The LDS Church and Civil Rights – in Utah and America

There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth.  (John Kenneth Galbraith, 1908 – 2006)

 

Utah State Capitol Bldg (Garrett - flickr blogger)

 

Following the disingenuous statements by LDS Church officials last week – ostensibly supporting anti discrimination measures for members of the LGBT community in housing and employment – the focus has been effectively diverted and short-stopped. And is being held hostage by the Mormon Legislature’s focus on proposed legislation, ostensibly needed to “Protect Religious Freedoms,” called for by The LDS Church as well.

Draper Republican LaVar Christensen’s proposed legislation fails to even address LGBT issues directly. Rather, he feels any concerns are adequately covered by the hate crimes law – passed 9 years ago – that says all Utah citizens should be free from discrimination in housing and employment. But if that were only the case, wouldn’t you think he’d also recognize that everyone’s ‘religious freedoms’ have been adequately protected – under the United States Constitution – for the last 240 years?

The elephant in the room? LaVar Christensen was the original author of Utah’s failed Proposition III – since thrown under the bus by the Federal Courts – that specifically denied same sex marriage in Utah.

Sour grapes? Plan B is a transparent attempt to enact Jim Crow-type laws, that would allow ongoing discrimination, by Mormon Church members, against those of the LGBT community. This time, under the guise of Personal Religious Conviction.

Let me just point to a few of the problems, with this truck-load of pious deceit.

The most obvious, of course, is conflating the self-serving concerns of the religious oligarchy, with those of secular state government. In their horribly myopic view, they seem to have forgot that Mormonism is but one of an ineffable number of ‘personal beliefs.’ And that whole rafts of civil law have been enacted, to mainly keep these folks from stepping all over each others toes. The fact that civil law has effectively beaten back – and held at bay – those religiously held “personal views” that would deny women and people of color their basic civil rights, those past efforts could be turned completely on their heads by such egregious legislation. Without civil laws that apply equally – across the board – to all members of our secular society, we’d be thrown back into the open chaos that considers no one but kith and kin, to be worthy of equal treatment.

That the whole notion is ridiculous – and completely unnecessary – on its surface, it also needs pointing out that this is not an idea that would confine itself to the LGBTQ, or the alternative lifestyle community. Rather, in making this obvious attempt to circumvent not only the spirit of the law – but the letter of the laws themselves – they would ostensibly void the Civil Rights protections of every American. And this, by wiping their asses on the very letter and spirit of The Constitution of the United States of America. By making the right to violate the personal Civil Rights of another, a purely elective matter. One of personal choice.

That the perpetrators of this proposed piece of noise legislation are driven by reactionary hysteria – and pique – over recent court rulings allowing same sex marriage, the hubris is halting. And the rest of us have just about had it with Rule by Religious Oligarchy.

The thing is, when sycophant legislators for the Mormon Church, try to aim their church canons at fellow citizens of the United States, they’re aiming those canons directly at me and you – and every other American as well.

We cast a shadow on something, wherever we stand.
(E.M. Forster, 1879 -1970)

 

That is why I’m calling on those members of the Utah State Legislature, to give up their misguided attempts – to further soothe the bitter wounds of defeat – by trying to legislatively wrap themselves in the illusion that they are somehow better – and morally above – every other citizen in the State of Utah who doesn’t share their beliefs. To stop trying to wrap yourselves in evermore transparent layers of deceit – at our expense. Recognize that this whole way of thinking, has become an anachronism. And that you will be called to account.

Donnie

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