9/25/2007

Devangelism...

If religious folk insist on evangelizing by going door-to-door and sharing their beliefs, I think it's high time those of us who have different beliefs start engaging in a little devangelism.

Let me be clear, my devangelism campaign would in no way try to change people's existing beliefs. If you want to worship an invisible man in the sky, fine. If you like the sense of community an organized religion gives you, who am I to criticize? If your religion is one of the things you need to motivate you to be a better person, hey, as long as you're trying to be a better person. As long as your beliefs do not impact my life, we're cool. I'll even overlook the ringing church bells. They're actually kind of pretty. The only thing I'm looking for is an admission that you could be wrong.

I've written a few times about my own beliefs. For anyone new to this blog who cares, I sum it up HERE. I just think that more people admitting they could be wrong might diffuse a lot of the tension we have in the world. Face it, we can't know what the truth is. Not yet, at least. Until we can have empirical proof of the nature of a higher power or lack thereof, let's stop pretending like we do.

I saw this a while back. It may have been on one of your blogs. Notice how reluctant the people are to hear what this guy has to say, yet they expect others to listen to them spread their beliefs. It's a two-way street. If people want me to listen to them preach, they have to afford me the same courtesy.

36 comments:

Skylers Dad said...

Brilliant Chris, well said.

I usually fix the door knocking problem by answering nude and asking if they would like to come on in and sit in my pentagram.

Teri said...

I went back and read the other post. I absolutely agree.

I hate when people talk to me about their faith as if they are 100% correct and I will die in hell because I don't believe the same. I think every faith is correct in some way.

Pavel Chekov said...

I think you should've worn a more colorful tie for the video.

cooper green said...

Devangelism. Damn, I wish I'd thought of that.

cooper green said...

One more thought: imagine if there were just a brief moment's lucidity after death, just enough time for a few bewildered believers to start wondering when their virgins are going to show up.

Spooney said...

Amen, brother! Personally, I think all religions are just plain silly.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

I read your older post and feel similarly about the whole thing.

The video was funny but also infuriating when it got to the part in SLC. Turn about is not fair play and will apparently get you beaten about the head and neck by an old man with a stick. Ouch!

A Ghost's Story said...

Skydad-- the proper term for ritual nudity is "skyclad." Just an FYI so you can talk the talk.

Hot Lemon said...

get some bad suits and I think you can build a TV ministry out of this... Just be sure to share the wealth with the rest of us po' sinners.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I feckin' love John Safran.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Oh, and I love this post. Well said.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Chris, there's nothing wrong with you a pair of magic underwear wouldn't fix.

Captain Smack said...

The Church of the Subgenius has "Devivals", you might like that.

I always thought it would be fun to go door to door and talk to people about Jimi Hendrix. Just go on and on about how great a guitarist he was, and how he could play better guitar with his teeth than most can with their fingers, etc. Not a religion, just people who really, really dig Jimi Hendrix.

Chris said...

S.D.: Something tells me that's your response for anyone who knocks on your door, not just religious-types.

Teri: If they ever knock, that's what you need to tell them.

Pavel: Next time...

Cooper: Sorry. I already got a copyright.

Spooney: I do, but I also know I take part in a lot of silly activities, too, so I'm not gonna judge.

TLWDL: That part cracked me up!

Hot Lemon: It might just be my calling.

Dr.: Thanks! I saw some of his other stuff on TV. It's good.

Vikki: That's what I'll say the next time the Mormons knock. "Hey, aren't you the guys with the magic underwear?"

Captain: That is one of the coolest ideas I've heard! I just might try that. Or, I'll find someone with bigger balls to try it and watch from a distance.

Coaster Punchman said...

This was AWESOME! I'm all about antagonizing the Mormons where it counts. I also enjoyed it when the Southern Baptists descended on them like a plague during the Olympics. Let those two groups cancel each other out and we'll all be happier.

Micgar said...

Yes! That was a great clip! I loved how those guys turned the Saturday morning routine of the Jehovah's and Mormons on its head!
Hey I rec'd this from one of my blog catalogs -was wondering if you are interested ? Maybe you could post something about religious abuse! http://www.blogcatalog.com/discuss/entry/you-can-be-a-part-of-blogging-history

Catherinette Singleton said...

I'd like to join this movement of yours. Sign me up!

'Bubbles' said...

