Sunday in Outer Blogness: Gay parents edition!!!

This past week, a new study hit the press, showing that the children of failed mixed-orientation-marriages are at risk (compared to kids whose parents are in a stable relationship):

It’s about current adults who grew up in mostly dysfunctional homes, where one of the parents may have had a homosexual affair, or is leading a double life, or is self-medicating to cope with being gay while acting straight. In so far as the study reflects the difficulties for children growing up in such unstable homes, it is surely making the case for stable civil marriage as a critical institution for the rearing of children.

This comes on the heels of Josh Weed’s coming out that-wentviral, and several people with experience in mixed-orientation-marriage have responded to stress that the Weeds’ example doesn’t necessarily generalize:

There is a temptation among active Latter-day Saints to point to stories like this one and say See? Its possible (with the impliedbut hopefully unspokenand if you cant do this, you just arent trying hard enough, arent faithful enough, etc.)

Please dont.??

For one thing, for every story like this there are ten stories like mine. And for every story like mine (in which my ex and I have been able to remain friends, remain supportive, continue to co-parent the kids, etc.) there are a hundred stories that ended in bitterness, venom, drawn out custody battles, and a great deal of misery.

Andrew has written a couple of good link roundup and analysis posts, and Dad’s Primal Scream has taken it as an opportunity to examine his own confirmation bias. Are people of faith coming around to the realization that marriage equality really is the pro-family position? Indications look very good!! 😀

In Theology and gospel, Oxymormon Girl found an interesting analogy about correlation as deletion of anything that might offend and Tired Road Warrior provided an example. Here’s a taste of what the gospel used to look like. Steve Wells succeeded in finding a positive role model for fathers in the Bible, and No Cool Name Tom wrapped up his Sunday-School teaching experience. Also, Bruce Nielson has written a very interesting series on theism and atheism — you might want to go join in the discussion!

There were a number of interesting stories this week about mixed-belief personal relationships: how it feels to be a convert who can’t have an “eternal family” with parents who won’t convert, dealing with a spouse whose Mormon beliefs cause him profound pain, how to support a sibling on her first trip to the temple, and writing a letter to someone whose faith journey you once dismissed.

Romney’s keeping the “Mormon Moment” alive, with typical Mormon discussion points getting reported in major newspapers:

Eventually, Christianity grew up and conceded that it wasnt authentic Judaism. Lo and behold, once it had given up its claim to Judaism, it became a state religion […] Eventually, Mormonism will grow up. Maybe a Mormon in the White House will hasten that moment when Mormonism will no longer plead through billboards and sappy radio ads to be liked,

If Mitt’s religion leaves you confused, why not read this new book about it? In other books, have a look at this give-away, this book plan, and this book-signing.

On the lighter side, we have apps about the dangers of coffehouses. What to do with all those Books-of-Mormon…? Some lucky folks have taken some beautiful trips (that last one was right after visiting me). Plus some funny lesser-known editing and proofreading marks.

Happy reading, and have a great week!!

Dallin Oaks and John Eastman redux

Dallin Oaks and John Eastman
LDS Church News

Back in February I wrote a post for MSP about the close relationship of Apostle Dallin H Oaks, former member of the Utah Supreme Court, and uber-right wing legal expert John Eastman. I posited that their close relationship indicated how closely the Mormon Church was involved with the ongoing Prop 8 battle, despite the Churchs claim to be neutral.

What originally caught my attention in February was a picture that ran in the Church News of Oaks and Eastman at Chapman University where they both gave officious speeches fanning unreasonable fears that gay marriage will destroy religious freedom. How, exactly gay marriage will destroy religious freedom, neither one of them really explained, except by misrepresenting case law and asserting that gay marriage harms religious freedom. Oaks talk can be read here http://newsroom.lds.org/article/elder-oaks-religious-freedom-Chapman-University After the talk, Eastman said Elder Oaks’ address was one of the three most significant events ever held at the Law School.”

On Thursday, the connection between the LDS Church and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) became even closer now that Oaks legal ally, Mr. Eastman, was appointed the new Chair of NOM, replacing former Chair, Maggie Gallagher.

