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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 16, 2008 at 3:39 PM

Gay marriage ban

The Associated Press

Demonstrators march on the Mormon Temple in New York to speak out against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for its role in the passage of California’s anti-gay Proposition 8, Wednesday.p>

What about freedom of religion?

Editor, The Times:

I am Mormon. And as such, I am sad and worried about the recent news of hatred and protests aimed at my church and our sacred temples around the country due to the passing of Proposition 102 in Arizona and Proposition 8 in California [“Young, wired and rallying for gay rights,” Times, News, Nov. 14].

Can you imagine if Muslims were kept out of their mosques, Jews were barred from entering their synagogues or Buddhists were kept from entering their Temples due to protesters? There would be justifiable outrage and meltdown.

And imagine the explosion of fury there would be if Christians banded together and hatefully protested and disrupted gays and lesbians during a gay-pride parade?

And now we hear of an attack on an innocent church in Michigan. What is going on here? Where is the Justice Department? Or our state and local governments?

I take the slanderous signs and chants personally. I think it is safe to say that faithful LDS [Latter Day Saints], as well as other faithful Christians never teach hate. We believe in Christ. We believe that all human beings are children of God and deserve respect and the love of God. We believe that the marriage of a man and a woman is ordained by God, and has been from the beginning of time.

Am I wrong to think that if gay unions become part of the legal definition of marriage and a civil right, that churches would eventually face harsh treatment by government and the courts when bishops or pastors refuse to perform alternative marriages in their chapels? Or when we teach our beliefs on marriage to our own children in conflict with public schools who would be required to teach alternative marriages in schools as mainstream? Or should we sit back and wait until churches lose tax-free protections for not complying with some new court-imposed civil right?

This is not an issue of gay rights. It is an issue of culture, tradition and faith for the vast majority of Americans vs. an attempt by a minority to create special civil rights for themselves. And these special civil-rights laws, if upheldby misguided judges who legislate from the bench, would surely be destructive to our present constitutional right to freedom of religion and will begin the corruption of a principle we hold sacred.

— Steve Dockstader, Coolidge, Ariz.

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