Tuesday, November 11, 2008
A week ago today, California voted on Prop 8. By a 52% majority, it passed. On Wednesday, the day after Election Day, demonstrators gathered in front of the Los Angeles temple to protest the passage of the Proposition, and specifically identified the efforts of the Mormons as the reason it passed.
I couldn't resist the opportunity to go check it out. It was truly surreal. My friend, Zach, who was in the area, came and met me there. We went and stood right in the middle of the mass to get an up-close-and-personal view of what was happening. At first there were maybe 75-ish people gathered in front of the temple listening to some representative of a gay & lesbian organization give a speech about how unfair this was and how now that Obama was president, he was going to help change this, blah, blah. It was pretty weak, really. Not largely attended and rather quiet. We looked at each other and said, "This is it?" So, we turned to leave.
As we turned and faced east down Santa Monica Boulevard, we saw a mass of people coming our way—filling the four west-bound lanes of the street. An estimated 3,000 of them. They held signs with the most condemnatory language I've ever encountered. (And they say we are full of hate.) They waved gay pride flags. They chanted and screamed rude things about the Mormons and the things we hold most dear. (And they call us bigots.) They posted their signs on the gate to the temple and wrote "Liars" and "Bigots" on the walls. They told us to get out of California because this is their state. (And they say we are intolerant.)
One guy climbed up on the base of the light pole and screamed, "My fellow Americans..." He did the whole "give me liberty or give me death" thing, which kind of offended me to have Patrick Henry's noble declaration used in this context. He continued by proclaiming that this was why our Founding Fathers had created the Constitution, that this was what men have fought and died for—so that the gays could have the right to marry. I could not help but shake my head and say, "No sir, you've got it all wrong." (Luckily, only Zach was close enough to hear me.)
I'm continually shocked by how misconstrued the intents of the framers of the Constitution are by people who clearly do not know their history. They think that the Constitution was created so that the people of this country would be free to do whatever they want—to act on their basest desires, if they feel so driven. This could not be further from the truth!
The Founders advocated freedom of thought and belief, to be sure. But they frequently acknowledged the necessity of religion to influence government and moral ideals to directly shape the structure of our society.
George Washington: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens."
John Adams: "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Benjamin Franklin: "Virtuous Men ought to league together to strengthen the Interest of Virtue, in the World: and so strengthen themselves in Virtue."
The Founders created a Constitution which would allow all religions to stand on equal footing. But they also created one which would allow the religious-minded to do everything they could to perpetuate the morality of their society.
The outcome of Prop 8, my "tolerant" gay friend, is a perfect example of what the Founding Fathers intended. The vote was put to the people and the outcome was influenced by the "Pillars of human happiness." Barely.
Check out more pictures, taken by a good friend of mine, and get a behind-the-scenes look from the perspective of an LAPD officer. Also, see the Catholics come to our defense.