Satan Is the Author of Proposition 8

Most of us are familiar with Proposition 8, the upcoming ballot initiative to amend the California state constitution to specifically outlaw same-sex marriage. In the last several months, California’s court system has declared laws banning same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, so the only recourse for “defenders” of marriage is to amend the constitution.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, or Mormons) has encouraged its members to get involved in the effort to amend the constitution. In a letter read in congregations across California, the church’s First Presidency announced that it would “participate … in seeking [the amendment’s] passage.” It also pleaded with its members to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.”

Obviously, the church is well within its rights to support what it considers a “moral” issue, but it’s not surprising that members have begun to publicly demonize both homosexuals and proponents of same-sex marriage. Take, for instance, this article in Meridian Magazine, a publication aimed at Mormon families.

Some background is probably necessary. The Bible describes a “war in heaven,” wherein “Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. … And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev. 12:7-9).

In Mormonism, this war in heaven came about before we were born, when we lived as spirits with God the Father. Two plans were presented for the salvation of humanity: God’s plan, which involved freedom of choice, and Satan’s plan, which would have taken away our freedom to choose and would have forced all humans to be saved (see Moses 4:1-4 and Doctrine and Covenants 29:36). One-third of the spirits followed Satan and were cast out to become “the devil and his angels” (D&C 29:37). In Mormon theology, this was the great battle between God and Satan, and our being here on earth tells us that we were among the two-thirds who followed God.

The article in question, in a bit of glorious hyperbole, compares the ballot initiative in California to this great battle in heaven. The author tells us that “this war has not ended, that only the battlefield has changed. That battlefield is now [you guessed it] California[,] and the parallels between that premortal conflict and the battle over the definition of marriage are striking.”

Ironically, he reminds us that “Satan rebelled against [God], and sought to destroy the agency of man” (while he’s urging us to restrict the choice of gay Californians). “Satan,” he says, “must have used very effective arguments to turn a third of the hosts of heaven away from the Father despite pure knowledge of God’s will.” These arguments, he tells us, are being used just as effectively by the devil to trick people into supporting Proposition 8. Let’s go through them, as he sees them:

1. Equality of outcome, which “always be the beginning point for those opposed to any part of God’s plan.” And here’s the slick lie that Prop 8’s proponents are using to fool people:

Gays and lesbians are people, too. They have the same emotions as anyone else. It is only fair that they be given equal rights. They should not be second-class citizens.

Do you see any “equality of outcome” in this statement? I don’t. What I see is equality of opportunity and equal access to choice. So, point one fails rather miserably.

2. Sympathy. In heaven, Satan apparently played on our emotions in telling us, “Under the Father’s plan, some of your friends will never return.” Similarly, we are told that “emotion is evoked by specific situations, in this case having two women in their 80s be the first same-sex marriage in California.” Since when are sympathy and empathy and desire for other people’s happiness wrong? Oh, right. They’re wrong when such things oppose God.

3. Hate. He’s right that on both sides, “the opposition [is being] shamed, vilified, and demonized.” But how can people who claim that gay-rights advocates are allied with Satan object to being called “Christian extremists, anti-gay, right-wing radicals, old-fashioned, hung-up, homophobes, bigots, stupid, intolerant, mean-spirited, knuckle-draggers”? Pot, meet kettle.

4. Change. Just as Satan apparently told us that God’s “old ways” haven’t worked out, we are being told by the forces of darkness that “it’s time for a change.” This argument seems to rest on the idea that change is never good, but traditions and rules must never change. It reminds me of the argument in Britain a few years ago that hunters had the right to have dogs chase and rip to pieces foxes in the name of tradition. Not all tradition is worth perpetuating. If it’s time to change marriage, let it be done based on sound arguments, not on some bull-headed resistance to change in general.

5. Guarantee. In our premortal existence, Satan promised us all a place in heaven with no possibility of damnation. All it would cost was our freedom. In the battle for same-sex marriage, the guarantee that “same-sex marriage will not harm anyone. Heterosexual marriage will not be hurt. Nothing will change except all people will have every right that anyone else has.” Of course, rather than actually argue what it will or won’t change, the author prefers to demonize his opponents.

The article concludes with some amazing rhetoric:

The stakes are critical. If same-sex marriage advocates can dilute and hollow out the central part of the Creator’s plan, the whole structure collapses — the family, the nation, and in time civilization itself. The time has come for those of us who believe that God, not man, created marriage (fortunately still a majority) to take a stand and defend it.

He may well be right that the stakes are critical, but a serious issue deserves serious discussion, not this kind of garbage. Of course, I’m an ex-Mormon, so I’m already one of Satan’s minions. Were I still a resident of California, I would be voting against Proposition 8, but because I am not, I will do what I can and stand up against this kind of overblown hatred.

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14 Responses to Satan Is the Author of Proposition 8

  1. Wildean says:

    Wait… if you lived in California you would vote *for* the amendment?

  2. runtu says:

    Thanks for catching that. I have fixed it. 🙂

  3. M says:

    While I’m largely ambivalent to same-sex marriage, I am an active LDS and a CA resident. So, I suppose I’m stuck.

    The problem is that the article in Meridian, and others like it, don’t really help me as a voter. They demonize, as you pointed out, but they don’t give me the information that I will need to make an informed decision (which is, after all, the basis of agency). I find it especially ironic that he never backs up his claims in the last item (“Guarantee”). If it’s so friggin’ obvious to him how “same-sex marriage advocates can dilute and hollow out the central part of the Creator’s plan” and how “the whole structure [will collapse] — the family, the nation, and in time civilization itself,” why can’t he explain how that will happen? Why can’t he provide even *one* example, or any evidence at all?

