Then if we don’t ban them, they’ll infiltrate our schools…

My wife and I like to have nieces and nephews over for over-nighters whenever we have the chance. On one such occasion a year or so back, we took a batch of them to Liberty Park to play around on the Saturday evening. They splashed gleefully in the Seven Canyon’s fountain among the dozens of other kids. Suddenly the oldest neice, a rather impetuous girl perhaps seven years old at the time, suddenly froze. She pointed accusingly.

“Hey! They’re smoking!” She called out in her best tattling tone. “We’re not supposed to do that!”

I glanced over at the two women conversing about twenty yards away, holding their cigarettes. We smiled wryly at my niece’s lack of discretion. Reflecting upon the situation later, I should hardly have been surprised. This is the same niece who on an earlier trip to the park had seen a family celebrating a birthday, and had immediately gone and asked for a piece of cake. Nobody has ever accused her of timidity nor restraint.

While these offenders meandered along their way, I explained to my niece that while we don’t smoke, we also believe in free agency. People can choose to smoke. We need to respect their right to make those choices in public places.

Recently, my wife received one of those political email chain-letters which are often passed around in LDS circles. This one encouraged everyone to be active in promoting California Proposition 8. It contained a video created by the Family Research Council, talking about the insidious effects of normalizing homosexual marriage. The case was centered on a situation in Massachusetts. As part of diversity education, the video points out that elementary school children were presented stories revolving around married homosexuals or those courting to marry. The parents interviewed were aghast that elementary school children would be exposed to such ideas, and that this forced them to have conversations for which they did not feel the adolescents were prepared. The only thing missing was Helen Lovejoy wailing “Won’t somebody please think of the children!”

I don’t think it is necessary nor inevitable for schools to teach about homosexual families. But so what if they do? As I experienced with my niece, children are frequently exposed to ideas which run counter to the moral beliefs of their family. Many LDS familys uphold moral prohibitions on drinking coffee, tea, or alcohol, using tobacco, engaging in commercial or other everyday pursuits on the Sabbath, watching r-rated movies, Monday night activities, clothing styles, tattoos, etc; all of which are presented as acceptable by significant elements within society. At some point, we will be required explain to our children why we choose to believe or act differently than others in society. To expect everything about our communities and our schools to conform to our particular beliefs would be unreasonable. Do we have so little faith in the moral compass of our children? Despite several teachers in jr. high and high school (not to mention a grandfather) who treated coffee as perfectly acceptable, I’ve never touched the stuff. If I am doing my job as a parent, teaching my children to reason, to make righteous judgments, and to listen to the spirit, it doesn’t matter what the schools teach on important moral issues. And if I am not being an effective parent, no amount of prohibition, indoctrination, or censorship in the schools will keep them pure.

Our children will be exposed to the concept of homosexuality at some point in their childhood. Ultimately a family member will come out of the closet, or there will be homosexual couples in the community, or a peer will have homosexual parents. To use the fact that they might learn of it in school through a book as a reason to ban homosexual marriage is absurd.

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24 Responses to “Then if we don’t ban them, they’ll infiltrate our schools…”

  1. alliegator Says:

    My kids like to yell at people riding motorcycles without helmets. A has also been known to point out people smoking. We do the same as you- teach them that while we don’t smoke (or ride motorcycles without helmets) for such and such reason, other people have different beliefs and get to decide for themselves.

  2. Derek Staffanson Says:

    I should note that neither my niece nor your kids are doing anything out of the ordinary. It is a natural part of their cognitive development to try to externalize the norms they are taught. As they grow, with the help of their parents, they will learn to understand the nuances of our norms and rules, and how to balance that with agency.

  3. Prop 8 and Prohibition | KVNU's For The People Says:

    […] for thought, from Utah blogger A Liberal Mormon: Recently, my wife received one of those political email chain-letters which are often passed […]

  4. Thom Says:

    Today was our first parent-teacher conference with S’s kindergarten teacher. I found it interesting that one of the things she said was, “S is starting to understand that some things are right, and some things are wrong, and some things are in a gray area.” For some reason, five seems to young for this, but I’m pretty convinced that’s just because I have very poor recollection of my own childhood. S asks about why other kids are playing on the playground on Sunday or riding their bikes without helmets. She has not yet asked why one of the boys in her class has two mommies, but maybe that’s because SHE has two mommies–open adoption does that. Maybe instead she’ll ask why he has no daddy, and then we’ll explain the basics of homosexuality (as in, the parts that don’t include sex) and marriage.

