« Your long-standing confusion open thread | Main | The Saudi succession system isn't really strange, but that doesn't mean it's functional »

January 28, 2015

Comments

dammit! I didn't bother to check if anyone else was writing something, I just posted all big-footedly.

Let's see if we can manage to talk about two things at once.

I think you missed the part about "protecting religious liberty" which may well be the whole point for them. They want to leave it open for people to discriminate based on religious beliefs. "You can't discriminate unless God told you that you should" does not provide a workable frame for an antidiscrimination law.

Minority religious groups have long been advocates for the rights of minority groups. The reasons why should be obvious.

The obvious question is whether this will affect their behavior in places and times where they have power. Evidence suggests no.

I don't know, as the MJ article points out, only 6 years ago, the church was supporting Prop 8.

To paraphrase Groucho's line, I'm not going to join any religion that would have me as a member, and I retain some cynicism about organized religion, this does seem different enough take out of the classification of realpolitik. I can understand that sense when it is other religions, but sticking up for LGBT rights seems like a little further.

About faces are SOP for LDS AFAICT. Perhaps this one occurred a little faster than normal.

I share doretta's scepticism (or cynicism) there. "Religious liberty" has become such an Orwellian term in conservative circles*, that my default assumption is that it is code for "my right to discriminate agsint others while I may not be discrimanted against myself". To convince me otherwise requires specifics.

*not just in the US of A. Old Europe has lots of that too, although other terms might be used meaning the same.

They want to leave it open for people to discriminate based on religious beliefs.

I take it as more like: their religion recognizes certain activities as sin, and doesn't permit unrepentant sinners to be members in communion with the rest of the church.

That's pretty much the position of most churches I have attended in my adult life.

The recognition that there isn't any real biblical basis for hierarchy of sin (excepting that some things are explicitly forbidden to e.g. the Levites, but not others) is, however, fairly recent and controversial in some faiths.

So: I would expect that the e.g. Mormons would, if they held homosexuality as sinful, no more permit an unrepentant, practicing homosexual to be a member in good standing than they would an unrepentant adulterer.

For certain values of adultery, maybe. I honestly am not familiar with LDS views on much of anything; the above examples are hypotheticals in nearly the purest sense.

OTOH Christianity is based in part on principles of compassion and spreading of the Word, and it's pretty clear there isn't much hope of Word-spreading if you're shunning everyone who is a sinner. Because everyone is a sinner. Again, this might be a fairly recently held POV on the part of many religious sects.

More encapsulated: part of religious freedom is the freedom to NOT belong. Why on Earth would you want to be a Mormon if you don't believe what Mormons believe?

"Why on Earth would you want to be a Mormon if you don't believe what Mormons believe?"

It's a kind of bait and switch that you see in operation occasionally: First you demand to be permitted to join some group, despite not believing what they believe. Finally they relent, and let you join.

Then comes step two: You work your way into a position of power, and then change your mind about the value of inclusivity: You work to kick out the people who don't believe what YOU believe.

And in the end, if it works, you've taken their organization away from them.

I wonder when they'll start arguing that their religious freedom is trampled when they can't discriminate on the basis of race. I'm surprised the southern baptists haven't brought that up yet. Perhaps they're just waiting for the right moment.

Why on Earth would you want to be a Mormon if you don't believe what Mormons believe?

You're treating belief as a binary when it isn't. Religions have lots of teachings, and people don't automatically drop out when they discover they disagree on one point. It makes a lot more sense to try to change the church's doctrine on that one point, especially with a church that has a history of changing its doctrine when it's politically expedient.

Most religions manage, eventually, the adapt to changes in the world around them, Ugh. The big difference with the LDS is that they have (from necessity, perhaps) an established mechanism for making changes. Even fast and drastic changes, if that is necessary.

The question in my mind would be, why do they feel it is necessary now, and on this topic? No idea there. But the cynic in me even wonders if they think that a member of their faith might need to be able to move to the center on that topic in the course of a mooted run for President....

Why on Earth would you want to be a Mormon if you don't believe what Mormons believe?

I don't think it's a matter of "why would you want to become one?" But rather, "why would you want to remain one?" Because there are doubtless those who were raised in the faith, and had no desire to leave it. But then discovered that they were ineligible.

It's not that different from someone whose family has massive prejudices against some race or religion. Who then falls in love with someone from that group. They don't really want to just walk away from their family -- although some find themselves forced to do exactly that. But usually they at least make a major effort to modify the family prejudices, at least to the extent necessary to have their future spouse accepted, if not embraced. (And sometimes it works.)

"It's a kind of bait and switch that you see in operation occasionally: First you demand to be permitted to join some group, despite not believing what they believe. Finally they relent, and let you join.

Then comes step two: You work your way into a position of power, and then change your mind about the value of inclusivity: You work to kick out the people who don't believe what YOU believe.

And in the end, if it works, you've taken their organization away from them."


Finally, Erick Erickson's and the far Right's destruction of the Republican Party's big tent (actually always a pup tent pitched in a lake of poisonous fire) nailed, wherein the clowns smuggle themselves in and unload endlessly from the clown car, shut down two of the rings, shave the bearded lady, let loose the man-eating lions, place the lion-tamers behind bars, put real bullets in the ringmaster's starter pistol, and feature only one remaining act, ceaselessly repeated with a different performer each matinee, The Amazing Inflexible Sh*thead, who mesmerizes the crowd by shoving his/her head up their behinds and keeping it there for a new world record each show, only to be surpassed by the next fool, until rigor mortis sets in.

“If you don't know what you want," the doorman said, "you end up with a lot you don't.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Given that the LGBT club has no problem with accepting members, and I use the term advisedly, of the Mormon Club into its midst, I see no reason why the Mormon Club can't reconcile itself to an exchange program, at the very least.

Aren't the secret handshakes fairly similar?

For Pete's sake, (this guy Pete, for example, why do we always do things for his sake?), who would be more O.K. with the concept of polygamy as an option and less apt to have an abortion than the LGBT community, just to concentrate on two LDS planks?

Oddly enough, it would be interesting to have a sort of reality quiz show in which the LDS and LGBT clubs compete to see which of the two belief systems has more non-made-up elements in its dogma, not that there is anything wrong with that either way, but c'mon!

I think some would be surprised which club won the prize for verisimilitude.

I am a Club of One, but I sometimes forget the secret password and the bouncer I hired turns me away at the door, which is O.K. with me, given Groucho's principle, paraphrased (isn't everything, especially by the true believers?) above.

And if I don't like that principle, I have others.

This reminds me of hairshirt's quote the other day about the two players in the covered wagons making their way West believing on the one hand in absolute chastity AND on the other hand, in marrying the cousins.

I don't know what their club is called these days (the Jerry Lee Lewis Ambivalent Fan Club?), but certainly cousins everywhere would never agree to join -- because of BOTH the marrying (canoodling, maybe, but MARRYING?) and the chastity mandate.

LDS High Muckeemuck: Let us try to reach some common ground.

Gay Male: First off, we disagree with the mandate against man dating.

LDS H M: What say the lesbian community?

Lesbian Rep: Well, we disagree with mandates, but man dating is not our cup of tea, not that we would EVER drink tea, at least not the caffeinated variety, just saying, so .....

Bisexual Rep (occasionally into BDSM): I would just like to submit that I'm dating a Lutheran. Will that pose a problem?

LDS H M: ... uh, boy ... well, first off, ambivalence doesn't sit well here either, but in the second, we are not here to kill two birds with one stone.

Bird (a pelican, sitting in): Hear, hear!

"We call on local, state, and the federal government to serve all of their people by passing legislation that protects vital religious freedoms...

Curious. The link doesn't specify what 'freedoms' require the protection of new legislation.
Any ideas ?

Well, Sharia is not on the list.

How bout televised live crucifixions? The requisite three-day waiting period for resurrections would be mandated, buy only for Corporations, the Chosen people.

All members of lesser humanity would have to cool their heels for the appearance of the anti-Christ, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, and the other signs signified in the Book of Revelation, but even then there would be medical debt for eternity and endless late-night phone calls.

Mitt Romney would offer to deposit all of the government remittances owed the 47% in his off-shore bank accounts for safekeeping, to be distributed to the beneficiaries at some as-yet unannounced date.

But you'll know the time has arrived by the sound of small-arms fire.

"Why on Earth would you want to be a Mormon if you don't believe what Mormons believe?"

WJ beat me to it, but expanding a bit, you might be born into a faith, think it's really great in some respects and come to think it's wrong on some points. I imagine if I'd been born Catholic I might have felt that way. Though in the pre-Francis era I also suspect I would have eventually bailed.

I don't think Slart meant *disagreeing on one minor point* when he wrote "don't believe what Mormons believe." I would take that to mean having significant problems with many or most of their central tenets, particularly in light of the things he's written previously about his own religious beliefs, practice and experiences.

I doubt he would deny the existence of, say, the famed cafeteria (or a la carte) Catholic.

Finally, Erick Erickson's and the far Right's destruction of the Republican Party's big tent (actually always a pup tent pitched in a lake of poisonous fire) nailed

Aha! So that's where the Socialist Workers Party went. I've always wondered.

I'm with Patrick on this one. Religion is a "protected class" per 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the case for discrimination against Mormons in employment, housing, etc., is virtually non-existent.

Brett:

It's a kind of bait and switch that you see in operation occasionally: First you demand to be permitted to join some group, despite not believing what they believe. Finally they relent, and let you join.

At least half the time, Brett, I have to ask you if you're serious. This is one of those times.

The people pressuring the LDS to accept LGBT members aren't trying to be permitted to *join*, they're trying to be permitted to *stay*. This isn't some cunning attempt to take over the Mormon religion, it's an attempt by people who were born and raised Mormon to be able to stay.

The Mormon religion is *extremely* family-centered, more even than most religions. Leaving the Church would mean cutting themselves off from their families of birth and their hope of meeting in the next world -- the emotional cornerstone of LDS faith, as I understand it.

Do you truly think this is all a bait and switch?

the Mormon Church officially announced its support for some LGBT rights, on the condition that the same legal protections are extended to all religious groups.

I don't know how to make sense of this statement.

The language seems to construe the LGBT community as a religious group. I.e., "if we extend these rights to one xxxx, then we must extend them equally to all xxxx", where "xxxx" is "religious groups". I am apparently missing something here.

And even if the intent is not to characterize the LGBT community as a religious group, what rights are currently not afforded to the LGBT community, that are also not afforded to some religious group?

In other words, I'm trying to understand the "if we give X to group A, we have to also give X to group B" thing.

What is "X" here? And how does the basis for recognizing rights in the LGBT community - whatever that basis is - translate to the basis for recognizing rights in a religious community?

I'm confused.

Just totally uninformed speculation here but....

Suppose the "right" that the LGBTs are demanding is to be allowed to marry according to their beliefs (i.e. without regard to the genders of the individuals involved). Then the LDS folks could be demanding to be allowed to marry according to their beliefs -- i.e. polygamously.

I emphasize that I have absolutely no idea whether that was even in the back of their minds when the LDS elders issued their statement. But it seems like it might make sense. (Or else I'm channelling the count....)

Slartibartfast got this discussion off the appropriate track with a red herring.

Under typical anti discrimination laws that include gay people, the LDS church, or any other, would continue to be able to discriminate with respect to membership, clergy or religious rituals (including marriage). No significant organization promoting gay rights that I'm aware of is proposing any change to that.

The issue is whether or not individuals, businesses, corporations etc. that serve a secular purpose rather than a religious one, i.e. simply provide goods or services to the public, can discriminate based on their religious beliefs. Can a photographer refuse to take pictures at a gay wedding based on his religious beliefs, for example? Can the owner of a burger joint reject gay job applicants based on his religious beliefs? That's typically what's meant by "protecting people's religious freedom" in this context.

It's clear enough to me that an anti discrimination law that includes that sort of provision will not protect gay people against discrimination.

In my experience, gay Mormons who want to remain Mormons realize that the only way they will get that is to change the attitudes and policies of the chuch.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries in Oregon ruled some years back that a cake-baking business was violating Oregon's a nondiscrimination law by refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple's wedding. There's a similar case in Colorado. The Oregon case has been a cause celeb for the right wing, with respect to "religious freedom." They like to call the business a "Christian bakery." It's been all over Fox News and the proprietors of the bakery are still being featured at right wing events.

doretta, I think the distinction you make is correct, vis a vis the issue of law.

I'll defend Slart, however. I thought his comment was pretty subtle, modest, and funny in a way, especially the last paragraph.

I don't think he was judging either side of the issue, and in fact implicit in his comment is the idea that he has no standing to judge, a subtlety Walker Percy, the writer, and a Catholic, was always careful to insert into his various novelistic and essayed statements, despite the devastating and profound illuminations of Man's existential "fallen-ness" contained therein.

