It always amazes me when one can speak about justice, and in the same breath, deny justice to a group based on them simply being seen as “others.” Justin Tobin did exactly this in his opinion letter. When we look at his letter, it becomes clear that his objection is not on the grounds of justice, but on the grounds that homosexuals are not good enough. It is nothing more than a blatant attack on a group he considers to be “other.”
It is that same mentality that fueled a number of atrocities in our country, from slavery, to the Chinese Expulsion Act, to the interment of Japanese, many of which were American citizens. Each one of these acts was based on intolerance, and fear/hatred of the “other.” In this intolerance, justice is not upheld, but thrown out the window. We continue seeing just this with such acts of injustice as denying people the right to marry, simply because they are seen a different.
This injustice is often supported by ignorant statements, or purposely skewed research, which is heavily biased. Case in point, Tobin claims that “same-sex marriages has a profoundly negative impact on the welfare of children.” It is true that you can find such research; however, it usually disagrees with the majority of research that is done. In this case, study after study shows that same-sex parents are good parents, and raise well-adjusted children. This is something that Child Welfare League of America, the National Adoption Center, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association agree with. Sure, one can find organizations that disagree; however, that disagreement usually stems from the idea that there is something wrong with homosexuals. Simply, it is based on intolerance.
In the end though, Proposition 8 was an unjust law, that barely passed in the first place. Throughout history, we have seen many unjust laws get past; however, it is not something that we should stand for. To try to make certain individuals second class citizens, simply because they are seen as different has nothing to do with justice, and everything to do with hatred and fear. We should be glad that we have judges who have a moral obligation to try to rectify various injustices, and we should hope that continues. We, as a country, do not need to repeat the injustice we have seen in our history.
It is not surprising that one finds a pastor who is so afraid of what he does not understand. People fear the unknown, as well as that which is different. Pastor Steven Andrews is no exception. In his discussion regarding Mormons, we see a fear peak through. But more so, he is trying cause his readers to also fear a group that is highly misunderstood.
However, this is not new to Mormons, or Mitt Romney either. Romney has seen quite a bit of resistance from evangelical Christians. This has included even the denial that Mormons are Christians at all. Yet, when we examine these arguments and ideas against Mormons, such as that from Andrews, what we find is ignorance and fear. One could even say that there is an amount of hatred attached to this as well.
Andrews specifically has drawn up a list that he calls “Five Mormon Cult Errors.” The name of this list in itself shows a fear and or hatred. Andrews tactic of sinking to degrading another belief form by calling it a cult shows lack of want to understand this differing idea. In the end, it does nothing but hurt Christianity as a whole, as it paints Christians as intolerant to other views.
Looking at his list, we also see an ignorance, or possibly even purposeful misrepresentation of Mormonism. This list begins with the claim that Mormons deny God. To put it simply, this is a ridiculous claim that shows what I would call a purposeful misrepresentation of Mormonism. For anyone who has had contact with a Mormon, one will see that they believe in and worship God. In order to suggest otherwise, one would have to turn a blind eye to the nearly everything that Mormonism teaches.
The second item in the list is that Mormons preach a different Gospel. Andrews uses Galatians 1:9 (But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached, let him be accursed) to try to show what the Mormons are in wrong. Now, it is true that the Mormons do have extra scripture that they use. However, Andrews clearly is missing the point of what Paul means when he uses the term gospel. In Greek, the term gospel means good news. And when we look at the basic teachings of Mormonism, we see that they are in fact teaching the Christian idea of good news. And that centers on the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the salvation of sin through that. In addition, Mormons do use the Bible as well. They may have additional work, but that hardly constitutes one preaching a different gospel.
Moving to the third item, it is the claim that Mormons hide the cross. It is true that Mormon churches don’t have crosses on them, and that Mormons don’t wear crosses; however, many other Christians don’t either. For the Mormons, they see the cross as symbolizing that death and torture of Jesus, not his resurrection. This is an idea that is not foreign to other Christian denominations. To find a problem with such, even though Mormons accept that Jesus died on the cross, was resurrected, and offers us salvation, is imply ridiculous and only shows a prejudice.
The fourth item on the list is that Mormons supposedly have occult practices. Andrews cites the idea that Mormons have “magical” underwear that supposedly protects them. This shows once again that Andrews is either ignorant when concerning Mormonism, or more probable, he is purposely misrepresenting Mormonism. It is true that some Mormons where special undergarments, a Temple garment. However, this is not some sort of magical underwear. It is a symbolic reminder of the covenants made in the temple ceremony. It is an outward expression of an inward commitment. It is something that reminds the wearer of their commitment to Jesus, and it is a constant reminder. To call them magical is only a fearful and hateful tactic.
The final item of the list is that Mormons are anti-Christian, which is just illogical from the beginning. Mormons are Christians. They follow the basic ideas of Christianity. It is true they have differing ideas; however, that is part of what Christianity is. Christianity is an extremely diverse religion. To not realize that, and then place a very narrow minded view of Christianity as the only way (in which Andrews is effectively doing, and thus making him also anti-Christian to a point, at least by his definition), is nothing more than intolerance.
When it really comes down to it though, Andrews is doing nothing more than using fear in order to try to sway people’s beliefs. He belittles other Christians who do not agree with his narrow-minded view (such as claiming that both Romney and President Obama don’t follow God), and clearly shows an intolerant ignorance to so many differing ideas. That this hateful ideas are still being spread within Christianity does nothing more than taint the religion as a whole.
“When I was talking, I was speaking out of fear that I have for the church’s liberty and I was reaching for an analogy which was very inappropriate, for which I’m sorry,” as stated by Cardinal George. Fear is a great motivator. It causes many individuals to act or speak in ways that can cause profound damage. In this case, Cardinal George is not alone. There are many individuals who react in fear when the subject of homosexuality comes up. Yet, Cardinal George is a good sign of at least some progress.