I liked reading that old post. Good stuff. The video was very funny and sad at the same time. I can only imagine the thoughts in the heads of the recipients of the 'message'.

"Oh God! This is that stuff they tell us about. The devil himself is here!!! I know, I'll beat the devil with my broom!!"

Sushiboy said...

Being Mormon and having been a missionary, may I please say a few things. I've been blogging for about 2 years. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I've ever tried to push my religion or my viewpoint on anyone in the blogosphere. Or anyone in RL for that matter.

I have also been a missionary. One of the guys in a white shirt and a tie. We weren't trained to be pushy, judgemental or to be a general pain in the butt. We were trained to share our message, and follow the beatitudes the best we could. Some missionaries were jerks, its true. But that is more an issue of personality than training or religion.

If people weren't interested in what I had to share, cool. If they were interested in talking to me I didn't push my beliefs. If a Mormon pushes his beliefs on you he isn't following his own religion, we believe in sharing our message and letting people pray about it. Not pushing it on them.

Concerning our underwear. Mormons have a lay clergy. This means that our clergy is the general population of the church. Clergy of many other faiths have robes, vestments or other things they wear that are symbolic and sacred. Mormon Clergy (thats most adult members of the LDS faith) wear these things too. Just under our clothes. Much like a Catholic Priest has a his Collar on, no matter what he is wearing. Or Hasidic Jews that wear side curls and skullcaps. We don't believe in Puff the Magic Underwear.

Sending missionaries is as old as Christianity. Mormons are not and have not been the only ones proselyting. Chris mentioned, in his linked post,that many Christian principles have fallen out of favor, and are considered radical and annoying by most people today. People today are scorned for loving their enemies, being meek, and proselyting. The Apostles were constantly proselyting. (And some were stoned for it)

If you have run into a Mormon that has been pushy, or woke you up early Saturday morning; Please accept my apology on their behalf. If he is pushy he isn't following his own religion. (i.e. he's a jerk, Jerks manage to work themselves in to almost every aspect of Society) If he is there bright and early, he is probably overzelous and didn't stop to think about the time.

If you aren't interested, just say so. The missionary will try to catch your interest, after all, we beleive what we are preaching. If you aren't interested just say so. If you've been interupted, say so. Most missionaries are polite, meek people who should respect you and your wishes. If the guy is a jerk, tell him to get lost.

Finally lets talk about the video, Salt Lake City is roughly 30% Mormon. Which means only about 3 in 10 people the devangist talked to were Mormons. Also imagine a man (if you have a faith) came dressed like one of your ministers, only preaching exactly the opposite of what your misister teaches. Honestly wouldn't you feel like someone was having a joke at your expense. Honestly how you would feel. Also the Devangilist wasn't there to preach. He was there to 'wake Mormons up on a Saturday Morning', he said so.

I imagine the 3 of 10 people that were Mormons felt this way. If the guy with the cane was Mormon (7 chances of 10 he wasn't) it is still no excuse for his behavior.

The only person we know was a Mormon was the man who said he was a Bishop, and he politely declined many times before turning away.

Most of the people who were rude probably weren't Mormon (around 7 of 10), and were probably ticked off at getting woken up on a Saturday Morning. And on at least one spot in the video the Devangelist was taunting the person at the door. "Did I wake you up? Did I annoy you?". What kind of reaction do you expect, even from normally nice person?

So anyway. Take it for what it was worth. A dude flying to Salt Lake City to wake up a bunch of people (a small percentage that were actual mormons )on a Saturday morning. I don't really care to be woken up, and I apologize if somone of my faith has done that to you, or pushed their veiwpoints on you.

(and I'm sorry this was so long)

Chris said...

Sushiboy- Please don't apologize for a long comment. I appreciate the thought you put in and give you credit for having the guts to share this in what might look like hostile (well, maybe not hostile) territory.

Like I said, I do not begrudge anyone the right to believe as they choose. To be honest, missionaries have not been a huge nuisance for me. My larger point was that my "group", the group that doesn't subscribe to any organized faith does not have any sort of outreach and maybe we should. My even larger point was that people of all beliefs should be willing to admit they may be wrong. I ask you, Sushiboy, could you be wrong? If you can't then it's hard to have any sort of dialogue.

Perhaps my frustration comes from the feeling that the "people of faith" (church people) are the ones with all the power in the world. We have had war "in the name of god", we've had oppressive laws passed "in the name of god", we've had hatred "in the name of god". Yet, I still feel awkward admitting that I am not religious because I will be considered amoral or ignorant. I want some parity and not to feel lesser because of my "lack of religion".

