Too little, too late? In a major announcement the Mormon church softens their anti-gay stance by declaring they will support some legal protections for gays and lesbians; however, the church will continue to oppose same-sex marriage, and wants legislation to protect “religious freedom.”
CNN reports that in a rare press conference on Tuesday at church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Mormon leaders pledged to support some anti-discrimination laws for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.
However, the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has attached conditions to their decision to do what morality and simple human decency demand.
In exchange for supporting some basic legal protections for gay and lesbian citizens, the church wants gay rights activists and others to be nice, and to respect their ignorance and bigotry.
In essence, the Mormon church is now telling members of the LGBT community:
“OK, we won’t try to prevent you from getting a job or securing housing anymore, but we will continue to work against your right to marry the person you love.”
A bully by any other name is still a bully. The fact that the bully decides he will no longer beat you up after school, but will continue to steal your lunch money, while offering some relief, does not negate the fact that the bully continues to be a moral monster.
Speaking of moral monsters, at the press conference, Elder Dallin Oaks, a member of the church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles, whined about Mormons being persecuted for their anti-gay bigotry:
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.
First, there is no moral equivalence between the rough and tumble of the democratic political process, and enshrined legislation which allows religious bigots to deny access to employment, housing or other public services because of sexual orientation. For Elder Dallin Oaks to make such a self-serving claim is not only false but morally repugnant.
Yet the bigger problem is that instead of just coming clean and admitting their complete and absolute moral failure when it comes to the rights of LGBT people, Mormon church leaders instead complained about how some church members were embarrassed after being exposed as anti-gay bigots.
While all should welcome the fact that the Mormon church will now support some legal protections for gays and lesbians, the fact remains that the church still opposes same-sex marriage.
By softening their anti-gay bigotry without renouncing that bigotry, the Mormon church remains a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution.