ONTD Political

Mormon leader: religious freedom at risk

11:11 pm - 10/13/2009
From AP.

The anti-Mormon backlash after California voters overturned gay marriage last fall is similar to the intimidation of Southern blacks during the civil rights movement, a high-ranking Mormon said Tuesday.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks referred to gay marriage as an "alleged civil right" in an address at Brigham Young University-Idaho that church officials described as a significant commentary on current threats to religious freedom.
Oaks suggested that atheists and others are seeking to intimidate people of faith and silence their voices in the public square, according to his prepared remarks.

"The extent and nature of religious devotion in this nation is changing," said Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a church governing body. "The tide of public opinion in favor of religion is receding, and this probably portends public pressures for laws that will impinge on religious freedom."

Oaks' address comes as gay-rights activists mount a legal challenge to Proposition 8, the ballot measure that overturned gay marriage in California. His comments about civil rights angered gay rights supporters who consider the struggle to enact same-sex marriage laws as a major civil rights cause.

"Blacks were lynched and beaten and denied the right to vote by their government," said Marc Solomon, marriage director for Equality California, which spearheaded the No on 8 campaign. "To compare that to criticism of Mormon leaders for encouraging people to give vast amounts of money to take away rights of a small minority group is illogical and deeply offensive."

Solomon said the Mormon church hierarchy has every right to speak out, "but in the public sphere, one should expect that people will disagree."
In an interview Monday before the speech, Oaks said he did not consider it provocative to compare the treatment of Mormons in the election's aftermath to that of blacks in the civil rights era, and said he stands by the analogy.

"It may be offensive to some — maybe because it hadn't occurred to them that they were putting themselves in the same category as people we deplore from that bygone era," said Oaks, a former Utah Supreme Court justice who clerked for Chief Justice Earl Warren at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Salt Lake City-based Mormon church, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has shied from politics historically but was a key player in the pro-Proposition 8 coalition. The LDS First Presidency, its highest governing body, announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read at every California congregation, and individual Mormons heeded the church's calls to donate their money and time.

After the measure prevailed, its opponents focused much of their ire on Mormons, organizing boycotts of businesses with LDS ties and protests at Mormon worship places. While some demonstrations were peaceful, in others church windows were shattered and slurs were hurled at the church's founding fathers.
Some of the most pointed comments in Oaks' Tuesday address focus on Proposition 8. Oaks said the free exercise of religion is threatened by those who believe it conflicts with "the newly alleged 'civil right' of same-gender couples to enjoy the privileges of marriage."

"Those who seek to change the foundation of marriage should not be allowed to pretend that those who defend the ancient order are trampling on civil rights," Oaks said. "The supporters of Proposition 8 were exercising their constitutional right to defend the institution of marriage ..."

Oaks said that while "aggressive intimidation" connected to Proposition 8 was primarily directed at religious people and symbols, "it was not anti-religious as such." He called the incidents "expressions of outrage against those who disagreed with the gay-rights position and had prevailed in a public contest."
"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."



The Mormon church has faced criticism for its past stances on race; it wasn't until 1978 that the church lifted a prohibition that denied full church membership to black men of African descent.
In an interview Monday, Oaks said the Proposition 8 saga was one of several trends that motivated him to deliver the address, but it was "not the trigger."

"There are civil rights involved in this — the right to speak your mind, to participate in the election," Oaks said. "But you don't have a civil right to win an election or retaliate against those who prevail."
Fred Karger, founder of the gay rights group Californians Against Hate, said Oaks' speech is part of a public relations offensive to "try to turn the tables on what has been a complete disaster for the Mormon church ... They are trying to be the victim here. They're not. They're the perpetrators."

In his address, Oaks also rejected any religious test for public office. He said that if "a candidate is seen to be rejected at the ballot box primarily because of religious belief or affiliation, the precious free exercise of religion is weakened at its foundation ..."

In the interview Monday, Oaks said he was referring in part to the 2008 presidential bid of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose Mormon faith troubled some evangelicals.
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happens 14th-Oct-2009 05:28 am (UTC)
u_u
layweed 14th-Oct-2009 05:35 am (UTC)
I dunno how anyone can claim "religious freedom is at risk" if they were part of a movement that tried to exert their social values on people not of their religion. o_O
cai_penquin 14th-Oct-2009 11:12 am (UTC)
THIS.
popehippo 14th-Oct-2009 02:12 pm (UTC)
Best gif ever.
ex_drakyn 14th-Oct-2009 05:43 am (UTC)
"Blacks were lynched and beaten and denied the right to vote by their government," said Marc Solomon, marriage director for Equality California, which spearheaded the No on 8 campaign. "To compare that to criticism of Mormon leaders for encouraging people to give vast amounts of money to take away rights of a small minority group is illogical and deeply offensive."

