This is what we do for the joy of the King,
For His peaceable Kingdom,
For a world in despair.
And this is why we bring any hope we can give,
Any bread from the table,
Any touch of His hand.
This is what we do.
This is where we go.
This is why we sing.
This is how we live.
This is who we are.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Prop 8 -- As I See It

Millions of dollars and millions of votes invested, and Prop 8 is still with us.

What I am about to say is based upon my views of political and social reality, and not upon personal or spiritual convictions. You may well disagree with me, but I honestly think time will affirm what I'm saying.

I genuinely believe Prop 8 was destined for ultimate failure the day it was placed on the ballot. Even though it passed with a moderate majority vote (I expected a bigger one), I am quite certain that it will ultimately fail.  I understand the good intentions and the "protective spirit" of the designers and financers of the proposition. The problem, however, is basic:  when you craft a constitutional amendment that denies ANYTHING of a group of people, you are accelerating the vindication of that very group, and assuring the quick and unequivocal obliteration of the source of denial

Amending a constitution--state or federal--is always extremely serious business.  Technically, it's a legislative matter.  But when a constitutional amendment is written that denies a right--even an assumed or questionable one--it becomes infinitely more serious. I realize that this proposition grew out of a strong resentment of supreme court justices "legislating from the bench."  That resentment is understandable.  But to react to that pseudo-legislation by engineering a deprivational AMENDMENT is, in my opinion, an act of desperation.  At best, it is an example of naivete at the extreme.

To force God-fearing, Bible-believing people to "vote their conscience" on an amendment that has so many emotional and controversial attachments, is profoundly manipulative.  Of course many, if not most of these people are going to vote FOR such an amendment, if by voting AGAINST it they would be contradicting their moral convictions. You may know or have heard about people who have expressed deep angst about the felt necessity of voting for 8, knowing what it would mean to their friends, acquaintences, and family members.  However, if they truly believe that their first devotion in life must be to God, and if they genuinely believe the Scriptures to be inerrant and infallible, they really didn't have much of an option.  This is why the proposition was manipulative. These people should never have been placed in such a conundrum. 

One of the things that angers me the most about this proposition is the division and tension it has driven into the relationships of people who otherwise love each other deeply, but are on opposing sides of the issue.  This is tragic beyond description.  Hopefully, time will heal these ugly fractures.

In the grand scheme of things, I suppose, creating the proposition was unavoidable.  When large groups of people feel that their grass-roots beliefs and values are being severely threatened by other groups (in this case, a smaller one), they resort to extreme measures. The alternatives:  peaceful coexistence or waging battle.  The folks with the power and the money chose waging battle.

So, the votes were cast, and the "victory" was won.  But was it?  This country is all about freedom.  Increasing people's civil freedoms is much more the norm than restricting them.  For goodness sake, some highly influential leaders in this country are more concerned about the civil rights of terrorists than they are about national security.  So isn't it just a little silly for anyone to honestly believe that the "civil rights" of hundreds of thousands can be voted away by a bare majority?  

My prediction:

Proposition 8 is going to accomplish exactly what it was attempting to prevent: it will only be a matter of time before the proposition itself is considered unconstitutional.  

There are just too many people who will refuse to accept the idea that their state's constitution is going to be altered to deny them or their loved ones the same privileges and rights that others enjoy (and abuse).

Again, this post is not about the "rightness" or "wrongness" of same-sex marriage. It's about the futility of a state attempting to declare something to be "constitutionally unacceptable," while at the same time trying to comfort the "unacceptable" parties by offering clinical alternatives like "domestic partnerships."  (Ironically, these partnerships legally are basically the same thing that's being denied: marriage.)  Thus the question arises:  if the union already exists legally, how can the same thing with a different name be considered unconstitutional ?  If same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, then same-sex unions of any sort should be altogether illegal.  (I'm not suggesting that, by the way; it's just the only logical and legally reasonable alternative.)

When the courts deal with the matter once and for all--and I believe Tuesday's "Yes" vote will accelerate this--millions of people will feel betrayed and will be convinced that their state (or federal) courts are legislating yet again.  The truth is, however, that the tool that was designed to restore or protect traditional marriage very likely will have opened the floodgates to to the non-traditional.

