Tuesday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it would be amping up it’s support of religious and LGBT freedoms.
While the Mormon church still openly oppose what bigots call “homosexual lifestyles,” it recognizes that the community has rights to certain freedoms — such as equal housing and employment opportunities. The Mormon group, The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, announced in a press conference they were showing their support for fighting for those rights — but only on the condition legislation also supports religious freedoms.
The question remains, is ‘religious freedom’ just another term for flagrant discrimination?
Elder Holland said:
For example, a Latter-day Saint physician who objects to performing abortions or artificial insemination for a lesbian couple should not be forced against his or her conscience to do so, especially when others are readily available to perform that function.
If a Mormon doctor performs artificial insemination on male-female couples, but refused to do so for a same-sex couple, that would be considered discrimination. Acceptable discrimination would be refusal to marry gay couples in churches, but in the public sphere discrimination should not be legally protected. This “religious freedom” would also extend further than just the Mormon church, it would extend to all religions friendly or unfriendly to the LGBT community.
So in essence, it would seem the Mormon church wants to ride on the back of the LGBT movement to get their discriminatory agenda passed, but would then later be legally able deny LGBT rights on religious grounds. The LGBT community wouldn’t have legal recourse to religious discrimination because other non-religious business and real estate owners would surely offer the same service. It’s the “who gets to sit at the lunch counter” fight all over again.
Elders Dallin Oaks said:
When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they have raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser. Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender.
It is one of today’s great ironies that some people who have fought so hard for LGBT rights now try to deny the rights of others to disagree with their public policy proposals.
It sparks further debate about where the line should be drawn in the sand between rights and discrimination. Do employers have the right to fire sexuality bigots? Absolutely, it marginalizes consumers and employees. Should employers have the right to fire LGBT people? No. Difference being, sexuality is something innate, it’s something people can’t control, while bigotry and religious beliefs remain choices and that’s what the religious movement fails to grasp.
So to this sudden announcement for a piggy back ride for a Mormon-LGBT relationship, perhaps a kind, “Thanks but no thanks,” is in order.