    I can see why someone might respond that if we didn’t live in Massachusetts, we wouldn’t have this problem, but I have a cousin (living in Utah, no less) who’s a lesbian. Eventually, that will come out. I prefer to deal with it sooner, and incrementally, so that she matures into her understanding, rather than have it been a big surprise later or, more likely, something she learns about exclusively from her peers. (You know, like so many of us did with sex in general.)

  5. Aaron Orgill Says:

    On the other hand, to ban it because we don’t think it will be good for society and because the men we esteem as prophets have drawn a clear line is completely valid. I didn’t appreciate your comment several weeks ago suggesting that I blindly and “conveniently” came to the same conclusion as LDS leaders. There was nothing convenient about it. I agonized over it, but ultimately tried to look a little deeper at their motivations and the implications it has for us. The more I think about it, the more insulting I find it to groups who have really suffered that this has been made into some civil rights issue. I recently watched a documentary on the history of the KKK, and I just don’t believe that refusing to change the generally accepted definition of marriage is comparable to being enslaved, lynched, and treated like animals. It’s not the same ballpark, not the same league, not even the same sport.

  6. Mary Child Says:

    I’m somewhere between Derek and Aaron. Derek’s point is valid as far as the “threat” to our children if prop 8 fails. It doesn’t matter whether schools teach about homosexual marriage or not; our kids will be exposed to alternative lifestyles at some point, and I personally think that teaching our children to make wise moral choices in their own lives- while at the same time learning to respect the choices of others- is the bigger issue.

    I live in California, and after much inner turmoil and emotional wrestling have decided to vote for Prop 8. While I very much understand why people claim this to be a civil rights issue, I still think that marriage is a sacred institution that has historically been the unit under which children are nurtured. Of course gay people could be good parents, but in my heart, I think that kids should have access to both gendered parents, and prop 8 is not about preserving the legal rights of gay people.

    Even if prop 8 passes, the legal rights of gay people can and will be preserved under the domestic partnership laws (California Family Code 297.5) that were passed in 2007. These include making health care decisions for each other, tax privileges, access to family health insurance plans, sick leave, the right of either party to assume their partner’s surname, the right to request alimony after the dissolution of the partnership, community property rights, and access to all spousal insurance policies including life, auto, and homeowners… and MORE that are too boring/insignificant to bother writing about!

    The truth is, gay people are already legally protected in the State of California, and while I do feel that this is a free country in which all citizens are guaranteed to be treated equally under the law, re-defining what marriage is will not do anything more for gay residents of California than has already been done by domestic partnership laws. It will simply say that gay unions are the same as heterosexual marriages. But they’re not!

    Gay unions ARE DIFFERENT than heterosexual unions, for the simple biological fact that no children can naturally be born to two, monogamous gay people. Two gay people cannot procreate. They have every right to pursue their own course toward happiness, to commit to one another in civil unions, and to be treated respectfully, fairly, and equally by society and by the law. All of that can be accomplished without terming gay partners “married”.

    There are consequences in life for every decision, and choosing to pursue a gay lifestyle means forfeiting the opportunity of experiencing natural family life.

    I’m happy that I can go along with President Monson’s request guilt-free. It has taken me A LONG time to get here.

    And even still, I am repulsed by the many self-righteous, narrow-minded, and hypocritical LDS people who feel so “passionately” about this issue. Ever heard “he that is without sin may cast the first stone.”? The feelings of gay people are no less valid than the feelings of “faithful” LDS people, and it’s truly embarrassing to see the ignorance of so many members of the flock since this issue has surfaced. It made me realize that I need to work double-time in teaching my children the impotance of respect for all people, even “sinners”.

  7. Becky Says:

    I do not live in CA but I am in support of Prop 8. I saw the video you referenced in this post and I think that you kind of missed the point. In the video these parents in Massachusetts were supposed to be given opt-out notices from the school before there was any discussion of “same-sex relationship” issues. They were not given this notice before this book was presented to the child. They went to the school to discuss this with the teacher and were told that the administration did not feel that an opt-out notice was necessary in this case. When the father insisted that he wasn’t leaving until there was some resolution which included his parental rights being protected, the police were called and he was taken to jail.