In Slart's last paragraph, he pointed out a funny thing about Christianity, IMHO, that shunning sinners is in fact a bad business plan for the Church, given the faith's central tenet that every human being is born in and to sin.

Each of us is a customer and in fact already a member of the flock, whether we know it or not.

I don't buy it personally, but there it is.

A church that turns away sinners would be no less a bad business plan than a car dealership turning away a prospective customer, which in the eyes of the car salesman is EVERYONE within sight.

"Look at this guy", one salesman says to the other as another mark walks in the door, "he doesn't know it yet, but today he is the owner of a new Cadillac."

"If you can get him to repent the Dodge Dart he drove up in," the other salesman fires back, while smirking.

"Watch me", answers the first salesman, as he smooths his vestments and shoots his cuffs.


They like to call the business a "Christian bakery."

Yeah, but do they bake real christians? False advertising!

No, real Christians are merely browned on one side as they bask in the reflected glory of God's grace, but I kid.

Now, heretics being grilled to a turn? That's baked into the cake.

doretta's reference to the issue of Christian businesses being folded into the Republican noise machine has something to do with this, I fear:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/01/why-are-scam-pacs-so-much-more-common-right-left

There are marks, and then there are "marks".

Why, indeed?

there are plenty of marks, but precious little Matthew:7

Chapter 7 (one wonders who is in Chapter 7 bankruptcy)

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/7?lang=eng

Posted by: john not mccain:

"I wonder when they'll start arguing that their religious freedom is trampled when they can't discriminate on the basis of race. I'm surprised the southern baptists haven't brought that up yet. Perhaps they're just waiting for the right moment."

They know enough to generally not say that publicly.
Their definition of 'religious freedom' pretty much says that; they just have to establish that particular definition.

"They know enough to generally not say that publicly."

Oh, they've probably already said it:

http://www.mrm.org/white-and-delightsome

Of course, the old switcheroo (practiced by conservatives of all stripes) was pulled, wherein the previously claimed sacrosanct literal text of the Word of God is later and conveniently claimed to be metaphor --- ie symbolic language as in "white" refers to "pure".

Privately, I'm sure the bullsh*t phrase "bowing to political correctness" is bandied about among true conservative believers to justify the change in emphasis.

Also, picked this up from a commenter somewhere regarding the prohibition of and punishment for revealing Mormon secrets:

"DISEMBOWLING ACTED OUT IN MORMON TEMPLE

Just before being married in the Salt Lake City temple, my mother went through the endowment ceremony. In that ceremony, she…like millions of others–endured the gorey pantomime of saying out loud that her neck would be slashed and she would be disembowled–her guts spread out on the earth."

Sounds just like Fight Club.

I'm sure that symbolic language too. Hanh?

Along with the multiple, fake scamster, and supposedly victimized, interest groups folded into the Republican noise/money machine (referred to above) and feted with their own shady PACS, and booths (John Wilkes) at Republican political fests, Jon Stewart highlighted yet another group destined, I predict (in satire's feeble attempt to stay a half step ahead of the far-right's kicking up a gigantic cloud of their own pig-filth into the atmosphere -- visible from space) to be thrust into our faces: men who take up two seats, via languorous leg-spreading, on the NY subway system, I believe, and which the system is requesting they try and limit through some common courtesy.

Some "men's groups" are up in arms (shouldn't it be legs?) and saying the gummint is anti-man.

Stay-tuned to FOX. Start the fund-raising now.

Until then, watch last night's Stewart show, as he and the wonderful Christian Shaw take it apart.

It's on HULU for free.

Natch, it's another grift to take people's attention away from the main Republican show: they don't want to pay taxes. None.

Religious rights, man-spreading, whatever ... -just sand thrown in our eyes for the real agenda.

You're treating belief as a binary when it isn't.

This is decent point for which I have some agreement, but it seems to imply a degree of ease of change and flexibility of morals that isn't present in every church in the US.

I've been using LDS as an example, here, when I really don't know to what degree LDS is inclined to adapt or outright change its own rules. I thought I had made that clear, but perhaps not.

Anyway: I stand by my original statement. There are some things that various churches can and have changed their views on. In many cases, those changes have driven the members of their congregation into other sects (example: ELCA's embrace of practices that were formerly anathema to any churches that called themselves "Lutheran").

