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Mormon Leader: Prop 8 Backlash Like Intimidation of Southern Blacks In 1960s

Jim Burroway

October 13th, 2009

A prominent leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is preparing to deliver a major address at Brigham Young University-Idaho in which he compares the anger directed toward the LDS church over its support of Prop 8 to “voter-intimidation of blacks in the South” during the civil rights struggle.

Dallin OaksIn an advance copy of the statement provided to the Associated Press, Elder Dallin H. Oaks renews the claim that Mormons experienced “violence and intimidation,” despite the fact that there has been no independent verification of a single act of violence against Mormon people or property. The Associated Press did not correct that claim. Oaks continued:

“As such, these incidents of ‘violence and intimidation’ are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic,” he said. “In their effect they are like well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.”

Oaks then went on to suggest that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, which is currently making its way through Congress, will be used to prosecute or threaten preachers. Again, the AP did not correct that statement. Oaks, a member of the LDS’ Quorum of the Twelve, is repeating on of the most common lies about the hate crimes bill. The Matthew Shepard Act addresses violent crime only, not speech or religious beliefs. In fact, the bill contains specific guarantees that nothing in it will infringe on constitutionally-protected expressions of free speech and assembly.

The Mormon Church actively led the effort to disenfranchise thousands of LGBT citizens from their civil rights, only to turn around and cry that it is they who have something in common with disenfranchised Blacks in the 1960s — a group, by the way, that Mormons banned from full membership in the church until 1978. If that isn’t chutzpah, I don’t know what is.

Comments

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Karl Schneider
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

Woah, that’s one really nasty creepy looking old f**ker.

Christopher™
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

The Mormons are the “persecuted” ones? When they were the ones that put the beat-down on two guys who kissed on their SLC property?

What planet is this guy from?

It amazes me how the big bullies in this fight whine and cry about the backlash they get. Hey, if you brutally kick over a wasp’s nest, you deserve what’s coming to you.

Talk about a reality distortion field.

Timothy Kincaid
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

Oaks is not new to rantings in opposition to civil equality for gay people. Affirmation was not impressed.

Regan DuCasse
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

WHAT incidents of violence and intimidation?!
Where, when…?

As far as I’m concerned, unless they can come up with the battered bodies, they are liars.
One of Matt Shepard’s killers was raised Mormon. And I bet this a$$hole will be quick to point out that kid ‘wasn’t a true Mormon’. Yeah, right.

And regardless of whether or not any other murderers of gay people claimed religious affiliation, the Bible itself is cited as reason enough that gay people should be threatened by any means necessary.

Heterosexuals in general are not held accountable for the actions of minority of heterosexuals who dirty their hands with the blood of gay people.
Note that the threat they think comes from gay people is in amorphous, future tense terms. They can’t point to anything at all relevant to what occurs NOW.
They can’t even point to MA, the one state with legal marriage to inform their conjecture.
They must truly know how dirty they are dealing against gay people to fear it will be done to them if gay people gain any modicum of equal status and freedom.

This man truly perverts the definition of discrimination and it’s real victims.

Regan DuCasse
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

How would HE know what the intimidation of being black or gay would feel like?

How would HE know given his place in America all his life?

What I really hate is people who pretend they are the experts on something so controversial, when it’s impossible for them to have lived that way at all.

He’s like a man claiming he knows what child bearing is like, having never given birth, or ever owning any female organs.

Steve
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

But, it’s relevant for them because of their history of standing side by side with African Americans for civil rights, eh?

In the 1950s, the San Francisco mission office took legal action to prevent black families from moving into the church neighborhood. In 1965, a black man living in Salt Lake City, Daily Oliver, described how – as a boy – he was excluded from an LDS-led boy scout troop because they did not want blacks in their building. Mormon apostle Mark E. Petersen describes a black family that tried to join the LDS church: “[some white church members] went to the Branch President, and said that either the [black] family must leave, or they would all leave. The Branch President ruled that [the black family] could not come to church meetings. It broke their hearts.”
Wiki: Black people and the Mormon Church

Not.

Burr
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

For a people claiming they are fighting for such a righteous and true cause, supposedly coming from the heart and their faith in a divine power, could they possibly be any more pathetically cynical about their methods?