From the press release:

John Eastman stated, Marriage has quite correctly been described as a bedrock of civilization. Protecting the institution of marriage is a critically important issue, and Im honored to join such distinguished company on the Board of such a phenomenally effective organization as the National Organization for Marriage.

It is interesting that he cites marriage as a bedrock, because it is the word that Oaks and the Church use frequently (http://newsroom.lds.org/search-results.xqy?x=0&y=0&q=bedrock) and perhaps even coined for discussing this topic. I wonder if Eastman knows that marriage is the bedrock with every fiber of his being.

NOM is 0-3 right now in court. First, Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional. Second, after federal judge Vaughn Walker ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional, NOM tried to have his decision overturned on account of Walkers sexual orientation, but Chief Judge James Ware upheld the original ruling.

Strike three for NOM came last Monday when Judge Ware ordered the release of the Prop 8 trial videotapes that NOM was trying to keep private. NOM and ProtectMarriage.com are appealing.

As Chair, Gallagher represented the politics of NOM, never claiming to be anti-gay but instead an advocate for traditional marriage. Eastmans resume is clearly anti-gay. Replacing her with a legal expert shows that NOM recognizes that playing dirty politics alone will not achieve their hate-filled objective, and that the battle has shifted to the courts and a legal dream team is needed. The words used by NOM in the courtroom will parallel the words coming over the Mormon pulpit.

On Sep 11, Oaks gave a talk to a youth fireside titled Truth and Tolerance where he argued against what he called moral relativism while at the same time embracing the moral relativism he was decrying. It is a bizarre talk. Read it here. http://newsroom.lds.org/article/-truth-and-tolerance-elder-dallin-h-oaks

In it he said, We will sometimes need to challenge laws that would impair our freedom to practice our faiths, doing so in reliance on our constitutional rights to the free exercise of religion.

This is a not-so-vague reference to laws pertaining to gay marriage and a claim dripping in irony, for using the argument of religious freedom to deny other religions the rights to their own is laughable. Remember, there are gay friendly churches, with gay members and gay clergy who would be more than happy to preform gay marriage ceremonies in their churches except that their religious freedom is being usurped by other religions.

With Eastman running the show, Oaks statement will be the battle cry going forward with NOM. Expect to hear more talks like these echo through ward buildings now that NOM and the Mormon Church are even more closely linked.

Elder Oaks and Dr. John C. Eastman

I was perusing the blogosphere reading about Elder Oaks’ talk at Chapman University, the talk where he said religious freedom is under attack by secularists and gays. (Roll eyes here.)

The talk didn’t surprise me. But a photo on the Church News website of Elder Oaks walking next to a man named Dr. John C. Eastman did surprise me.

http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/60490/Protect-the-Constitution-Elder-Oaks-asks-religious-groups-to-unite.html

Taking a page from Ezra Taft Benson’s playbook, Elder Oaks appears to be on good terms with a man on the far-far Right.

I know who Dr. Eastman is because lately he’s been almost a regular in Arizona. He’s a lawyer who is pals with Arizona’s own divisive Mormon, Senate President and unofficial Governor, Russell Pearce.

Dr. Eastman is the director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, an ultra-conservative public interest law firm. He has been in Arizona twice in the past few weeks to champion Senate Bill 1308 (otherwise known as the “anchor baby” bill) an un-American, immoral, unconstitutional, illegal effort to undermine the citizenship provision of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Brother Russell Pearce is one of the sponsors of the bill.

Back in 2000 Dr. Eastman echoed a quote that should be familiar to Mormons: that slavery and polygamy were “twin relics of barbarism.” Then he said that the two new indications of barbarism in the 20th century are abortion and homosexuality. In 2010 he spoke to a group of Republicans in California saying that if gays and lesbians are ever allowed to marry in California, the citizens have a right to react to “insufferable” government policies by “rising up and abolishing those governments.”

I was taught in Young Mens to choose my friends wisely because I would be judged by the people I was associated with. I understand why the racist and homophobic Brother Russell Pearce has invited Dr. Eastman to speak in Arizona. But I wondered, “Is Dr. Eastman the kind of guy that an Apostle (and by extension, the Church) want to be connected with?”

