Thursday, October 23, 2008


I hate politics. I brings out the three negative attributes I hate most about human nature: unkindness, misrepresentation (positioning statements over facts) and the mob mentality. I can't stand getting emails about Obama being a dirty Muslim or the media trying to show Palin as having no experience. How much better would the world be if people would honestly admit their opponents strengths and not try to sensationalize or blow out of proportion their weaknesses? How much easier would our ability be to choose who is really better for the country if we didn't get distorted or unresearched or knowingly false facts?

Despite that, I like thinking over and figuring out philosophical dilemmas. I have been thinking a lot lately about two hot political topics here on the west coast: Proposition 8 in California (prohibiting same-sex marriages) and Initiative 1000 in Washington (allowing assisted suicide). Both are difficult because you can't EASILY make an argument against gay marriage or assisted suicide on the stance that it hurts your personal rights, especially with I-1000.

As usual I try to pull my religion into the decision process to help me see where I stand. The end all, be all for me is the Book of Mormon. I can think of one main passage that is related to this subject:

Alma 30:7, 9, 11

7 Now there was no law against a man's belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.
9 Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.
11 For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man’s belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.

The eleventh Article of Faith also is similar, but neither it nor the above scripture gives an obvious statement that helps with this situation. I do think that the spirit of these two snippets of church doctrine is that we shouldn't make a law that punishes someone for their belief if their action doesn't harm another person or group.

So does voting for I-1000 or against Prop-8 create a situation where someone can make a personal choice that will hurt another person or group? I don't think so with I-1000, but the sanctity of life argument is difficult as well. I don't think there is enough evidence right now to say one way or another on Prop-8. Although they haven't always been perfect, I think I'll side with my ecclesiastical leaders for now on this one. In gray areas I would rather error and find out I was following the Lord's mouthpieces than error and find out I went against them and they were right. Before you drag me through the coals, I do think there is a just middle ground on Prop-8.


the narrator said...

I just had to google I-1000 to find out what it even was.

A few weeks ago a friend called me to tell me that her grandparents had both committed suicide. They were both getting really old and found themselves getting sicker and sicker, having difficulty moving around, and needed surgeries every several months just to keep them alive. After doing some research on methods, they called in their families, told them what they were planning on doing and had an opportunity to really say goodbye to them. A few weeks later when they felt the time was right, they put plastic bags over their heads filled with helium and moved on to the next stage in their eternal life.

Some may say it was devaluing the lives God gave them. I disagree. I see it as a celebration of their lives and a loving expression to each other and their families.

Holman House said...

Wow. Quite a difference in reading actual propositions and reading personal experiences.
Thanks for the scriptures you pulled in, I appreciate having a reminder of how we can apply them in these matters. Do you feel like you have been raked over the coals?

Carson Calderwood said...

I sometimes get raked a little for not being very clear or specific because I write these too truncated or don't have the skills to express my thoughts very well.

Richard Tait said...

It's Sunday, so I have time to leave a comment here. A beleif is not worth very much unless you intend to act on it. The issue with Proposition 8 is the slippery slope argument. Sure, people should have the right to beleive what they want, but a myriad of academic studies support the assessment that legalized gay marraige would create such cataclysmic changes in the fabric of current society at large that it would impose great burdens on my personal right to participate in a heterosexual marraige. That is, once gay marraige is legal, then other "rights," many of which would affect me personally, would be next.