This thing that I am talking about, here, isn't so much something that I have ironclad evidence for, but is more something that I strongly suspect is true. It's possible that the total number of people in the US that think this way is fairly small.

would take that to mean having significant problems with many or most of their central tenets, particularly in light of the things he's written previously about his own religious beliefs, practice and experiences.

Yes, exactly. I don't claim that there's uniformity of beliefs in every church; I myself have some points of disagreement that if I stood up and demanded that the church changed its mind on the subject, could get me asked politely to leave. Which is the distinction I am trying to underline here: you can disagree with the church, you can even engage in some activities that the church, if it knew about, would take you up on. But what you cannot do, in general, is to do those things and obtain the approval of the church.

I see what LDS has done as simply having compassion for people, without necessarily approving of all they do.

Slartibartfast got this discussion off the appropriate track with a red herring.

Stated as assertion, and then left to die a death by factual starvation. Tell me more about how I am trying to mislead you, please, so that I can assure you otherwise.

I'll defend Slart, however. I thought his comment was pretty subtle, modest, and funny in a way, especially the last paragraph.

I don't think he was judging either side of the issue, and in fact implicit in his comment is the idea that he has no standing to judge, a subtlety Walker Percy, the writer, and a Catholic, was always careful to insert into his various novelistic and essayed statements, despite the devastating and profound illuminations of Man's existential "fallen-ness" contained therein.

You are far too kind to me, Count, but you make up for it by saying what I had meant to say far more cleverly than I could myself.

Damn you.

I meant that last figuratively, in case there's some weighing of damnation-curses at work.

I'm going to close by paraphrasing the recent movement by more than one church (I have belonged to two different sects in the last year; you could think of me as being slightly oversectsed), to wit:

We are all of us sinners, and none of us is any better than the others (for all we know) in the eyes of God.

It is I think a point of view that could lead to better outcomes in a variety of arenas, and with some judicious clipping could even be agreed to by atheists, vegans and crossfit enthusiasts.

Not crossfit enthusiasts. That is a bridge too far. Zealots, one and all.

Since we're discussing religious liberty in this thread, does anyone know if there's a prevailing attitude about vaccination among Mormons, or an offical church stance? I only ask because of the recent measles outbreak and because the my impression is that the anti-vax movement is strong in the Mountain States, and I'm wondering if the Mormons might consider it an aspect of religious liberty to refuse vaccinations for their children (with all the attendant externalities everyone else would have to bear as a result).

I don't know why I ask questions before googling:

https://www.lds.org/church/news/church-makes-immunizations-an-official-initiative-provides-social-mobilization

"We are all of us sinners, and none of us is any better than the others (for all we know) in the eyes of God.

(slarti):It is I think a point of view that could lead to better outcomes in a variety of arenas"

It's called humility, and boy do American Religious Conservatives have it, just ask them! Why, they'll get right in your face in a spittle-flecked explosion of incoherent rage if you question their world-class humility.

(slarti):It is I think a point of view that could lead to better outcomes in a variety of arenas"

When push comes to shove, practically everyone would likely affirm they agree with that "in principle".

Then look around you. There must be something else going on....

Would that we only knew.

Rage? I try not to get angry.

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

The measles virus is libertarian and will not be told by gummint who must be vaccinated and certainly not be told who it may infect and kill.

This vaccination revolt, however, is a child of both harebrained liberal and conservative sensibilities, and therefore apolitical (until one Party or the other decides to bring them into the anti-gummint fold -- Rand Paul, I expect, would find supporters, pock-marked with measles and chicken pox scars, but supporters nonetheless) combining the anti-science crocks on the far Left, by which I mean health food, vitamin, and supplements enthusiasts who resent the FDA in recent years starting to do peer-reviewed studies of the claimed efficacy of all of this stuff and in many or most cases, finding a lot of it a crock of sh*t, particularly now that the entire phenomenon has become big corporate business, in which case the far Right pricks up its ears and takes up the cause as its bailiwick now.

Many of the fraudulent PACS run by Newt Gingrich and other grifters on the Right see very little of their money actually finding its way into backing political candidates, but instead a large percentage of the money goes into operating costs, which include alliances with supplement purveyors and crackpot cure which advertise via the PACs to their conservative marks.

