completely failed in loving the homosexual, I do not agree with voting no on prop 8. Yes, we must love homosexuals, but love also has boundaries. Yes Jesus chose to love prostitutes, tax collectors, and all of the sinners(me too), but he did not condone what they were doing. He did not look at a prostitute and say, I love you, continue on with your life. No, rather he said I love you, now repent and change(he said the same to me). I believe voting no on prop 8 is enabling the sin of homosexuality in our society.

    Dont get me wrong however, like I said before I think the church has completely failed in representing this. "Love the sinner, hate the sin."
    I hate that saying and think it is unintelligent at best. Yes on prop 8 banners may be out of line. Homosexuality is no different than adultery or any other sexual sin in my view, and I would vote accordingly. There must be some point at which we stand up for righteousness.

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  8. Thanks anonymous. Your comment was kind, intelligent, and well written. I do think that Jesus intended to change people’s hearts and minds, but there is no record of Jesus ever implying that homosexuals in loving and committed relationships should change. He never addressed homosexuality as something that should be repented for. I am not convinced that homosexuality is a sin and I feel like in voting no on 8 I am standing up for what is right and just: equality and acknowledgement for a group of people that have been marginalized in society. At least we agree that the church should show more love to homosexuals. That is good. :)

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