In regards to the Mormon church, I think a big reason people are so skeptical is because there is so much secrecy. It is the only religion I know that does not allow outsiders to witness their rituals. I don't understand and I'm the type who wants to understand. I also want to know why people believe what they do. Like, do you think you'd be a Mormon if you hadn't been raised that way?

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts!

Sushiboy said...

>
I appreciate the thought you put in and give you credit for having the guts to share this in what might look like hostile (well, maybe not hostile) territory.
>
Thanks Chris, It felt a little hostile coming in. If someone comments they are infuriated with your religion it can be a little daunting. And no one likes it when someone teases them about their underwear. But I've seen you around Chris, I know you know how to think on your own. Plus your a fan of Zed's blog (that speaks volumes of good things IMHO). So I thought it was worth the time an effort of posting.

>
I ask you, Sushiboy, could you be wrong? If you can't then it's hard to have any sort of dialogue.
>
I'm not exactly sure how to take that. Coming from religious point of view that almost seems like a denial of the faith. I don't think that is the point you are trying to make. From your reply it sounds like you are sick of attempting a discussion (philosophical, political or whatever) and having a person stick doggedly to a point and refuse to move on until you accept (which you won't) the idea they are trying to cram down your throat. We could discuss a quarter, I could see the tail side of it and say it has an eagle on it and be perfectly right. You could then look at the quarter and see George Washington. You could argue for George and I for the Eagle and we would both be right. The question isn't about being right or wrong, it's about point of view. If we respect and listen to each other we can get a full picture.

Being a Mormon I know exactly where you are coming from. Many of my Christian brethren are convinced I am a member of some horrible demonic cult, my opinion or input (even if it is close theirs) is worth nothing to them. They won't talk about anything; other than how I should renounce my faith and be 'saved', from that point on. Others just drop into the “Go to Hell, Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to hell” mode. Quite obnoxious I'll agree. I don't think you should have to say you could be wrong before you share your point of view. “I could be wrong but I think George Washington is on the U.S. Quarter.” Tell me what you see. Share your life experience. It's worth a lot. As long as we both are willing to see another point of view, we may end up finding that both are right, and now we both have a more complete picture.

>
Perhaps my frustration comes from the feeling that the "people of faith" (church people) are the ones with all the power in the world. We have had war "in the name of god", we've had oppressive laws passed "in the name of god", we've had hatred "in the name of god".
>
I share your frustration. It really bugs to see something that at its core teaches love and understanding be twisted into a machine to manipulate masses of people to be divided and hate one another. I wrote a college research paper concerning people blaming the rest Islam for the actions of a few radicals. I ended up reading most of the Koran while writing this paper. There is no justification for the kind of violence, especially against innocents such as women and children, from what I could glean in the Koran. The definition of Jihad, at least as I understood it, is quite the different than the bastardized version we see today. To me that isn't an argument against religion, its an argument that we need to understand our religion for ourselves, not just take some dudes word for it. So when some idiot tries to manipulate us by religion or some other means we can avoid the crowd mentality and act morally, the way our religion teaches.

>
In regards to the Mormon church, I think a big reason people are so skeptical is because there is so much secrecy. It is the only religion I know that does not allow outsiders to witness their rituals.
>
Perhaps, There is two reasons for this. 1. Yes there are a (very) few things we don't discuss outside the temple. 2. Many things that people are curious about don't get explained because people make fun of us. If some dude is making fun your underwear are your going to be inclined to explain it nicely? Probably not, you would probably feel more like *this*. People are curious, yes, but sometimes they are pretty rude about their questions, or they are making fun of us as they ask questions. In my experience this happens almost as much polite questions. People would have much more of their curiosity fulfilled if they were polite about it. Mormons are usually more than happy to explain everything they can about these things. But we get lot of crap, it gets tough to know, if someone is serious or just wants another opportunity to make fun of ya. If your curious about the temples you can learn more (in a non proselyting way) here for an FAQ and here for pictures of the inside and brief descriptions of the rooms. (More available if you request)

The idea that members are only allowed in a sacred site is very old. Such as non-Muslims not being allowed in Mecca and other select sacred sites. The ancient Jewish Tabernacle, or Ark of the Covenant. To name a few. Some religions have abandoned this, others haven't.