These are the consequences of Prop 8 as I see them.  Time will tell.  


Kristi said...

This is a very good, thought-provoking post. Thanks Dad. You know I voted Yes on 8...but like you said, I didn't feel like I had a choice. I can turn my back on my spiritual beliefs or I could vote for the rights of the homosexual community to marry.

When I walked into the voting booth, I felt very sad pushing the button that said Yes on 8, because it was worded so horribly "eliminates the rights"....I was not trying to eliminate anyone's rights. I voted yes because I believed marriage was designed by God to be between a man and a woman. But God has designed a lot of things and he has given us his word which is disregarded in so many other ways....we just don't have to VOTE on those things.

So this is a very sticky, messy situation. No one will win. The No on 8 activists are angry that their rights were taking away. And if this is appealed, then how will the Yes on 8 voters feel?

This is all just overwhelming to me. On top of everything else going on in my life, I feel like I am caught in a bitter war between friends. I am referred to as a hater by the very same people who are hating me for my own beliefs.

I honestly just feel very sad.

Sarah B. said...

This is a great post...I might have to share this with people. I have coworkers who were VERY "No on 8" and I voted Yes. We didn't talk about it and than it finally came out. They were both angry so I tried to present it in a way that they could not be angry with ME. I told them that I am the type of Christian who believes the Bible is infallble so I try and live my life according to the Bible. Of course I am a sinner as is everyone so I am far from perfect. This one was tough for me however if I do believe the Bible is infallible I can not vote no on Prop 8...and like you said "we don't have an option". I went on to tell them that if they think the Bible has loop holes or think the Bible is fallible than yes, you should vote No on prop 8 because God teaches LOVE. That is his law. It made sense to one and not the other but at least they knew why. And I told them I was still sad at the fact that Prop 8 passed...there was no celebration as their shouldn't be. Either way the whole thing just stinks. And Kristi...I had a friend (myspace, lives in another state now) say that if any of her friends voted Yes on 8 we were f***ers and sh**** people and we should consider ourselves no longer her friend. My oh my.

Diane Davis said...

It was brave of you to write this post. I agree with most of what you wrote and think it is really thought provoking. Thanks for putting yourself out there.

Don said...

I made a few minor adjustments in the post, in case previous readers are interested. In the original version, it seemed as if people truly loved and served God, they would automatically have voted "yes" on 8. I believe there are many who are devoutly faithful Christians who were able to vote "No" with clear consciences. I apologize for the false assumptions!

Miss Heather Leigh said...

I happened to come across your blog after seeing this post's title on another blog I follow. I am a Christian who voted NO on Prop 8.

I agree that many people who have their roots set in the teachings of the Bible (myself included) felt forced to vote Yes on this proposition of hate. Anything that removes the rights of another human being is hateful, and does not teach love. However when you strongly feel that marriage is the union created by God between a man and a woman, yet you also support teaching love and not discrimination, you're forced to feel things so deeply conflicted you don't know what to do with yourself.

However as someone who is a born sinner, I feel I have no place to take away other peoples' rights. I am no less of a sinner for not having "saved" myself for marriage, for not always having respect for my parents and anything like that than a man who has feelings of love and lust for another man.

I am proud to have the right to walk into the middle of a public place and be able to proclaim "I believe Christ died for my sins" and I am proud that I voted NO on 8 because I take pride in believing and supporting my faith as well as supporting 100% equality for all people. God will deal with each person accordingly. No need for us to constitutionally tell people what they can and cannot do.

The Unlikely Pastor's Wife said...

Thanks for this really was thought provoking for me. I resonated with your thoughts about how divisive this proposition is for Christians. I did vote no on 8.....and yet there were times I felt bad that I did. I have friends that tell me I am not standing up for what I believe to be true regarding who God deisgned marriage for. It's hard...for I believe (for now... cuz I am wrestling with this issue in scripture) that God designed marriage for a man and a woman...yet I also believe in God's two greatest commandment to His Love God and to love others. Your post continues to ask the question....what does that look like? Can we and should we separate our spiritual convictions from our political ones? Which one trumps the other? or does it?

