Any news about A defector’s mystical disappearance?
, I wanted to adsedrs a few of the issues you raise here. First, with regard to your problems with Elder Nelson’s statement that if the law changes “Your conadsciadenadtious conadvicadtions would then be regarded as discriminatory”, I think that you’ve only identified half of the effect of that statement. You allege that “Whether or not the law is changed is mostly irrelevant–it’s the shift in culadtural norms and beliefs that matters.” While you are correct that the change in norms and beliefs is what determines both the law and whether you are labeled as “discriminatory”, you are missing the fact that when progressive societal norms enact or change laws regarding any religion related issue, there is the very real possibility of civil and/or criminal liability for exercising religious beliefs. One need look no further for an example of this problem than the Mormons’ own history of polygamy. Regardless of whether is was proper to abolish the practice under the law or whether the practice was ever moral or justifiable in the first place (that’s another debate), the bottom line was that society deemed that exercise of religion unacceptable and it was then criminalized. You have seized upon Elder Nelson’s example of a school teacher being charged with bigotry or discrimination, which I agree is not a good example. The examples you cited from Facebook that no Mormon Temple has been forced to perform gay marriage and no church leader has been arrested for teaching anti-homosexual doctrine are duly noted. However, the obvious response to that is simply that there have been no mandates or penalties YET. As we have both acknowledged, laws change based on societal norms and the possibility that mandates and penalties could be enacted does exist. It’s the continuing evolution of societal norms regarding homosexual marriage and the possibility of new laws that worry church leaders about the future and cause them to oppose the change from the start. However, there are already a number of contexts which exist now in which exercising your religious beliefs regarding gay marriage could lead to an individual being charged under the law for discrimination (e.g. not offering married housing to a married gay couple, refusing to marry a gay couple, etc.) Being simply labeled “discriminatory” under societal norms is one thing but being labeled discriminatory under the law is another when it could get you some jail time, cost you your job or cause you to incur serious fines. I am not debating one way or the other whether those penalties are correct in the examples listed. I am simply pointing out that being labeled discriminatory in such contexts can be an effective restriction on the exercise of religion as Elder Nelson suggested. So again he is not completely spitting out BSa0here.I can see why you take issue with the vague and overarching generalizations that “if you lose maradriage, you also lose freeaddom of religion” and that “Atheistic moral bedlam and religious repression go hand in hand”. However, if you break those phrases down into the plain meaning of their component parts and the resulting implications, I don’t think you can legitimately claim they are BS. Criminalizing the exercise of certain religious beliefs is a repression of religious freedom is the simplest sense. That type of repression is inevitable when a society begins to ignore its prior religious belief system and converts to a system that constantly changes toward demanding, under penalty of law, the acceptance of the practices it once deemed immoral. Your analogies to the change in laws regarding prohibition and segregation are helpful illustrations in the discussion but are not exactly on point to the gay marriage debate for several reasons. First, although you’re correct that banning segregation did not destroy the right to have discriminatory views, segregation was not really a religious or moral issue, if it ever was at all. Segregation was not a commandment and had no direct relationship with the formation and perpetuation of the family unit that is at the heart of most religious institutions and God’s “Plan” (which admittedly differs depending on who you ask, but for most, still has marriage between man and woman as the central component). As a result, even if banning Segregation created the possibilities of civil and criminal liability for violating the ban, it did not criminalize and, thus, repress any exercise of religion. The change in the prohibition law is basically the same. Very few religions deem the normal consumption of alcohol as immoral. The Mormon religion is one of the few religions with an absolute bar on alcohol consumption. Even then, the consumption or prohibition of alcohol is similar to segregation in that it is not central to the formation and perpetuation of the family unit that is at the heart of most religious institutions and God’s “Plan”. However, ignoring that fact, the truth remains that when the law changed to allow others to sell, buy, and consume as much alcohol as they want, there was no penalty for those who exercised their beliefs to refuse to drink alcohol or to refuse to offer alcohol at their businesses.I understand your disagreement with Elder Nelson’s statement “At stake is our abiladity to transadmit to the next genaderadaadtion the life-giving and insepadaadraadble culadture of maradriage and the free exeradcise of religion.” Based on your friend’s comments, you again draw the analogy between racism and the moral stance on gay marriage, claiming that not being able to claim the practice is immoral is akin to not being able to use racial epithets. However, as I noted above, racism and the moral stance on gay marriage in the context of this debate are not the same. You claim that maradriage and the free exeradcise of religion are not inseparable and point to Europe’s successful treatment of marriage as mostly a civil institution as evidence that they are not inseparable and that, in fact, civil marriage and religious marriage can co-exist. However, I believe you have missed Elder Nelson’s point and perspective.I believe Elder Nelson’s point is that the culture of marriage and the exercise of religion were originally meant by God to be inseparable like a work of art. It’s not that you can’t actually physically separate the piece or that when separated, the pieces of the original can’t stand alone in a different way such as creating a bust from the David statue or ripping off just a section of the Sistine chapel. The problem according to Elder Nelson is that the original was in the eyes of its admirers a masterpiece of God that was meant by him to be inseparable. Chopping the pieces of the masterpiece up and using parts to make a knockoff that is the inverse of the original and treating them as the same masterpiece is an insult to the original artist, the work itself, and those who admired it. Additionally, not being able to have the work as a whole means it cannot be passed on as such to the next generation as God as intended. The original will forever be viewed and treated differently. In the end, whether the culture of marriage and religion was a masterpiece of God which shouldn’t separated, even if it is logistically possible and a portion of society demands it, is a faith based question that remains subject to debate. I don’t believe the parties on both sides of the debate will ever agree on this premise, as the premise cannot be rebutted for most believers unless God comes down himself and says so. Since God hasn’t done so, I don’t believe it is a valid rebuttal of Elder Nelson’s faith based premise to simply say it’s BS in light of the practices of those who don’t share that premise. So in keeping with the scope of your post, I believe you have some but not all of the cards you claim and I call BS. So please pick up the discard pile and let’s keep playing.
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