>
Like, do you think you'd be a Mormon if you hadn't been raised that way?
>
Another tough question to answer. I could live on a Himalayan mountainside herding Yaks, and never heard of the religion in my life. But in a more realistic view, (say I was born in the U.S.) I would probably be a converted Mormon. I've been naturally curious about religion and all things Divine for as long as I can remember. I've studied Hinduism from a Hindu, Islam from many Muslims, I've been able to talk to some Sikhs, Wiccans, Jews ... I've been to a few Catholic Masses (the ones in Latin are fascinating) and most forms of protestant worship. If a religion has a bad rep, it doesn't really bother me, I still want to learn about it. Mormonism has always made the most sense to me and felt right to me. Maybe that comes from my upbringing (I'm sure some of it does), but overall I'm an independent thinker and believer.. I think I would have ended up here eventually.

Well if my last post wasn't too long. This one may be. Thanks for the good questions Chris.

Sushiboy said...

Wow, do I look like some long winded church guy, or what? Heh. Anyone that reads all that should get an award.

Megan said...

Proselytizing is very different from engaging in a philosophical or intellectual conversation about spirituality where ideas are freely exchanged, various points of view are respected, and participants in the discussion are equally interested in learning from one another.

Whatever the method -- knocking on doors or stopping people in parking lots, for example -- initiating conversations with complete strangers about one's personal religious beliefs is inherently rude and pushy, no matter how polite and meek missionaries may think they are being. It's not like people have never heard of Mormonism (or Jehovah's Witnesses or Born Again Christianity) before, it's that they already have their own (perhaps deeply held) religious beliefs. To knock on their doors and try to convert them to a different belief system is to suggest that they are misinformed or misguided and that your religion is better or more true than theirs. Rude rude RUDE, no matter how nicely it's done.

Coaster Punchman said...

Thanks for the discussion, Sushi Boy. I unfortunately am one of the people who takes a lot of cheap shots at Mormons. Sorry, the underwear is just too easy a target. But obviously I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feeling seriously.

However, if you are still reading, one of the reasons I take so many pot shots is because of the church's active involvement in ensuring gay people remain second class citizens in our country. I honestly don't care at all what you want to believe within the confines of your religion.

Or, if I were a member of the LDS church, you can tell me I'm not allowed to marry the partner of my choosing. That is fine. It is your right.

But it is certainly NOT YOUR RIGHT to suggest that ordinary people outside your religion do not have the same rights to civil marriage that you do.

Tell me, WHY does the church have to try to damage the health, safety and happiness of millions of non-Mormon gay Americans who want NOTHING but the same rights to share our Social Security income with our life partners?

Do you realize that your church poured MILLIONS of dollars into fighting same-sex marriage rights in the states of Alaska and Hawaii?

Do you know that your church (and/or Mormon-sponsored groups hiding as non-religions non-profit entities) placed ads on radio and television before the elections that said things like "I can't marry my sister! I can't marry my dog! Please, voters of Hawaii, vote to protect traditional marriage in our state!"

How on earth can you condone this kind of behavior in your church?

Did you even know about any of this? If you did not, I am telling you now. And I'm sorry, but I am holding you and your brethren accountable for these unbelievably cruel and inappropriate actions.

Sushi Boy, I find the church's unwarranted attack on gay Americans to be atrocious, and since you seem like a nice person I would appreciate if you would start taking your leaders to task on this subject.

You don't want me in your church unless I reject my life's love? Fine. I really don't care. But until you take your religious beliefs back into your secret temple where they belong and OUT OF POLITICS WHERE YOU USE YOUR BELIEFS TO HARM OTHERS, I will have nothing nice to say about you. And I will continue the attacks on your underwear with no mercy.

When someone steps on you, you can turn the other cheek as Jesus taught, or maybe you can take another route and start screaming, over and over, STOP STEPPING ON ME. Until they stop stepping.

For a religion that purports to raise such nice people, polite and chock full of family values, the true level of mean-spiritedness within your church angers me all the more.

jewgirl said...

CP, I am SO PROUD OF YOU. Beautifully written and absolutely true. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I hope that Sushi Boy responds to your comments. I'd LOVE TO HEAR what he has to say.

Sushiboy said...

Coaster Punchman - Yes the Church and the Gay community don't really see eye to eye. The church opposes Gay unions. Since you bring up the point. I dissaprove of them too, but not for the normal reasons.