    A few people have commented that it is our responsibility as parents to teach our children about homosexual relationships when and how we feel best. I completely and totally agree. These parents did not have that opportunity because the school didn’t feel it necessary to give them that option in that situation. I think it is naive of you say that these issues may not even come up in school. It has already happened in places where gay marriage is legal. The teachers union in CA has donated over 1 million dollars to the No on Prop 8 campaign. I don’t see what their motivation for that would have been if they didn’t have some personal stake in it. I have no problem with gay unions being protected through civil union/domestic partnership laws. I do believe that they deserve that protection. However, I have a right as a parent to be the one to explain those relationships to my children in my own way. I do not want my parental rights usurped by anyone, and I would be against anything that even hinted at that possibility.

  8. miles Says:

    My son saw a man smoking and coughing one day and looked at me and told me he was coughing because of the smoking. I laughed, as the mom in front of me said, “That’s what I was thinking.” I loved that he connected the idea that a health choice had negative consequences. Maybe education in the US isn’t dead.
    I want our kids exposed to lots of different families, kids and cultures. It will only help them see everyone as equals and learn how different families interact. They will be better able to serve others and learn from all the beautiful different people they will meet.
    I hope then my kids will make choices in their lives based on faith and knowledge.

  9. Don Says:

    It’s sad that you’ve rested your decision ostensibly on the biological fact that two gay people cannot “naturally” procreate. Are straight people required to prove their ability and/or desire to “naturally” procreate before being allowed to civilly marry? Why should gay people be held to a different and entirely arbitrary standard?

    Like it or not, “marriage” connotes a certain status in our society; “civil unions” just aren’t the same thing. If we arbitrarily withhold the term “marriage” from gay couples wishing to be legally married then we most certainly are treating them unfairly, disrespectfully and unequally.

    The simple truth is, with no apparent compelling state interest to deny it, gay people deserve equal access to the right to marry. I’m surprised that such specious arguments as marriage being a “sacred institution” (to you) and marriage being about the ability to “naturally” procreate have mollified your guilt in choosing to deny that equality.

  10. Mary Child Says:

    Don, the biggest thing that persuades me to vote yes on prop 8 is that I believe children deserve access to both gendered parents. I see my own children and the different ways they relate to me vs. my husband, and I think the influence of both parents are important in a child’s development.

    I don’t understand why gay people feel entitled to adopt or raise children, when it is biologically impossible for that to occur. If gay people were more willing to acccept the natural consequence of homosexuality- a childless existence- I might be more willing to compromise. But “marriage” is a term that has significance to the “family”. Something gay people cannot achieve without artificial assistance.

    I don’t view this as an “equality” issue. Gay sex cannot biologically produce a child; hetero sex can. There’s no equality there. Equal means same.

    The issue of “equality” arises when society defines how it TREATS people. And yes, all men are created equal, all men deserve to be TREATED the same. California’s laws DO treat gay civil unions EQUAL to marriage by the standards of the law. Both have THE SAME rights and privileges.

    I believe California’s laws right now are sufficient to protect the civil rights of all its citizens.

  11. Don Says:

    With all due respect Mary, because I know how you’ve struggled with this issue, you seem to have missed the point. Civil marriage is not incumbent upon whether or not sex between the married couple can biologically produce a child.

    Your premise that “children deserve access to both gendered parents” is irrelevant in the scope of allowing gay people equal access to the right to marry. The state currently takes no stand on this issue and that won’t change regardless of the outcome of Prop 8.

    If you truly feel that “civil unions” for gay people are equal to “marriage” for straight people then that’s fine. I, along with the CA Supreme Court and hopefully the majority of Californians, will respectfully disagree.

  12. Mary Child Says:

    Don, thank you for your responses, and truly, it has been a long process and debate in my own mind. I seem to go back and forth with my feelings, but ultimately, the biggest issue is that all men are created equally, and all people deserve the same rights, respects, and privileges in America. I absolutely believe that.

    My heart goes out to all gay people who feel discriminated against, shunned, and/or disrespected. I completely recognize the need for respect and tolerance within our society toward all people, and it’s something that as a mom, I feel it to be of paramount importance that I successfully teach my children respect for every human being.

