Saturday, December 20, 2008

. . . or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .



"We are now entering a period of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: we shall see in our time a maximum if indirect effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism that uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of Western civilization to shrink freedom even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage.

M. J. Sobran wrote recently:

The Framers of the Constitution . . . forbade the Congress to make any law "respecting" the establishment of religion, thus leaving the states free to do so (as several of them did); and they explicitly forbade the Congress to abridge "the free exercise" of religion, thus giving actual religious observance a rhetorical emphasis that fully accords with the special concern we know they had for religion. It takes a special ingenuity to wring out of this a governmental indifference to religion, let alone an aggressive secularism. Yet there are those who insist that the First Amendment actually proscribes governmental partiality not only to any single religion, but to religion as such; so that tax exemption for churches is now thought to be unconstitutional. It is startling [she continues] to consider that a clause clearly protecting religion can be construed as requiring that it be denied a status routinely granted to educational and charitable enterprises, which have no overt constitutional protection. Far from equalizing unbelief, secularism has succeeded in virtually establishing it.

[She continues:] What the secularists are increasingly demanding, in their disingenuous way, is that religious people, when they act politically, act only on secularist grounds. They are trying to equate acting on religion with establishing religion. And--I repeat--the consequence of such logic is really to establish secularism. It is in fact, to force the religious to internalize the major premise of secularism: that religion has no proper bearing on public affairs. [Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 51–52, 60–61]

Brothers and sisters, irreligion as the state religion would be the worst of all combinations. Its orthodoxy would be insistent and its inquisitors inevitable. Its paid ministry would be numerous beyond belief. Its Caesars would be insufferably condescending. Its majorities--when faced with clear alternatives--would make the Barabbas choice, as did a mob centuries ago when Pilate confronted them with the need to decide.

Your discipleship may see the time come when religious convictions are heavily discounted. M. J. Sobran also observed, "A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it" (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, p. 58). This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people's opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.

In its mildest form, irreligion will merely be condescending toward those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values. In its more harsh forms, as is always the case with those whose dogmatism is blinding, the secular church will do what it can to reduce the influence of those who still worry over standards such as those in the Ten Commandments. It is always such an easy step from dogmatism to unfair play--especially so when the dogmatists believe themselves to be dealing with primitive people who do not know what is best for them."

Neal A. Maxwell, Meeting the Challenges of Today

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Protests at LDS Temples

I guess I shouldn't see it as surprising, but I read today that opponents of Proposition 8 were gathered in protest in front of the Los Angeles Temple. To see what exactly the Church thought about what was going on, I visited the Newsroom on lds.org. There was an article posted there written by a Catholic Bishop in Sacramento. I think he put it best when he said:

“I call upon the supporters of same-sex marriage to live by their own words — and to refrain from discrimination against religion and to exercise tolerance for those who differ from them. I call upon them to accept the will of the people of California in the passage of Proposition 8.”

Too true! It does seem as if there is a sense of hypocrisy in the way they're acting out about the passing of Prop 8. All too often I hear supporters of same-sex marriage declare that they are discriminated against and that all that see from a different point of view are bigots. They're pretty liberal in their usage of those words (bigot, intolerant, etc.). Those who once felt hated now become the haters. Interesting turn of events.

Further, in all my discussion with those who admit to same-sex attraction, they insist that there is no "gay agenda". But to see the way they immediately organize to remove tax-exempt status from the Church clearly shows that there is order and organization and motive to what seems as a very clear agenda (perhaps even a contingency plan should Prop 8 pass?).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A few words for election day . . .



Again, today I heard another unfortunate instance of someone expressing their distaste in the behavior of the Church in getting involved in political affairs. This person went on to say that because of the Church's activism in favor of Proposition 8, he felt that he had to disassociate himself from the Church.

If you'll follow me for a moment I'll return to the subject momentarily.

My job is extremely tedious. I needed some form of entertainment while I worked. I didn't want to have music blaring in my ears the whole time, so I took to putting general conference talks and BYU devotional speeches on my Palm and listened as I worked. Today's playlist was particularly enlightening. Neal A. Maxwell controlled most of the playtime. (Enter initial topic of discussion)

I was intrigued by some of his words in his talk, "Meeting the Challenges of Today", given 10 October 1978.



"Discipleship includes good citizenship; and in this connection, if you are careful students of the statements of the modern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions--especially when the First Presidency has spoken out--the concerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between political parties. The declarations are about principles, not people, and causes, not candidates. On occasions, at other levels in the Church, a few have not been so discreet, so wise, or so inspired.