I'll tell you why I dissaprove of gay unions. When I was first asked what I thought of the issue, I paused to think, I'd never thought of it before. In that hesitation I was accused of being a bigot, just because I dared hesitate. You don't like being force fed ideas? I don't either. Every time this issue has been brought up, Its "You beleive in Civil Rights don't you? Then of course you believe in gay marraige." I don't make that connection. Civil union has always been a man and a consenting women. A man has always been able to marry a women (and I don't say this to be flippant, derogatory or condecending) That is what marriage has been historically. Now its a Man or Woman should be married to another consenting partner. This stopped being civil rights and started being a redifinition of a law. A redifinition of Civl Marriage. Yes civil rights has a role, but it isn't the whole issue, at least not in my mind.

So whatever, my intention in my first comment wasn't to scream "your stepping on me". I've never had any intention slap back, but to create some common ground. To create a chance to see eye to eye. You've straight up said; unless my church follows your party line you will be as aweful as you can to members of it that you've never met. (some who I know agree with you) You're willing be nice to me if I agree with your issue implicitly. Well I guess I don't, I've been pissed off with this issue ever since I was called a bigot before I made up my mind. The free flying accusations of "bigots", "Mean-Spiritedness", and "Small Mindedness" when anyone pauses to think or expresses the slightest faulter or disagreement, has pushed me to the other camp. I'm not saying you have no relevant points. I'm saying the first defense of this issue isn't the points; its name calling. No matter what name calling seems to be part of the defense of this idea. I want no part of it. Further insults to me, my religion, or even my superman underoos I wore as a kid or the ones I wear now, will just push me away even more.

Sure I'll turn the other cheek, I've been doing it my whole life. That my is being a Mormon, pretty much everyone takes a shot at you. But while turning the cheek I don't feel obligated to change my views to the one slapping me. Usually quite the opposite. Rest assured most of the LDS church has no animosity towards homo-sexuals. So we are opposed on a few politcal issues. I realize this issue is very central to your life style. It may be hard for you that someone opposes your lifestyle. Tell me about it. I know a bit about that. If you are gay you've probably been called a few names. I know how that one feels too.

My point is that we are alike even with all our differences. Each human is different, I'm not exactly like you, you shouldn't expect me to be, just like I shouldn't expect you to be just like me. Many soldiers have stated war is a terrible thing because they are killing people they would normally be friends with (among other things). I'd like to be friends. At this point I'm not too likely to come around to your point of view on this. If you think that Mormons are in this vast conspiracy to keep you down, then wage your war. But know, I and my church aren't out to get you. I don't hate you, ABBA still rules, best health and wishes to you and yours.

Coaster Punchman said...

I love how you and your church spend millions to deny people health insurance and social security and they cry like babies when you are called "bigots" for doing it.

Uneffingbelievable.

Chris said...

I'm surprised to see this post still percolating. A few things for you, Sushiboy. These are going to be scattershot, but bear with me. I am going to be pointed with my remarks, but I'll try to be civil.

-I have not heard one argument against gay marriage (other than various tenuous biblical references that I feel are irrelevant) that is anything more than an elaboration on the fact that this is an historic issue and that that somehow makes it sacred. I'm sorry. This, to me, is insufficient. If, as you say, it is a legal matter, then I can give you a long list of things that we once thought in this country that have proven outdated and unjust. At one time it was illegal for people of different colors to marry. We decided this was unjust. At one time we did not feel women were entitled to the same rights as men. We came to our senses on that (for the most part. we still have work to do.). My point is, we are still evolving. We can change our attitudes. I don't blame pro-gay marriage people for being bitter or argumentative. They are the ones being unfairly oppressed. It sounds like, from what you've said, you have taken your position based on spite, spite of the people who accused you of bigotry, rather than basing it on what is the most just, fair, and loving position. I beg you to look deep inside and reconsider. If you are just pissed at those on the other side for their treatment of you, try forgiving the way Jesus taught and think about it again. If, as you say, you have experienced bigotry based on your beliefs, you know that it's not a nice situation. Why perpetuate it?

-Regarding the underwear. You mentioned that other denominations have vestments and things they wear. Fine. I think that's weird, too. I think any time you are going to make some material thing sacred (this includes things like lavish churches and decorations), you are defying one of the commandments (the false idols one). I am looking at this completely objectively, to be sure, but I find it odd that "people of god" think using these sorts of things will earn them favor with their god. Again, you can practice your religion any way you want, but don't be surprised or offended when people think it's strange because, from where I'm sitting, it is.

