Sunday, February 17, 2008

The importance of speaking the language of hope

It is important to note that my reflection yesterday on the attractiveness of speaking the language of hope, was sparked by political ugliness here in Utah, which seems almost always to occur whenever our Legislature is in session. This year's ugliness has taken the form of a horribly racist allusion made by Sen. Chris Buttars, a poster boy for how not to speak truth from a position of power for many years. This particular outrage occurred when Buttars rose in the Senate to oppose an education bill, of which he said, building on an ugly baby metaphor made by another senator: "This baby is black, I'll tell you. This is a dark and ugly thing". Lest anyone think this just a one-time incident, it is worth noting that Chris Buttars has publicly denounced the Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. the Board on the radio without apologizing. Of course, in the wake of his most recent rant, he issued the non-apology apology- If anyone was offended by the comments I made . . ..

Buttars' public homophobia and hate-filled speaking has painted all of us in the state who defend the institution of marriage with the same brush. In fact, referring back to The San Francisco Solution, Buttars engaging in the politics of fear, in the words of veteran Utah political commentator, Paul Rolly, "is sponsoring or pushing legislation or amendments in this legislative session that could potentially force people out of their homes while trying to pay for expensive medication for their elderly and infirm parents . . .

"All in the name of decency."

"Buttars, R-West Jordan, fashioned Senate Bill 267 to invalidate any domestic partnership ordinance passed by a city. It was filed in response to Salt Lake City's new ordinance creating a volunteer registry for unmarried couples who could then have a chance to gain health-care coverage and other benefits from businesses for their loved ones.

"Buttars has said he fears a 'homosexual agenda' and will stamp out any effort that he believes would be a step toward equal rights for that class of people.

"Never mind that an estimated 78 percent of those who would benefit from the registry are in heterosexual relationships. Buttars' bill could also affect Salt Lake City's adult-designee ordinance, which allows people to designate housemates other than a husband or wife for health benefits. That includes people who are caring for infirm parents whose medical and pharmaceutical costs would otherwise devastate the family income."

Last time I checked the only qualification for human right, like access to necessary healthcare, is being human.

In addition to Buttars' obvious and deplorable speech and behavior, Rolly's comments also show how such fear-driven politics leads people away from truth and causes people to get on-board with anything that politicians, like Buttars, oppose, using the understandable logic, If he opposes it, it has to be okay. To paraphrase something Andy Rooney said about abortion a long time ago- I oppose abortion, but I like people who are for abortion better than most people who oppose it.

This point is made even more starkly in another editorial, this one by Barb Guy, Picture told the ugly story of Utah's cultural divide better than words. In this editorial, Guy emotionally castigates Buttars for seeking, among other things, "to define the parameters of marriage for people other than himself". How dare he! This shows that we do truth no favor, or justice, in taking such a misguided approach.

As Christians how we advocate or dissent is every bit, if not more important, than that for which we advocate or from which we dissent. A good example of this is Cardinal Sean's response to the Supreme Court ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court making same-sex marriage legal. How can we not speak the language of hope and think we are being true our experience of the Lord? More importantly, how can we experience the Lord and not speak the language of hope?


  1. Once again Scott, Thank you! and Amen to everything you wrote here.

    In reading one of the links from your blog I came across someone who said "Deacon Scott for President" or something to that effect. You responded by saying you had given service in the political realm some consideration.

    That would be wonderful to see, but geez you can't do everything! (can you?)

    P.S. You would certainly get my vote.


  2. Thanks for this good reminder. Where can we find Cardinal O'Malley's statement?

  3. Sharon:

    E-mail me and I will send you a copy of the statement I was referring to.