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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Hubbub over Prop. 8 is silly

By Lisa Christensen

November 17, 2008 | Democracy has spoken and the people of California said no to granting full-fledged marriage rights to homosexual couples.

This was after the California Supreme Court reversed the passing of a similar proposition last May. Months of bloody campaigning have gone by and the voice of the people of California has decided in a narrow 52-48 percent vote, to reverse the reversal. End of story, right?

Sadly, the election is over but the drama continues. Those against Proposition 8 apparently decided they needed a scapegoat and the religion appears to be it. Protests have been organized and demonstrators have gathered at LDS temples. A copy of the Book of Mormon was left burning at the entrance of a Denver church Wednesday and envelopes containing what was believed to be hazardous white powder were mailed to two LDS temples, as well as a Catholic fraternity, on Thursday. The powder was found to be harmless but that is completely beside the point. The point is that a bill in one state has caused anger and hate, manifesting itself in attacks against churches. Is it even necessary to point out how wrong that is?

Protesters and others against the bill have said that churches, by forming a religious coalition including evangelical Christians, Roman Catholics and Mormons, have been hateful and, by their political involvement in encouraging the vote for Proposition 8, have crossed that oh-so-sacred line between church and state.

On the contrary, isn't it totally destroying that line to have a government tell churches what they can or cannot believe? When did government officials become all-knowing and all-powerful? Wasn't that the reason the pilgrims came to America in the first place, to escape a land in which the ruling body told citizens what to believe and what to worship?

And all of this over marriage! Marriage, an institution into which people are more and more reluctant to enter! Marriage rates have been steadily declining during the last two decades. In 1990, the marriage rate in California was 7.9 percent, declining to just 4.8 percent in 2004, according to numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics. Even Utah, the state we all joke about as being marriage happy, has seen a decline from 11.7 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2004.

Straight people don't want to get married, so why on earth is it suddenly so important to homosexual couples? It's not like every straight person is married and homosexual couples are looking in and shivering in the cold. Popular society tells us not to get married, that a union recognized by a church isn't necessary. Coupled with the fact that church attendance has plummeted in recent years, one wonders if there is any connection between voters and any of these churches. Could it be that a bunch of single heathens, not married religious zealots, turned the tide of the vote?

No matter what the cause was for the way the vote went, there is no excuse for bigotry. This was a sensitive issue and hurt feelings on one side or the other was inevitable. However, perhaps it should be dealt with in a respectful manner for the opinion of the narrow majority. People have opinions and the great thing about this country is that we have the opportunity to express them in a way that can actually make a difference. We each have the right to our own opinion and, by virtue of that, others have the same right. Let's act like it.


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