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A Powerful Look at the Cardinal Virtue of Church-State Separation
on November 15, 2012
Utah has the highest teen suicide rate. But why? Isn't it forbidden by the bible? Well, no; Samson's suicide is generally held up as a laudable event. The bible even clearly states that god granted him superhuman strength during his final moments. Therefore, god approves of suicide (at least if you take out several thousand of his enemies simultaneously). By extension, the bible gives Christians no reasons to oppose suicide bombing.
The tragedy behind Utah's youth suicide rate is quite simple once you learn that the majority of the state is Mormon. It is also profoundly and undeniably tragic. Under Mormon teachings, being gay is second only to murder under their collection of "sins." The threat of hell is certainly no match for the oppression, "reparative" therapies and condemnation from pulpits and parents alike. And yet the Mormon hierarchies aren't satisfied with tormenting those who were unfortunate enough to live in their state. They funded and supplied countless volunteers to pass Proposition 8 back in 2008. Needless to say, the pool of Mormon sheep blackmailed with excommunication amounted to tens of thousands of flyer-distributors, yellers and election-day "advisors." As anyone well-versed in political science is well aware, dedicated (or in this case, at least partially-coerced) volunteers can run circles around a smaller but more well-funded opposition.
Families sacrificed their childrens' college funds, retirement funds, and whatever else was demanded of them by comfortable, affluent and above all lazy clergy. And for what? For holding back social justice, compassion and understanding for a few years until the Judge Walker of California's district court declared it unconstitutional. Are the families going to receive aid from their conservative leaders who fleeced them of so much money? I highly doubt it. Utah will be profoundly dependent on the government teat (i.e. welfare) for the near future. So much for right-wing conservatism and personal responsibility. This was religious blackmail at its most pernicious.
Or consider this - convicted mass murderers on death row and sex offenders can marry the person of their choice, but gays and lesbians cannot. That likens them to slaves in the Antebellum South, who were not allowed to marry. Like the emancipated African Americans before them, members of the LGBT community gathered in throngs to get married. To equate them to slaves and imply that they are worse than murderers is both profoundly callous and bigoted. Such discriminatory laws have no place in secular societies.
By sticking its unwanted neck into the public sphere, the Mormon community unequivocably and unforgivably violated the first amendment of the US Constitution. There can be no freedom of religion without freedom FROM religion. The Mormons would no doubt throw childish hissy fits if their tax-exempt status was revoked and they were held accountable for their pernicious actions in shoving their baseless religious beliefs on the rest of California. Yet that would only be fair. There should be no governmental representation without taxation. This guiding axiom of democracy must work both ways for healthy societies to function and thrive.
I am ecstatic that NOM is now under investigation for violating the US tax code. Justice for them, and the rest of society, is past its due date, but better late than never. Hiding financial figures and the names of one's donors is a clear sign of guilt (or at the least, a profound fear of embarrassment). As the recent 2012 referenda showed, it is only a matter of time before social justice spreads across the developed world. Religion cannot stop it, and their efforts to try only make things worse for us all (how many foster children could have been helped by the money thrown down the toilet on Proposition 8?).
I would highly recommend Marriage On Trial's re-enactment of the Prop 8 Trial to see just how flimsy and unsupported the case against marriage equality is. Black, Cowan and Greenstreet deserve our respect and admiration for bringing these clandestine truths to light.