Comments about ‘Gay marriage issue, national elections lead to civility fight’

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Published: Sunday, May 22 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

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I applaud the effort, appreciate the article, and recognize the value of the work these gentlemen did. I would also suspect that others will hearken back to their groundwork at some point, and that they will bear fruit at some level.

Danbury, CT

As soon as the Evangelical churches stop their classes focusing on Mormons as an evil cult, we will see some civility. They have institutionalized hate in many churches and it is no wonder their members come out so strong. It is in the same vein as the Islamic mosques who teach hatred and inspire jihad in their patrons. The only difference being that our US environment does not create quite the level of desperation found in the Middle East.

I also find troubling the hatred encouraged by Atheists. According to many Atheists, religion is the source of everything bad in the world, while all Atheists are rational, kind and thoughtful people. ANY group that seeks to set up their own as "good", and all others as "bad" are on the same road to inspiring hatred and eventually violence. That includes Mormons, Evangelicals, Atheists.

Clearfield, UT

Excellent article. I was listening to Limbaugh and these were his exact words. All liberals are liars, therefore if you are a liberal you are a liar. How ridiculous. The church has addressed this issue, many members appear to ignore the counsel and continue to be uncivil. A good example is the church having to cancel a fireside in Las Vegas due to security concerns. The speaker was Senator Reid. People threatened to disrupt it. How pathetic. Being uncivil is not patriotism, is just plain being ignorant. People have a right to form their own opinions on issues. Unfortunately many feel a need to demonize and ridicule others. I believe uncivility is about fear and ignorance. By the way I just realized the world did not end as planned yesterday. What happened?

Salt Lake City, UT

The last I knew, all politicians running in Utah that have to file with the Lt. Governor's office voluntarily take a pledge of civility entitled

From the Utah Code: 20A-9-206

"Each person seeking to become a candidate for any elective office that is to be filled at the next election shall be provided with a copy of the pledge of fair campaign practice"

While we do have those that are mid-term nominated/appointed that don't see this, I am not aware of very many that don't sign this in even-year elections.

If you look under Utah Elections, 2010 Candidates, under each candidate, you will see copies of the hundreds of signed pledges, including US Senate, US House, State Senate, State House, Governor, State School Board, and the Governor. A quick spot check only found one person without one, a 3rd party governor candidate.

La Verkin, UT

This idea needs attention and the pledge needs to be resurrected. I took a similar personal pledge many years ago. I have friends that I disagree with strongly with whom I have wonderful debates and discussions. When I run into someone who uses hate and anger, I have to walk away. I feel I am more effective the way I am doing things than I ever would be joining those who are uncivil.

MarieDevine Divine-Way
Kansas City, MO

The word of God says, Esteem evil against no man. As the civility project tried to bring out, we cannot think our opponant has evil intentions.

The word of God says, our leaders are deceived and go about deceiving others. The solution is easy; give the leaders information on how to come to God's solution. HERE is the power, putting God as the authority. He is God over all the earth and has cross referenced His prophets to prove His word.
(See 2 Nephi 29).

If the project used the words "God" or "word of God," that would make a person either ignore God or realize they have been ignoring God.

Examples of Civility:

God is against gay marriage because the people lose the greater blessing of having a child both created. Relatives on both sides can rejoice in honor, without a secret ache or embarassment for child, parents or relatives.

Another example: God's solution of a garden paradise lifestyle solves the many personal, national and world problems we created with the employment lifestyle. We can end our big deficits by turning back to land, with no polluting air, land, water and food making young and old diseased.

Ray in St.Petersburg
Saint Petersburg, FL

Excellent journalism; I especially like the Roger Staubach quote.

Magna, UT

.....in the aftermath of California's Proposition 8, including vandalism of some Mormon chapels and people losing their jobs.

If these points are going to be dredged up over and over again by the Deseret News, can we PLEASE get a definitive list of them, so readers can realistically judge their scale, their frequency, and their impact?

In 2008 the media reported two voluntary resignations (not firings) by the Director of the LA Film Festival, and the Director of the California Musical Theater. Then nothing for three years until Peter Vidmar voluntarily stepped down as the 2012 Chief of Mission. Similarly there were several low level incidences of vandalism reported immediately after the 2008 election, but since then nothing. Yet these events keep being repackaged editorially as if they are constantly reoccurring and are an imminent threat (leading to fear, outrage, defensiveness, and incivility on both sides of the discussion).

If you want informed, reasoned, civility in political discourse, then it is imperative that news organizations start with (and stick with) a baseline of ACTUAL facts, rather than a conflation of editorial opinions and perceptions.

Herriman, UT

The civility pledge started at the top with those who are most visible in the public eye. Encouraging them to deal with the issues instead of making issues of the person. Perhaps there needs to be some "grass roots" approach to this issue. As a high school teacher I think it would be great to see some kind of civility pledge program in the schools. I don't know which came fist, public incivility or general disrespect on personal levels. However, this is a wide spread problem, not just a problem with politicians.

On the public level, I have listened to many a campaign ad or speech and wondered what issues were important to the candidate, because all I heard was how much better they were than their opponent who was a bad, bad person. What a waste of time. Then they get into office and spend our time talking about whether America is a democracy or a republic and have to come back for special sessions to deal with our real issues! $$$$

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

Americans are tired of being spun by our institutions. Why should we believe this guy over the next?
Politicians, now more than ever, live in a fishbowl. Have you seen that list of the members of congress and their rap sheets? They are not our best and brightest.
Sometimes a call for civility is really a request to avoid the hard questions.
A simple question, like "Mr. Candidate, why do you believe that illegal aliens should be given amnesty?", is turned around as a racist remark from a rightwing rabble-rouser.
The real problem is not civility, but political correctness. What this guy is all about is bemoaning the fact that his politicians can no longer hide from their past or their true agenda.

