I live in a state that is dominated by a single church, so I will be using this as my main example (and it is a damn good one), but there are others. That being said, on with my rant.

I have a problem with other people telling me how to live my life. If I am in some way making your life difficult then you have the right to get pissed at me, but not until then. It seems that the LDS Church loves to meddle in the lives of everyone they can, even non-members. This has been demonstrated most recently when the Mormon Church gave millions of dollars (tax free, I might add) to start/fund major anti-gay campaigns in California and Hawaii. It worked, the measures allowing for legal same-sex marriages were killed.

What right does the LDS Church have to enforce it's dogma in the secular state? None. I am not a member of the LDS Church, I do not share their beliefs and I sure as hell do not support their anti-gay stance. Although I am straight I have and do know many people who I consider close friends who are gay or lesbian. If the LDS church has a problem with these people then they are under no obligation to accept gays into their fold. But the very outspoken anti-gay stance hurts the quality of life of these people.

Like I said, this is just one example of a church telling non-members how to live their lives. It is almost as if we are back to conversion by sword, but now churches have become political bodies that influence secular law. I understand that members of a church often vote a certian way or support similar causes, but the church its self is a non-profit organization and should not be a political lobbying entity. Churches should back the hell off non-members. If I am not there during to sermon to be told how to think, act, vote, and live then the church has no right to force me to live according to their standards through secular law.

Ok, I'm done.

Reply to sfc:
I don't give a damn about what churches tell members to do. But I am not a member of any church, so I do not feel the need to conform to their mold. If the head of any givin church was here telling me how to live I would tell him to go piss up a rope. When the actual administration of a church starts handing out church funds to support political action they are, by definition, no longer a church but a political lobbying group and should be treated as such, ie, no more tax exempt status.
What is even more outragious is the idea that allowing two people of the same sex to join in a legal union (not a holy one) some how defiles holy hetrosexual marriage. Some one explain this to me please, because to me it just sounds like one group imposing their seemingily arbitrary will upon another group. If you want to talk about what this country was founded on then lets talk about freedom from oppression.

Actually, there's no particular reason that a Church should not try to influence politics. The whole "Seperation of Church and State" thing is only something the government has to avoid. For example, suppose a proposal on legalised gambling is put up for vote. When a particular person votes they can do so because they simply dislike gambling, or because they think it's bad for society or they think a person should have the right to do whatever crazy thing they want as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else. The same thing goes for an organization. They can bring the issue up to it's members and request them to vote a certain way. This doesn't destroy our system of government. If a particular vote approves something that infringes on someone's rights or civil liberties then other branches of the government can overturn it. The whole point of the US Government is to balance the will of the people against mob mentality. The idea that as a non-profit group you're not allowed to try an influence politics is silly.

You're basically advocating a kind of "Your religion is fine, just don't let it get in the way of real life" view. To Mormons, the Church is their life, and they'll do what they can to keep the world around them from becoming unbearable. The LDS Church isn't trying to persecute gays, it's just supporting its (and most peoples) view of marriage. Supporting the view that homosexual sexual activities are sinful doesn't make you anti-gay. In that case, the LDS Church is also anti-coffee-drinkers and anti-excessive-meat-eaters. Uh-oh, I fit in that last category. That doesn't stop members of the church from running around doing all kinds of stupid things though.

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