Seriously these people are utterly lacking any integrity or uniting principle. They will go to any sick, twisted, perverted depths to score any minor points for their cause.

palerobber
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

for those interested, this article in Deseret News has more details from the address than the AP piece.

i thought this was particularly disappointing:

Elder Oaks referred to the aftermath of the majority-approved Proposition 8 state constitutional amendment in California’s 2008 election, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Opponents criticized the LDS Church and its members, saying they were “denying” or “stripping” other of the “rights.”

“In fact, the Proposition 8 battle was not about civil rights, but about what equal rights demand and what religious rights protect,” he said. “At no time did anyone question or jeopardize the civil right of Proposition 8 opponents to vote or speak their views.

uh, no one accused mormons of stripping people’s right to vote. and this from a university of chicago law grad who clerked for earl warren.

i don’t understand why LDS leaders feel they need to make these dishonest rationalizations. are they really so lacking confidence in the rightness of their cause of stripping hundreds of thousands of californians of their right to marry?

a. mcewen
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

And of course the black pastors who accuse the lgbt community of unfairly piggybacking on the civil rights movement will be conveniently silent.

Chrissypoo
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

The Mormon Church complaining about being the victims is like the KKK complaining that blacks don’t like them.

homer
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

I remember sitting at the family history center at the Mesa LDS Temple complex, listening to an Elder say racist things about an interracial couple. He said he followed the “old ways” of the church. Elder Oaks is full of crap. His church has a long history of racism to account for.

Dan
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

I wonder if the LDS of the future will claim that they’re being prosecuted like gays once were! It could happen!

Muscat
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

The speech is sickening, but not nearly as sickening as the AP story. It’s sad when false equivalence would improve a news item.

Don
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

I don’t get it. If this issue was so important to the LDS Church why didn’t they present this speech at the LDS General Conference last week where they had a captive world wide audience? Why release it from Rexburg Idaho? And for an organization that fears the media, why send a transcript to the Associated Press before the talk was presented?

It looks like the LDS Church is picking a fight, but why? Why now? And what’s in it for them?

John
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

It is nice that Elder Oaks reminded everyone of the very, very recent racist past of the Mormon Church and how similar their behavior then is to their behavior now towards gays. I wonder who their next target is after they are done with gays.

Todd Bennett
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

This may be the LDS response to Obama’s Big Gay Speech on Saturday at the HRC banquet.

But I think it’s more likely to be aimed at knocking Harry Reid down a peg, in response to his statements that the chuch was wrong to throw so much support behind Prop 8.

They don’t dare excommunicate the highest-ranking Mormon in US politics, so they send out weasels like Oaks to give speeches, provided to news organizations, who real aim is to damage Reid in the eyes of Nevada’s considerable LDS population — and hopefully replace him with a Republican who will be more to their liking. It’s politics, pure and simple.

Lindoro Almaviva
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

OMG! Someone get me an ambulance! I am about to die laughing. Them, the ones who would not babtize a black because the color of their skin was an indication of their sin. Now they are wanting to be seen as the poor intimidated blacks that the LDS would not baptise in the 50’s.

LOL!

Max
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

Be sure to read the Mormon’s view of blacks in this address by one of the main leaders during the 1950’s.

http://www.mormonismi.net/mep1954/

Lynn David
October 13th, 2009 | LINK

Interesting to see the new face of the father of lies and blatant hypocrisy.

Lindoro Almaviva
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Wow, that document makes for interesting read. Change the phrase Negroe for gay in it and you’ll pretty much get a word by word explanation on their policy.

Even then they talked with the condescending tone that it is now used on us: Don’t blame me, the bible tells me that i am supposed to hate you, denigrate you ad make sure that you know you are inferior to me. I’m not responsible for that, the bible is, I am just the messenger, no need to call me a hater

Matt
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

I don’t recall African-Americans in the South posthumously converting dead KKK members’ race. This cult should be taxed as a 501(c)4.

CPT_Doom
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

As far as I’m concerned, unless they can come up with the battered bodies, they are liars.

Ironic, isn’t it, that if there had been such crimes, the perpetrators would have been subject to the very hate crimes laws that Mr. Oaks claims are so bad.

