Saturday, January 20, 2007

At Sundance

I’m putting off a post on faith and gays and so I’ll just post on a film about faith and gays conveniently highlighted in today’s paper.

This may be something those ‘round here may want to see:

For the Bible Tells Me So

Documentary shows how the Bible's verses have been used to justify discrimination - and how modern conservatives use the Good Book to lambaste gays

Tribune article about it: Here

Sundance Screening:
Sunday, 8:30 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema II, Park City
Monday, 12:15 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema III, Park City
Tuesday, 6:45 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinemas V, Salt Lake City
Thursday, 2:30 p.m., Library Center Theatre, Park City
Friday, 11:30 p.m., Holiday Village Cinema II, Park City

It’s funded by Bruce Bastian, a man, from the slim interactions we’ve had, I respect. I do worry though, and this is just my nature, about a film like this. I worry I’d come away upset at those on my side (though, not as much as at the other side if the film’s point were to show why we should kill gays ;-)). I mean, there’s nothing shocking in the article. Leviticus is easy; why no mention of Romans?

I just hope it’s a thorough piece, as an argument that makes a straw man of an opponent’s only temporarily changes the minds of fence sitters and entrenches the rest. Hard to do though, I know, as it’s too easy to underestimate the sophistication of those who’d do you harm. No, it’s much more comforting to think of them as ignorant barbarians, right? ;-)

FYI, not in the online version of the article is the email to which it refers. I’ll retype it as it’s confusing other wise and it is moving.

"Last week I bought a gun. Yesterday I wrote the note. But last night I happened to turn on your show and just knowing that someday I might be able to go back into my church, I threw the gun in the river. My mom never has to know.”

Motivation enough, to be sure; I’d just like to see the end result.

6 comments:

-L- said...

SLT: Abominations, Keene explained, are not "intrinsically evil or immoral"; they are the actions that were considered "unclean" or "un-Jewish" at the time when the Hebrew people were trying to build a nation and procreation - requiring sex between a man and a woman - was paramount.

Much of the Law of Moses can be explained as temporally helpful through modern understanding of sanitation or other public health principles. I think this quote is interesting as it makes a distinction between what God commands for apparently logistical reasons vs. what he commands for "moral" ones. I think the separation isn't a very good one. Presumably God has reasons for everything he asks (although sometimes it is merely to test and try), and acting against his will is never morally neutral regardless of temporal consequences.

The point is, from a Mormon point of view, God's interest in procreation among his followers didn't end with the law of Moses, and neither did his prohibition of gay sex.

Very interesting article. Maybe this flick will be a future book club selection? :-)

kittywaymo said...

I agree with L. I am jewish, mormon from NY. I speak yiddish... I can site all 614 mitzvots, my dad was a jewish rabbi...

However... The Proclamation of the Family and the LDS Church prophets, apostles and leaders have said the following:

1. Gender is eternal
2. Man and Woman=family can be eternal
3. Homosexuality and any form of sex outside marriage between man and woman is forbidden.

I feel it is alot like a friend of mine who loves women.. young women! He is LDS, stays faithful to his wife (he's a colleague of mine) and says he goes to a lds 12 step program for "sex addiction".

We all make "sacrifices" with a disciplined life that has proven, at least for me in my past, to bring true, lasting happiness.

Question: do you think following the endocrinological impulse of the moment yields lasting happiness, or if forbidden by God's law is it worth throwing away for some, children and a wife? Or one's physical health with the AIDS crisis (Africa) STD's, broken homes etc?

I don't mean to be so preachy. It's just that I'm always amazed that people seemed "shocked" that God forbids homosexual behavior from His adherents.. This is old news... at least to me as a jew/mormon:)

Scot said...

L:
Much of the Law...temporal consequences.

I doesn’t seem to me he’d disagree with you. He’s saying back then being gay was wrong; today it isn’t. I mean, you made the same sort of distinction in saying back then it was good for the people to murder the Canaanite children, and today it’d be wrong. Consider the slavery, the exile of people who had sex at the wrong time of menstruation, and so on… or the death penalty for those who worship other gods, witches, those who work on the Sabbath (We’re told Mosses directly has a gentile, who happened to have the misfortune of being caught in their path gathering sticks on the wrong day, killed for this), and so on. Not that I’d anticipate feeling much deference for the film’s goal as a whole, but, as far as the OT goes, it’s just not easy or compelling with such a track record to use it in making moral dictates today when so many are ignored, and rightly so.

The point is, from a Mormon point of view, God's interest in procreation among his followers didn't end with the law of Moses, and neither did his prohibition of gay sex.”

No, not from a current Mormon point of view. Still, gay sex doesn’t stop procreation. I know many children who’d never have had life if not for the gay relationships of the people raising them, and many more who’d be in foster homes through most their youth, some who would never have had parents. It should also be pointed out that the prohibition did change, at least in severity as society civilized… unless, that is, I should really worry if we ever met and send you through a metal detector ;-).

But with faith you let in all sorts of views that need no proof. Some think God made them gay to be in gay relationships. They know it as certainly as they know anything, maybe more certainly and deeply than you know what you believe. Some, gay and straight, feel they’re never meant to have children, made as many other creatures are made, to never procreate but help, like worker bees. Some feel they’re here to help raise the children of those who procreate irresponsibly. God tells many people many things, and through many means, and saying “but that’s not God” sounds just as hollow and wrong to them as it would to you or me.