As Brett will tell you, there is no language in the Constitution disallowing any American from being a lying, cheating piece of sh*t snake-oil salesman and there certainly is not language either regarding government's role in pointing out who the liars and cheats are.

Like the Mafia will tell you, it's just business over here.

Meanwhile, once a family who vaccinates their kids gets a class action suit going against a family who does not vaccinate for spreading the disease, I have a feeling I know which Political Party will give a booth to the anti-vaccine hippies to purvey their grievances against government and raise money for their candidates.

It's dangerous.

But vaccination is described, like some other science I can think of, as a hoax.

Good on ya LDS for trying to get folks vaccinated.

I wonder if Cliven Bundy vaccinates his cattle?

I try to never to mix my rage and my humility.

You can have a stroke that way.

My brain is a pinball, not that I'm a pinhead, but since we are talking about LDS strictures against gay marriage, I started to think about the State of Oklahoma maybe taking marriage licensing away from the state and letting it reside with religious institutions, in order to avoid complying with the law, and then I ran across this about earthquakes in Oklahoma:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_01/all_shook_up_in_oklahoma053935.php#

and my brain went ping-ping-ping, as I see the connections among people who think a certain type of way.

I'd like to second Slarti in general, especially this:

I see what LDS has done as simply having compassion for people, without necessarily approving of all they do.

To me, their statement strikes me as a *good thing*. Perhaps it is prompted by the changing tides and the realization that if they want to have a voice in the discussion, they need to get on the right side of the issue, so to speak.

If so, good for them. To often people and institutions refuse to modify or even question their stances. A counter example is always welcome, imho.

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/anti-vaccine-propaganda-from-sharyl-attkisson-of-cbs-news-2/

Sharyl Attkisson, one of the first clown witnesses called to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about everything, maybe including vaccination, except the next black Attorney General.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions, a man among "boys":

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Senate_Judiciary_Committee_Goes_Fox

As soon as Brett says "something", probably unConstitutional, should be done about Muslims, the pig filth (not all; most) in the State of Texas take him up on it:

http://wonkette.com/574413/muslim-texans-singing-american-national-anthem-shouted-down-by-the-real-patriots

I see what LDS has done as simply having compassion for people, without necessarily approving of all they do.

accrding to he LDS guy on NPR today, they've decided that "Love the sinner, Hate the sin" is their new rule. they still don't condone homosexual acts, but they'll accept gays and trans people as long as they don't aren't practicing. and gay marriage is still an abomination.

"we love you as long as you promise not to actually be you" is not so hot, IMO. maybe it's better than "you're a horrible person for being gay", but practically speaking, it's still awful.

I expect to learn soon that the Republican Party's freedom riders have made electoral inroads into liberal Marin County, as the latter's wide libertarian stance on not having their kids vaccinated begins to crumble in the face of gummint and societal force:

http://wonkette.com/574447/ca-dad-would-like-anti-vaxxers-to-stop-trying-to-kill-his-son

On the other hand, if the Libertarian Republican Party decides to go along with gummint moves to force vaccination, it would be fun if Marin County libertarians get gunned up and point their weapons at the Republican Libertarians and force the issue by saying NO.

By fun, I mean popcorn fun.

When Margaret Thatcher said "there is no such thing as society", measles celebrated its freedom from gummint by booking space on a cruise ship and going back to elementary school.

Whatever happens, there's got to be some gunfire, so Texans feel vindicated.

"we love you as long as you promise not to actually be you" is not so hot...

I'd tweak that a bit:

"We love you as long as you recognize our special uniqueness and acknowledge the prerogatives that we are therefore entitled to as we, and we alone, determine."

Slart, I didn't accuse you of trying to mislead. You simply discuss broad philosophical issues around belief, institutions that claim to be organized around belief, membership in those institutions and what that means and how those institutions position themselves vis a vis people who are inside, outside or in neither of those categories. Nothing wrong with that, I just don't think that's what the LDS statement is about even though it certainly wants to give that impression.

I'll be the first one to celebrate if it's true. I support the notion that freedom of religion means that religious institutions get to define themselves: membership belief, ritual and other practices. The LDS announcement is about a different issue, I suspect. I suspect that because I have been watching the rise of the movement for "religious freedom" on the right, particularly with respect to both health care insurance and gay rights. See the notion of a "Christian bakery."

