Ron Scott wrote:
---
Sophistry?  I beg your pardon. Has the Church indicated that
people who believe the courts should decide the matter, as
mandated by the divinely-inspired constitution, are out of step
with the church and its teachings? Please point me to the
statement.
---

Others with better sense than me have identified the way you like to 
argue as "sophistry" -- I did not coin the expression.

I can seldom discern from your rhetoric exactly where you stand with 
regard to anything "divinely inspired.  Whether you are "out of step" is 
up to you, but when you seem to be advocating things that are clearly 
wrong, I feel prompted to either quit reading your comments, or respond 
when they seem to need correction.

As I have observed in previous threads, you often seem to favor a focus 
on side issues and exceptions, as if they were the most important 
things.  Perhaps these positions you seem to admire make for fine 
arguments, but they do not generally seem to represent the policy or 
position taught by the church.

I cannot believe you when ask for statements that are indicative of 
current church policy.  You seem less interested in reading them than in 
challenging ideas that do not fit your mindset.  Nonetheless, for the 
sake of discussion, I am copying a few interesting and authoritative 
comments.  Perhaps you'd care to substantiate your arguments with 
supporting material from church leaders and church publications.

----------

The Church in Hawaii—with the support of the Roman Catholic Church in 
the state—has taken legal action to support traditional marriage and 
prevent state sanctioning of homosexual and lesbian marriages.

The Church's action, taken Feb. 23, is a request to the Circuit Court of 
Hawaii for permission to intervene in opposition to an attempt by three 
same-gender couples seeking the right to have a legal marriage.

A lawsuit, Baehr v. Lewin, was originally thrown out by the trial court. 
The couples appealed, and the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that state 
marriage law discriminates on the basis of sex unless there is a 
compelling state interest to deny marriage licenses to homosexual and 
lesbian couples. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Circuit 
Court to make that determination.

Under Hawaii law, an entity may intervene in a legal action by proving 
that it has substantial interests in the outcome of the case. The trial 
is expected to be held in September.

The action by the Church supports the state of Hawaii in seeking to 
preserve its law against homosexual and lesbian marriages. If state law 
is overturned on this matter, Hawaii would be the first state in the 
nation in which that happened.

Donald L. Hallstrom, regional representative in the Oahu Hawaii North 
Region, announced the Church's action at a news conference on the day 
the request was filed with the court. He was joined by the Rev. Marc R. 
Alexander, diocesan theologian for the Hawaii Catholic Conference; Napua 
Baker, spokeswoman for the Church in Hawaii; and James M. Sattler, the 
attorney who is representing the Church in the case.

"Our purpose and our intention is to be of help and assistance to the 
attorney general in defending the existing Hawaii law respecting 
marriage," attorney Sattler said, "and our papers are all designed to 
put forth the facts and the arguments as to why we should be allowed to 
become parties to the case on the same side as the state and to seek to 
uphold the existing law."

Elder Hallstrom said the news conference was not a forum "to attack 
homosexuals or lesbians."

"The position of the Church . . . on homosexuality is a matter of 
record. We are opposed to it on moral grounds. Nevertheless, the Church 
has not attempted to oppose basic civil rights for homosexuals or any 
other group. This is not our work nor our focus."

He said the Church believes in sexual abstinence before marriage and 
total fidelity after marriage, "and we believe marriage should be 
between a man and a woman only."

Elder Hallstrom said legalizing same-sex marriage goes far beyond basic 
rights for any individual or group.

"There are times when certain moral issues become so compelling that 
churches have a duty to make their feelings known," he added. "In rare 
cases, they may need to pursue their own constitutional rights to resist 
something they feel poses a serious threat to the moral fabric of 
society. We have reached such a situation in Hawaii."

The Church is resisting this major change in the law, he said, "because 
we feel it represents a threat to families, to our children, and to our 
way of life in Hawaii."

He affirmed that the action was taken in consultation with Church 
headquarters in Salt Lake City. "While this initiative is our own, we 
assure you that we have the approval and support of the Church . . . in 
the action we are taking."

The Rev. Alexander said the Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii joins the 
LDS Church in opposing legalization of "homosexual marriages."

"The Catholic Church in Hawaii will pursue the same goal through other 
means," he added. In response to a question, he explained that the 
"other means" would be in the form of a petition to the court to allow 
the Catholic Church to participate in the case as amicus curiae or 
"friend of the court."

