Monday, November 24, 2008

Book of Mormon Burning Fascists

I just ran across this editorial at I hadn't heard about the Book of Mormon being burned and left at the Denver Temple. The money quotes:
a Georgetown University law professor and gay activist who helps draft federal legislation related to sexual orientation, says that, when religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
They’ve already burned the Book of Mormon. The First Amendment is next.
Parts of the gay rights movement is quickly approaching modern fascism.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What If Prop 8 Lost?

I was reading this from Orson Scott Card tonight and it prompted the question: What if Prop 8 lost? Citing Helaman 16:20-21, Card had this insight about the "No on 8" crowd:
Their story is that we Mormons somehow oppress them and force them; they claim to be our victims. And yet they are the ones who tried to force us to accept their radical change through judicial edict, rejecting a clear majority vote only a few years before.
How would things look different if Prop 8 were defeated? The first thing would be that the gay movement would be hailing this a huge victory and a repudiation of each member of the coalition for Prop 8. This would be the first electoral victory for the gay movement; all they have now are some court decisions decided by one justice.

With the Prop 8 victory, states are 30/30 in passing marriage amendments for state constitutions. Had this been defeated in California, it would have spread to other states. California has long been a bellwether for laws and regulations soon to be passed in other states.

Another major difference is that the "Yes on 8" crowd would not be illegally protesting in the streets. (Protesting is fine, but most of the early protests were without permits.) There would be no meaningful call to boycott Google and Apple, who both opposed Prop 8. There would be no vandalism against churches who opposed Prop 8. There would not likely be any lawsuits to overturn the democratic process.

Basically, the "No on 8" crowd is doing exactly what they are accusing us of doing. At the same time, they are proving correct the fears of the "Yes on 8" campaign: there have been lots of calls to remove the tax exempt status of churches involved.

Liberty and Security

I have often heard this little quote from Benjamin Franklin:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Many who opposed President Bush's actions in the War on Terror loved that quote. They cite problems with the Patriot Act, wiretapping, and a host of other issues. The thing is, there is another way to consider that quote.

What kinds of liberty will we be giving up if there is nationalized healthcare? What about the massive government bailouts for a host of industries? Are there other problems coming which will cause people to turn to the government for solutions? My observation is that any time the government tries to solve a problem, it causes more.

If there is no incentive to work, there will be no prosperity. Individuals may worry about the cost of healthcare, job security, or anything else, but giving up liberty to get safety is a dangerous path. The intrusion of government into every aspect of life is accelerating at a breakneck pace. If this recession gets too deep, there will be a wave of sentiment to have government bail out more industries, individuals, and then everyone will be on the government dole.

Then we will have neither prosperity nor safety, and Ben Franklin will be proven correct: They who give up liberty to obtain safety, will lose both liberty and safety.

The Real Thanksgiving

Freedom, private property, and personal responsibility work every time they are tried.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Is the Church Being Unfairly Singled Out?

I would have to say probably so. I immediately follow that by asking, "So what?" As I read Church history, every time there has been massive persecution, great blessings have followed. There may be some members of the Church who struggle with the Church choosing to be involved in Prop 8.

My hope is that far more will be strengthened by the opposition they face right now. To see the temple protested against may well help us realize the blessing the temple really is. There will be people attracted to the Church by its unwavering adherence to standards.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Those Who Disagree

I had a realization this morning about the debate over same-sex marriage. There is some portion of the population who opposed Prop 8 who are not gay themselves, but don't think marriage is a moral issue. When marriage is looked at as optional for strait people, then one of the most compelling reasons against gay marriage evaporates.

The moral standard that matters is that sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sin. All kinds of things have attacked that standard over the last 50 years or so: no-fault divorce, the increasing frequency of divorce, the cultural expectation of couples shacking up for a while to try out 'marriage-lite' before making the real commitment, and yes, the push to promote gay marriage as the moral equal of heterosexual marriage.

Society has a vested interest in the success of marriage. There are decades of research studies showing the disastrous effects of divorce on women and children. Poverty, bad behavior in schools, crime, and the likelihood of the children getting divorces all increase when parents separate. Even the divorce of parents of adult children has bad consequences.

This culture needs to push back against more than just gay marriage. There is only one way to accomplish that. Hearts and minds need to be changed - one at a time if necessary.

