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More on the Amendment Vote

I think I made my point (albeit in a sarcastic way) about the LDS Church's involvement in the election-year ploy by Republicans to gain support among Evangelicals by playing the homophobe card.  Jeffrey Nielson in today's Salt Lake Tribune has a thoughtful, less bombastic, well reasoned essay on why he (as a member of the LDS Church) opposes the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would prohibit states from granting any of the same legal rights to gay couples that are afforded heterosexual married couples.  I include a portion here, which I hope is considered fair use.  I understand the link to the full essay at the Trib will only work for two weeks.  If I were to write in legal parlance, I would say that I  incorporate by reference the entirety of his remarks and adopt the same as fully my own:

"The leaders of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently spoke out against gay marriage and asked members to encourage their U.S. senators to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting homosexual marriage.

As a member, I sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as LDS general authorities; however, I reject the premise that they are thereby immune from thoughtful questioning or benevolent criticism. A perfect God does not require blind obedience, nor does He need unthinking loyalty. Freedom of conscience is a divine blessing, and our privilege to express it is a moral imperative.

When the church hierarchy speaks on a public issue and requests that members follow, it is difficult indeed if an individual feels the content of their message would make bad law and is unethical as well. I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral. . . .

. . .

Even if the scientific evidence does not yet establish this beyond reasonable doubt, it seems that virtuous moderation and loving kindness require us to exercise caution before making constitutionally binding discrimination against a whole class of people based only on fear and superstition. In fact, when we examine the statements opposing gay marriage, we find few reasonable arguments. It is not enough to claim that we should oppose gay marriage because historically it has never been recognized. This is the fallacy of appealing to tradition, which was also used to fight against civil rights and equal treatment of women.

Further, to say that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage and the family without giving any reasons why is the fallacy of appealing to fear. Indeed, once you get past the emotion, it is quite an unfounded claim. How could the union of two committed and loving people negatively affect my marriage? I believe that quite the contrary is true; namely, legalizing gay marriage reinforces the importance of committed relationships and would strengthen the institution of marriage. . . .

. . .

As for the statement by church leaders that God has ordained marriage to be a union between a man and a woman, I find it quite troubling. It sidesteps the role of polygamy in past and future church teachings. It seems to me that if church leaders at one point in time, not very long ago, told members that the union of one man with several women was important for eternal salvation, but now leads them to believe that God only recognizes the union of one man to one woman, then some explanation is required. (I am not endorsing polygamy.)  . . .

. . .

We can no longer afford to teach only what is useful and hope people won't discover what is true. In this day of easy Internet access, a person can find more real history of the LDS Church in 30 minutes online than the same person would in a lifetime studying approved church materials. . . .

. . .

We need to trust the membership of the church and treat them as adults, as equals. We are a church of brothers and sisters, not one of the few privileged leaders and the many subordinate followers. There might be a diversity of roles and responsibilities from prophet to Sunday School teacher, but we are all peers with one another and equally irreplaceable in God's thoughts and affections."

   ---
   Jeffrey Nielsen is an organizational consultant and teaches philosophy at Brigham Young University. He is the author of the book, The Myth of Leadership: Creating Leaderless Organizations (Davies-Black Publishing).

Comments

Matt Elggren

"...to say that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage and the family without giving any reasons why is the fallacy of appealing to fear."
--

Ah, yes. FUD. The holy trinity of religion from time immemorial. For the LDS church (and so many others) it started with "Jesus is coming VERY soon" and has transmuted into "the gays are destoying the family". You have to have some reason to believe...

pottermom

Wow. I'm quite impressed with this article and with Nielsen's courage in writing it. Any bets on how much longer he'll be employed at BYU? ;)

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