Thursday, March 28, 2013

we recommend that you are two people

Please indulge me as I ponder issues of religion and human sexuality.  If this is going to gross you out or enrage you I apologize.  You can check out for a minute if you want.  

I had two friends in choir who were certainly gay by the time I knew them, and I think it was largely for that reason that I never thought that homosexuality was a choice.  I don't think that's unusual for people my age--society's understanding of and beliefs about human sexuality have changed quite a lot in the time I've been alive.  But it's not like I was unusually progressive or anything--I used to parrot the line that homosexuality may not be a choice, but acting upon those desires was.  My brain was still unformed and I was still working things out, so I lumped it in with pre-marital sex, as in yeah, you might really want to do it, but you can't right now, and you're the master of your body, so . . . just don't.  As I got older I realized what a simplistic view that was.  I still believe that you are the master of your body, but my word is there ever a difference between being told "not right now" and "not right now, not for your mortal life, and maybe not ever for the rest of eternity."  "Not right now" is plenty difficult by itself, as all the pregnant Mormon teenagers can tell you.  But "Not ever?"  Boy.  Can it be done?  Maybe, I don't know.  Is it my business?  Nope.

Here is my interpretation of Mormon theology/doctrine as it applies to this topic, and it is by no means going to be complete:  We believe that our spirits, souls if you will, are eternal, in that what makes you you, your essence, does not die.  The purpose of life is that these eternal spirits come to earth, are given a physical body, learn to choose good over evil, and return to heaven (there's a lot more after that, but it is not germane to today's discussion).  The purpose of sex, or procreation as we call it in Mormondom, is twofold--for enjoyment/bonding and for creating bodies for other spirits so that those spirits can continue along their path.  The ability to create a body is a monumental responsibility and is not to be used carelessly or selfishly.  With this in mind, you can see why perhaps orthodox Mormons might have even more of a problem with homosexuality than other faiths, who simply believe that homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so or whatever--I think Mormons feel in a way as though homosexual couples are denying their unborn spiritual brothers and sisters the chance to have bodies.  Why this might be considered worse than bringing a baby into the world and doing a crap parenting job I'm not sure.  They should be equally important.  I'm not asking you to believe this or agree with it, I'm just giving some context.

So there's that.  But there's also the fact that, as the primary song says, "Jesus says love everyone; treat them kindly too."  So which doctrine takes precedence?  Probably the treating people kindly one.  And what about that whole "not ever" problem?  Is sexuality an eternal characteristic of the spirit?  Sometimes people are told that their burdens will be taken from them in the afterlife, but they consider their homosexuality to be not a burden, but a key component of their identity.  What about that?  I figure we stop worrying about it since it's really none of our beeswax, is it?  Consenting adults of sound mind, blah blah blah.  And I don't know that I think that sexuality is binary anyway.  The Kinsey scale on the surface makes a good deal of sense to me, with people spread along the scale, with more people on the hetero side, but not all hanging out at the extreme end, for example.

I think you just have to decide if you believe that someone being homosexual causes harm to themselves or other people.  Does it really?  If not, then you can't tell them they can't be married. There are certainly a lot of straight marriages that are ruining the idea of marriage for all of us already.  If people didn't want the gummint making rules about marriage that they don't agree with, then they shouldn't have let the gummint get involved with it in the first place.  Maybe a lot of this fighting could have been prevented if all along there had been two equally protected/valid options for joining yourself to another human being; one religious and one civil.

I think DOMA is going to be struck down, and what reasoning they use for striking it is going to affect how they deal with Prop. 8, I think.  For example, if they decide that DOMA was an overreach of federal power, then that would indicate that Prop. 8 has be repealed by the citizens of California.  From my limited understanding of the situation that seems possible.  It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

Anyway, there are my somewhat scattered thoughts about some of it.  We're all on this crazy rock together and whatnot.  Let me know if/when you want to talk about the weirdness of scouting.  


beckster said...

You obviously are thoughtful about these issues. I believe that everyone has the right to be happy if they are not hurting others, no matter how weird we think they are. Oh, and if we could agree that people have a right to own weapons for self-defense rather than large scale destruction, we could just move on! Either that, or issue each household a rocket launcher so that we can move on to the "mutually assured destruction" doctrine.