-Having read my previous religion post, you know that I was very active in the church at one time and I maybe didn't stress that it was a difficult thing to finally admit I wasn't a christian. It was based on lots and lots of reflection and thought. I think that organized religion hinders the evolution of ideas because it always claims to have the truth rather than ADMITTING THAT IT CAN'T KNOW FOR SURE. I have beliefs that I can't prove. I believe in life after death. I believe in reincarnation. I believe in some force of some kind that is beyond our comprehension. I can't prove any of this. Admitting that does not make my beliefs any less important to me. So, as polite and good-intentioned as people might be that approach me about religion, I see it as condescending, like I am someone to be pitied because I haven't figured it out yet. It is extremely off-putting.

OK, that's enough for now. Take it for what it's worth. I really do believe in the power of forgiveness, so even if you have positions that I find objectionable, I'm always forgiving. I hope you'll be forgiving of me in the same way.

Coaster Punchman said...

On another point, I understand the danger of trying to "discuss" these trigger point issues. I do want to encourage civil discussions of matters where people have deeply held differences of opinion - which is why I try not to swear when engaging in this.

On another point I have been accused before of playing the emotional trump card which "ends the discussion rather than furthering it." On this I am not so sure.

For you, Sushi Boy, same-sex marriage may be a point of theology and politics that is interesting to "debate." For us, however, it is like having a "debate" on whether we have the right to be by the sides of our loved ones as they die in hospitals. If we have the right to the property we shared all our lives in the event one of us passes away. The right to a living wage through Social Security payments if one of us dies. The right to be able to go see a doctor if you are sick, unable to work and can only get health insurance through your spouse.

It seems like you want to step back and say "stop attacking my beliefs!" and never want to acknowledge that when you take your religious beliefs into the sphere of politics, what I've described above is what you are doing to people. I want you to acknowledge this.

(And for the record I don't believe I even used the word "bigot" in my angry response to you.)

These issues are real and they are important, Sushi Boy. Your church is causing a lot of pain and suffering and it is just not necessary.

How about this for an idea: you and your church think it's wrong for same-sex couples to marry. Find. DON'T MARRY SOMEONE OF THE SAME SEX, THEN! Why can't it just stop at that? Why do you have to spend millions of dollars attacking people who have absolutely nothing to do with your faith?

Do you see Orthodox Jewish groups out lobbing Congress to stop providing subsidies to pig farmers? No. What you see is Orthodox rabbis in their temples, telling their congregants "don't eat pork. God forbids it." And then the people who want to stay Orthodox Jews don't eat pork. End of story. They are not out trying to remove pork from the plates of everyone else in the country.

Please do respond to these points if you can.

Megan said...

If the garments are in reality vestments, why do women -- who are excluded from the priesthood -- wear them too?

Sushiboy said...

>
I'm sorry. This, to me, is insufficient. If, as you say, it is a legal matter, then I can give you a long list of things that we once thought in this country that have proven outdated and unjust. At one time it was illegal for people of different colors to marry. We decided this was unjust. At one time we did not feel women were entitled to the same rights as men. We came to our senses on that (for the most part. we still have work to do.). My point is, we are still evolving. We can change our attitudes. I don't blame pro-gay marriage people for being bitter or argumentative. They are the ones being unfairly oppressed. It sounds like, from what you've said, you have taken your position based on spite, spite of the people who accused you of bigotry, rather than basing it on what is the most just, fair, and loving position.
>

Hopefully this will address both coaster and Chris's statements. I find in the current movement an if-your-not-with-us-your-against-us mentality. Coaster you stated outright that as long as the LDS church didn't support this view you would take every shot you could at the church. And judging from the shots you've taken most of them do not have anything to do with the issue at hand. If I don't agree with you I'm not going to try to savage the gay community in every way I can. Thats not the way I roll. If I don't agree with the Southern Baptists treatment of me (which I don't, I don't like how they treat your either.), I'll state that, but I will NOT go after every aspect of their religion on a smear campaign. The Southern Baptists despite the things I don't like, teach some very good things and have some very good people.

