by Paul Bishop
on Proposition 8
Posted Monday, 10 November 2008
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It has been an interesting week.
The Chinese homily, “May you live in interesting times,” has its roots in a curse, not a blessing.
As I said, it has been an interesting week.
The controversy in California regarding Proposition 8 (the proposed amendment to the California constitution defining marriage to be strictly between a man and a woman) built to a frenzy in the days leading up to Tuesday's election and then exploded into anger and violence in the aftermath of Prop 8's slim passage into law.
Obviously, the types of crimes we investigate bring us into regular contact with victims who are of an alternative lifestyle orientation. It is incumbent upon us that our compassion for these victims be no less than for victims who are heterosexual.
Working in such an environment, I found taking a position on Proposition 8 to be difficult. Even though I chose to follow the direction of our Church leaders in my voting decision, it was extremely hard for me to place myself on the line when it came to actively working to ensure the passage of Proposition 8.
By following through on this commitment, I found I had a greater stake in the battle than I had ever thought. I learned a number of hard and harsh lessons. And in the events following the election and passage of Proposition 8, I felt great anguish forcing me to drop to my knees in prayer – eventually coming to a more personal understanding of the Love of Christ and what he expects from me.
During the Proposition 8 rally, as I stood with my wife and friends waving Yes On 8 signs and waving to the passing rush hour traffic, I learned several things. I learned supporters of both Yes On 8 and No On 8 liked to honk their horns. I learned the way to tell the difference is the No On 8 supporters usually accompanied their horn honking with an obscene gesture or a string of obscenities. They also liked to swerve their cars toward the children on the curb.
I have no doubt Yes On 8 supporters both from our church and other churches engaged at some point in the shouting matches during the numerous rallies and demonstrations across the state. However, on the evening of my participation, I was amazed by the cool and non-confrontational way the Yes On 8 supporters conducted themselves.
I learned at the rally several of our ward members had received hate mail after their names, religious affiliation, contribution mounts, and addresses were published on a website inciting No On 8 supporters to target the listed individuals. Their houses and cars had been vandalized, their campaign support signs stolen, and opposition signs planted in their place.
Then I saw the latest No On 8 television commercial.
Supposedly produced by an independent group not affiliated with the official No On 8 campaign, the thirty second commercial spot shows two scruffy male white actors portraying Mormon missionaries who force their way into the well-kept home of a married lesbian couple.
“Hi, we're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” one says.
“We're here to take away your rights,” says his companion.
The missionaries then rip the wedding rings from the women's fingers and ransack the house until they find the women's marriage license, which they destroy.
“Hey, we have rights,” one of the women says.
“Not if we can help it,” answers a missionary.
Moving outside the residence, one of the missionaries smugly says, “That was easy.”
Flexing his muscles, his companion asks, “What do we want to ban next?”
My hackles were beginning to rise in a distinctly unchristian way. However, the fun was just beginning.
Election Day and Aftermath
Election day in California saw numerous No On 8 activists distributing literature and vocalizing at polling sites in clear violation of election laws. Police were called, 100 yard distances from the polling places were paced off, yet the agitation continued.
The day after the election, spontaneous protests sprung up in West Hollywood – a small residential community, with a large gay and lesbian population, located within Los Angeles County , but just outside Los Angeles city borders. The protests did not have a particular focus or target other than outrage as they strayed outside the confines of West Hollywood and into Beverly Hills , Hollywood , and West Los Angeles . Several arrests were made, but the seething anger at the passage of Proposition 8 was not dampened.
On Thursday, however, two days after the election, rumors began to be picked up by LAPD of a large protest organized by gay and lesbian activists and their supporters to be staged outside the Los Angeles LDS temple on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles.
What I learned by watching and listening shouldn't have surprised me, but it did. During my 30+ year tenure, the LAPD as an organization has made great professional strides in the internal battle against sexual harassment, sexual orientation harassment, and racism. While there are still those in civil liberty organizations who contest we are still guilty of racially profiling on the streets (difficult to imagine when our department is so thoroughly integrated at this point in time), organizationally there is little or no tension remaining in these areas.
In the Bureau command post there was a large screen television displaying scenes from the protest outside the Los Angeles temple. Imagine my surprise, when angry protestors began rushing the closed temple gates, and I heard an officer in the command post say, “I hope they burn that place to the ground.”
Really? My temple recommend must not be of a high enough clearance to get me into that part of the temple.
I want to emphasize these were not officers or detectives from my own unit – who are all aware of my Mormon faith. Those in my unit who disagree with me over this issue are respectfully tolerant, as I am respectfully tolerant of their opposite beliefs. Tolerance, as Orson Scott Card recently pointed out, is indicative of disagreement. It is not a battle we choose to fight amongst ourselves. Most of us have known each other for a long time and are either embracing of, or oblivious to, our differences – divisiveness has no place in the types of investigations we conduct.
Click here to read the rest of the story (part 2).
It is astonishing to me that these protesters behave in such a despicable and criminal manner because they were thwarted in a duly legal process. They lost, so they are throwing a colossal temper tantrum and targeting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because, to quote one of the Prop 8 opponents, "the Mormons are the easiest target."
Latter-day Saints in California have comported themselves with grace and determination. They took a stand. They fought the good fight and the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman won out. It is apparent there needs to be some serious education for the police who made comments such as Paul Bishop pointed out above. Ignorance in all forms is revolting.
Really, the LAPD has officers who have so little knowledge of the Church that they think we have armies underneath the temple?! Sheesh, what kind of moronic mind thought that one up? Sounds to me like some cops need to lose their jobs if they were willing to stand back and allow criminal activity to occur right in front of them.
Why is there ALWAYS a portion of the population, in this case gays and lesbians, who resort to violence and less than human behavior to express their opinions. If they want to stand on corners with ridiculous signs that's their right. Knock themselves out, please. But to climb the temple fence, to write on the gateposts, to tape signs to private property, to swerve at children standing on a street corner, to curse and perpetrate violence on others . . . no, that's not anybody's right. To you who have conducted yourselves in such a manner, you have only damaged your cause. The more violent and hate-filled you become, the more people will draw a line in the sand and not allow it to be crossed. You accuse Mormons of hate . . . and yet you are the haters.
Mormons don't hate gays and lesbians. But we do believe in the sanctity of marriage and the family unit. We do believe God created Adam and Eve and asked them to multiply and replenish the earth. We know that children cannot be created with an egg and a sperm . . . plain and simple. No matter how much you might want wish it to be, two eggs or two sperms cannot create life. God did not make it that way . . . He made mankind so it required one man and one woman.
Gays and Lesbians say they only want the right to marry, but in other states where this has passed, the rights of Gays and Lesbians have surpassed the rights of the rest of Americans. Their lifestyle, morals and belief systems, or lack thereof, are being shoved down the throats of school children and parents arrested when they object.
So yes . . . we must stand with our prophet. We must stand with Jesus Christ. We must stand with Heavenly Father. The last thing we want in America is Sodom and Gumorrah status . . . and we still have the right, until Barack Obama changes that, to express our opinion and educate others to the same.
Listen, you have only yourselves to blame. Take the gays and lesbians to task in Massachusetts. The more I researched this more the adamant I became. No way on God's green earth was I going to allow what has happened in Massachusetts happen in the rest of the United States.
One last point, the same proposition went forth in Arizona and Florida. Interestingly, the battles in those states remained civil . . . but not in California. Protesting gays and lesbians debased themselves, somehow believing this would get people on their side. Really? How did that work out for you?