Saturday, January 31, 2015

Religious Freedom for all, or "It's all about the base*"

I am just as happy as a MarMoHo* can be. 

I had a lovely breakfast from McDonald's, I am at work on a pleasent morning, my daughter says she is going to do the dishes, and my church is trying to stay with the times while staying true to the words of the latter-day prophets of the Lord.  

All I need is a box of Chicken in a Biscuit and some tastefully pointy new leather shoes and I would be a snug bug.

I am really most pleased because I see progress. There were four steps made this week and only one step backward. Let me explain.

The LDS church has almost 6.5 members in the US (I keep thinking that this is a huge number but there were more people you-tubing Scott Sterling-Soccer Hero) This week Mormons become the second largest denomination to publicly support LGBT anti-discrimination legislation. As an FYI, the only religious group larger to support the legislation is the United Methodist Church.

Is it too little, too late as suggested by several national media groups?  

I always think more can be done - especially on a personal level. But being the second largest religious group to support this legislation? That's not so little.

Too late is the case for for Idaho who will have to wait for next year.  (See my last essay.) 

However, the Mormon Church’s position on this issue may well turn the tide on a bill just introduced in the Utah State Senate, so maybe not too late.

Oh, bother. It's always too late to some degree. The new laws usually come into effect because someone has already been hurt.  But too late to do the right thing.  I say no.  

So, pull up a chair and have a diet coke on me.  I am celebrating the statement itself and the influence it will have on the members of the church. 

Before we toss one back, this is what the statement made by the church didn't do:  It did not come out and say that it is OK for members of the church to openly support same sex marriage. Maybe it's not a necessary thing for them to come out and say. Maybe it is OK for the church to promote a bit of thinking and decision making for the members.

For myself, I support religious freedom and gay rights both. I believe in agency -- that if a man wants to marry another man he may choose to do so, or if a gay man wishes to follow the words of the prophets, he may do so as well. There are consequences for both. 

I also support the LDS church in saying that you can't be in full fellowship and be married to one of the same sex.  I also believe that the church has the right to dis-allow temple sealing in the temple.

This is not to say that Mormons have the right to exclude.  Mormons aren't given carte blanche to make unrighteous judgement and real Mormns who understand the gospel will never do so.  Mormons include and love and welcome others. Period.

The church did acknowledge that gay people have rights.  The leaders by their action also said that it is OK to be a member in good standing (Mormon terminology) and support our LGBT brothers and sisters.

Here is an area of caution that jumps out to me. Trying to anticipate what others are going to do based on limited previous experience is not always what it is cracked up to be. Mormons have been in positions where they have completely overcompensated and become aggressive in all the wrong ways. In other words, we often demand rights and privileges that we are not willing to allow for those not of our faith.

The Mormon persecution complex was developed because of actual persecution of Mormons 200 years ago.  It may be a good time to let it go.  Mormons are required to forgive and, if not forget, at least to hand it over to the Lord for judgement. Because Mormons know of atrocities perpetrated when freedom is denied, Mormons should be quick to watch over those who need protection regardless of what they look like or how high their heels are.

Mormons and non-Mormons alike have healing to do.

This from the press conference: "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 (and our society Cal Thompson may add) 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 Dallan H.Oaks

*By the way, the real base is repentance and forgiveness.

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