In the long run Oaks’ talk and association with people like Dr. Eastman will only alienate the more moderate, progressive Mormons who don’t agree with Oaks’ politics and find themselves grappling with a lot of new questions. To those Mormons I say, “Welcome to Main Street Plaza.”

A Tale of Two Cities (DC and SLC): Marion Barry, H. David Burton and Harry Jackson

And three giants: Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who recently co-signed a letter with Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church, expressing their shared commitment to protect marriage; Mayor Barry blesses their union with a memorable chant.

A hypocritical example destroys credibility. — H. David Burton

The letter.

Bishop Burton’s recent accolades: Salt Lake Chamber names LDS Churchs Burton Giant in Our City (Salt Lake Tribune) … Bishop H. David Burton to be honored as ‘Giant In Our City’ (Deseret News) … Bishop Burton to be honored as ‘Giant In Our City’ (KSL) … Bishop H. David Burton to be honored as ‘A Giant In Our City’ (ABC4)

Giants? Gah. Watch the full ten minutes.

Meet the Republican who got California and Maine to investigate NOM and the Mormon church and now intends to debate Mitt Romney on national TV

Fred Karger and I worked together on establishing the NOM-LDS connection. Now hes the GOPs first declared 2012 presidential candidate and has just released his first ad.

I’d love to see Fred debate Mike, Mitt, Sarah and the rest of the (more-or-less anti-gay) 2012 Republican field. Campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire is the surest route to securing a spot on the stage.

Linkage:

Fred got CA and ME to investigate NOM and the Mormon church and is now charting a course to debate Mitt. Follow his tweets @fredkarger

Fred Karger Presidential Exploratory Committee

Fred Who? – First-in-the-Nation Commercial to Run in New Hampshire

GOP 12: Karger releases first TV ad of 2012 cycle

Fred Karger: Good Morning, New Hampshire

Fred Karger’s First TV Ad

Openly Gay Presidential Hopeful Fred Karger Releases First Ad

Karger forms exploratory committee, uses Scheffler comments to raise cash

In Wake of Ballot Initiatives, Questions About the National Organization for Marriages Funding

Catching up with Fred Karger in Iowa and Netroots Nation

Go Fred!

Robert P. George’s stand-up comedy routine is beyond stale

From the NOM chairman’s 2007 debut gig:

No doubt, it’s sure to get a chuckle from Mormons and Catholics … God’s on the line. Who’s He calling? Rome? Salt Lake City? Hilarity ensues.

Best.Joke.Ever. Just ask Matt Holland.

But I exaggerate.

Because it wasn’t until 2009 that Robby began deadpanning the funniest punchline of all time:

Public Discourse: What is the struggle over the legal recognition of same-sex unions a struggle about?

Robert P. George: Its about sex.

Yes, Professor George, a former presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, a former member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, and a current member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is on record opining that the struggle for marriage equality is all about S-E-X.

In his own words:

Its about sex. Those seeking to redefine marriage began by insisting that what they were fundamentally interested in was gaining needed benefits for same-sex domestic partners. Legal recognition of same-sex partnerships was necessary, they said, so that partners could visit each other in hospitals, extend employer-provided health insurance and other benefits to each other, and so forth. Some people who said this were, Im sure, being sincere. Most, however, were not telling the truth. Their goal was to win official approbation for sodomy and other forms of sexual conduct that historically have been condemned as immoral and discouraged or even banned as a matter of law and public policy. The clear evidence for this is the refusal of most same-sex marriage activists to accept civil unions and domestic partnership programs under which the benefits of marriage are extended, but which do not use the label marriage or (and this is very important) predicate these benefits on the existence or presumption of a sexual relationship between the partners. So, it is not really about benefits. It is about sex. The idea that is antithetical to those who are seeking to redefine marriage is that there is something uniquely good and morally upright about the chaste sexual union of husband and wifesomething that is absent in sodomitical acts and in other forms sexual behavior that have been traditionallyand in my view correctlyregarded as intrinsically non-marital and, as such, immoral.

I know we’ve covered this ground over and over again in these parts, but Dr. George’s various suggestions in the above graf are so ridiculous that I think they warrant opening the floor for a fresh round of rebuttals and mockery.