Hate the Sinner, Love the Choice

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Mormons with a liberal outlook on life have come to a point where they can hate the sin, but love the choice.

For example, many liberal Mormons do not support homosexual sex, but support gay marriage. Many do not support abortion, but support a woman?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s right to choose. Many do not support tobacco consumption, but support the freedom for others to purchase tobacco. The list goes one.

Why do others who are not so liberal not make this distinction? Why do they see support for the choice to perform an action the same as support for the action?

21 thoughts on “Hate the Sinner, Love the Choice

  1. Perhaps it is because they believe it facilitates the wrong choice, like drug legalization. It is hard to know where to draw the line.

  2. “they believe it facilitates the wrong choice”

    If this is the case, it makes no sense to me. Why would members of a Church that extols the virtue of agency prefer to force someone to make a “right choice” by making the “wrong choice” illegal?

  3. What about supporting the choice to commit murder?

    Ah, you see? There’s the rub: you are falling into the typical liberal trap of characterizing religious objection to abortion as having anything at all to do with choice. People who oppose abortion do so out of a concern for the life of the baby and often believe that abortion is the same as murder, since the baby is a person too (in the eyes of pro-lifers). In other words, no matter how NARAL, NOW, or Planned Parenthood try to characterize pro-lifers, it doesn’t change the fact that “choice” for pro-lifers is a distraction to the real question: does abortion kill a human being? If it does, then “choice” is irrelevant, just like in the case of murder. Sure, you are free to choose to murder someone, but even liberals, although opposed to the just consequences of the murder (i.e. the death penalty), still wouldn’t say simply “oh, they have freedom of choice to murder someone, so although I personally don’t murder or support murder, I support their ‘choice’.” Instead, murder is outlawed, regardless of whether someone can choose to murder or not.

  4. I think some choices are already made. First of all, the choice to abort is not in a person’s hand, as they are not the one who has given that baby life. Heavenly Father has. The same with murder. Murder is wrong because it is not the right of any person to take the life of another, who has not given that person life. Being a parent doesn’t give me the right to take my children’s life because they are not implicitly mine. They belong first to God, and I am here to fulfill a responsibility to them and to be able to report that I did my best.

    I consider myself somewhat liberal, but I cannot support gay marriage (and I know not all agree with me on this, and it was a hard decision to come to) because marriage is supposed to be eternal and although it is not, in these days, always religious, it originally was, and that marriage is also in the realm of God. Whether or not that is in actuality, it is what it is SUPPOSED to be. I cannot support abortion, because I believe the choice has been made, number one, and second, the child’s right to life is being taken away. Which is more important? The right to life I believe is more important than the right to take life.

    I support the right of a person to purchase tobacco, but I do not support that person’s right to smoke in my house or in my face and compromise my health and that of my baby and my other children.

    Why is it, that we are so afraid of being politically incorrect that we are willing to allow anyone to do whatever they want, no matter the consequences? When someone exercises these so-called “rights” someone else’s rights are being eroded. Often, fatally. So whose rights are more important?

  5. In my view, it is our right and obligation to support things that will enhance our society and the world and to oppose those things that do not.

    The other “liberal trap” is that making something illegal in some way takes away the right to choose. God has told us all of the things that are eternally “illegal” but that does not limit our right to choose those things.

  6. There is a difference however, Russ.

    For example, in some societies, it is illegal to speak out against the government. That, however, will not necessarily keep you out of the celestial kingdom. You cannot absolutely equate things against society’s laws with being against God’s laws.

  7. Kim, this returns us to the core of what pro-lifers are saying. If I understand them correctly, they are for the most part focusing on the fact that a baby is a person and that killing it is the same as killing a person, to wit: murder. Thus, pro-lifers are not trying to suppress “choice” at all, or keep women down, or anything of the sort (which is how NOW, NARAL, and PP routinely portray the pro-life camp). Rather, “choice” truly is a smokescreen designed to obscure the real core of the question: are babies people too such that killing them constitutes murder. The implications of this question are far too drastic to ignore or to subordinate to soundbites about “choice.”

    As to other issues besides abortion, perhaps you are right that gay marriage should be seen on the same level as smoking tobacco–I’m not sure about it myself. I noted at numerous places in the Bloggernacle that I would personally never have supported a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as between a man and a woman if it had not been for that First Presidency announcement last fall. But, I am willing to support the Church in this as well, if the Church finds a constitutional amendment necessary (though, to be fair, the First Presidency announced that the Church was in favor of an amendment and not of any particular amendment that was floating around the different US states at election time). As to tobacco, I fully agree with you that people should have the choice to use or not. Of course, if the tobacco industry is committing fraud, then that is a legitimate concern for society and one worthy of government action/oversight.

  8. Kim,

    The question is never about choice — the question is about consequences. We all have freedom of choice as a gift from God and integral part of our probationary state, but freedom from consequences (both temporal and eternal) is another thing.

    As for the abortion example: The abortion sides would be more appropriately labeled “pro-consequence” for those who oppose abortions and “anti-consequence” for abortion supporters.

  9. Kim,
    In most of the contries that have laws like that the laws are not made by the will of the people. As we know, it is when the voice of the people choose wickedness that the society is ripe for distruction.

  10. Geoff, it does seem to be about choice. If someone is unable to make the choice (whether abortion, buying alcohol, gay marriage, hoarding arms, or whatever) because the choice is illegal, then true agency does not exist.

    Consequence is a natural result of choice; it does not exist as an alternative to choice. It is important to realise that consequences are objective. There are not just negative consequences. Consequences are neither negative or positive; they just are.

    Russ, that was a single example. The point is not whether some countries have laws chosen democratically or not. The point is that some laws exist that do not affect our placement in the afterlife.

