Saturday, February 7, 2015

Do Mormons have the right to discriminate?

I am sure you have heard by now. Several general authorities, who are leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called for legislation that protects “vital religious freedoms”.

After you have read this, move over the site and see what was actually said. Don’t Google the fake news channels to see what someone thinks about what was said and why the church is wrong. That is like listening to a Ute fan describe the good points of BYU co-eds.

The LDS Church also said it would support legislation where it is being sought to provide protections in housing, employment and some other areas where LGBT people do not have protections Here are three key points from that press release.

1) The Church supports “fairness for all” including LGBT people while protecting key religious rights

2) People are being 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. This is just as wrong as persecution or retaliation against LGBT people.
3) The church seeks a balanced approach between religious and gay rights.

The church also admitted that this is a highly polarized discussion and that neither side, politically, may get all that they want. As per the site “We must all learn to live with others who do not share the same beliefs or values". This seems very straight forward

It is crucial to point out that the LDS church was not calling for changes internally to the Law of Chastity, a requirement of the LDS church for full membership that discourages sex outside the bounds of marriage, nor were there changes to the status of gay marriage within the policies of the church. There was no shift in doctrine.

Some people are claiming that the LDS church is looking for special privileges and rights. I spent parts of two days arguing this on a Facebook site. The gentleman I spoke with was smarter than I and he used troglodyte in a sentence which was impressive.

Here is a statement made on social media sometimes in the last two days, and I will paraphrase:

"By extending special legal protections toward a group one can belong to by choice, (the Mormon church) society effectively allows anybody to choose to receive the benefit of the special status granted to that group."

If this statement is true, then what is the special status that will be allowed to Mormons or any other religious group if such a bill is passed?

The law would support the free exercise of religion, prohibit any infringement of freedom of speech, or infringement of our freedom of the press. It would also prohibit interfering with the right to peaceably assemble.

Sound familiar? It was adopted on December 15, 1791 as one of the ten amendments that constitute our Bill of Rights. Which brings us to these two thoughts.

1) So, why are we re-establishing the amendments?  
I'm not sure, but it is all the rage. Laws have been created that make crimes against certain groups worth more time in jail than the same crime against your standard Joe. Maybe we, as a society, need reiteration of current laws in order to have significance. If this is true, then that doesn't bother me. Lets re-ratify them all --  as long as it means that we are treating people with love and respect.

2) Why is there a loud contingent of social media that do not support the idea of religious rights as recently stated by the Mormon Church?  

I don't know this either, but me tell you what I think. "They" will not support anything that allows the church to publicly state standards that do not appeal to the majority or to their sensibility. 

There is a huge issue with tithing. There are people who do not want to be forced to pay it. Others are not OK with the law of chastity, and if the Mormons have that standard and they do not want to follow, they are opposed to it. Not allowing non recommend holders to witness temple ceremonies is another.

Then their are the big ticket items. Women not being allowed to hold the priesthood and subsequently not being allowed into many leadership roles. Huge. And gay people, sex, chastity and not being able to be actively gay and be in full membership. Huge issue.

Yes, this is over simplistic and is a generalization.   

So, Mormons hitching their issue to the gay rights star?  I don't have a problem with it. Rights for all, I say. At least someone is getting hitched.

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