    It’s just the whole “kid” issue that has finally persuaded me to support prop 8. I disagree that access to both gendered parents is irrelevant. I think that adoption agencies should be allowed to decide which families will be in the best interests of a child they place, and I am concerned that if gay marriage is legitimized, discrimination lawsuits could arise against agenices who refuse to place children in gay households.

    But Don, I KNOW that plenty of gay people out there would make MUCH better parents than half the population of straight people. It’s not that gay people couldn’t love, nurture, protect, and raise wonderful children, it’s that I think children who are missing a parent are being short-changed. I can’t control whether kids grow up in single parent households, or whether kids are abused by their straight parents, but to willingly and intentionally deny children a mom, or a dad, feels wrong to me. And it’s not based on any “moral” or “religious” perspective. It’s based on my own kids!

    My oldest son is a bit hypersensetive and clumsy (like his Mama), and without my husband’s perspective, I think I’d be overcompensating and exacerbating his issues. My son has a very unique relationship with each parent, and I do see the “feminine” influence vs. the “masculine” influence, and it seems to me that BOTH are so important to my son while he develops and learns about who he is. Same with my daughters. It’s hard for me to articulate, but I feel in my heart that to intentionally deny children a mom, or a dad, is wrong.

    I know that I am long-winded and I apologize for that! It’s just important to me that you understand where people like me are coming from. I realize that my logic may be flawed, but it’s the feeling of my heart that in an ideal world, kids deserve to grow up with both a mom and a dad. My “biological” arguments simply illustrate that without any outside forces, children can only exist as a result of the union between a mom and a dad. Why do we feel that we are entitled to tamper with nature? Perhaps its my background as a biology teacher, but I think that the consequences of choosing a gay lifestyle means choosing to be childless.

    And I really, truly do feel that civil unions for gay people are equal to marriage for straight people. They are different types of unions, with different “names”, but the laws and protections for both are the same.

    If prop 8 fails, however, there will still be a part of me that celebrates along with you! I will feel relief that so many people are willing to acknowledge the basic human need for acceptance and equal treatment within society. Perhaps being so torn on this issue is a plus for me: I can’t really be too disappointed on election day!

    I wish you well Don, and thanks for hearing me out!

  13. Amanda Says:

    Funny – I wrote about the exact same video on my blog. The book they were discussing didn’t say anything about homosexuality – all it said was that no matter what a child’s family makeup is, they need to be treated with respect. I think that’s a great lesson to be taught in school, no matter what you believe about homosexuality. If I thought homosexuality was wrong – and I don’t – I’d still want my kids to know that even though I don’t approve of a child’s parent’s relationship, it’s not that child’s fault, and we should never hurt him/her for it. That video was fear-mongering and it made me so sad.

  14. Carly Says:

    I appreciated this post. I too saw this video and couldn’t understand the outrage. I have two small children and I don’t have a problem at all with them being taught to be respectful of other people and the way they choose to live their lives. What I don’t want is for my children to be taught that it’s okay to judge people or that some people are less than others, which they are sometimes taught in more subtle ways. For example, I have a sister who has six kids. Her and her husband are very active Mormons. One day, my 15 year old nephew overheard my sister on the phone talking about how one of his teachers was a homosexual. He burst into tears because he really liked this teacher and this information really upset him. I thought it was one of the saddest things I’d ever seen, that my nephew felt that if his teacher was gay he could not have the same admiration and affection for him. My sister and her husband are good people. They are not hateful, and yet somewhere along the way, either in church or at home, this is what my nephew learned. I appreciate the fact that in public schools these days, children learn more about respect than we did when I was a child. No one is trying to teach them about homosexual sex. The lesson is about respect. Also, I think it’s always a good thing to talk to children about the reasons why we believe the things that we do. Discovering that other people do not always believe the same as we do is one of the best ways to start such a discussion. I really do not see where the threat is.

  15. Becky Says:

    Carly, the threat is when the schools begin to feel emboldened enough to take parents out of the equation completely. Everyone is talking about the importance of teaching our children the reasons why we believe what we believe, and teaching them to have respect for everyone. I completely agree. That is our responsibility as parents, not the responsibility of the schools. I believe this about any moral issue, not just homosexual relationships.