Every human being has good and evil in them. (or pick what ever term floats your boat, yin chi and yang chi, id and superego, positive and negative lifeforce) What I don't like about this campaign is it's more like the Black Panthers and Less like MLK jr. At least from my eyes it is. Any opposition or hesititaion to this new movement recieves outright warfare. I don't see the peaceful resistance.

I state my point of view, I know its different, but I'm gonna state it so you know where I'm coming from, don't give me un-effin-beleivable give me I-Have-Dream. I don't live in NYC I don't see gay pride rallies. I have next to knowledge what your frustrations are. Yah, according to you I'm denying you health care. The church isn't opposing you getting health care from your work. They aren't stopping you from claiming social security for yourself. They have no personal vendetta against you. Now, the question arises, should a partner get the benifits of a living or deceased partner. Thats a social issue. The church has weighed in on it. You don't like it. Some of your arguements have merits. But let me put it how I see it.

Again I'm just calling how I've been treated every single time I bring up this issue, I've tried to bring up this issue tons, I want to understand this issue. I don't yet. Attacking my faith in ways that have nothing to do with this issue do n-o-t-h-i-n-g for me. What am I supposed to think? But it seems hard to have any discussion no matter how vital it is, if you don't stick to the issues.Why attack every member of the church? What purpose does it serve?
The line "I'm all about antagonizing the Mormons where it counts. I also enjoyed it when the Southern Baptists descended on them like a plague during the Olympics. Let those two groups cancel each other out and we'll all be happier." Doesn't cut it for me.

I disagree. We are all in this country and this society together. If you want to change society, change it, use your power to assemble and your power to vote to change society. Attacking those who haven't come around on an issue won't bring them around any faster. And it will drive away who would be your allies. I'm not going to join this movement (or this incarnation of the movement at least) because I won't savage those who disagree with me. I also don't want to be in a movement which does so. I'm gonna follow MLK

"But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."

Thats not for me. And so far that is every single experience I have had. I was trying to say: I know what its like to be called names, be laughed at, to have your culture or creed or society be esteemed as less. You're argurments fall on sympathetic ears. But hear your argument from my point of veiw at the moment Coaster.

You've said "Religion can beleive whatever it want's as long as it doesn't harm me"

You've also said (as long as your church or you disagree with me)"I will have nothing nice to say about you. And I will continue the attacks on your underwear with no mercy."

So I hear it, if your orginization sees a point of view that they propogate, and its viewpoint is opposite of mine I will pour out as much hurt as I can to you and your orginization. I will pour hurt onto those of your orginization who made side with me, be politcically active for me, just because they belong to said orginization.

Thats what I hear, that is what I've heard, and lately thats been driven home pretty forcefully. I don't dig that, I won't roll that way.

>
You mentioned that other denominations have vestments and things they wear. Fine. I think that's weird, too.Again, you can practice your religion any way you want, but don't be surprised or offended when people think it's strange because, from where I'm sitting, it is.
>

I've heard that one so much that I'm not suprised. I know its different. But would you feel the same if people called others
wearing an earring to signify their homosexuality, weird, freaky, or wrong. More and more that is not accepted by anyone (and it shouldn't be) but the same can't be said of this. I hear "I can't beleive that mormons wear special underwear, thats so weird, they have to be so brainwashed to do that." Thats just as intolerant as saying, "I can't beleive those homosexuals poke a hole in their ear then stick some metal in it, just set themselves apart. They must be so brainwashed to do that." How is it ok for one and not the other? Neither should be OK.

>
On another point, I understand the danger of trying to "discuss" these trigger point issues. I do want to encourage civil discussions of matters where people have deeply held differences of opinion - which is why I try not to swear when engaging in this.
>

I hear you, I appreciate that a lot.

>
On another point I have been accused before of playing the emotional trump card which "ends the discussion rather than furthering it." On this I am not so sure.
>

Here it was for me.

>
You don't want me in your church unless I reject my life's love? Fine. I really don't care. But until you take your religious beliefs back into your secret temple where they belong and OUT OF POLITICS WHERE YOU USE YOUR BELIEFS TO HARM OTHERS, I will have nothing nice to say about you. And I will continue the attacks on your underwear with no mercy.
>

What do I say to that. I don't know you, I'm not going to reject you or hate you on the basis on one aspect of your life. So take my beleifs back to my secret temple? I'm not taken back by that, I've heard it before, but I brought my beleifs here originally to simply state my point of view. That there is actually some common ground between us.