  11. Kim wrote Geoff, it does seem to be about choice. If someone is unable to make the choice (whether abortion, buying alcohol, gay marriage, hoarding arms, or whatever) because the choice is illegal, then true agency does not exist.Kim, you haven’t addressed the idea that choice is only a distraction on the question of abortion that obscures the real question: does it kill a human being or not. If it does kill a human being, then how do you get around the murder comparison as it relates to “choice.”

  12. “If someone is unable to make the choice (whether abortion, buying alcohol, gay marriage, hoarding arms, or whatever) because the choice is illegal, then true agency does not exist.”

    Man I gotta move to Canada. They can’t choose to do illegal things up there! Down here people still choose to murder and steal and whatnot even though it is against the law.

    Ok, forgive a little sarcasm… It gets back to the point. The abortion and other similar questions are not about choice but about consequences. They are about whether said choices ought to be legal or not. (For instance, people could freely choose to have abortions whether they were legal or not.)

  13. “you haven’t addressed the idea that choice is only a distraction on the question of abortion that obscures the real question: does it kill a human being or not.”

    That’s because that question ignores the point of the post. The post is not an abortion post, and that question only addresses one issue. The same question cannot be applied to all issues where liberal Mormons argue a support for choice but a distaste for the action.

  14. some laws exist that do not affect our placement in the afterlife.I don’t disagree. Some of these law are there to prevent other problems which will affect the afterlife. Take homosexual marriage (since you brought it up.) The marriage itself does not affect the afterlife. The problem is that when we allow, and even facilitate, the disintegration of the family then we are preparing future generations for a fate like unto Sodom.

  15. “The problem is that when we allow, and even facilitate, the disintegration of the family then we are preparing future generations for a fate like unto Sodom.”

    I can see the reasoning behind this and can apply it to so many situations (divorce, extra-marital sex, and so on). However, even in these circumstances the individual’s position in the afterlife will not be affected if s/he has not had access to the gospel.

  16. To get back to the point of the original post, I think the discussion of whether something should be legal should be completely divorced from whether it is a sin.
    I think alcohol should be legal and heroin should be illegal. Both might be sins, but that is irrelevant to a policy discussion.
    I find people using religious reasons to bolster their policy arguments distasteful.
    –NFlanders

  17. I find people killing babies because it is “inconvenient” to have one, distasteful. Moral issues should be present in laws. To some degree at least. That’s why it is illegal for adults to have sex with children, etc etc. Without moral laws, which are mainly based in religion, we would have anarchy and the innocent would not be protected.

  18. I think we should distinguish between moral values and overtly religious values (even though there is a huge overlap). I find nothing distasteful about arguments regarding rights of the fetus, or even religious arguments in a context like this forum, but I don’t think religious considerations should be taken into account for public policy decisions. I do think morality should be taken in account, but not a specific religious morality.
    – NFlanders

  19. I would probably characterize myself as one of the liberals mentioned in the original post. I have always been a big fan of DC 134:

    “We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of cconscience… We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship• to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish bguilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.” (vs. 2,4)

    I interpret this as meaing that people get to (ideally speaking) think whatever they want, say whatever they and, as long as they aren’t hurting anybody else, do whatever they want.

    “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.” (v.9)

    I can understand when people are strongly against abortion when they believe that the fetus has a spirit and therefore is a person. But not everybody believes that. To other people it seems a bit outrageous too give what can be seen as an unborn parasite the same rights as the fully conscious mother.

    It’s true, it is a very sticky situation. It just seems that an awful lot of religious people seem to want to create new laws because they, quite frankly, lack convinction in their message (or at least their ability to convince others of it).

    If abortion is so wrong, show everybody with the most powerful arguments that you can muster why. But if your arguments simply don’t persuade said people, don’t try to force them into acting like you even if they don’t believe like you.

    I think it is good to fight for people’s freedom, just like we have (to a certain extent). I think it is far better to fight to defend somebody else freedom to be different that I am.

  20. but then what is a spcific religious morality compared to a strictly moral issue?

    and as far as arguing a point with good strong arguments, well you can do that and still have people who don’t follow or don’t want to. Usually it’s because they don’t want to. We have a tendency to deny the truth staring us in the faith.

    As I said before, when it comes to abortion, the reality is, the baby whether considered real or not, IS real. And though I can’t stop someone from aborting their baby and I won’t picket outside an abortion clinic or send hate mail to abortionists or pro-choicers, I know it is wrong because whenever life “begins” the potential is there, God has reserved this right to Himself to give and take life and therefore it is not in our realm of responsibility to take this from Him.

    My personal experience. I lost a baby when I was only 11.5 weeks pregnant (this was in 1996). He had actually died when I was 6 weeks pregnant. Many would not consider this to be a “real” baby or even foetus. However, I know, through personal revelation, that this baby was assigned a spirit and I will be able to raise him someday. I dreamt of him as a real live boy, not a nameless piece of tissue.

    Now, I am not saying that everyone should believe exactly this way, because we come to an understanding in our own times and ways, but I know, without being able to prove to anyone (and that doesn’t really matter, because like my testimony, I don’t need outside proof, the Spirit has borne clear witness of this to me) that my baby was real, even if he died at 6 weeks gestation. That’s my knowledge. Someone might feel justified in telling me I am an emotional mother who couldn’t let go of her baby, and no that is not true. But they would think that. Having miscarried and having been told that it wasn’t a “real” baby, I know it’s wrong. Right from conception I know babies are there. Bodies present or not, their spirits are fully formed.

    Nope, I can’t provide any substantial arguments to this fact, obviously. But it doesn’t matter really. We have to follow our convictions. And life, whether just begun or not, is life. Anyone who has been pregnant, even if they have aborted their child, knows this eventually. You just know it. You can’t help but know it. Even if you deny it.

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