Monday, February 7, 2011

Strange Bedfellows

Some ironies can reach historic proportions.  I would argue that it was the religious Christian folks of the 1870's who clamored the loudest for the eradication of the Mormons (or at least the "barbaric" Mormon practice of polygamy).  Whether unintended or not, the eventual consequence was that the Supreme Court weighed in and authorized the states to limit First Amendment "free exercise" when associated with certain claims of religious protection. This amounted to a legislative "blank check".  You could "believe" what you wanted to, but the "exercise" of those beliefs had to now be supervised by government moods.  It was understood that the government would thenceforth control the sacrament of holy matrimony.  Marriage contracts went from common-law ecclesiastical to civil-law legal.

Now that marriage is a government institution (where the state is a party to your marriage), it might be easy to limit the number of the spouses, but much more difficult to dictate the gender of the parties to the contract.  Several states (and Canada) now marry same-sex couples - mostly because there is no intelligent argument for why our government should favor one religious theology or sacrament over another (not to mention family arrangements post-Griswold and Roe).  Our nation may have been founded as a Christian republic, yet, with the fraudulent "ratification" of the Fourteenth Amendment, we are now a secular corporation in which religion should hold no influence.

The irony of this situation now is that those same religious Christian folks (who yearned to curtail the rights of the Mormons) are upset with the (unintended) outcome.  They are not sure of whom to be most afraid - the gays or the polygs.  Even more ironic still, is the mass migration of the Mormons themselves into this petulant crusade (evident in the Proposition 8 madness).  Last Friday (2/5/11) LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks gave an impassioned speech arguing for the protection of Americans' rights to "exercise" their religious beliefs.  Before you get fooled into thinking that he is arguing for a full-scale reversal of the Reynolds decision, let's see what his primary focus is:

Said Elder Oaks: "Along with many others, I see a serious threat to the freedom of religion in the current assertion of a 'civil right' of homosexuals to be free from religious preaching against their relationships."

Problem is - Dallin - you cannot have your cake and eat it too, so, while you are busy championing your right to exercise your belief that government must not allow gays to marry, I am grateful that you are simultaneously championing my right to call my three girl-friends "plural wives" without having to go to prison for felony bigamy. Oaks also said:

"If that [constraining the freedom of religious speech] happens, we will have criminal prosecution of those whose religious doctrines or speech offend those whose public influence and political power establish them as an officially protected class." 

Am I the only one who sees the irony and hypocrisy of these statements when they are analyzed against the backdrop of political/ecclesiastical policies in Utah?  Judge Desleaze Lintbag said that she cannot give the UEP Trust back to the FLDS people because their practice of plural marriage makes them criminals!  Remarkably, she is re-enacting the conduct of earlier government officials who would not return the property of the LDS Church in the 1890's unless it repudiated one of its core doctrines. I think Lintbag, Snortlaff and Oaks need to get their stories straight before they talk or try to shape public policy.  Let's read more of what Oaks said - -

Religious individuals should insist on their constitutional right and duty to exercise their religion, to vote their consciences on public issues and to participate in elections and debates." Elder Oaks said.  He called for a unified, broad coalition defending religious freedoms — a proposal that doesn't require common doctrinal ground between faiths, but a shared belief that the rights and wrongs of human behavior have been established by a Supreme Being. "All who believe in that fundamental should unite more effectively to preserve and strengthen the freedom to advocate and practice our religious beliefs, whatever they are." he said. "We must walk together for a ways on the same path in order to secure our freedom to pursue our separate ways when that is necessary according to our own beliefs." 


Also - did Dallin Oaks write (or collaborate on) this recently proposed Utah bill? - -(HB 109)

Section 3. Section 63G-12-103 is enacted to read:
Prohibitions on state and local governments.
Except in the most limited instances when strictly necessary to avoid the gravest abuse of a constitutional right and more paramount public interest and subject to the provisions of Section 63G-12-104, the state or a political subdivision of the state may not:
(1)  infringe or substantially burden a person's religious liberty, including compel, restrain, or burden a person in their goods and civil capacities; or
(2)  restrict or deny freedom of religious speech and the free expression of religious and moral beliefs in public.

Section 4. Section 63G-12-104 is enacted to read:
Compelling state interest.
(1)  Religious liberty is substantially burdened when a person is coerced or required to act or significantly modify behavior contrary to sincerely held religious beliefs and principles and freedom of conscience.
(2)  The state or a political subdivision of the state may not substantially burden a person's religious liberty unless the state or political subdivision can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence:
......(a) that the application of the burden to the person is:
............(i) in furtherance of a compelling state interest required to protect the peace, health, and safety of the state; and
............(ii) strictly necessary to avoid the gravest abuses endangering a constitutionally recognized and more paramount interest; and
......(b) that there are no other means reasonably available to achieve such ends.

If you're not confused, I am.  COME ON, GUYS.  MAKE UP YOUR SCHIZOPHRENIC MINDS !!!


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