Modern Family is one of the most liberal, family-threatening shows out there. There’s a good chance your kids will turn gay when they see how Hollywood portrays Cam and Mitch: as a “normal”, happy family. In case you didn’t get the memo, gay couples can’t be happy and if they seem happy, they’re just faking it. Gay relationships debase and demean humanity and almost always involve criminal acts. At least this seems to be what some people think about gays and lesbians and their families (and ABC’s Modern Family). NOTE: This is not what I think.
An acquaintance recently interjected his thoughts about the show while I was discussing how funny the show is with a friend: “Modern Family? You watch that show?! I’ve heard it’s so irreverent!” For those who might not understand the significance of the word “irreverent” I’ll try to explain it. In the context of Mormonism, reverence is respect for God. Irreverence then is disrespect (i.e., Modern Family disrespects God). But to Mormons, reverence is more than just quietly sitting: it’s thinking of God, praising him, and showing respect for all things he created. In short, it’s a way of live. Kids are taught in primary to be reverent (i.e., to sit still and use nice words); to be called irreverent is probably one of the worst things a child could be called. It’s almost like having a scarlet letter placed on your lapel. Calling Modern Family irreverent is a strong statement from the Mormon perspective. Was his statement really about the show, though? No. It’s about families, and real families don’t include gay families. In other words, according to Mormons it’s okay to be disrespectful toward gay families because they’re not real families. It’s okay to write disrespectful comments like this off as “Well, this is what we believe. If you don’t like it, frick you.” But they don’t really believe that, right? Wrong. Here’s how Boyd K. Packer describes it:
“World leaders and court judges agree that the family must endure if we are to survive. At the same time, they use the words freedom and choice as tools to pry apart the safeguards of the past and loosen up the laws on marriage… In so doing, they promote the very things which threaten the family” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 24; or Ensign, May 1994, 19).
But they’re not really talking about my (same-sex) marriage, right? From the LDS Newsroom:
“Court decisions in Massachusetts (2004) and California (2008) have allowed same-sex marriages. This trend constitutes a serious threat to marriage and family. The institution of marriage will be weakened, resulting in negative consequences for both adults and children... Traditional marriage is essential to society as a whole, and especially to its children… The legalization of same-sex marriage likely will erode the social identity, gender development, and moral character of children”
They’re also on record (in one of their own publications) as saying:
“[Same-sex relationships] debase and demean those involved… and involve violent and criminal acts”
They’re also on record for using intimidation to enforce compliance. “We’ll take away your temple recommend if you don’t fall in line” they say. One Latter-day Saint recalled an experience she had after posting a video on YouTube about a lesson her kids had in primary: I will love others. She showed a picture of kids of different races encircled with a heart standing hand-in-hand and wonders how it’s possible for her church, which has taught her so much about loving others, to take away marriage from others (i.e., Prop. 8 in California). She recalled:
“[My local leaders] were directed to [the video] by church headquarters. At the end of some very heart felt discussions, my speaking out with this video threatened my temple recommend and my calling, and I ultimately chose to take it down to protect my standing in the church.”
When called hateful and intolerant for these views, here’s how the LDS Church replied (and yes, this was funded, created, and put out by the LDS Church):
My own experiences in the Church were similar. I met with a Stake President years ago who told me I don’t have a place in the Church unless I seek out therapy and change my orientation. He didn’t take time to know what my experiences had been: he assumed that because I’m gay I must have mental health needs (e.g., anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and ideations). In fact, he said this to me (direct quote): “We don’t want to know what this experience has been like for you.”
So what’s my point? My point is this: so often members of different religions believe it is okay to poke fun at or speak condescendingly of others who don’t believe like them. They use intimidation (e.g., sarcasm and social disapproval, threatening to discipline members who disagree on political issues) and shame to create a world of people who walk, talk, and believe like them. In the words of Mary from the movie Saved:
“everything that doesn’t fit into some stupid idea of what you think God wants you just try to hide or fix or get rid of”
And they can’t handle it when people respond.
To any member of any religion who opposes my marriage, let’s have a little respect. You can call my choices a sin — you’re within your rights to do so — but let’s not vote on whether I should have legal benefits. And please be respectful toward my family.