Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Mormon Church Loves Gays!....well....kind of...

(Boorstein/Ohlheiser) In 2009, top officials from the Mormon church began talks with LGBT advocates on finding a middle ground between their own religious beliefs and equality and protection for the LGBT community. Fast forward six years and they have come to an agreement. The Mormon Church had just put out a statement saying "We must all learn to live with others who do not share the same beliefs or values." What this means and what they are really saying is that they believe in legal protections for LGBT people in areas such as jobs and housing. The church has, however, emphasized that they are not changing their doctrine which states that it is still wrong to be gay and have sex outside of marriage. Reviews on this statement have been mixed but, in general, many LGBT advocates sees this as a real symbolic change in the relationship between the church and the LGBT community. The church has stated that it wants to find a balance between religious freedom and expression as well as supporting safeguards for LGBT people. They believe that mutual respect and an open dialogue is the best way to deal with this "highly polarized national debate.

The Mormon church has always been known for being one of the most conservative sects of Christianity. The LGBT community was horrified of Mitt Romney becoming president because of his strict and conservative views on the LGBT community due to his Mormon faith. And now this! While this announcement may not be the big deal that I like to think that it is, it's kind of still a big deal. To have a very conservative group recognize the importance of gay rights, even though they are religiously opposed to it, is HUGE. There has long been a debate on the balance between rights of one group and freedoms of another such as in the example of religious organizations refusing to supply birth control. How do you balance the two and keep both parties happy? Is that even possible? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't but there is a way to find a middle ground. The Mormon church has opened up a new door that focuses on the RIGHTS and PROTECTIONS of those in the LGBT community instead of focusing on the fact that they are different from what the Mormons see as right or trying to blame them of spreading their "gay agenda" (I just love that term, it's hilarious). What the Mormon church has done, even if in a more symbolic way than I and others may like, is they have recognized that religious beliefs don't mean people shouldn't be protected, no matter what their religion says, because protections and rights are more important than moral disagreements. And that, is truly magnificent. 

Questions:
1) Do you think it will be possible to balance religious freedom and LGBT rights?
2) Where do you see the issue of gay rights going in the future? Gay marriage and equal protection for everyone? A new amendment? Or it staying how it is?
3) How do you think this statement could affect other issues like contraception and abortion rights? Or will it at all?  


1 comment:

Angelia Fontanos said...

I think it is possible to balance religious freedom and LGBT rights. I think the problem is that people are still not open to the idea that someone else is different from them. While LGBT rights may go against some people's religious beliefs, their rights do not infringe on their right to practice whatever religion they want.
As for the future of gay rights, I think the US is heading towards not just marriage equality, but also job equality, housing equality, and just in general, no discrimination against them. Hopefully, the bright future for gay rights can set up equal rights for the rest of the LGBT community.