Richard Rush
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Does Elder Oaks really believe Joe Smith’s story about the gold plates? If so, he is obviously predisposed to being gullible and delusional. If he does not believe the story, then he is a fraud and a liar. Either way – gullible/delusional or fraud/liar (or both) – he seeks to maintain and enhance the power of the LDS church and himself.

It’s no coincidence that the godly authoritarians, both leaders and followers, are responsible for virtually 100% of all the organized anti-gay crusades. Only people with a heightened predisposition to gullibility and delusion could maintain the beliefs in magic truth that allow those crusades to continue.

Among the adherents to belief systems based upon delusion and superstition there are always some clever people who position themselves as leaders to exploit the followers for pursuit of power and/or wealth. Fraud and lies easily become the allies of delusion, as the maintenance of the belief system becomes an obsession. Over time, as people become more highly invested in their magic truths via relentless reinforcement by clever leaders, it becomes increasingly difficult to abandon their beliefs.

Timothy (TRiG)
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Over time, as people become more highly invested in their magic truths via relentless reinforcement by clever leaders, it becomes increasingly difficult to abandon their beliefs.

http://www.jesusandmo.net/2009/08/06/face/

libhomo
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

The Mormon Church supported the disenfranchisement of African Americans as well as the real voter intimidation they faced. The Mormons won’t be satisfied until all non whites lose the vote and slavery is reinstituted. What a pathetic hypocrite.

Bruce Garrett
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Just a note of irony here… In my browser the photo of Elder Dallin H. Oaks in this post, bellyaching about incidents of violence and intimidation toward mormons, is side-by-side with the photo, in the right hand column of the page, of Jack Price laying in a hospital bed in a coma. Some days you feel like hate is just laughing in your face…

Timothy Kincaid
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

“In their effect they are like well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.”

Just out of curiosity, Elder Oaks, in th 60’s did your church support or oppose those pieces of federal civil-rights legislation? Hmmmm?

Timothy Kincaid
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

Matt,

501(c)4 organizations are not taxed.

Libhomo,

The Mormons won’t be satisfied until all non whites lose the vote and slavery is reinstituted.

Please provide support for this claim. Otherwise this is nothing but a slur and not appropriate here.

Don
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

If the LDS Church didn’t plant this story or wasn’t looking for a fight, then why did they pre-tape a response and post it at the LDS News room site before the speech was even presented?

To paraphrase David Letterman…”something here seems a bit hinky”

Johnson
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

I wonder if it could be that the state of California has been investigating LDS involvement with regards to Prop 8, they’ve made some “interesting” discoveries and the shizz is about to hit the fan, so to speak?

Benjamin
October 14th, 2009 | LINK

I read this article and I am not only deeply heart-broken about what Elder Dallin H. Oaks said; but his comparing the opposition to the people who supported prop 8 to those who tried to intimidate black folks during the civil rights era is inexcusable. He has given some very beautiful and inspiring talks but this is one of those that really shocks me as it just doesn’t sound like it came from a man of God. It sounds more like fear-mongering.

I think the LDS Church as an institution was in a far more healthy place when it was much less rich and politically powerful than it is now. They have too much money and too much power now and they all too often put themselves into a religious bubble and ignore reality that may bring into question certain doctrinal interpretations. Many of the modern General Authorities live like they are in an Ivory Tower and are not in touch with and often ignore what is going on in the real world if it tends to go against their worldview. Sometimes they seem like a religious version of the G.O.P. with the white shirts, the ties, the business suits, etc. Very corporate.

I like the old agriculturally based Mormon Church far better than the current corporate based Mormonism that is (like the typical big corporations) often out of touch with the general public and tends to place a facade over what is controversial or may be interpreted as bringing a certain part of their worldview (or product in the case of corporations) into question. Instead of re-interpreting that teaching (through humility and honest prayer) they tragically sacrifice their LGBT members, their families and friends to the dogma and they do this in the face of mounting scientific evidence supporting the fact that our orientation (including the heterosexual majority) is in the vast majority of cases innate and unchangeable.

Too many LGBT Latter-day Saints live in depression, extreme anxiety, guilt and shame for who they are and because many (if not all) of their friends are LDS they all too often lose a crucial support group if they choose to be who they are to date and to create a loving lifelong relationship with someone whom they deeply love. Too many LGBT LDS have committed suicide because the depression and conflict became far too great for them to bear. This is all too often the most devastating result of the LDS Church’s treatment of its LGBT membership.

