‘In’ But Not ‘Of’ the World

I read all of your comments, but I don’t have time to respond to all of them.

A number of the comments have focused on how if same-sex marriage becomes normalized that children will learn about it in school, and point to evidence of individual educators in Massachusetts using legalized same-sex marriage to justify advancing a pro-gay agenda. Given the trajectory of gay rights and the increasing permissiveness of the media, I find it unlikely that children will be protected from learning about same-sex relationships by any law.

In fact, just because some parents find an activity morally objectionable does not mean that it is a good idea to make it illegal — especially when it involves taking away others’ rights.  There are many perfectly legal things in the world that children need their parents to teach them are wrong.  The obvious example of the failure to legally enforce a moral view of the majority is the constitutional amendment known as “prohibition”.  By any account, prohibition was an abject failure in eliminating alcohol use and abuse.

Indeed, there are many perfectly legal yet (to some) “morally objectionable” things in the world we live in.  Tobacco, alcohol, and pornography are legal for adults and widely accessible to children.  (In my Utah junior high school, I routinely encountered all three.)  Any child can turn on the TV or browse the Internet and hear profanity.  The “F-Bomb” is perfectly legal to say (if not broadcast.)

Making same-sex marriage illegal will not change the fact that millions of people belong to families with same-sex parents, and children are likely to hear about or meet these people, whether the parents are married or bound in a civil union.  If parents believe that same-sex marriage or same-sex relationships are immoral, then it is their duty to teach this to their children, just as Mormons have long taught their children that profanity, coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco, pornography, fornication, and other perfectly legal things in the world are wrong.

When I visited potential colleges, one of my hosts thought it would be a good time to offer the visiting high school seniors beer and pornography.  The other guests in my room, football recruits, indulged with gusto.  My parents and church had taught me that these things were wrong, and, for the first time in my life actually pressured by friends to indulge, was prepared for it and politely declined.

It is not hard to teach a second grader that some children have two mommies.  In fact, if they live in many places, they will learn this from their peers without any assistance from the schools.  It is also not hard to teach a second grader that “some people believe it is OK for two women to get married, but our family does not believe that.”  One does it the same way one teaches a second grader that “some people believe it is OK to drink tea, or eat pork, or watch R-rated movies; our family does not.”  I read books about children drinking iced tea when I was a child, but I knew that it was something our family and church believed was wrong.

Finally, in a shout-out to my own parents, I think they did an exceptional job in raising me even if we disagree on the LDS Church’s stance on Proposition 8.  They taught me not only a set of particular guidelines for personal behavior as dictated by the LDS Church, but also how to think for myself and judge for myself what is right and wrong, based on the most fundamental principle of the Gospel: “love one another”.


9 Responses to ‘In’ But Not ‘Of’ the World

  1. AngloAm says:

    Thank you. It’s nice to understand and see that a childhood’s moral teachings can prepare a person to abstain and decline to participate in wrong things, including removing rights from other people.

  2. Toni says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, informed response. I only wish the LDS and other churches had faith that their members could bring up their children in a responsible way.

    [Editor: I hope that you understood that my parents are LDS. On rereading it, it wasn’t transparent.]

  3. Ellen says:

    Thank you very much for your post. As a conflicted liberal, I have a hard time with the debates going on. I dream of a time where all people can believe what they want to believe. I’ve been torn through the discussion of gay marriage. I believe that everyone should have the right to do (or believe) what they want, if it harm none, and that everyone has full rights. For example, I feel it is completely fair for certain Christian foster charities to not allow gay parents to adopt children. That is their personal belief, and I wouldn’t ask them to change that. But then again, I feel like gay parents have many other options to find children to adopt, and as long as they have the right to adopt a child, I’m good with it.

    My main thought is that I am thankful that you stick to your beliefs and thoughts, but are open minded enough to not limit others. Thank you for that open mindedness. It is a breath of fresh air in a closed minded country that was originally formed upon the idea that people can escape persecution and live and believe freely as they wish.

  4. kim says:

    This was well stated. Values of right and wrong need to ultimately be taught at home. And people need to be able to pursue any dream as long as no harm is brought to anyone else. Churches should be able to exclude if that is their belief and people need options to take their “business” elsewhere.

  5. kim says:

    By “business” I meant money.

  6. Paula says:

    Fantastic article. The Golden Rule can bring us together!

  7. Barbara says:

    Thank you for writing such a powerful message and doing so eloquently. I want to link to it and get others to read it.

  8. Rey says:

    Your message is correct, in that we must all learn to take responsibilty for things we believe in, teaching our children the values we want them to have, but not by changing laws to accommodate those beliefs, thereby taking away the rights of others. The church always talks about the “gay agenda” without realizing and recognizing that they are promoting an agenda of their own. The world is very diverse now, and although enacting laws to prevent people from having privileges that may be contrary to our own, isn’t going to stop the process. We need to learn to live together, with respect and diginity, and not go out of our way to impose our will on others. Religion is personal thing, also very diverse, and should not spill over into government matters.

  9. Not that I’m totally impressed, but this is a lot more than I expected when I stumpled upon a link on SU telling that the info is quite decent. Thanks.

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