"We have consulted our lawyers, and we believe that this different but 
very complementary route will help the case and will help the state in 
upholding its position. We believe, therefore, that we're working very 
much in concert toward the same end as The Church of Jesus Christ of 
Latter-day Saints."

He said the Hawaii Catholic community numbers about 230,000 members and 
has consistently opposed same-sex marriage, although it extends pastoral 
love and care to homosexual persons.

"Catholics believe that the union of husband and wife, as intended by 
God, is a unique model for human relationships," he said. "Homosexual 
unions are, by their very nature, incomplete. They lack both the 
complementarity of the sexes and the possibility of cooperative, 
life-giving power. Because of the special character of the committed and 
enduring man-woman relationship and its important contribution to the 
well-being of our communities, society has acknowledged, supported and 
extended special benefits to this man-woman relationship through the 
institution of marriage. Homosexual unions should not be granted the 
same support and recognition because they cannot make the same 
contribution to society."

In response to a question, Elder Hallstrom said the LDS and Catholic 
churches, as the two largest churches in Hawaii, have united on this 
matter because of their common belief in the sanctity of traditional 
marriage.

Sister Baker, who serves as vice president for university advancement at 
BYU-Hawaii, said society suffers when the traditional, nurturing 
environment of a family is eroded.

"Simply put, we do not believe that there is any justification for 
dealing another blow to the family by legalizing something which is 
presently illegal in every state in the nation," she added.

She cited a poll by The Honolulu Advertiser and television station 
KHON-Channel 2 indicating that Hawaiians by 68 percent oppose same-sex 
marriages.

"The people recognize that the institution of marriage is based on a 
special relationship between men and women," she said. "We are urging 
the court to support Hawaii's families and not undermine them by 
radically redefining the institution of marriage. We need to protect the 
laws of Hawaii so they are respected and recognized by other states, all 
of which uphold the same standard of limiting legal marriage to unions 
between a man and a woman."

A single parent, Sister Baker said: "We . . . recognize and respect the 
growing number of single-parent families in Hawaii. They play a vital 
role in raising children. Our objection is to changing the basic 
definition of marriage in Hawaii and violating the traditional 
partnership of men and women. We believe this is a serious threat to our 
values, and it is morally wrong." 


 (Church Opposes Same-Sex Marriages , LDS Church News, 1995, 03/04/95 .) 
Failure in home fosters trends to alternatives 

----------

If current levels of divorce, childbearing out of wedlock and family 
violence continue, said Lynn D. Wardle, experimentation with alternative 
family structures will continue, even increase, in the coming decades.

On March 19, during the World Congress of Families in Prague, Dr. 
Wardle, a professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young 
University rehearsed, then countered, the legal claims for same-sex 
marriages. He then concluded: "It is unrealistic to expect any reduction 
in the rate or size of the population that sees same-sex unions as an 
alternative to traditional marriage and family if the disintegration of 
the nuclear family continues at recent rates."

While no state legislature has yet legalized same-sex marriage, Dr. 
Wardle said, same-sex marriage is the goal toward which a number of 
smaller developments may point, taking what one advocate says are "baby 
steps" toward recognizing same-sex unions.

"There is strong support for same-sex marriage in certain subgroups of 
society," he explained. Two of the most important are the entertainment 
media, where same-sex couples are portrayed in appealing perspectives; 
and academic communities, where tolerance of "gay rights" is a litmus 
test for academic credibility and where opposition is treated as proof 
of narrow-mindedness.

"The bias of the general media and academic communities is significant 
because they shape perceptions," he said. "And perception of reality . . 
. provides the basis for the setting or reform of public policy.

"The answer," continued Dr. Wardle, "is that heterosexual marriages have 
been given special legal preference because they make uniquely valuable 
contributions to the state, to society and to individuals.

"Heterosexual marriages have been singled out . . . for preferred status 
because they are so important and valuable to society and to the 
stability and continuity of the state."

Committed heterosexual marriages, he said, provide the best setting into 
which children can be born and reared. Duel-gender parents show children 
how to relate to other people, provide the safest and most stable 
compassionate unit of society, and offer the most secure setting for the 
sharing of social knowledge and skills.

But there is good news despite all of this, he concluded. Never before 
have there been more sources of support for marriage, more economic 
abundance, education, health and knowledge of how to nurture successful 
marriages.

"Claims for same-sex marriage challenge us and our entire generation to 
re-examine the importance of the institution of marriage.

"We need that challenge. For too long our societies have taken marriage 
and the family for granted. . . . With our blessings comes the 
responsibility to defend marriage and the family." 