It will likely take a huge shift of culture and awareness throughout our society before the LDS leadership takes off their blinders, takes their ear plugs out and they start to really listen and understand who we really are and stop fearing and demonizing us. Now they are heavily invested in and only tend to listen to the likes of Evergreen (the LDS ex-gay support group) and they also listen to their arch enemies (the Evangelicals) & depend on them for their influence in trying to overthrow gay rights issues as well.

If the Evangelicals didn’t have the gay people to hate you can bet they would go right back to printing & distributing a lot more anti-Mormon literature and preaching about how “Mormonism is a non-Christian cult”. Now they have Mormon money and influence in passing anti-gay legislation so they have toned down much of the rhetoric for the time being.

Matt
October 15th, 2009 | LINK

“If the Evangelicals didn’t have the gay people to hate you can bet they would go right back to printing & distributing a lot more anti-Mormon literature and preaching about how “Mormonism is a non-Christian cult”. Now they have Mormon money and influence in passing anti-gay legislation so they have toned down much of the rhetoric for the time being.”

Same regarding Catholics. Politics makes strange bedfellows. Very much in keeping with the Middle East philosophy of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend (for now).”

Matt
October 15th, 2009 | LINK

I am amazed at how ignorant a lot of you are… it’s not even worth to dispute it. None of you have a basic knowledge of American history. Good luck trying to sound smart.

David C.
October 15th, 2009 | LINK

I am amazed at how ignorant a lot of you are… it’s not even worth to dispute it. None of you have a basic knowledge of American history. Good luck trying to sound smart.
—Matt

Mmm, dude, what specifically are you talking about? If you are trying to help advance this discussion, please do so.

Ken in Riverside
October 15th, 2009 | LINK

Matt: you sound very smart.

cowboy
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

What’s truly amazing: This Elder Dallin Oaks was a respected lawyer and a member of Utah’s Supreme Court.

The only time I can think of Mormons being intimidated was during the late 60s and the early 70s when Blacks refused to play BYU in WAC conference games. I think there was an incident at a Colorado State basketball game. Mr. Oaks was the President of BYU at that time? No?

But that certainly got the Mormon attention, and it probably was part of the impetus for them to allow African-Americans to have a coveted Temple Recommend and allow them into their Temples.

Sandy
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

Some of the comments here stating ” I haven’t seen any discrimination” Need to only read the newspapaers. We have delt with some pretty ugly things by those in the oposition to Prop 8. But I know that these are NOT the majority. So why would I judge the entire gay community or supporters of the against Prop 8 as rude, mean and destructive people. It would just be irresponsible.

There are lots of opinions and beliefs. This is a very emotional issue for all involved. Vote our hearts, our founding fathers and our current military fight to uphold the right to vote our conscience. And why do we expect the AP to correct any statement it makes after actually finding out the real story.

The media can sometimes be the “Jerry Springer” of the world, stirring up people for the entertainment of it.

Many of the comments here are directed by partial information of the LDS faith. If you read carefully the stats, LDS memebers made up a small portion of the vote collectivly in California. However, can we really be upset by people that actually stand by their beliefs, no matter what others think?

Because partial information, gives way to partial understanding I would submit to you that perhaps in the best interest of any religion or culture, if you really want to understand, that you would visit and see the lives of those you accuse of being haters.

We are the U.S.A. My BF fights for freedom for all. So we may beleive what our hearts tell us. He fights for those that do not feel as we do. He fights for the freedom of those people to live happy and not be afraid to vote as we have that priviledge. I have many close friends and a family member that is gay, they understand my feelings for them and the intense love I have for them. This does not mean that I have to agree with them. Just as they don’t have to agree with me for them to love me. One last note, Dallin Oaks is wonderful man and a true deciple of Christ. By Judging one from words in and article, can we really know a real person or who they represent?

He has a respect for all religions, and we in the LDS community value all that are good people reguardless of thier different beliefs.
~Sandy

cowboy
October 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Sandy,

I’m curious. How do you reconcile how you “value” good people regardless of their different beliefs when you actively seek to make them second-class citizens? You have already devalued them with supporting the premise of Proposition 8. Marriage is only for you but not for gays.