    I can only conclude that people like him do a great disservice to the LDS church.

  4. runtu says:

    M,

    Thanks for the comment. I’m perfectly fine with people disagreeing with me on the issues (thus, I let even the nasty comments through the spam filter here). But if you’re going to take a position, you had better come up with something better than “my opponents are allied with Satan.” As you said, the article is empty rhetoric with no substance and does no one a favor, least of all the LDS church.

  5. Chino Blanco says:

    Gary Lawrence is a professional PR flack:

    http://www.exoro.com/pages/Lawrence_research.html

    His article in Meridian Magazine is just him doin’ his job.

    Dr. Lawrence is quite aware that his “arguments” don’t hold water, but that’s beside the point. The point is to sell his target constituency on Proposition 8 using tactics that he describes below:

    http://www.utahpolicy.com/pages/newsletters/daily935.htm

    A friend of mine, Gary Lawrence, a California pollster who has done a lot of work in Utah, sent me (and other of his clients) a copy of the book as a Christmas gift. Writes Gary, “You’ll … find how Lincoln used ‘aw shucks’ stories from his rural background to illustrate a point, educate the listener, or defuse anger. Reagan had to have learned it from Lincoln. And then we have … targeting (responding to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, but placing it in a competing newspaper), strategy (inviting underestimation: his ‘yahoo’ persona was a means to an end), and metaphors that run from goodies to groaners – ‘broken eggs cannot be mended”, “I can ride on now; I’ve got a pumpkin in each end of my bag’ (when Chase and Seward both resigned from the Cabinet, balancing each other out), and ‘Uncle Sam’s Web-feet’ (the Navy).”

  6. runtu says:

    I know that’s what he’s doing. He’s preaching to the choir and trying to make them feel like their political position is the “right” one and is important in the fight against Satan.

  7. Chino Blanco says:

    Hey, just popped by to see if my comment made it out of moderation and you’ve already replied. I’m glad to have found your blog and hope you keep up the good work re Prop 8.

  8. GodKillzYou says:

    Jeez… not magical, invisible, evil little men again. Didn’t we move past this paradigm like hundreds of years ago? Grown men arguing about a boogey-man in the closet…

    Reminds me of a quote (from earlier than 2,000 years ago):

    300 years from now, some complete jackass is going to be taking a homeopathic remedy in a spaceship going to Pluto.

    -Jay Novella

  9. David says:

    Many years ago a short lived TV show, “Alias Smith & Jones,” episode had three cowboys situated in a snowed-in cabin in the mountains with nothing to do. So they decided to play poker. Specifically, a game that Smith & Jones (who, unknown to the third man, knew each other) called “Montana Red Dog.” The rules to Montana Red Dog were that any one who knew the game got to make up the rules at they went along. The third man didn’t know that. So Smith & Jones made up convincing rules as they were dealt cards from the deck and consequently took the third naïve cowboy for all he had. The episode was actually pretty funny.

    However, as a CA citizen, I feel like the State Supreme Court is playing Montana Red Dog with our laws. It’s not their job to make up the rules as they go along. It’s their job to interpret the laws made up by our elected representatives, or the electorate.

    With the Declaration of Independence we threw of the tyranny of one man rule in exchange for a representative government. It seems we have regressed to the tyranny of seven “supreme” man (& women) rule since then. Let the people decide what’s constitutional or not–since it’s the people that will have to live with the result. If the people decide that gay marriage is OK, then it’s OK; if not, then not. Power to the people–not power to the justices!!

  10. David T. says:

    All hyperbole and garbage aside– not to mention the ad nauseum during Sunday services, I covenanted with the Lord to follow the counsel of the prophet. Frankly, I don’t see where there’s a place for argument among faithful members.

  11. runtu says:

    Then it’s probably a good thing I’m no longer a faithful member. 😉

  12. Guy says:

    We should eliminate all of this nonsense and replace all constitutions with the Holy Bible. Then marriage would be one man and one woman, forever until death do they part. Divorce and adultery would be illegal, blue laws could be reinstated, Sunday church attendance would be mandatory for everyone, blacks would be returned to slavery, women would return to being chattel owned by their husbands with no rights and life would proceed on this earth as God had intended it to be according to the Bible. America would then be a glorious place to live, just like Iraq and Iran.

  13. Ralph says:

    Wait Mormon Church, I am overcome by Irony and Hypocrisy. Mormon Church is not the best defender of traditional marriage — unless you are stretching polygamy into traditional marriage. Mormon sacred scriptures even today, via D&C 132, say that faithful mormons will become gods of their own planets as polygamous families. The highest level of heaven is populated only by polygamous Mormons. They teach this in their wards. Mormons hide it from outsiders. There is too much irony to explain further the Mormon church’s hypocrisy and deception. Boy, Evangelicals will team with ANYONE to achieve their Victory over Satan. Oh yeah, until a few years ago, Mormon Endowment Ceremony referred to mainstrream christian clergy as “hirelings of SATAN”! Yikes.

  14. runtu says:

    Ralph,

    It doesn’t help to offer caricatures of Mormonism in rebuttal. There are some rather interesting beliefs in Mormonism, but your description isn’t accurate, except maybe in a sort of exaggerated way.

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