Monday, November 24, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"In the aftermath of the recent election, we may find ourselves oddly on the defensive regarding our support for the Yes on Proposition 8 cause. Our young people have been especially subject to mean spirited comments by high school friends and teachers. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We did nothing wrong. In fact, we did everything that a civic minded American can and should do. I have put together a few facts that help me to appreciate our position better. For example:
Mormons make up less than 2% of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million.
Mormon voters were less than 5% of the yes vote. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then LDS voters made up 4.6% of the Yes vote and 2.4% of the total Proposition 8 vote.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated no money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Individual members of the Church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.
The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $32 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.
Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.
The majority of our friends and neighbors voted Yes on 8. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Yes on 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Yes on 8.
African Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70% of Black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.
The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).
The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims – all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.
Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or her self. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.
The Church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years.
The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process, to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that Churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The Church has always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.
Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support, and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair, and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars, and worse. The fact is, we simply did what Americans do – we spoke up, we campaigned, and we voted.
Hold your heads up high – you did a great job on this most important cause. We will have more opportunities in the future to participate in our democratic process. Let's remember the lessons learned and do an even better job next time.
These are my personal opinions and thoughts; any errors are mine and in no way reflect official Church policy or doctrine.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
EPICENTER REACTS TO OBAMA VICTORY
By Joel C. Rosenberg
(Washington, D.C., November 5, 2008) -- Congratulations to Sen. Obama. His victory last night was an historic moment, further evidence of how far Americans have come in moving beyond the racial divisions of the past. This is good, and should not be underestimated.
It is now our solemn responsibility to pray faithfully and consistently for him, his wife, his family, and his advisor. We must pray for their safety, their wisdom, and their discernment. This is the right thing to do and honors the Lord. As the Apostle Paul teaches so clearly in I Timothy 2:1, "I urge that entreaties, prayers and petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."
We must also pray faithfully for the safety of our nation, for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the advancement of freedom and security throughout the world, and particularly in the Middle East. I am very concerned about what the next year to 18 months may hold. Vice President-elect Biden warned us that the world will test this young new president. We must therefore pray for peace while we prepare for war.
I'm paying particular attention this morning to how people in the epicenter are reacting to Sen. Obama's victory. Leaders in Iran are thrilled since the likelihood of decisive U.S. action to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program has just dropped dramatically. Leaders in Iraq, by contrast, are trying not to be worried given that the likelihood of rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces has just increased dramatically.
Palestinians seem to be thrilled, since they seem Obama as pro-Palestinian and open to dividing Jerusalem and pressuring the Israelis to make further concessions of "land for peace." Many Israelis feel quite unsettled this morning, concerned that they will be all alone in the Middle East as the U.S. begins to pack up and go home from Iraq. They are also concerned that Obama and his team do not appear to fully understand or appreciate the seriousness of the threat of Radical Islam. Sen. Obama told us during the campaign that Iran was a tiny country that did not pose much of a threat. Israelis are not convinced he will stand with them in a nuclear showdown with Tehran.
A senior political strategist in Israel emailed me last night with this thought: "The State of Israel is now facing the most unfriendly American administration ever….Israel's will to live will be tested in ways that will not e pretty. Many of Obama's foreign policy team and Middle East advisors see Israel as the obstacle to peace. And we can not count on Jewish supporters of Obama to have any standing in setting policy in this administration." A new poll released yesterday also caught my attention: 46% of Israelis would have voted for McCain, while only 34% would have voted for Obama. That tells us something about the concern from Eilat to Haifa and from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem about losing a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people in President Bush to someone who has not indicated convincing support for Israel in the past.
I know many of you are very worried about the direction of our country. I certainly understand this sentiment, but as I wrote yesterday, let us not lose heart. The Lord knew who would win. He allowed it to happen. He has a plan. He has a purpose. And now He is calling us to serve Him faithfully - to do whatever He tells us to do, to go wherever He tells us to go, to say whatever He tells us to say. Now is the time to draw close to Christ, to advance His kingdom, and prepare for His return. He is, after all, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Now is certainly no time to forget, or to be discouraged.
To visit Joel's new weblog site and get the latest developments in Israel, Russia and the epicenter -- including links to stories on epicenter leaders reacting to the Obama victory -- please click here