The anti-Mormon backlash after California voters overturned gay marriage last fall is similar to the intimidation of Southern blacks during the civil rights movement, a high-ranking Mormon says in a speech to be delivered Tuesday. Elder Dallin H. Oaks refers to gay marriage as an "alleged civil right" in remarks prepared for delivery at Brigham Young University- Idaho, a speech church officials describe as a significant commentary on current threats to religious freedom.

In an interview Monday before the speech, Oaks said he did not consider it provocative to compare the treatment of Mormons in the election's aftermath to that of blacks in the civil rights era, and said he stands by the analogy.

"It may be offensive to some -- maybe because it hadn't occurred to them that they were putting themselves in the same category as people we deplore from that bygone era," he said.

Oaks said the free exercise of religion is threatened by those who believe it conflicts with "the newly alleged 'civil right' of same-gender couples to enjoy the privileges of marriage."

It appears that it has not occurred to Elder Oaks that the Mormon Church may be in that category. At one time the idea of Black Civil Rights was a "newly alleged 'civil right.'" Personally I think Elder Oaks and the other General Authorities have got it exactly backwards. It continues to amaze me how a church that focuses so much on its own history of persecution should be so willing to persecute others. While I do not condone violence and intimidation of any sort against anyone I can understand how the Church's attempts to restrict the rights of another minority group might lead people to be filled with the kind of outrage that might lead to violent acts. However, it seems to me that Elder Oaks is just playing word games by turning on its head the the similarities that members of the gay movement have found between themselves and the Civil Rights Movement. They both may be wrong, but there is no question that any attempt by religion to pretend to make themselves out to be the victim is completely ludicrous.

"As such, these incidents of 'violence and intimidation' are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic," he said. "In their effect they are like well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation."

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Thanks for pointing this out, AD. I would love to hear a legitimate defense of the argument that legalizing same-sex marriage would violate the "free exercise of religion." In effect he is saying, "We have a right to demand that everyone conform to our version of morality. For, if anyone is allowed to violate our version of morality, that prohibits the free exercise of our religion." Unbelievable.

And how incredibly insulting to the African-American community to have a church that discriminated openly against them for 15 decades to compare the bad PR they received in CA to being arrested, beaten, firehosed, spit upon, insulted, and despised in the non-violent struggle for freedom and equal protection.

The irony meter has asploded!!!
I can't even begin to imagine what a "legitimate defense" would be like given that this seems to be a knee-jerk reaction due to homophobia on part of the Church leaders and many members. Why do they feel so threatened by gays? It is strange how Christian religious belief seems to give you the "right" to involve yourself, as a church leader, in the private sex lives of others. Or is this just another example of creating a common enemy to unite more your own people?
Just wondering:

If same-sex marriage is legalized in the USA, does that mean that all religious groups must recognize such unions? I thought that the issue is one of recognition before the civil government. Would it mean that the LDS would be in violation of the law to deny a temple marriage to a same-sex couple? With a same-sex marriage law, would the LDS Church be forced to accommodate same-sex marriages? Would same-sex couples be able to sue the LDS church for not granting them a temple marriage? Would not that be an example of state interfering with religion?
This is the scare tactic that the "Yes on 8" lobby used during last year's hate campaign in California. I researched this issue and it is very clear that religions will not be forced to do anything to which they object. Now, they could potentially lose their tax-exempt status if they discriminate illegally, which would be AWESOME!

It is likely that, with same-sex marriage being declared a constitutional right under the equal protection clause, which it likely will be with the current supreme court challenge, homosexuality would be addressed in public school sexual education, including descriptions of anal sex and statements that it is an orientation that is considered biologically and psychologically normal.

But that would make all teh young men gay!!!
Sagan's, Demon Haunted World is also excellent. Thanks for the responses and links.
That is an incredible book. It is one that I have read over and over again. I often refer back to it to find inspiration on how to better form my arguments about how UFOs, god, etc are just as good as that invisible dragon in my garage. Speaking of parodies, did you see Prop 8 - The Musical?
What makes this even worse is that Elder Oaks gave this speech at Brigham Young - Idaho in front of hundreds students who now believe that they are among the "victims" in this whole affair. They are students who are only being made more ignorant and provided with fewer tools to detect bologna, as Carl Sagan once said. Oaks can make as much of an ass of himself as he wants by making these kind of idiotic statements, but what a shame that he, an ex-head of Brigham Young University - Provo, would have so little regard for the education and formation of other young people. He, and others like him, do such a disservice to these young people.
I look at it this way. We are suppose to live in a country with no state religion. So why are so many benefits given to married people when marriage is then treated as a religious institution in this country? So my argument goes like this.

Well, If marriage is religious then lets make it ONLY religious. Take away survivor benifits so if you die your partner pays death tax on everything they own. Take away the ability to file taxes jointly and pay less. Take away your right to see your partner in the hospital because you are not blood family. Take away the right to make medical decisions for your partner, because you are not blood family. Take away EVERY civil benefit of marriage because it is state sponsoring a religious institution!

Then, all of a sudden, they get nervous. They DO NOT like the tables turned on them!!

Try it the next time you are in an argument with someone about this, it is fun to watch them speachless!
That is a great way of looking at the issue that I had never heard before, Daryl. Thanks.

And for those of you who missed Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" segment a few weeks ago...

"One would think..." Classic!
Then I like to turn them on to the idea that it is better to let everyone benefit from marriage then no one.




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