Thursday, June 27, 2013

DOMA: The Fallout

Today's topic is a sensitive one. It has been made even more sensitive by the Supreme Court ruling that came down against the DOMA just the other day. Before I begin, let me say this, my post has nothing to do with my feelings or opinions of the DOMA ruling or my opinion about the subject of gay marriage in general. If you would like to know my opinion on that matter, then you may feel free to ask me and I would be glad to have an actual conversation with you about it. I will not, however, post anything that can be so easily misconstrued and lost in textlation. I don't agree with the mud slinging I am seeing on both sides, and I have no desire to pick up a clod anytime soon. We are ALL children of God. I realize that emotions are running high, I know both sides feel passionately about their positions and totally justified in their stances, but it breaks my heart when I read that people are ending long-time friendships because of a comment or opinion that was shared in a less than loving fashion.

We can do better.

With that in mind, I want to talk a little today about a phenomenon I have been observing for a while now. As many of you know I am a theater kid, and as such, I have been exposed to a variety of people and a spectrum of sexuality.

And since I am also LDS and living in Utah, it has only made this dynamic all the more....colorful?

I've met gay LDS guys who are out and proud, I've met former LDS men and women who are out and bitter about the church, and those who hold no grudges. I've met bisexuals, asexuals, and those who are as of yet, "undecided". Some are religious, some are spiritual, some believe in only what they can see and science can prove. Some see sexuality as a strictly natural or biological urge, in the same category as the need for food or sleep, and some see it as a sacred communion with another soul.

What I find so interesting is what happens when you throw the gospel into the mix with people who claim one of the "alternative" lifestyles. What I mean by this is that, in my opinion, people who claim one of these alternative lifestyles, but also grew up or are still a part of the LDS church, very often are faced with a unique set of challenges and conversely, a very unique set of personalities and paradigms. 

On one hand they have the faith of their childhood telling them one thing about who they are and who they should be, and then on the other hand they have whatever combination of things that go into making a person and a personality, telling them something maybe totally different about who they are and who they should be. No wonder we see so many gay LDS youth and adults struggling to find their place in this world and in this church, and within themselves.

This problem only increases when hot button issues like DOMA come up. Many of us feel like we are being forced to take a side. For many of us with gay friends, colleagues, and family members who we love dearly, are being made to feel FROM BOTH SIDES that, If we are not WITH you, then we must obviously be AGAINST you. But I would ask, why does it have to be this way?

In the world of formal logic and philosophy, this kind of thinking is what is referred to as a "False Dilemma" or "False Dichotomy"      

Let me try and give an example to help illustrate:

If I said to you that I felt like I had to stay in Utah and find a husband because if I didn't then God would be displeased with me because I know that what God wants for me is to stay here and get married, but at the time I also told you that I believed that their were NO eligible men in Utah left to date, you would easily be able to point out to me that I had successfully painted myself into a corner. It's a no win situation fueled by fear and just a pinch of ignorance and an inability to see past my own paradigm.

This kind of thinking is exactly what I am seeing playing out right now between parties on both sides of the isle. Both think they are right, both think that they are entitled to something, and both are doing a fantastic job of totally alienating the other side.

Less productive.

Though I am no expert, I will say that I can see the argument clearly from both sides, and both sides make sense to me. I can totally empathize with either side of the isle, and as such, I have no desire to tell anyone that they are "stupid ignorant jerks", or that they should "take this ruling and shove it down their pretentious throats", or that they are going to quote "be sorry when they get to the other side and realize how screwed they are"......yeah....these are actual quotes I have personally observed from either side. 

Someone please explain to me how comments like these are helping either sides cause? In all honesty, please somebody explain to me how we actually believe that by spreading poison we are going to fertilize the garden??

I don't know what it is like to be a gay man or woman, I don't know what it must be like to feel as though your basic human rights are being withheld from you. I will say this though, I DO know what it feels like to feel as though your very nature is somehow contrary to what you have been taught God prefers. I do know what it feels like to hate yourself due to some perceived  inherent lack. I know what it feels like to literally wish to God that you were different, while at the same moment realizing that if you can't learn to love and embrace who you are, whether who you are at this moment is "right" in anyone else's eyes, that you are going to waste the rest of your life engulfed by self-hatred. 

If we truly believe in a loving God, then I have to believe that He would never want a fate like the one I just described for any of His children. How does hating yourself serve His purpose? How does hating others serve to heal this fractured world? How does telling someone that they are wrong and that if they really knew the mind of God that they would see how wrong they really were serve to bring us together in unity and love??(this is coming from BOTH sides). And how does all this mud slinging follow the commandment of Love thy brother like thyself or Judge not lest ye be judged ???

I realize that I have veered off topic a bit, but the point I am trying to make is simply this,

It doesn't matter who is "right".

It doesn't matter who is "wrong".

Being "right" doesn't give you the excuse to an in a way unbecoming of a child of the human race and beneath your dignity as a child of God. 

Being "wrong" doesn't excuse you for treating your brothers and sisters with such little consideration.

I doubt that God is impressed by your quippy and snarky posts, I doubt He is sitting up there looking down on this going "Baazzinga!! You really got em there!! Atta boy!!"
 While it is true that there may very well be a certain way that God would prefer something be done, I am still fairly convinced that the way He would want us to go about implementing these things are not by name calling, mud slinging, passive aggressive attacks, ruining friendships, disowning family members, or worse of all, purposely, knowingly, and intentionally attempting to make someone feel wrong or evil or inherently broken or forsaken by God simply because of the side of the isle they happen to fall on.        

Please guys, brothers, sisters, there is a better way of doing this. Let us try to find common ground, but before we can even attempt to do that, we need to be willing to put our weapons down.   


  1. I had a seminary teacher that once told me that homosexuality would be the dividing edge that would someday cause many people to leave the Church and let go of the gospel. At the time it seemed preposterous! "How could such a clear cut issue be so divisive?" I thought. Well here we are and I hope more people will take your peaceable approach to the issue. :)

  2. That was a really good post. I agree with you 100%. All this fighting over issues such as this is getting us nowhere.