Here is what I suspect. The LDS hierarchy sees laws against discrimination in housing, employment, public accomodations etc. being modified to include sexual orientation. They want to use Utah state government, which they control, as a proving ground for a different kind of "nondiscrimination" law. This new sort of law would look like the currents laws but would include language that would offer an exemption in the case of any person or other entity whose religious beliefs lead them to believe they should discriminate against gay people.

When we start seeing the language they choose to "protect religious liberty" we"ll get a better idea. If it allows a "Christian bakery" to fire an employee for being gay or refuse to sell cakes for same sex weddings, what will you think about that?

This new sort of law would look like the currents laws but would include language that would offer an exemption in the case of any person or other entity whose religious beliefs lead them to believe they should discriminate against gay people.

I've got no idea if this is right, but this would mean that they feel LGBT can be part of the church, but they really want to discriminate against them. Possible, but it's a bit of a 3 bank shot.

Also, the original Christian bakery story was out of Oregon, which, while having more Mormons than states in the East and Midwest, is only about 3% LDS. You seem to be suggesting that the right has grabbed on to this story and is going set up workplace cut outs to do this. Again, this is possible, but any place like that is going to have to contend with people choosing to boycott them. In that regard, a business is not an ideal position to try and set up these kinds of laws because they are so dependent on general goodwill. That doesn't mean that there are not people who think this would be good, but if it were enacted, it would be at the mercy of groups organizing boycotts.

But a boycott can go both ways. If a shop owner risks to get boycotted too (or at least has reasons to fear it), if (s)he does NOT discriminate, (s)he will have to do a calculation which side will hurt him/her more. Think of the olden days when one had to decide to either cater to blacks or to whites because the racists (a majority) would boycott you (at best), if you served blacks too. In places where religious fundamentalists (or those under their thumb) have a majority, a non-discrimination policy can hurt a business too. Think of how long Disney did not dare to offend the 'pro-family' bigots. Iirc they only changed when the other side actually tried to start a boycott (over some ridiculous stuff I do not remember) that miserably failed.

That's a good point Hartmut, but it suggests that if this is an attempt by the LDS (and I have no idea how they make these decisions) to set up laws, it is going to backfire, given the change in attitudes.

Only tangentially related, (the event discussed was in response to Anita Bryant's anti gay crusade), but this Guardian piece about Richard Pryor's turn at the "Star-Spangled Night for Rights" is interesting in this regard, both for how much things have changed and boycotts and general societal pressure was handled.

Alternatively (and, given their history, perhaps more likely) the LDS may be calculating that they better at least make a gesture in the direction of equal treatment. Because otherwise they may discover that their ability to discriminate on religious grounds may get narrowed substantially. Including in areas where they currently are still allowed to do so -- think not just of being forced to perform gay marriages but of allowing blacks into the church heirarchy. So it could be simply an attempt at preemption, based on seeing which way the wind is blowing in the national culture as a whole.

That would make the part about support for some LGBT rights the critical part. And the part about "legislation that protects vital religious freedoms" largely a red herring. Not that they wouldn't like it; just that they don't expect to see it. (And as a side benefit, it gets the evangelicals, who otherwise are pretty anti-Mormon, more inclined to support them in general.

Look what happened to Lester Maddox's religious freedom to discriminate.

I just don't think that's what the LDS statement is about even though it certainly wants to give that impression.

Doretta:

Thanks for clarifying. To me, "red herring" has a particular meaning that had your comment coming off as dismissive and even accusatory.

My interpretation may be overly hopeful, I admit. And it comes from near-complete ignorance of what life is like for members of LDS, so I freely admit that my interpretation may be the less reasonable of our two.

I know this thread is long gone but I had to put this here for the record. We've now gone beyond "Christian bakeries" to doctors whose religious principles mean they can't treat babies with same sex parents due to the doctor's objections to same sex marriage.

(And while I'm here, apologies Slart, for the implication you felt over red herring. I should have been clearer from the beginning that I wasn't accusing you of any kind of malfeasance.)

Oops. left out the link: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-same-sex-couples-baby

This sort of nonsense will doubtless continue. For a while.

But if you want to know what the future will be like, just try substituting "mixed race couples" for "same-sex couples," and consider how likely you would be to hear that today. Even though, half a century ago, the same sort of religion-based arguments were being rolled out in opposition to "race mixing."

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad