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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Elementary, my dear Watson." Sherlock Holmes

Certain things seem elementary to me...things like basic human rights and kindness.  I also thought that separation of church and state was pretty basic and not too difficult to understand.  Here in Utah, that basic concept does not exist.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has a say in everything.  I don't just mean everything about the church or its followers, I mean everything that happens in this state.  The Utah state legislature is over 90% LDS and it seems their members rarely think for themselves. The Mormon church weighs in on all issues and if they don't give their approval it simply will not happen.  I want to scream and pull my hair out after I read articles stating how the Church either approved or disappoved of an issue and that influenced the outcome of the vote in the legislature.  The blatant disregard of law by this body is repugnant.
I was, however, impressed to read an Op Ed last week by Republican and Mormon senator Stephen Urquhart.  He sponsored a non-discrimination bill that would outlaw housing and employment discrimination based on sexual identity and orientation.  Yes,  that is still very legal in Utah.  Of course it is, as you all know the church's stance on homosexuality.  This church has gone to great lengths and spent big dollars to withhold rights from the gay community in Utah and other states, most notably California.  I applaud Mr. Urquhart's bravery and wish there were others who would stand up for what is clearly elementary!  No one should be discriminated against!

Sadly, today's paper had an article, "Anti-discrimination bill for gays appears dead for 2013 session". Apparently, there are just not enough votes to get it passed.  Here is a direct quote from the article, "Advocates from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had negotiated for more than a year with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to try to win support for the legislation."  You see,  this unlawful influence is not even a secret.   This is just sad and pathetic.  It displays bigotry and I cannot believe that we Utahns accept it.

So another year goes by and discrimination against a group of Utahns is still legal.  For now, the only elementary thing is that we have to pander to a Church that thinks not all people have the same rights.        It is time for everyone, LDS or not, to stand up for others.  The LDS church will not get the respect of the nation or the world until it is able to put aside bigotry and judgement.  The Church was 14 years behind in granting rights to their black members, I hope they will not lag that far behind on this equality issue.


Jill Footey said...

I like to consider myself an open-minded free-thinking member of the LDS church. I agree with you that "the church" should not have a say in legislation. When members of the legislature are LDS though, it's understandable that LDS people would vote in a way that supports their religious values. The LDS church has taken strides to support gay rights. We welcome gays into our congregations. Our doctrine teaches us to treat everybody with love & respect. Individuals do not always understand that or act that way but our doctrine teaches us to try to have the pure love of Christ in our lives and treat others as He would. Our faith is against gay marriage (such as in California), but not against gay rights. Everybody should have rights to health care, housing, employment, etc. and many church members fight hard to protect those rights for everyone. Some members are mean to gays (in all kinds of churches, not just LDS churches) but that doesn’t mean that’s what our religion teaches us. I do want to be a part of something that teaches others to be kind to everybody around them. I don’t want to be part of something that is easily influenced by the pressures of the world. Just because a lot of people say there’s nothing wrong with being gay, doesn’t mean God says it’s no big deal. If a church were to change based on public opinion, it wouldn’t seem credible to me at all. However, I also think it’s not our job to march around telling everybody what they’re doing wrong and withholding love from them because of it. We all have our sins & follies. We should love others & hope they can love us, too. We should fear God more than man though and hold onto our beliefs, even if a few of them are not the most popular.

jill said...

Hi Jill. I am glad you have kept reading despite my very sporadic writing. You seem like an open minded person and I admire that. There are many things in the Bible that we no longer consider moral behavior - stoning women, selling daughters into slavery, putting people to death for working on the Sabbath. Society marches forward in the name of equality whether religious institutions follow along or not. As I noted the LDS church was quite far behind in the civil rights movement for African Americans. They and other church groups will no doubt behave the same way with gay rights. You say you believe in rights for the gay community, but the pursuit of happiness is not included I guess. The right to choose who we love is one of our most basic rights and I believe we all should be able to do that. That does not mean I think your church has to marry gay people but to stop them from doing so in other manners is unjust and frankly cruel. I will always commend those who are brave enough to stand up for others despite possible repurcussions from their community, church, etc. It is when many voices stand up for what is right that real change happens. So, we do agree that we should hold onto our beliefs in what is right - we may just not agree on what that may be. Thanks again Jill for sharing your opinions!