Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tolerance and Bigotry

For the past several days I have been watching the responses from the varying sides in the "marriage" debate and have been struck by the attitude and conduct of those who claim to want tolerance for their lifestyle. They claim that those who support marriage as an essential and lasting covenant between a man and a woman only are bigots and are trying to take away the rights of a small, persecuted group. Freedom of choice and civil rights are verses of the song they sing when they accuse us of preventing them from practicing their desires to change a standard that has stood for millennia. As one advocate of change put it, "When do I get to vote on your marriage?" What they don't realize is that the vote was taken thousands of years ago and established as the way things should be for the benefit of all mankind. It is not a debatable topic because the norm has been set by God and cannot be changed.

Actually, I have erred somewhat in that last statement. We can alter many of the laws of God through our own choices… but only at the peril of mankind on this earth. The God we worship (or fail to worship but who, nonetheless, is still God) has given us the right to make choices for ourselves in this life. He has said to Adam and Eve "Thou mayest choose for thyself" and when the choice was made, He accepted that as their desires. Sadly, we often forget the other end of the "choice" stick which is consequence. Every time we exercise our right to agency, we also invoke the consequences that are attached. When we decide to live in harmony with God and His commandments, we receive from Him the joy and blessings that accompany those choices. The inverse is also true: when we live in violation of the laws of God, we reap the misery and sorrow those choices exact (whether we recognize immediately does not eliminate the truth that they are still there). We cannot avoid the results of our choices…they are as much a part of this life as all the other parts that are in God's plan. To put it in a more simple form, I can live as if the sun will not come up in the east and shine its radiant light on our world but that will not change the fact that the sun will come up and warm us every day.

Now, back to my original thought on tolerance and bigotry. While the pro-marriage side has won the election, there is no real joy in the victory. Oh, not because we are not happy that a sacred principle has been protected from the wiles of those who would destroy all that is good (think abortion, living together w/o marriage, pornography, alcohol and drug use, honor, greed, trust in leaders, and so many other forms of wickedness that have become rampant in the world). We are not reveling in the joy of victory because we are busy defending ourselves, our property and our beliefs from those who claim to be tolerant. Protesters have destroyed personal property, defaced sacred edifices and disrupted the lives of people who have nothing to do with the circumstances in California, Arizona, and Florida (BTW, why are those propositions not mentioned like Prop. 8??). While we may support those who seek to keep marriage sacred, we did not vote, nor did we participate in the debate in those states. We may have encouraged those who did to make good choices, but we did not take part in any of the run-up to the election. Yet, we have had demonstrations in Salt Lake City, New York and several other places, calling our people vile and filthy names. And all this from a group preaching that we should be tolerant and let them live like they want.

Let me put this in a more personal form. According to the 'gay-marriage' side, I am a bigot because I choose to defend something that is sacred and holy to me and my posterity. Yet when they want to destroy something that is so vital to the survival of our society, they are only asking for us to be tolerant of desires that rage against the core foundation of all this nation represents. If I protest their desires I am prejudiced and violating their civil rights but when they block me from attending my worship services or call me horrible names they are only practicing their free speech rights. Brothers and sisters, you can't have it both ways. If I am a bigot, they you must join me in that boat and accept the same appellation. Frankly, I do not see my actions as bigotry (and I'm sure you don't see yours that way either) and I will continue to use my right of conscience and the power of choice to defend all that I believe is worthy and sent from God. And I promise never to come to your homes or your places of worship and disrupt your life. Please offer me the same consideration as you exercise your own rights.

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