  16. Aaron Orgill Says:

    I am not sure the crying is a completely inappropriate response. It depends. Hopefully your nephew will learn to still appreciate his teacher for all the things he loves about him, but it is probably okay to be a little sad that someone has a lifestyle that we don’t believe leads to happiness. If it were only about teaching respect, I would like to think very few parents would object. (I would like to think that, but after stumbling across a blog or two in Utah County, my faith in people’s openmindedness may be misplaced). But Becky is right, why does it even need to be brought up in a public school? The subject should not be avoided, but neither should it be sought after.

  17. Carly Says:

    My nephew was not crying because he was concerned for his teacher’s happiness. He was crying because he had liked this teacher and when he found out he was gay, he felt that he could no longer like him. And my point is, where did he learn that? I know that my sister and her husband never explicitly told him he should dislike gay people, and yet, this is what he has learned. Why do so many gay children brought up in our church grow up hating themselves and wanting to commit suicide? When it comes to homosexuality, the attitude of most members is not respect, but rather disgust. There is a difference between what we say we feel about it, and how we actually feel about it. And I don’t think we consciously pass our attitudes to our children, but it still happens. They pick up on how we really feel. I think we need to be more concerned with the attitudes that we pass to our children that are not just damaging to others, but that can also be harmful to them. I think we say that we are teaching our children to be respectful, but we actually are not. And I think that it is evident by the fear that the stories in the video brought up for so many parents, that we are not comfortable unless are children are judging homosexuals as bad, and that is not being respectful. Respect means that we can believe something is a wrong choice for ourselves but that we do not need to judge others who may choose otherwise. It seems that is a hard line for most parents to walk and so they err on the side of being judgmental and disrespectful of homosexuals.
    But we are engendering fear and disrespect.

  18. Aaron Orgill Says:

    True, what we pass on subconsciously can be damaging, but I don’t think you’ll ever get rid of the “eeew” factor. For me, and for most straight man, the thought of sex with another man is disgusting, and I think we hate what we think of as “gross”. It is similar to the more subtle form of racism that exists today. Not many whites are burning crosses and forming lynch mobs, but because of whatever, whether it’s the gang problem in poor communities or the mindset perpetuated by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson (that does much more to damage race relations than help), there are many who might wince a bit when they pass a black man in the street or assume he is a little less intelligent, or on welfare. We need to consciously ask ourselves if we are believing stereotypes.

  19. alliegator Says:

    Mary- in an ideal world, I would agree that children should have a mother and a father who love them and take care of them.

    We don’t live in an ideal world, so we do the best with what we have. We have people who, somewhere in their biology, are attracted to others of the same sex. We have no idea why, only that it is the way it is.

    I’m not comfortable passing judgement on who is or is not capable of loving a child.

    I’m also uncomfortable telling others that they must abide by my religious beliefs.

    It seems the church is softening their position. Change comes slowly, but it does come.

  20. Derek Says:

    Becky, your comments about the opt-out may well be true, and I believe that could be a legitimate grievance. But that is not the point the video was making. The point of the FRC presentation, which I did not miss, was that the teaching about homosexual relationships was itself a negative consequence of legalization of homosexual marriage. You are wrong when you say that the parents did not have the opportunity to teach their children about homosexuality. In no way does the school’s program prevent you from teaching your children something different. It is a lie to say that schools are “taking parents out of the equation completely.” It is naive to expect that you’re children won’t get differing information from “the world,” including schools. Don’t be helpless. You can teach your children something different than the school should you feel the need to do so.

    Interesting you say that “Everyone is talking about the importance of teaching our children the reasons why we believe what we believe, and teaching them to have respect for everyone. I completely agree. That is our responsibility as parents, not the responsibility of the schools. I believe this about any moral issue, not just homosexual relationships.” A great many in the conservative community have denounced our educational system for supposedly removing the teaching of values from our schools. They claim that our schools should do more to teach patriotism, and “Christian values.”

  21. Becky Says:

    Derek, I never said that the parents did not have the opportunity to teach their children about homosexuality, even though I believe that the child referenced in the video was in kindergarten. What I am saying is that parents need the opportunity to decide if they are willing to let the school teach their child something about this aspect of “the world” with which they do not agree. Believe me, Derek, I am not helpless and you talking about my naiveté and helplessness is a little insulting. I am aware of my ability to teach my children, or re-teach, my children things that they learn every day. That is something I take very seriously. But if I don’t know these things are being taught to my children, there is no way that I can possibly counter that. My point was that in some situations I don’t think that the schools take the role of the parents seriously enough, and you are being a little naive if you don’t think that is the case.