If you valued gays…you would seek their inclusiveness in being equal. And there are gay soldiers fighting for those freedoms too.

Ken in Riverside
October 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Sandy, I’ve tried searching for articles which describe this backlash but I can’t find any. Can you share some links with me?

Your talk of intense love is nice and I have no reason to doubt your sincerity. But, given the choice, I’d take equality under the law and hated over discriminated against and loved.

You invite us to familiarize ourselves with Mormons so that we might judge for ourselves if Mormons are genuinely “haters”. Having been very active in the Boy Scouts, I’ve had the opportunity to know many Mormons and I have a profound appreciation for Mormon values and culture. I don’t think Mormons are full of hate. On this issue, I believe they are driven by some degree of animus. Those beliefs are not incompatible.

But you know what? Even if I genuinely despised Mormons for reasons which seem perfectly reasonable to me, I wouldn’t seek to restrict their access to the rights and freedoms enjoyed by all other Americans. Mormons apparently don’t share that sentiment. Why do you suppose that is?

I think it’s because, to you, this is an emotional issue with lots of different opinions. To me, the thing that matters the most is objective equality of access to legal protections. Nobody’s saying you can’t have your opinion about anything. America is about freedom and equality for all – not about equality for the popular.

And *that* is what our founding fathers and our brave service men shed blood for. For freedom and equality. Not, as you say, so that you can vote your conscious. America fought a civil war because freedom and equality for all were more important than popular opinion.

It was true then and it’s true today.

Christopher Waldrop
October 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Some of the comments here stating ” I haven’t seen any discrimination” Need to only read the newspapaers.

Sandy, I believe some Mormons have been discriminated against and judged unfairly, but what I think is being missed is that does not free Mormons from responsibility when they discriminate against others. And while it may only have been a small number of Mormons who voted for Prop 8, the LDS Church did provide funding to help get the measure on the ballot in the first place.

He has a respect for all religions, and we in the LDS community value all that are good people reguardless of thier different beliefs.

That’s a noble sentiment, but actions speak louder than words. Allowing two people of the same sex to marry doesn’t infringe on the rights of Mormons or any other group–or individual, for that matter. That’s why it’s ridiculous that Elder Dallin H. Oaks would compare criticism of the LDS Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage to the discrimination faced by blacks during the 1960’s push for civil rights. Because, really, what Oaks seems to be asking for is the right to discriminate against others.

Sandy
October 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Cowboy- This is truely an issue on weather you actually believe in what God says about the union of people, or not.
If you don’t believe,then of course it wouldn’t make sense. Please don’t think that this is an easy thing for us. There are deep emotions carried here for myself when others question my love for those we speak about.

This is not simply an LDS view. It’s a scriptural view. Sin is Sin. We cannot change that fact no matter what logic we as humnas try to use. We can simply ignore it if it doesn’t fit our lifestyle.

Ken~
Here are a few links,I think these are pretty unbiased and might be informative. On a more personal note, we had to have people posted at the church day and night to keep people from valdalizing our church property. and Vehicles.
Job resignation: http://www.kcra.com/news/17956980/detail.html

Arson and vandalism
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2132134/posts

Reguarding our founding Fathers and what they faught for, My feeling for our country runs deep, and they leaned on their deep commitment and belief in God to govern them. I am greatful everyday for the past and the sacrifice of all people for my freedoms. Our priveledge to vote was only one small aspect of it when I noted it.

Christopher~
Allowing this would infringe on the belief of others when it begins to be taught in our schools and when people are allowed to be sued for not allowing gay couples to be married in our churches. It is a reality that it will be taken further.

Anyway~ I do want to mention, I am greatful that the tone that all of the inquiries and statements have been mde in were thoughtful and friendly, It is very much appreciated. I know I didn’t answer all the inquiries specifically, But I do have to work for a living too..lol Perhaps we will chat later.

Burr
October 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Sandy, you and the rest of the Mormon church’s position on equality for gays infringes on the beliefs of many other churches who DO support same-sex marriage.

Why do your beliefs deserve precedence over others?

