Friday, October 31, 2008

California Proposition 8

My Dear Friends,

As you know, California's Proposition 8 seeks to amend the state Constitution so that marriage would only be legal between one man and one woman. In supporting this measure, I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is engaged in an extremely selfless act of compassion towards our homosexual brothers and sisters. I know it may not seem that way to some of you, but I am convinced that this is the case. Please allow me to illustrate why I think as I do:

During the time that I was in junior high I had two different English teachers. One was a seemingly ornery old-school-woman who insisted upon forcing her students to diagram sentences, memorize grammar rules, do homework and pass difficult tests. The other was an easy going old-hippy-man who gave us word puzzles to play all term long without much homework or testing ever. As a kid, you can imagine which teacher I liked better -- the fun one, the old-hippy-man!

But, as I have grown older I have come to better understand which one of the two really cared for me the most, worked the hardest for my best interests, and better served me as a teacher -- the one that actually taught me something, the old-school-woman.

Sadly, she was not a popular teacher. And, I remember how hurt she appeared when my friend and I asked her to sign the forms that allowed us to transfer out of her class and into the class of the old-hippy-man. Oh, how I now regret that! But, I have learned my lesson:

Today, I can clearly see the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acting in a manner similar to this dear old-school-teacher. It, among the very few, has the courage, the integrity, the wisdom and the love necessary to tell the truth to a world that would prefer to be seduced by lies.

The Church is not trying to be popular. It is not trying to hide from the painful persecution that will surely follow. Rather, it is simply doing what is right -- for society today, for our future children, and for our beloved brothers and sisters who deal with same sex attraction.

The truth is that all of us have been given issues with which to deal in life. And, the truth is that all of us would prefer to take the course of least resistance. Homosexuals are not unique in that respect. We all deal with one thing or another.

The question, then, is: "Who do we believe when trying to decide how to live our lives?"

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, just as historical Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was founded upon the belief that God reveals himself and his will to prophets who then act as his messengers. For those of us who are believers, that is why we belong to the Church -- through profound personal and spiritual experience, we have become convinced that those who lead the Church are in fact "true messengers."

Apparently, those members who now find fault with the Church's efforts seem to be saying that they no longer accept that idea. Apparently, they have become converted to another paradigm.

That, of course, is extremely sad news to folks like me who remain convinced of the Church's truthfulness. We love these back-sliding members and we wish them well. But, this kind of apostasy is not something new to us. We have been dealing with it from the very beginning. And, we know that though many of these people may choose to leave the Church, they will not leave us alone.

Like some kind of obsessed and scorned lover, they will continue to stalk the institution, its leaders, and its faithful followers. They will misrepresent who we are and what we do. They will unite with and stir up our enemies to persecute us. And, as a people, we will suffer greatly because of them -- even unto the losing of our lives.

Bank on it.

We have seen it before.

We will see it again.

But, with the help of a loving Heavenly Father, enough of the Saints will survive that the work will go forth. Joyfully, some of these prodigals will return. And, soon we'll have this tale to tell: All is well.

That is my testimony.


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Friday, October 17, 2008

"The Funniest 15 Minutes of Your Life" (McCain & Obama)

After all the ugliness, I needed these belly laughs:

Thanks to Senators McCain and Obama, and the Catholic Dioceses of New York.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The John McCain I Love

I read a news report today that illustrated, for me, the true character of Senator John McCain -- the character that long ago earned my respect, eventually won my support, and ultimately secured my love and loyalty.

Yesterday, according to the article, Senator McCain was at a town-hall meeting in Minnesota where a woman who had the microphone said, "I don't trust Obama. I have read about him. He's an Arab."

At that point Senator McCain took the microphone away from the woman and said, "No, ma'am. He is a decent family man with whom I happen to have some disagreements."

If John McCain only cared about winning an election -- as part of a self-serving agenda -- then he might have considered it to have been in his interest to let this woman be. He might have thought it useful to let her stoke the fearful and bigoted hysteria to which some simple folks at his party's base might respond. But, that is not who John McCain is.

John McCain is an honorable man.
John McCain is a true patriot.
John McCain cares more about his country than a political career.
John McCain is an authentic American hero.

Too often, on both the left and the right, we political activists (and bloggers) have demonstrated a propensity toward slash and burn, scorched earth campaigns. Too often we have allowed ourselves to see "the other side" as being an evil enemy that needed to be destroyed. But, that is a lie. And, that kind of thinking is bad for America.

Our nation is currently divided in an unhealthy and artificial manner. People who would normally recognize that they have a lot in common and share similar values, now find themselves despising one another and buying into extreme agendas that they would not otherwise have accepted if our country were not so polarized. Thus, I am convinced that for our nation's wellbeing we must now seek out and support true statesmen who unite rather than divide us.

Ironically, I think that is exactly what the voters where trying to do when they selected both Barak Obama and John McCain to be the presidential candidates of their respective parties. More than any of the other candidates, these two created the impression that they were the most willing to reach across the political divide in order to serve the common good.

But, apparently, the experienced hands and the big money advisors have since gotten to them and convinced them that they had to go negative in order to win. That's too bad. And, especially in the case of my candidate, John McCain, it seems to be backfiring. (As a Mitt Romney supporter during the primaries, it kind of feels like déjà vu.)

Now, I am not saying that there should not be substantive debate. No! On the contrary! I think that is exactly what we need -- respectful and frank discourse about the individual issues. It's just that I want to hear more "big idea" speeches, and less character assassinating zingers.

Let's hope that Senator McCain and Senator Obama can set a new tone going down the stretch of this election. Whoever wins the presidency is going to have a lot on his plate once he takes office, and all of us are going to need him to be successful. May God bless him, whoever it may be.

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