Eugene, OR

Ridgely says it quite well: It seems like the DN is constantly rehashing a small handful of isolated incidents to make it look like there's some ongoing threat against Mormons concerning Prop. 8. Personally, I think it's far more "uncivil" to actively deny a group of law-abiding citizens their rights under that law, but that might just be me. If you enter the political arena, you shouldn't get to cry I'm-being-oppressed every time someone publicly disagrees with you (And just so you know, President Obama does NOT cry racism every time someone argues with him. I just know someone here will mention that...)

City, Ut

eastcoastcoug, Danbury, CT--

You've been reading my mind. Very well put. Amen.

A Guy With A Brain
Enid, OK

Anyone who thinks that attacks against Mormons, Mormonism, their property and livelihoods have been few and far between over Prop 8 are in la-la land.

And, no, I don't think using the phrase "la-la land" is uncivil, but if you don't like it, I'll use another phrase: detached from reality.

Michael De Groote

This was a very interesting article for me to research.

If I was understanding DeMoss correctly, it goes like this:
One of the obstacles to civility -- and you can sense it a little in a few of the comments -- is thinking that civility is a two-way street. It works best that way, of course, but the other guy doesn't have to be civil for me to be civil. Behind the comments complaining about "the other guy" is the idea that civility is weakness or compromise. It isn't a club you are putting down to be defenseless against somebody with a club: "I'm not going to put down my incivility club until they put down their incivility club."

Civility isn't being all nicey nice. It isn't agreement. It isn't retreat. All the people I interviewed were very strong in their positions. Civility is treating the other person with respect and assuming their motives are good. If former-gay Joe Dallas and gay-rights activist Cindi Love can do it, anybody can.

St. George, Utah

well it seems to me that other people have the sane right to their public opinion that the Mormons do. by going door to door and expressing their opinion just like when the LDS church went public against gay marriage the Mormons are not the only people allowed to express their opinions in this country. ever hear of the first Amendment ? the last time I checked anybody living in this country has the absolute guarenteed and protercted right to speak out against any thing they wish to. including religion

Idaho Falls, ID

As a former missionary for the LDS church in the Bay Area, I came across one church who had a Sunday School Class on how to discredit Mormons. One lady gave me the 100 page plus manual which was used to demean, bash, and how to prosalyte agains Mormons. She was very polite and was happy to share what she had learned. I believe that all people should have the right to worship how when and were they believe. Wouldn't that be a great civilization!

Rae M.
Taylorsville, UT

Any group that seeks to set up their own as good and all others bad...inspires hatred...violence...includ(ing) Mormons."
Good members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not see others as bad, and themselves as exclusively good. There are many good people in this world who are not LDS, and even some members who do. bad things. I'm sorry someone
gave you an impression otherwise; the church leaders and teachings encourage us to seek anything that is praiseworthy. We are encouraged to donate to United Way, if we want. United Way helps Catholic Charities. If we are good, we are not the only good people.
We have already endured much violence.

Stockton, UT

This is a fantastic article. I applaud the author. I would like very much to see the DesNews moderator adopt as their metric of "civility" the definition given in this article: it is not civil to impute evil motives to your opponent.

Certainly name calling and foul language are not civil. But I see far too many comments being allowed to be posted that viciously attack motives, morality, devotion to God and country, and basic humanity.

"Republicans hate the poor" is no less offensive than "Obama is a traitor."

But it seems that while the latter is most often decried by both sides as inappropriate, the former too often passes as reasoned political argument.

If an opponent to socialized medicine is accused of being greedy, no big deal. If he accuses his opponent of being lazy or shiftless, that is suddenly a personal attack.

In our personal decisions, civility is indeed a person decision not dependent on the other side.

But when someone begins to limit what comments are permissible and claims to limit only for reasons of "civility," then it is crucial that a balanced, equitable definition of civility be employed.

Stockton, UT

Without a balanced, equitable view of civility, then any moderation of comments or limitations on viewpoints based on some comments being "uncivil" becomes little more than a new name for the old political correctness.

It is, admittedly, very difficult to be an unbiased judge. We all have our opinions and views. It is easy to take offense at that with which we disagree. It is easy to excuse that which rings true to our ears.

And so liberals are far more likely to notice and call out incivility on Fox News or talk radio than they are in Huffington Post, on the part of Bill Moyers or Michael Moore.

On the other side, conservatives are far more tolerant of Limbaugh and Coulter than they are of Bill Marher, Dan Rather, or Carville.

It becomes easy to label anything with which we disagree as "incivil" as we see some doing here relative to defending the definition of marriage, or exercising constitutional powers (Amd 21) to control and limit alcohol sales.

For "civility" to be achievable, not only must we individually and unilaterally practice it, but we must also call out those who abuse the term to silence their opposition.

Stockton, UT

"If these points are going to be dredged up over and over again by the Deseret News, can we PLEASE get a definitive list of them, so readers can realistically judge their scale, their frequency, and their impact? "

How many such incidents do there need to be before any single incident is offensive to you? Are some number of attacks against property or persons justified? What is that number?

And what would your response be if I were to use a similar argument attempting to minimize the seriousness of bias motivated crimes against homosexuals?

Isn't the whole premise being "hate crime" laws that a crime committed against a person based on some group membership is more serious because it is intended to target and terrorize an entire group?

How many LDS need to be assaulted on their way to the temple, or have their property vandalized before you consider it a serious crime? How many Catholic women assaulted merely for visibly wearing Rosary and supporting one definition of marriage over another?

Posts such as yours convince me that for far too many "civility" is merely the latest form of political correctness to silence opposition.

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