"But make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kings 18:21).

"President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had "never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life" (CR, April 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. "

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Clint Eastwood just can't go Hmong...

In case you couldn't tell, that was supposed to be a play on words. I did pulled a funny which would make a lot more sense if any of you knew Bruce Hunt (which I imagine one or two out of my three or four readers do). He would say things like, "Two Hmongs don't make a White", and other horrible puns like that. So, sorry.

Anyway, on to the topic. Thanks to a text I received from a mission buddy last night, I discovered that Clint Eastwood directed and starred in a movie in which the plot centers around his interactions with a Hmong gang in his neighborhood. It looks crazy intense. See for yourself:

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Appalling Proposition

I honestly do not understand what some people are thinking! This morning I grabbed a Daily Universe (BYU's Newspaper) and flipped to the Readers' Forum (the section that accepts letters from students) which is usually my favorite section of the paper. Some letters are funny, because the issue they discuss is ridiculous, and others are absolutely horrifying. This was one such letter:

"I am appalled at the number of BYU students campaigning for the California initiative. The onslaught of flyers has left my stomach churning. I wish these students could see how voting for Proposition 8 simply hurts the Church. It hurts those men and women withinn the Church who struggle with same-sex attraction. It hurts our image. It turns people against the Church. Joseph Smith once said he teaches his people correct principles and allows them to govern themselves. We have been taught the correct principle regarding same-sex attraction and acting on those tendencies. Now let's try out a little agency and govern ourselves while allowing others to make their own decisions without government interference."

That made me sick. I couldn't believe that some people, BYU students nonetheless, could believe that we (the Church, actually) should just roll over and allow the world to run its own course without any correction! That is ridiculous! And so, I immediately send a reply letter to the Universe:

"The letter entitled 'Proposition 8' last Friday was from a student declaring that she was 'appalled' at the campaigning of BYU students encouraging California citizens to vote in favor of Proposition 8. She argued that such campaigning, encouraged by the First Presidency mind you, hurts the image of the Church and those that struggle with same-sex attraction. She concluded by saying, 'Let's try out a little agency and govern ourselves while allowing others to make their own decisions without government interference.' I'm continually fascinated and horrified that so many Latter-day Saints do not understand the gravity of this issue and the consequences that will ensue if we '[allow] others to make their own decisions without government interference.'
"Perhaps this student does not understand the role that a prophet plays. God sends prophets to declare His will to mankind. The Proclamation to the World ends with a warning: 'Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.'
"By fighting to pass Proposition 8, the Church is showing and proving to the world that we are the Church of Jesus Christ and will not allow something 'ordained of God' to be twisted and perverted to whatever society wants."

Unfortunately for me, fortunately for this poor, misinformed student, I had to send a reply with fewer than 250 words. How is this possible?! How can people honestly think that we should allow this to go uncontested?

In Elder Russell M. Nelson's most recent talk in the October 2008 General Conference, he said, concerning marriage, eternal and secular, between a man and a woman, "These truths are absolute. Members of this Church invite all people to learn them and to qualify for eternal life." There you have it. No matter what your opinion is in marriage, we need to keep in mind that there is absolute truth. There is a right answer and there is a wrong answer. There is no gray area in this issue.

Elder Nelson continued, "God’s plan of happiness allows us to choose for ourselves. As with the patterns of the shopper, we may choose celestial marriage or lesser alternatives. Some marital options are cheap, some are costly, and some are cunningly crafted by the adversary. Beware of his options; they always breed misery! The best choice is a celestial marriage. Thankfully, if a lesser choice has previously been made, a choice can now be made to upgrade it to the best choice. That requires a mighty change of heart and a permanent personal upgrade. Blessings so derived are worth all efforts made. The full realization of the blessings of a temple marriage is almost beyond our mortal comprehension. Such a marriage will continue to grow in the celestial realm. There we can become perfected. As Jesus ultimately received the fulness of the glory of the Father, so we may 'come unto the Father . . . and in due time receive of his fulness.'"

Contrary to what this student believes, by avidly fighting against Proposition 8, the Church is not "[hurting] those men and women within the Church who struggle with same-sex attraction", but rather are showing them that there is a better, celestial, true way.

We need to disabuse the public mind and reverse whatever indoctrination has been prevailing so that we can uphold the Lord's institution.

Monday, October 6, 2008

And it's been a while...

Truly it has. And the masses have been literally CLAMORING for me to write another post. Well, rest assured, one is on it's way. Fear not, my flock. The dawn will come. Just endure the dark night a little longer.

The night is always darkest just before the dawn.