Rick said...

Don--Great post. It nails what I have been feeling for the last few days. I think if I had read it on Monday I would have voted differently.

Holly & Cory said...

I'm sad to say that as someone who looks at marriage and realizes that marriage it self eliminates rights of people. You can't get married based upon age, family relationship(incest), marital status (polygamy), based upon your race(I am talking about to animals) and finally it is based upon gender. I understand people are hurt and very angry and I have good friends who are ready to fight this decision. But if we are going to grant them the ability to get married based on the fact that we are eliminating their rights then we should grand all of these other things to happen just to be "Fair". Just to be clear this isn't out of anger or to be harsh in any way but just to point out the facts of how else marriage eliminates rights.

Don said...

Holly, to my knowledge, all of the relationships you mentioned in your comment are forbidden by law--except for same sex relationships.

As I stated in my post, California law does not forbid same-sex relationships and partnerships. In fact, it provides for them many of the same privileges granted to M/F marriages. It's not incest, polygamy, pedophilia, or bestiality we're talking about here, (Those relationships probably will never be given legal sanction, certainly not constitutional protection.)

elphabecca said...

The Proposition did read horribly Kristi, but it was worded exactly right. Because in truth, Prop 8 IS ELIMINATING RIGHTS. And those that voted Yes on 8, did in fact take part in eliminating the rights of fellow American citizens.

Many of the posts I have been reading have been filled with angst. The writers are stating how difficult it was to vote yes, how guilt ridden they are for doing so,how torn they were as they voted. They have stated that they felt they had no choice, no option because of their faith, their religion etc. I would respectfully disagree.
I believe everyone saying they felt torn had an option - Abstaining from the vote. If you felt torn or had reservations about what you were about to vote on, then don't vote on it at all. Better to have left the ballot blank than to vote for something that you do not wholeheartedly believe in or agree with. That is wisdom.
I do not hold any hatred in my heart for those that voted yes on 8. I don't have any sympathy for those that voted yes and now regret it or felt badly at the time casting their vote. And for those that voted yes and were and are still in full agreement with the proposition,I pity them in their ignorance. Because you have missed the point.

Don said...

Beckie, the point is that the proposition should never have been put on the ballot. Period.

Like I said in my post, if a person is convinced that God has spoken definitively and finally on a subject--whatever the subject may be--then a vote will be cast accordingly, even if it comes off as "discriminatory." That's why it is so ridiculous to put the people into that position when it comes to constitutional rights of OTHER people.

Rachel Bergeron's friend Ken Katz made a great observation:

"Prop 8 should have been struck down before it got onto the ballot, once it was certified by the Secretary of State (whose job it was to certify that it got the required number of signatures). People should not vote on these issues. Direct legislation by the people via propositions is a relatively new phenomena. Had it been around in the 50s and 60s (and the courts did nothing), blacks would still be second class citizens without the right to vote in most states." Interesting and so true.

I think abstaining from the vote might have been a workable option for some, but not for all. For instance, I could have abstained from voting in the presidential race, because there certainly wasn't a candidate that I "wholeheartedly believed in." Nevertheless, I voted for the candidate I leaned toward the most because I felt that it was my responsibility to do so. Whether you want to accept the concept or not, there were people who voted on Prop 8 for the same kind of reason.

I hope we never see another proposition like this ever again!

elphabecca said...

Don, you are absolutely right! This Prop should have never been placed on the ballot. I did write that on a post may be on Rachel's in agreement with Ken. And I too hope to NEVER EVER see another proposition on the ballot like prop 8.

Like you I voted for the candidate that I leaned toward and yes I could have abstained if I felt there wasn't someone on the ballot worth voting for. I made my choice, and I own it.

But I was addressing Prop 8 specifically. Whether it should have been on the ballot is moot at this point because it was. And we as voters did have a choice. Vote yes, no or abstain. But whatever our choice we must own it and be responsible for it.