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Should we ever block a child from receiving Christ’s love?

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Last Friday, the Mormon Church took a not so surprisingly strong stance against gay marriage; banning the children with gay and lesbian (do you have to say that?  Gay and lesbian?  Or does gay cover both?) from being baptized, going on missions or receiving blessings.

Like many people here, both members and non-members of the LDS faith, this decision made me angry and more than a little heartbroken.  I lashed out, and posted some smart assed things on social media that didn’t come from a place of loving kindness, but never once did I say why exactly I was angry, and it has nothing to do with homosexuality.

Morality, Ethics and Chivalry are becoming more and more antiquated concepts.  They aren’t being taught in schools, and it would appear that they aren’t being taught in the home either.  Chivalry has been so forgotten it is often either perceived as flirting or an insult on a woman’s feminine power.  Call a woman ‘ma’am’ and you will see what I mean.   If you mention Utilitarianism or the Categorical Imperative to people, you will probably get the deer in the headlights look, let alone the theories behind deontological or virtue ethics.  The questions of what actions are right or wrong, or how we can possibly expand our moral capacity are incredibly important, yet often ignored.

This is where religion is supposed to come into play.  Religions are supposed to be a light to show us the way to transcend our base humanity, and grow into something more.

The Buddhist population of the world, coming in at 7%, is a third of what the Mormon population’s 21%.  To put this in perspective, right now I am a Zen monk living in a city without a Zen temple.  I’m a Ronin.  I don’t expect my Mormon brothers and sisters to know what this is like.  The LDS church is growing faster than ever.  Of the 74% of people in Salt Lake City who label themselves as religious, 60% of them are Mormon.  Less than .5% of Salt Lake City is Buddhist.

Buddhism, my religion, is dying.  If it were a character on Star Trek, it would be wearing the Red Shirt, and taking point.  Unless something drastically changes, within another 5-7 generations it will be gone.  Much of this has to do with the Chinese government and its oppression of Buddhist worldwide.  The Panchen Lama, who is the youngest political prisoner in the world, being abducted when he was six years old, and being held in captivity for over twenty years without any confirmation of his wellbeing, is more than likely dead.  The Dalai Lama has stated several times that he will probably be the last, and I fear that once he is gone, the remaining hopes for the Tibetan people will go with him.

There are many places in the world where it is illegal and dangerous to practice Buddhism. Monks and Nuns are being killed every day, so to tell someone, especially a child, that they can’t worship feels inherently wrong to me (not as wrong as making that child disavow their family in order to worship, which the new LDS policy demands, but it’s pretty close).  I will fight for a person’s right to worship their faith, even if their faith is different from my own.

I was excommunicated from the Mormon Church when I was 17 at arguably the worst time of my life.  I have seen family and friends be excommunicated at the times when they needed their faith the most.  I disagree with this practice, and hope no one ever has to go the pain of being abandoned by those same people who taught you about Jesus’ unconditional love.

Remember that song, Jesus wants me for a sunbeam?  Don’t take away Jesus’ sunbeams.

Isn’t it hard enough to get our children to follow a spiritual path without placing additional obstacles in front of them?  What lesson are we truly teaching them with this new policy?  Kids have enough things in their lives telling them how they’re never going to be good enough, how they won’t be accepted, and how everything is out to get them without them hearing it at church too.

There’s a rumor going around that when Jesus comes back for the second time, he’s not going to exactly be a happy camper.  When organized religions, especially the ‘one true church’ pulls stunts like this, which leave half of its members scratching their heads, maybe it’s time we examine why the ways some people choose to express their love and joy for each other, freaks the homo-bigots (it’s not a phobia) out so badly.

 

Sources: Democraphics.org/utah

2 comments

  1. Linda Alder

    Amen.

  2. Phoenix

    This is a great write-up, Darren.

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