Mormon Church Makes First Step to Non-Discrimination
Daniel Burke’s story “Mormon church backs LGBT rights — with one condition,” CNN, 28 January 2015 (http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/27/us/mormon-church-lgbt-laws/)
At a press conference earlier this week at the Church of Latter-day Saints headquarters, Mormon leaders announced support of anti-discrimination laws for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. The only stipulation was that the church leaders want the law to also protect the rights of the Church and for gay rights activists to take a step back.
The LDS has found that the rights the LGBT activists have been fighting so hard for are being stripped away from religious groups and people. While the LDS supports anti-discrimination it will not change church doctrine on gay marriage, which it strongly opposes. The LDS is seeking to give the LGBT community protection from discriminating biases in employment and housing, but in return wants the right to preach their beliefs at the pulpit and teach them in the classroom.
The Mormon churches stance on anti-discrimination is not the first time that they have jumped on new and progressive ideas. As seen in our textbook Joseph Smith was known to popularize new ideas and make them appealing to the masses. Perhaps now that the LDS is backing these new laws for non-discrimination, support will come from larger organizations such as the Catholic Church.
While the LDS is making a good first step to supporting non-discrimination, it is actually less impressive as it sounds. If the new law is passed, it would still allow for doctors, landlords and business owners to discriminate against LGBT people if they state they are doing it for a religious reason. This creates a large gap between them and LGBT activists especially on issues such as the pro-life and pro-choice, with the LDS being strongly against abortions. It is plain to see that the LDS are trying to paint this as a big improvement, which I am not denying, but it simply not enough in this day and age.
The issue of discrimination is clearly far from over but at least the LDS is making steps in the right direction, which is always good to see and will hopefully become an example to others. It is good to see that the Mormons have not forgotten the legacy of popularizes new modern ideas left to them by their founder John Smith.