24 November 2008

Prop 8: Building A Strong Conservative Alliance

In the run-up to last week's round-table discussion on PJTV, I thought a lot about what I wanted to say. After consulting with my brother and a Wise Man, I concluded that I would speak to the strength of social conservatism, as evidenced by Prop 8's passage in California.

(In the end, it didn't really matter, as they just wanted to talk about conservatism on college campuses.)

Specifically, as prompted by this point from the aforementioned Wise Man, I wanted to talk about Mormonism's inclusion in the broader coalition of socially conservative Christians:
given the demographic change that now favours the Democratic Party and certainly the voting in California on Prop 8 bore this out--young people voted overwhelmingly against it--and seeing the excellent cooperation between Catholics, Evangelicals and Mormons--isn't now the time to embrace Mormons who are bucking the demographic trend (largest families amongst Christian denominations in America) into the Conservative alliance
Indeed, this may be the silver lining to the cloud of persecution facing Mormons post-Prop 8. There is no question that members of the Church of Jesus Christ played a lead role in GOTV in favor of Prop 8 and that they also funded much of the Yes on 8 ad campaign.

Members of other Christian faiths witnessed Mormons' efforts first-hand and have seen the persecution these efforts brought in the wake of Prop 8's passage.

A recent press release from the LDS church notes the common cause coalition being built by the fight for traditional marriage. Michael Barber, Professor at John Paul the Great Catholic University:
As a Catholic school, we stand beside our friends in the Mormon Church and of people of faith who work tirelessly to preserve the freedom of religion in America. We also strongly oppose any attempt to ridicule another person’s faith, even faiths with which we have strong historical and theological disagreements."
This is the key point: theological differences ought to be put aside in favor of a partnership in defense of common goals and values.

Mormons can and should make common cause with other faiths on issues regarding life (abortion, stem-cell research, assisted suicide, etc.), family (marriage, divorce, adoption, etc.) and other issues without having to get into debates about theological questions.

Chuck Colson, The Christian Post:
Two days after the election, 2,000 homosexual protesters surrounded a Mormon temple in Los Angeles chanting 'Mormon scum.' Protesters picketed Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, holding signs reading 'Purpose-Driven Hate.' Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills was spray painted. Church members' cars have been vandalized, and at least two Christians were assaulted. Protesters even hurled racial epithets at African-Americans because African-Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of traditional marriage. What hypocrisy from those who spend all of their time preaching tolerance to the rest of us!
Apart from highlighting the hipocrisy of the tolerance crowd, this comment groups together 3 churches which never would have found themselves on the same side of any question prior to Prop 8. Calvary Chapel and Saddleback Church have typically been critical of Mormonism, but on marriage, they agree.

Again, this is where the focus should be.

Rod Dreher, Beliefnet.com:
Now is the time for traditional Christians -- Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox -- to come to the aid of our Mormon friends. They put themselves on the front line of the traditional marriage battle like no other church group. And now individual Mormons are paying a terrible price for standing up for something we all believe in. I don't know how we can stand with them from afar, but at least we can thank them, and speak out when we see them being abused. We might also think again about how we view them. … I have deep disagreements with Mormon theology. But they are our friends and allies and fellow citizens, and they deserve our thanks and support.
This is the time. On the most important questions that face American families (especially from a socially conservative, religious perspective), Mormons and "traditional" Christians see eye-to-eye.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.