All things really are possible with God, even an eventual change in the LDS position.

"Very interesting article. Maybe this flick will be a future book club selection? :-)"

Please, no. I hate arguing with both camps at once. ;-)

Scot said...

Kitty: (more sensitive eyes may wish to just skip this, as I’m feeling a bit more license to be blunt…)

However... The Proclamation of the Family and the LDS Church prophets, apostles and leaders have said the following:

They certainly have made that proclamation. As I replied to L, Moses supposedly made some proclamations too. In fact, in my genealogy I have LDS Man + Woman + Woman + Woman = eternal family.

I’m near sure what I see as the actual weight of the notion of family, that found in the dedication, sacrifice, love and so on, not in the shape and biological function of the sex organs given to members by nature, will win out. For now though, there’s nothing to do but disagree.

"I feel it is alot like a friend of mine who loves women.. young women! He is LDS, stays faithful to his wife (he's a colleague of mine) and says he goes to a lds 12 step program for "sex addiction". "

Clearly, you’re trying to be polite, and I do appreciate that (and then comes the ‘but’). But, if one can go by your avatar, you’re a female? Heterosexual? If so, then I have the same sexual orientation you do. The fact that, in a man, you think that’s a lot like “sex addiction”, and to “young women” should raise red flags in yourself. Furthermore, the fact that you focus in on sex, from my end, conveys something about your mind, rightly or wrongly, which you probably don’t wish others to be thinking. I mean, just consider how it would be to have your attraction to men and disinterest in women in that way (sure, presuming here), treated the way in which you seem to treat the same in other people, for their anatomy.

I also hope the irony is not lost in the fact that a prohibition on sex with “young women” is not much of an issue at all in any religious text I can think of. It’s more of a modern moral discovery that adult men should not take advantage of young women, marriage or no. In fact, a well known LDS leader, an adult man, seems to have had multiple wives and some of quite young age, around 14. It just seems like a problematic connection for you to make.

We all make "sacrifices" with a disciplined life that has proven, at least for me in my past, to bring true, lasting happiness.

We sure do. When I made this post I was procrastinating posting on this same topic for fear it could be rude. But now it seems eerily appropriate by coincidence, and I’ll soon put it up.

"Question: do you think following the endocrinological impulse of the moment yields lasting happiness, or if forbidden by God's law is it worth throwing away for some, children and a wife? "

I’m unclear on what you’re asking here, but I do find it ironic, nonetheless, that I’d have those words about straw men in this same post.

Anyway, my family has been reduced to “following the endocrinological impulse of the moment”? I guess that’s sex again? Is the question then do I think sex gives lasting happiness? I’d say no. That’s measured in minuets, and only useful, to me, as a tool for building something bigger.

Is it worth not having children? For me, no; our kids make our lives. For others, though, it may be. But it need not be a problem for any couple, gay or straight, just as it’s not for a man choosing to marry a woman he knows is infertile. In fact, I’d say some of the best parents I know are infertile couples; they’re abnormally grateful.

Is it worth not having a wife? Well that’s the issue, isn’t it? :-) I love many women dearly, but I’d value having a wife as much as you would. In fact, to me, it feels aberrant and wrong, the idea of coupling with a woman in such a way. I’m grateful though to be able to see past that visceral moral reaction for other couples.

Or maybe the question is: Do I think following sexual orientation would be worth receiving a severe eternal punishment? I’d say no to that too. The pleasures and punishments promised by most all religions beat anything you can get in the real world; that’s a great deal of how we get people to do what we want.

Or one's physical health with the AIDS crisis (Africa) STD's, broken homes etc?

The way I read it, you seem you’d not be too against my family being dismantled, and so I’d not be preaching about gays who think they should marry women for some promised eternal reward, and then later follow their orientation. But on that topic, no, I would not encourage any persons to split their families for “endocrinological impulse”.

As for the rest, about Africa's AIDS crisis, Kitty, please, I hope that was a rhetorical question.

Now, I hate to go here but here you went. If I had to bet my life on it, I’d bet you, with your sexual history have been more prone to spread and contract disease than I ever have with anything sexual I’ve ever done. Fortunately, I am not forced to be so presumptuous about you, personally, but, if I was forced, I’d have to go on the odds associated with typical heterosexual intercourse, even within marriage. Though I’d not, could I reasonably ask the same question of you, and wonder if the spread of such death and disease is worth following your “endocrinological impulse of the moment”, to you? I suppose, we could now get rid of sex all together and inseminate artificially, only after rigorous tests.

"I don't mean to be so preachy. It's just that I'm always amazed that people seemed "shocked" that God forbids homosexual behavior from His adherents.. This is old news... at least to me as a jew/mormon:)"

Sadly, who’s shocked or “shocked”, here or in the article (other than the poor guy who endured electroshock conversion therapy for such ideas of morality)? I wish I could still be similarly amazed at what some think God wants them to do to their neighbors.

santorio said...

bruce bastian? hey, i think i went to high school with him. sort of a nerdy guy in the school band, as i recall, then made a bunch of money with wordperfect or some such thing?

and scot, great rebuttal.

Scot said...

Yep, that’s the guy, santorio (but I'm not calling him nerdy :-)). He has the annual Human Right Campaign dinner at his home… I should have gone in to software development.

And thank you.