Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Today's Mormon/gay made-up news is brought to you by...

CNN reported yesterday that the Mormon church is in a battle and that it wants to call a partial truce.  "In exchange" they say, "the Mormon church wants gay rights advocates -- and the government -- to back off."

Well, ain't that a great lead to a story. Unfortunately, the truth doesn't read that way at all.

What actually happened was that the leaders of the LDS church pledged continued support for anti-discrimination laws for the GLBT community -- and then compared these laws to those that protect the rights of religious groups.

The "new campaign" as per CNN, repeats language from a website the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched in 2012 encouraging members and non members alike to be "more accepting and compassionate toward gays".

The church made clear on that site and in a public announcement in 2009, that it opposes gay marriage and insists on its right to set its own boundaries within church-affiliated charities, schools, properties and businesses;  Read, continued stances on no gay marriage and attendance requirements for its world wide temples.

What was new-ish to many was the LDS churches stance on religious freedoms. Elder Dallin Oaks, a member of the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles stated:

"When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they have raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser."

"Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender." Elder Oaks cited several examples on Tuesday, which included:

1) The mayor of Houston subpoenaing sermon notes last year from pastors who opposed an equal rights ordination. The subpoena was later dropped.

2) Public pressure placed on a LDS gymnast to step down as an Olympic liaison in 2011 because he had supported California's Proposition 8.

3) Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was forced to resign because he had donated money to support the passage of Prop 8.

"It is one of today's great ironies that some people who have fought so hard for LGBT rights now try to deny the rights of others to disagree with their public policy proposals," said Elder Oaks.

To be clear, Tuesday's announcement doesn't change any church doctrine -- including its opposition to gay marriage. It was simply a reiteration of policy it had established in 2009. The timing seems deliberate to coincide with the start of a new Congress and new legislative sessions nationwide, which is a smart move.

Others are speaking up as well. Southern Baptists and Catholic bishops have recently joined the international conversation to support national laws that aim to protect religious freedom.

"We are suggesting a way forward in which those with different views on these complex issues can together seek solutions that will be fair to everyone," said Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the LDS churches Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

Sen. Jim Dabakis, of the Utah State senate is openly gay. I only mention this because this of course directly affects him as a law maker and a member of the LGTB community.  He sighed "Amen," to the church's -- shall we say "historic" announcement.?  Let's do. Historic.

"I am proud that the LDS Church has seen fit to lead the way in non-discrimination," he said. "Now, let's roll up our sleeves, get to work and pass a statewide nondiscrimination bill."

A good thing?  Yes. It's the right thing to do, and I believe with all of my heart that the members and the leadership of the LDS church aches to do the right thing. It (again) acknowledges the GLBTs as people worthy of respect and love.

Out of the blue? Unexpected?  The church is "backing off?" No. But we -- like CNN -- appreciate a little drama.


  1. The church isn't 'backing off' - rather, it seems it is tired of the LGBTQ community rising up against the theocracy that is Utah. In essence, it is saying 'stop telling us who we can and can't discriminate against and we will stop funding things like proposition 8 which we will never apologize for having done.'' The Mormon Church seems to b always on this 'we are persecuted' thing when in fact, the Mormon Church has persecuted the LGBT community for decades. Because we don't actually live in a theocracy, people are naturally rising up against that. The Mormon Church and any other religion does not get to call the shots in the U.S. It's persecution is minor in comparison to how it had persecuted and continues to persecute. Heck, I'm still waiting for an apology for the whole African American debacle. But apparently the Mormon Church doesn't apologize. Realizing it is losing a battle, the Mormon Church is crying persecution and please back off from us while we still are able to discriminate against whoever we want without persecution. No surprises there.

    1. Thank you for your response and for reading. Truly, if we are to make any real change it is going to have to come from many -- many who have a common purpose but different backgrounds and beliefs.

      I don't believe the church is looking to call the kind of shots you mention. I feel that the LDS church is looking down the road and trying to preserve it's families and temple marriages. The leaders of the church may have noticed a bit of persecution and cited the examples they did on Tuesday. Large or small persecution for any reason is wrong. It was wrong for women, for blacks, for gays and now for those with religious beliefs and ideologies. Fixing these things is right.

      By the way, I am the Mormon church as much as anyone else. I apologize, I feel, I don't persecute or tell people how to live. I am not in a losing battle nor am I crying. I pay tithing out of choice, I don't discriminate and I am a New England fan.

      I am a gay Mormon man and I am proud.