 (Failure in Home Fosters Trends To Alternatives , LDS Church News, 
1997, 03/29/97 .)

----------

Disintegration of the family decried 

Date: 03/29/97

Family law should help bridle the passions of society "that we may be 
filled with love," said Elder Bruce C. Hafen at the World Congress of 
Families March 22 in the Czech Republic.

Elder Hafen, a member of the Seventy who is a former law professor at 
BYU, described recent legal and social changes that "undermine family 
members' entire sense of commitment and belonging to each other."

Quoting the prophet Alma of the Book of Mormon, he said, "Bridle all 
your passions, that ye may be filled with love." (Alma 38:12.) 

Elder Hafen further explained: "Family law traditionally acted as a 
bridle on human passions, stating expectations, steering us toward 
long-term relationships of loving commitments. Without that bridle, both 
our passions and our principles run wild, harming both individuals and 
society."

Elder Hafen cited three examples of recent changes that remove this 
bridle.

The first example is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the 
Child (CRC), which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1989 and 
has now been adopted by every democratic country but the United States. 
This declaration "introduces a new concept of children's rights to 
personal autonomy in standards affecting age limits, parental rights and 
children's rights to expression, privacy and religion."

Elder Hafen said that claiming young children are already autonomous may 
relieve parents of demanding responsibilities, but is actually a 
"profound form of child neglect, abandoning children to their rights."

Only when "our children submit to the demanding yoke of both 
intellectual and character education can we produce adults capable of 
sustaining a democratic society," he said.

The U.N. Childrens Rights Convention shows how "American activists who 
failed to persuade U.S. Courts and legislatures have turned to 
unsophisticated international forums on 'rights,' trying to establish 
radical ideas as global norms."

The second example of "removing the bridle" of law would be same-sex 
marriages if legalized, "as is likely" in the state of Hawaii.

"Marriage was not traditionally a private contract, but a very public 
act involving three parties—a man, a woman and the society itself, 
represented by the state. Law historically gave marriage a preferred 
position . . . because it matters so much to society."

He said that "our laws have not only tolerated formal, heterosexual 
marriage, they have endorsed and sponsored it" so society could realize 
benefits that come from stable marriages.

Although society may tolerate homosexual behavior, the majority oppose 
same-sex marriage, he said. "Most people intuitively recognize that if 
the law endorses everything it tolerates, we will eventually tolerate 
everything and endorse nothing—except tolerance."

A third illustration of removing the legal bridle is today's divorce 
law, said Elder Hafen.

He said that U.S. laws now "grant more freedom to terminate a marriage 
than the laws of any other Western nation, with devastating effects on 
children."

Judges presiding over divorces in America, he said, "value the right to 
be left alone more than the right to be together."

Noting that 20 states are now considering legal reforms intended to help 
people take their marriages more seriously, Elder Hafen said law should 
"re-establish society's expectations about the commitments family 
members make to one another."

He said the public nature of marriage and society's great stake in 
children are what distinguish marriage from all other relationships and 
contracts.

"Law must unapologetically define the family, marriage, and child-parent 
ties in a familistic entity that expresses community interests as well 
as individual needs. . . . The long-term interests of both our children 
and our society depend on healthy child development."

He concluded: "Bridled love passionately nourishes families, while 
unbridled passion destroys families." 

 
 (Disintegration of the Family Decried , LDS Church News, 1997, 03/29/97 
.)

----------

Prophets of God have repeatedly taught through the ages that practices 
of homosexual relations, fornication, and adultery are grievous sins. 
Sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage are forbidden by the 
Lord. We reaffirm those teachings. . . .

The Lord has proclaimed that marriage between a man and a woman is 
ordained of God and is intended to be an eternal relationship bonded by 
trust and fidelity. Latter-day Saints, of all people, should marry with 
this sacred objective in mind. Marriage should not be viewed as a 
therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or 
practices, which first should clearly be overcome with a firm and fixed 
determination never to slip to such practices again.

Having said this, I desire now to say with emphasis that our concern for 
the bitter fruit of sin is coupled with Christlike sympathy for its 
victims, innocent or culpable. We advocate the example of the Lord, who 
condemned the sin, yet loved the sinner. We should reach out with 
kindness and comfort to the afflicted, ministering to their needs and 
assisting them with their problems. We repeat, however, that the way of 
safety and the road to happiness lie in abstinence before marriage and 
fidelity following marriage. ("Reverence and Morality," Ensign, May 
1987, pp. 46-47.)


 (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: 
Deseret Book Co., 1997], 9.)

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