THIS
escherichiacola 14th-Oct-2009 05:47 am (UTC)
Photobucket
quarantedeux 14th-Oct-2009 06:10 am (UTC)
Haha. Icon and gif win. AD and BSG: two great tastes that taste great together!
spidergwen are they fucking serious?14th-Oct-2009 05:54 am (UTC)
ugh whatever..

lizzy_someone 14th-Oct-2009 05:59 am (UTC)
Right, Mormon Church, convince me that you care SOOOOO much about racism when you refused to let black people be priests in your church until 1978.
quarantedeux 14th-Oct-2009 06:09 am (UTC)
For real.
playthefool 14th-Oct-2009 06:00 am (UTC)
quarantedeux 14th-Oct-2009 06:08 am (UTC)
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Riiiight.

But seriously, no one is challenging the Mormons' right to worship as they choose. It's more an issue of wanting to force their beliefs on others...which would really be violating everyone else's religious freedom when you think about it.
smilenoddelete 14th-Oct-2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
THIS.

My LDS friend tried to tell me that her church's leaders were just trying to defend the sanctity of marriage. Fine, believe what you want to. That doesn't mean you get to determine what others believe. That's why it's called religious freedom.

randyandrews 14th-Oct-2009 07:20 am (UTC)
Can we put some kind of moratorium on fucking LDS leaders fucking talking, please?

So you want to take away his right to free speach?
etherealtsuki 14th-Oct-2009 06:32 am (UTC)
Good fucking lawd, this just pisses me the fuck off. Sometimes, it's a fucking wonder that I'm still Christian at all because I want to go up to these people and say "BAWWWWWWWWWWW THE FUCK MOAR." I hate, HATE some of these people are making shitty comparisons to the Civil Rights Movement because they can't make their religion law.

And the most fucking hilarious part about this whole thing? What made people in the South think that oppressing Blacks was alright? Religion. Hell, people made the craziest shit how Blacks should be considered second-class citizens USING (more like abusing) religious text like the Bible. And those people then whined that their religious liberties are being violated then too probably.

When religions, especially ones deal with Christ, fully realize what 'free will' means, the world would be a little better, dontcha think?
theartema 14th-Oct-2009 06:41 am (UTC)
Sometimes, it's a fucking wonder that I'm still Christian at all because I want to go up to these people and say "BAWWWWWWWWWWW THE FUCK MOAR."

Ha. That's what Facebook is for. And really, we are supposed to nudge our fellows and go "Hey. Your logic is flawed, brother/sister". Your way is just more efficient.
theartema 14th-Oct-2009 06:36 am (UTC)
Oaks said he did not consider it provocative to compare the treatment of Mormons in the election's aftermath to that of blacks in the civil rights era


langenoire 14th-Oct-2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
When they regularly hang you a tree ornaments, come talk to me about how it's just like civil rights. Until then, STFU.
tripmeup 14th-Oct-2009 06:39 am (UTC)
um ok
excusemesenator 14th-Oct-2009 07:00 am (UTC)
ur doin it wrong
randomneses 14th-Oct-2009 07:20 am (UTC)
Oh good lord.
homasse 14th-Oct-2009 08:05 am (UTC)
Can we quit it with the groups doing the oppression crying that telling them to quit it with the oppression makes them just like an oppressed group?

Between this and Glenn Beck's newest Godwin Moment, I'm ready to put my foot up in somebody's ass.
leelakin 14th-Oct-2009 09:28 am (UTC)
Ugh, so you discriminated against gays and now you act like you're the victim because ~*some*~ people called you out on your asshattery?
BAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.
ceilidh_ann 14th-Oct-2009 10:59 am (UTC)
Why is it always the Mormons? I used to feel a bit sorry for them having Glenn Beck, Stephenie Meyer and Orson Scott Card lumped in with their lot but now, fuck it!
dearpencilpal 14th-Oct-2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
aw, i kind of like orson scott card. he really does review everything.
lisaee 14th-Oct-2009 11:21 am (UTC)
What is it with Mormonism? Christ ...
dearpencilpal 14th-Oct-2009 12:29 pm (UTC)
you answered your own question~
wrestlingdog 14th-Oct-2009 01:26 pm (UTC)
GIP.
bib_specialist 14th-Oct-2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
Yet another example of the right-wing persecution complex, which must be unique in the annals of psychology. These people love to portray themselves as persecuted victims. Usually they compare themselves to Jews in Nazi Germany, but comparing themselves to blacks in the segregated south is a new one to me.
jennem 14th-Oct-2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
The anti-Mormon backlash after California voters overturned gay marriage last fall is similar to the intimidation of Southern blacks during the civil rights movement, a high-ranking Mormon said Tuesday.

Except that black people in the South faced backlash because they were fighting for their rights, and you're facing backlash because you're fighting to suppress the rights of others.

CLUE: IN YOUR ANALOGY, YOU'RE THE RACIST WHITE PEOPLE THAT OTHER PEOPLE DON'T LIKE.
rex_dart 14th-Oct-2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
Don't be silly. Black people were fighting against the right of white people to not have black people have rights. Don't you get it?
empath_eia 14th-Oct-2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
Gratuitous icon post.
worldmage 14th-Oct-2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
He said that if "a candidate is seen to be rejected at the ballot box primarily because of religious belief or affiliation, the precious free exercise of religion is weakened at its foundation ..."

IAC! Now let's get some more Muslim and atheist candidates in there!

Oh, wait, that's not what you meant, is it?
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