Credit where credit is due.

My former boss Willard passed along this on Facebook:

My name is Michael Otterson. I am here representing the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to address the matter of the petition presented today by the Human Rights Campaign.

While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground. This past week we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men. We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society.

This Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history, when we were too few in numbers to adequately protect ourselves and when society’s leaders often seemed disinclined to help. Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment – to love one another.

I find it important that they do not just reject violence towards homosexuality, but also non-violent bullying as well. From the same source, I was quite surprise and happy to read this:

The Church said the Salt Lake City Council’s new nondiscrimination ordinance “is fair and reasonable” and balances fair housing and employment rights with the religious rights of the community.

Otterson told city council members: “The issue before you tonight is the right of people to have a roof over their heads and the right to work without being discriminated against. But, importantly, the ordinances also attempts to balance vital issues of religious freedom. In essence, the Church agrees with the approach which Mayor Becker is taking on this matter.”

I disagree pretty strongly with the Church on gay marriage, though I know many of you agree with it. Regardless, the position on housing and jobs is a position that the Church did not have to take. Kudos to them for doing so.


Category: Church

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6 Responses to The LDS Church on Homosexuality

  1. logtar says:

    Interesting position of sure. I wish more leaders of all denominations started to view things from a more broad perspective in terms of discrimination. At least the LDS are not forgetting what being segregated and persecuted is like.

  2. web says:

    Herein lies the rub: the LDS Church is still against gay marriage, inasmuch as it constitutes (as I have often argued) not simply “tolerance”, but outright endorsement, of homosexual acts.

    But at the same time, they also take the principled, moral stand – which I also agree with – that deliberately attacking someone (whether physically or verbally) for their stated/acted sexuality is immoral.

    To me, part of the whole “gay rights” debate that has become rather insidious is the way in which each side has often attempted to play the other side as a villain. The recent Michigan case – with Chris Armstrong vs Andrew Shirvell – is one example. Shirvell has a strong case to paint Armstrong, who regularly holds “GAE Rush” and other parties in which underage and probably confused teens are plied with alcohol for sexual acts by people like Armstrong, as a villain. Armstrong has a reasonable case as well to paint Shirvell’s blogging as having crossed a line or two, most notably when Shirvell and his associates began an ongoing campaign to document every public action of Armstrong (setting aside, for the moment, the question of whether or not Armstrong’s student government position made him a “public figure” as such).

    So, too, has the knee-jerk reaction that the LDS is being “mean” by stating their position that sexual behavior, as well as sexual desire, is something that is not fixed in a given individual. From the LDS’s perspective, it seems reasonable that they might see homosexual behavior as similar to kleptomania, gambling addiction, anger management, alcoholism or any other number of other behaviors which people may struggle with in their lives.

    If I say to someone who has a drinking problem, “I think you have a drinking problem, let me offer help (either through a group I know or otherwise)”, they are as likely as not to get offended. From the position of someone of various religions who see their peers and fellow humans falling into behavior they see as sinful, however, it’s certainly not “mean” to offer someone spiritual help or guidance with it.

  3. trumwill says:

    the LDS Church is still against gay marriage

    Sure. And I continue to disagree with them on this matter. Not saying that their views are perfect, just that they are more progressive than they have to be and (especially in the area of housing/employment discrimination) than I would have expected.

  4. Abel Keogh says:

    The LDS church also supports civil unions.

  5. stone says:

    Ahem. “The Church” refers to the Roman Catholic church. Everyone else needs a modifier.

  6. trumwill says:

    Abel, good to hear!

    Sheila, not if you’ve lived in Deseret, it doesn’t.

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