Alma told us how to do it and it is incredibly difficult:
And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God (Alma 31:5).
To change hearts today, after more than a generation of neglect, will require miracles greater than the parting of the Red Sea. Notice that the children of Israel who saw that miracle could not abide the commandments of Moses. They wanted to go back to Egypt when things got tough. They told Moses:
For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness (Exodus 14:12).
The Lord had to raise an entire generation for 40 years in the wilderness before he could take these people to the Promised Land. Has modern society been in the wilderness long enough, or do we need more trouble before we will collectively listen to the commandments of the Lord? Based on the prophesies of the last days, my money is on more trouble coming.

No wonder prophets, seers, and revelators were inspired to give us this document 13 years ago:
We warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Defending Our Constitutional Rights

I have been amazed to see the protests against the Church. As a religious body, we have a right and responsibility to speak out on moral issues. Additionally, we need to prevent future erosion of our constitutional rights. If same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, there will be discrimination suits and some will try to take away to Church's right to solemnize marriages.

Bishops could lose that authority from the state because they will never perform gay marriages and the Temples would no longer hold the legal authority to perform marriages. Luckily, the sealing power is beyond the reach of man. But Mormon couples could be forced to visit the justice of the peace to be legally married before the (eternally more important) sealing took place inside.

The anger of the pro-gay-marriage lobby after passing Prop 8 proves that they would not hesitate to take away our Constitutional rights if the electoral winds had been at their back.

I think it may be a good time for President Monson to have asked the Church to pray that new nations may be opened to the preaching of the Gospel. It kinda feels like the effectiveness of American missionary work is going to sharply decline.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

On Prop 8

I know Prop 8 just passed in California, but I just found this webpage supporting the traditional definition of marriage: This is an official webpage of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They had this video which has several important arguments in favor of the constitutional definition of marriage:
The most important reasons in my view are that religious charities might be forced to stop adoption services like the Catholic Charities in Massachusetts. Also, public schools would be forced to teach same-sex marriage. To redefine marriage would be a frontal assault on the First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion. Without the First Amendment, the whole founding founding of this nation is made meaningless.

I have also heard how some of the fringes who opposed Prop 8 are threatening Mormon Temples and other Christian and Jewish meetinghouses for groups in the coalition that was in favor of Prop 8. That is just sad.

Update: I like this video as well:There are some who claim that opposing same-sex marriage means you are homophobic.

While I am unloading links on the importance of preserving marriage, this is a Forum given October 28, 2008 at BYU by Professor Robert P. George, professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. There is a free MP3 on the linked page.

Is This Creepy?

I just ran across this website: Notice the .gov ending. This is an official government website.

I just want to ask. Is it more creepy that they (a) have it at all (b) have it so quickly or (c) that it screams cult of personality?

It is as if change were a virtue in and of itself. There are a lot of things in life I would like to see change.

Politically, I would love to see an actual two party system. Other than tax cuts and foreign policy, the Bush administration has seemed a lot like a Democrat administration. No Child Left Behind was written by Ted Kennedy. The farm bills were massively bloated. Congressional earmarks unacceptably ballooned. The prescription drug bill expanded government. The Department of Homeland Security is a massive, new, unmanageable bureaucracy which combined several existing bureaucracies.

The financial bailouts have essentially nationalized the banking and insurance industries. Once government gets its hands in the pot, they rarely have the self control to get out. If they nationalize the auto industry, then that will be one more death knell to the free market. Nationalizing the economy will stifle innovation.

I hope I am wrong about Obama and his policies, but his increased taxes are aimed at where I intend to be within a few years. Increasing capital gains taxes from 15% to 24% will instantly decrease the value of stocks and real estate by 11%.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Change? We'll See

My dad listened to Obama's speech last night and his comment was, "That almost sounded normal." Everyone already knew Obama gives a good speech. I remember actually liking his speech at the 2004 Democrat Convention. The real test will be when the rubber hits the road and he starts proposing legislation and enacting his policies.

No matter who won last night, there has not been an incoming president with the deck so stacked against him in a long time. There are several layers of the financial crisis that have not even started to unravel yet. The world is going crazy around us and it is likely to get worse before it gets better. Obama has a small window to enact his change, but if he doesn't get results quickly, there will be large blocs of his supporters who will be very angry.

As a past and future small business owner, I am not happy about his tax policies aimed at me. As far as Obama standing up to his party, I am not holding my breath - he hasn't done it before.