    As for the “great many in the conservative community”, maybe you shouldn’t lump everyone together in that way and include myself in it. There is a wide variety of thought among people with conservative views, though you may not see much of that living in Utah. I am one conservative who believes that school is not the place to teach “Christian values” beyond your basic golden rule.

  22. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Becky, said that “A few people have commented that it is our responsibility as parents to teach our children about homosexual relationships when and how we feel best. I completely and totally agree. These parents did not have that opportunity because the school didn’t feel it necessary to give them that option in that situation,” which pretty clearly suggests that parents are robbed of their opportunity to teach their children about homosexuality. I’m glad you don’t feel helpless, because your arguments, and those of the FRC and other conservative groups fighting to restrict marriage, are implying that helplessness and cultivating such a naivete. For example, but stating that “if I don’t know these things are being taught to my children, there is no way that I can possibly counter that,” you are very much claiming some helplessness, being naive to the power of parents. Rejoice in that power! No matter what the world throws at your children, whether it is the unannounced teaching of diversity at schools or the very much unannounced teaching of unhealthy sexuality by peers in locker rooms, or any number of other teachings you disapprove of, your kids will be prepared if you have taught them.

    Whether or not you are one of those conservatives who believe in a stronger Christian presence in schools, it is a very strong movement among conservatives on a national level, with the FRC and Focus on the Family among the many prominent advocates. I’m glad you do not share their hypocrisy.

  23. Becky Says:

    Derek, I just went back and watched this video again to make sure my facts were correct. They were, this video is about a child in kindergarten, a child who is very far from learning about “unhealthy sexuality by peers in locker rooms”. I have a child this age so this is the place from where my perspective is coming. If you have children you know that they are extremely impressionable. You ask, “Do we have so little faith in the moral compass of our children? “. We are talking about a 5 year old here, a child still forming a moral compass. It would be different if this were an adolescent who was capable of understanding the complexities of this issue and who was capable of seeing issues such as this in shades of grey, not black and white as most young children see the world. You are right, I DO feel helpless when I see this video because your 5 year old child isn’t always going to come home and tell you everything they learned in school, and the teacher in this video made it clear to the parents that there would be unannounced teaching of “diversity” at school. I don’t feel that I am being naive to the power of parents at all. I personally have chosen not to discuss same-sex relationships with my 5 year old daughter yet because I don’t feel that she is old enough to understand the complexities of this issue, as I said before. I don’t want the schools, under the guise of “diversity”, forcing me to expose her to something that I don’t feel she is old enough to really understand. I know you and many of your readers see this as akin to an ostrich with it’s head in the sand, but I have given this a lot of thought and prayerful consideration.

    I am aware of those Christian groups who push for a stronger Christian presence in schools. As I said, I don’t agree with everything they do. I am also aware that there are left-wing organizations who push for their agenda to be present in school curriculums. A lot of times it is these organizations that the FRC and Focus on the Family are pushing back against. That is a problem that I have with the left, they are perfectly fine with organizations they support influencing curriculum, such as gay rights groups, but throw a complete and total fit if there is any hint of a Christian presence in the schools. It is a double standard that I often see with liberals.

  24. Trish F Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with this post. Well said! I was raised LDS and left the church when I was 12. However my lineage goes all the way back to Joseph Smith and all of my family are practicing. As much as I feel like I did the right thing for my spiritual welfare, I still am very much connected with LDS people. I find myself often defending them in religious discussions etc. When prop 8 passed here, I was devistated. My daughter has many friends whose parents are Gay. I was especially angry with the church in the same way one would be mad at a sibling or parent. Because of my ties to the Mormon church, I was especially angry. But because I am no longer Mormon, I realize there isn’t much I can do. I have had this discussion with my Mormon sister many times. I feel that the only people who are going to be able to make positive changes in their church are it’s own members. All of the Mormon’s I am around don’t want to deal with it, question and most certainly don’t want to stand up to it or perhaps other negative aspects of their religion. My sister, for instance agrees with me. But she simply said “I am so happy I live in Seattle so I don’t have to deal with it.”
    It is people like you who are going to make all of the difference because of your bravery. I know it is especially hard to have the points of view you have while being a practicing member. I applaud your bravery and others like you who are unwavering in your faith, yet don’t feel the need to “park your brain at the church doors”.

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