The notion that some churches will be forced to marry against their beliefs is a canard. Nobody forces Jewish temples or Catholics to marry couples they don’t deem fit for the rites, and that would not change one bit with same-sex marriage. Why would a gay couple want to be married where they are not welcome? It’s an absurd argument.

Christopher Waldrop
October 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Sandy, do your research. No church can be sued for refusing to perform marriage ceremonies. In fact many of the laws allowing domestic partnerships or same-sex marriage have included provisions protecting churches from such lawsuits.

As for the issue of same-sex marriage being taught in schools, marriage is not “taught” in schools, but pictures and stories about all sorts of families are used in school curricula. Would it be reasonable to expect schools to pretend there’s only one kind of family, especially since the students themselves likely come from diverse families?

Priya Lynn
October 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Sandy said “Allowing this would infringe on the belief of others when it begins to be taught in our schools and when people are allowed to be sued for not allowing gay couples to be married in our churches. It is a reality that it will be taken further.”.

As other’s have pointed out, its quite simply a lie to say that people will be sued for not allowing gay couples to be married in their churches. Similarly, allowing gay couples to marry in no way infringes on anyone’s beliefs – no one can force you to believe anything you don’t want to. You’re free to believe whatever you want to, but you don’t have a right to use those beliefs to dictate how others live their lives.

Chitown Kev
October 24th, 2009 | LINK

@a. mccewen-

Oh, you are so right about some of the hypocritical black pastors.

John
November 11th, 2009 | LINK

Take an honest look at the tone of this article and many of the comments here – ask honestly if there is a spirit of love and concern or a vengeful, biased, hateful tone. If you’re looking for the truth, it must be found in God’s way and light and truth will never be found in hateful, contentious and argumentative interactions. I encourage all to have an open mind and give proper respect to everyone, even if you don’t agree. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) didn’t ban anyone from full membership in the Church. The right of holding the Priesthood was not available (this is different than full membership). We believe that the Church is led by Christ and the decision to provide the Priesthood to all worthy male members in 1978 was His decision. With this perspective, human reasoning is irrelevant when asking why this was so, and accusations that there was any other motive or reason is untrue and unfair. I hope everyone can understand and respect that view. Please review the address of Elder Oaks with this perspective and I believe you will find an accurate, fair and respectful person who is trying to help enlighten all in a spirit of love.

cowboy
November 11th, 2009 | LINK

John,

The “decision” about allowing the keys to the Priesthood to Blacks was never a directive from Jesus Christ. It was political expediency…simple as that.

Do not water down the blatant racism and rationalize with silly arguments about full or partial membership. The Mormons practiced discrimination on their Black members.

And there was never a explanation why the Blacks were not allowed into their Temples and even now there has never been an official apology for its past racism.

We have reviewed Elder D. Oaks and his perspective on this and past occasions and anyone can plainly assess his “spirit” as anything but “loving”.

Timothy Kincaid
November 12th, 2009 | LINK

John,

You seem to have an amazing ability to compartmentalize and accept the logic of justifications that, outside of a faith context, appear irrational.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) didn’t ban anyone from full membership in the Church. The right of holding the Priesthood was not available (this is different than full membership).

Those who are not Mormon would look at this argument as a distinction without a difference. You are saying, essentially, that it’s OK that the Church discriminated against African Americans for priesthood because they didn’t discriminate for “full membership”. We look at that careful exception and say, “So what, It’s still institutionalized racism and an indication of bigotry and baseless bias”.

And when you say that Jesus Christ decided in 1978 that black people were now worthy of priesthood but were unworthy before 1978, it challenges those of us who see such declarations as self-serving and, frankly, offensive to my Christian faith.

It says, in essence, that the leadership of the LDS church is without flaw but it is Jesus Christ himself who was the champion of racism until He reached a greater understanding of the arbitrary nature of judging others based on how much melanin is in their skin. It places the human leadership of the church as being more divine than God.

But this sort of thinking certainly justifies the abuse and misuse of your gay neighbors. As long as your leadership says that God commands you to behave abominably, you will do so. Because you exclude your church leadership from the possibility of error, either past or future.

And should church policy change, it isn’t because they realize that society finds their bigotry intolerable, but rather because your church will simply announce that God changed his mind.

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