Friday, October 16, 2009

A closer look at Dallin Oaks' sinister speech

"Sinister?" A bit of an overstatement?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I think we all zoomed in on the absurd claim that Mormons are akin to the blacks during the era of the civil rights movement. That's a claim so baldly ridiculous that it's easy to, well, ridicule.

But as C. L. Hanson explores over at Main Street Plaza, that derision allowed some of the more insidious language of Oaks' speech to go unrebutted. For instance:
But unless the guarantee of free exercise of religion gives a religious actor greater protection against government prohibitions than are already guaranteed to all actors by other provisions of the constitution (like freedom of speech), what is the special value of religious freedom? Surely the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion was intended to grant more freedom to religious action than to other kinds of action. Treating actions based on religious belief the same as actions based on other systems of belief should not be enough to satisfy the special place of religion in the United States Constitution.
In other words, Oaks is claiming that when people speak out against the LDS church from a secular position, their opinion should be automatically devalued, because religious "actions" by default carry more weight than secular ones.

Positions based on one's faith certainly are given deference in ways I think are often inappropriate, such that as long as someone can say a hateful belief or immoral action is faith-based, it should be immune to criticism. But to hear a high-ranking religious leader put it so plainly is troubling.

Oaks puts it even more plainly here [emphasis mine]:
Those who seek to change the foundation of marriage should not be allowed to pretend that those who defend the ancient order are trampling on civil rights.
Is he just saying that the faithful should call people who they disagree with on the carpet and tell them they're wrong? Maybe. And if so, that's all fine and democratic — as long as he does not expect religious people to be immune from criticism, which he clearly does...

If his text is taken literally, Oaks believes the gay rights movement (in particular) should be censored, that they should not even be allowed to express their opinion, simply becuase it contradicts religious tradition.

Ugh (for the second time today).

More analysis of Oaks' speech at Main Street Plaza. and here's the full text of the speech.


[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

Yeah, at least he admitted that Mormons think they deserve more rights than everyone else. They've been behaving like that for decades, and we all knew it, but now they've finally admitted it.

It's totally insane and unconstitutional of course.

It's sad that the religious are so unable to see why that is a terrible idea - for the religious themselves.

Delirium said...

Man, I just read back 3 of your posts. It starts off as ridiculous and laughable. But sometimes it downright scares me. The hypocracy and double standards just leave me baffled. Really, no wonder people are losing interest in becoming part of religions. Who would want to be lead by such obvious ignorance?