Society needs a fresh infusion of civility and politeness.

A couple of weeks ago a couple was walking home from a concert in Salt Lake City. They stopped to sit on a bench and began kissing. Whether there was more physical action than that is disputed. What is not disputed is that the bench was on private property and representatives of the property owner asked them to stop their actions on the premises. The couple refused and then the representatives asked them to leave. When the couple refused to leave they began to swear and became combative. The representatives then detained the couple and contacted the police. The police interviewed all the parties and issued trespassing citations to the couple and escorted them from the property. The property owner has banned the couple from the property for six months. Big deal or not?

In Salt Lake City, it has been a big deal. The couple happed to be a little intoxicated from the night’s revelry and they were both men. The property owner was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The couple was on the Main Street Plaza and was detained by Church Security personnel. The couple was intoxicated on Church Property and is claimed to have engaged in passionate kissing and groping. A heterosexual sober couple would have been treated similarly under the same circumstances.

It became an issue when a religious institution exercised their property rights against a gay couple who felt discriminated against. Ever since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has very publicly come out against Gay Marriage by helping in elections in Alaska, Hawaii, and California they have been a target of gay activists. Now that The Church has dared to ask a gay couple to leave the plaza they are being criticized again. It is unfortunate that this is becoming normal.

This incident is becoming a bit of a cause celebre’ for the gay rights community in Salt Lake City. Since the incident there have been at least two demonstrations against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for their actions. These were “kiss-ins” as a demonstration of the power of love. This is ridiculous and would be laughable if it were not so sad. We have the gay community that is demanding understanding and acceptance but is refusing to accept other points of view. How about common decency and abiding by the rules of the property owner of host?

An acquaintance of mine was at a restaurant and engaged in what he thought was playful or flirtations behavior. He was asked by the manager to leave the restaurant. Instead of arguing and claiming that he was being unfairly singled out, he apologized for his actions and left rather embarrassed. This is what good behavior is. If you offend your host or are asked to leave someone’s private property you should leave and be polite about it.

At the first demonstration, about thirty five people walked onto Church property after being told numerous times to keep the demonstration on public property. These people refused to respect the authority or property rights of the Church and police were called to handle it. The people left and were not cited. At the second demonstration more people came onto the private property but the police were not called this time. This is not the way to gain acceptance or respect for your point of view. We should be more respectful of each other and mindful of the law.

This is not just a phenomenon of the gay rights activists.  The bitter feelings come from both sides.  One of the most outspoken hate groups is Westboro Baptist Church.  They have a website named godhatesfags.com.  They have picketed funerals for military servicemen because of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military.  They cheered the death of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming and have a very active picketing schedule on the internet.  In the last week of July this year they are scheduled to be picketing in Chicago at several Jewish Centers including Wrigley Field (is Wrigley Field Jewish?), and the Democratic Headquarters there, a Presbyterian Church in Kansas, the Walter Cronkite funeral in New York City, Iowa State University, several Jewish centers in between, and a community center production about Matthew Shepard just to name a few.  With preaching all of this hate on their website and their traveling demonstrations of God’s hate for many people it is very hard to win anyone over.  Because of the tireless and offensive protesting of Westboro Baptist Church at funerals several municipalities have enacted statutes for time and place restrictions of protesting funerals.  The actions of Westboro Baptist Church are  shameful and unbefitting any decent human being.

Just because we might disagree on things does not mean that we are enemies.  We have many more things in common than differences.  The world would be greatly improved if we did not focus on our differences but focused on what we have in common.  In order to make this focus more meaningful and effective, we need to find common ground and return to decency.

The First Amendment of the Constitution mentions “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.  That is the standard we should judge protests by: is it a peaceable assembly?  Far too often the answer is no.  At the G-8 summit the protestors actively work to disrupt the meetings and business of the different world leaders gathered there.  When the United States was initially going to war in Iraq in 2003 several protestors gathered at strategic locations for the purpose of disrupting traffic and the business of government.

Our lives would be greatly improved if we all observed the rules and standards of common decency and decorum.  Simple acts like respecting the opinions of others instead of ridiculing them and showing courtesy and respect to others would go a long way to improving life for everyone.

This is not just a phenomenon of the gay rights activists.  The bitter feelings come from both sides.  One of the most out front hate groups is Westboro Baptist Church.  They have a website named godhatesfags.com.  They have picketed funerals for military servicemen because of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military.  They cheered the death of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming and have a very active picketing schedule on the internet.  In the last week of July this year they are scheduled to be picketing in Chicago at several Jewish Centers including Wrigley Field (is Wrigley Field Jewish?), and the Democratic Headquarters there, a Presbyterian Church in Kansas, the Walter Cronkite funeral in New York City, Iowa State University, several Jewish centers in between, and a community center production about Matthew Shepard just to name a few.  With preaching all of this hate on their website and their traveling demonstrations of God’s hate for many people it is very hard to win anyone over.  Because of the tireless and offensive protesting of Westboro Baptist Church at funerals several municipalities have enacted statutes for time and place restrictions of protesting funerals.  The actions of Westboro Baptist Church are  shameful and unbefitting any decent human being.
Just because we might disagree on things does not mean that we are enemies.  We have many more things in common than differences.  The world would be greatly improved if we did not focus on our differences but focused on what we have in common.  In order to make this focus more meaningful and effective, we need to find common ground and return to decency.
The First Amendment of the Constitution mentions “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.  That is the standard we should judge protests by: is it a peaceable assembly?  Far too often the answer is no.  At the G-8 summit the protestors actively work to disrupt the meetings and business of the different world leaders gathered there.  When the United States was initially going to war in Iraq in 2003 several protestors gathered at strategic locations for the purpose of disrupting traffic and the business of government.
Our lives would be greatly improved if we all observed the rules and standards of common decency and decorum.  Simple acts like respecting the opinions of others instead of ridiculing them and showing courtesy and respect to others would go a long way to improving life for everyone.

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