I can't help but realize how much of a bubble the Bay Area is, even within California. I was shocked to hear proposition eight passed; that surprise could only be the result of spending my life around a certain breed of people and a certain amount of liberalism.
I spent the majority of my time since that decision questioning the reasoning that caused this decision. Going back to my dad's favorite saying, "If you don't understand why someone would disagree with you, you don't understand the issue." I didn't understand the issue, and I may still not understand the issue, but if there is anything I want on this planet really badly, it is understanding.
I have come to the conclusion, at least among the religious audience, the issue comes down to a crisis of faith. The one I can speak of, at least with moderate comfort and confidence, is the crisis that becomes the contributing factor in the role of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in prop 8.
One extremely evident part of the Mormon church is its "All-or-nothing-at-all" mentality. Most Mormons will agree with me on that and even claim it is a positive part of the church. There is no half-way Mormon, you have to take it all. The doctrine is the doctrine, if you believe in Joseph Smith as a prophet of God and you believe in Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, there is no leeway on any book, any doctrine, any belief. I've had real Sunday School lessons on this topic, straight out of the manual.
As a sort of contradiction in this view, the church suggests that all members search for their own answers through prayer and study. The twisted contradiction lies in the expectation that we will all fall upon the same answers.
I say that this all leads to crises of faith because, when you believe everything must be true, or nothing is true, then you can't take a little bit of stormy weather when your faith is questioned. I believe the people who lack real faith are not the Mormons who turned away when Monson asked for full support on prop 8, but those whose light couldn't stand a couple of questions; who couldn't live through an honest personal evaluation of beliefs. "Do I believe that two men deserve the right to marry?"
I grew up questioning; really questioning. Yes, my answers were different, and yes, my LDS connections are all but broken as a result. But ultimately, my ties to the church have not become null because of the church or it's views. My pragmatic view-point is again a facsimile of my father's; ultimately, all that matters is how your faith affects your life. And it was affecting me positively for so long. Occasional disagreements aside, the church was fulfilling a large part of my spirit, was preaching overall togetherness, and made the teachings of Christ real; attainable.
No, it is not the organization that pushed me away, not the beliefs (which ultimately boil down to true Christian behavior) but the people. The people grow spiteful, people grow so wrapped up in doctrine that they forget what the real important teachings are. Marriage should be between a man and a woman? Why do you spend your time discussing what is ultimately a technicality in doctrine when the important teachings are so much more clear? You judge a man for loving a man, but you forget that you shouldn't judge. Stop telling other people what they need to do to be better people, and worry more about what you need to do to be a better person.
I don't mean to be attacking. Please, I hold no grievances with individuals. All people are beautiful, and I mean that without hidden agenda, double-meaning, or irony. Life is too short to spend any time hating anyone for any belief. Especially considering that hating someone for a belief gives that belief power and influence. Hating is caring, and it's only when people care about a belief that it can have influence.
I have already said in previous notes that beliefs are harbored too quickly, that beliefs are given too much power. Are we expected to die for beliefs, are we going to really carry on in the same manner as the Crusades? Beliefs shouldn't ultimately be the only influencing factor in our actions, but our logic and our perception as well. Take in those beliefs and pass it through the fine microscope of the mind. Does this look right? Or, more importantly, does this look like something that you agree with?
This is my personal view. Take it or leave it, disagree, I don't care. I just enjoy being heard. These are just my beliefs, and they have no power unless you care about what I say.
There are large groups of people who believe that being homosexual is a lifestyle choice, that any gay man or woman could opt for their "correct" partner. While I disagree with this whole-heartedly, I understand easier how this could lead to a "pro eight" type agenda. This, at least, still comes from the belief that people could find love and marry if they were so inclined.
But LDS members don't believe that. They believe it is a predisposition within a person; God made them that way, genetics made them that way, whatever. Ultimately, it wasn't a choice. And when it's not a choice, that means that predetermined disposition is the only place for a person to find love. A gay man can only find true, romantic love with another man. And there is an implicit denial of love by suggesting a gay couple cannot marry, and I do believe no person would suggest that anyone is undeserving of love. Just living is difficult enough to make all people deserving of love.
So, my personal view is that all people deserve the right to marry.
I will close by recapping what has already been said so succinctly, so many times. Proposition eight is a direct violation of a person's right to marry. This is also direct violation of a separation between Church and state. You can think what you want, you can claim what you will, but your church needs to stop pissing on my state.
Because whatever you believe, all that really matters is what it makes you do.