I should be able to state my beleifs, its my first ammendment right. I have every right to state them. When the purpose of sharing those isn't to contradict you, but to state them in there entirety, so we can find some common ground. What have you got against that? Heaven forbid we should agree on something. Heaven forbid we should start on something small and work up to the big stuff.

My first post was to point out that the devangilist hit a mostly non-Mormon community, and that most the people reacting harshly weren't Mormon. No reason to be mad at us when it probably wasn't us reacting to the devangilist. I was also trying to find some ways to create a little common ground. I'm not here to be annoying and preachy, but I feel thats how its been coming across. Sorry for that, I'm out.

Coaster Punchman said...

Sushi, I hear you about the fighting words, and I actually agree with you. It doesn't help. One thing is that within the confines of 99.9% of the people in this particular blog circle is we tend to have similar opinions about these extremely divisive social issues. We use dark humor and sarcasm as a way to cope with what we consider to be serious problems in our culture.

Many of also (try to be) funny, which 99.9% of the usual readers within this circle do. Granted, there will be an occasional person like you who appears and is offended by some of what we say, and that is understandable.

My sense of humor about some of the oddities of the LDS church is rather harsh, but please know I would never want any individual Mormon to feel personally attacked. I do apologize for having offended you by making jokes about LDS.

So mea culpa on that. I really do want us to hear each other.

Now, I do have some questions for you.

1. When people who are oppressed express their extreme anger, sometimes in ways that are not entirely appropriate, can you consider looking in your heart to think about what causes them to be so angry? It seems like you are extremely focused on the reaction of people who disagree, rather than showing a willingness to take the high road and get down to nuts and bolts of the disagreement despite their anger.

On a personal note, for example, I often encounter people who are angry for various reasons. When I am following what I feel I should follow to be a good and kind person, I listen to the anger. I let them vent. I understand that I am the one in a calm state of mind, and that since they are the angry one I should try and understand what is making them angry, and then address it calmly.

2. That being said, I am really, truly asking you to try to understand that this marriage discussion is much more than a political, social and religious disagreement. The harms being caused by the LDS church's attack on gay rights (specifically with respect to marriage) are real, not theoretical.

You say Mormons don't want to deny individuals health insurance through their job. I would venture you would be concerned and offended if some powerful group with a lot of money started campaigning to take your wife's health insurance away from her (assuming here that she does not work and is insured by your employer. If that is not the case please bear with me and understand there are millions in exactly those shoes.)

The same goes for hospital visitation rights, property rights, social security rights, and on and on. Why do you think religious beliefs should be driving these issues that can, literally, mean life or death?

3. Why should a church care what members outside the faith do? I said before, I honestly don't care if your church tells its own members that they can't be gay and Mormon. And then you as members can make the choice whether to be Mormon or not. Why does the issue not end there for you? Why does your church spend millions of dollars to lobby the federal and state governments to make laws exclusing gays from the rights I cite before - knowing full well the only way to attain absolutley equal rights is to allow marriage?

I look forward to your replies to these questions - and I do thank you for having the discussion.

Sushiboy said...

Reply is coming. I'm a little busy at the moment. I'm not ignoring things. But what I am doing (school, work, family time, mantaining my own blog) is taking all my time at the moment. Also I'm researching into this issue further. In particular a case pretty close to home. (my home anyway) Utah Third District Court Case 050916879, and the ruling given the 11th of May 2006. Coaster, If you have court cases for the items you mentioned please post them so I can do a little research there too. Thanks.

Narcissus said...

Sushiboy, why should your hetero *lifestyle* be given special treatment over a homosexual *lifestyle*. See, when you throw around the word *lifestyle* as most haters do, you do it to patronize and belittle. Not cool.

Old Lady said...

Can't legislate or consecrate love.
It is or it isn't. Government and Religion need to discontinue their attempts at love regulation and move on to bigger and better things. Bless me & sign the paper I'm in love and want to spend the rest of my life with this person.

Marriage is man's (ooo, I threw another element in) invention, designed specifically to control the sexuality of women and their issue. Village life was communal, little critters, sex and property were communal. When man became discovered where babies came from he started making rules, repression, hording, CONTROLLING. The important thing to remember is that some man said that God said...., so if homosexuality is something God doesn't allow, why do all species engage in it?

Religion is man made. Religious rules are man made. We make life more complicated than it needs to be and continue to fail to realize that in team work and understanding there is properity.

College Research Paper said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.