Interesting quote by Dallin H. Oaks:
“No person with values based on religious beliefs should apologize for taking those values into the public square. Religious persons need to be skillful in how they do so, but they need not yield to an adversary’s assumption that the whole effort is illegitimate. We should remind others of the important instances in which the efforts of churches and clergy in the political arena have influenced American public policies in great historical controversies whose outcome is virtually unquestioned today. The slavery controversy was seen as a great moral issue and became the major political issue of the nineteenth century because of the preaching of clergy and the political action of churches. A century later, churches played an indispensable role in the civil rights movement, and, a decade later, clergymen and churches of various denominations were an influential part of the antiwar movement that contributed to the end of the war in Vietnam.
Many sincere religious people believe there should be no limitations on religious arguments on political issues so long as the speaker genuinely believes those issues can be resolved as a matter of right or wrong.
I believe that questions of right and wrong, whether based on religious principles or any other source of values, are legitimate in any debate over laws or public policy. Is there anything more important to debate than what is right or wrong? And those arguments should be open across the entire political spectrum. There is no logical way to contend that religious arguments or lobbying are legitimate on the question of abstinence from nuclear war by nations but not on the question of abstinence from sexual relations by teenagers.]]>
The problem I see with the talk is that it brushes over the debate in terms of black and white when the issue is much more complex.
I think a fair questions could be asked, which is a greater threat to Mormonism – secularism or evangelical Christianity? That same question could be asked about Judaism or Islam or many other religions. The answer is debatable.
What I really want to know – is Elder Maxwell using the word “religion” to describe the Restored Church of Christ? Christianity in general? All religions?
Now days, it seems the answer would be “all religions”. President Hinckley did a pretty good job of getting that message into our thick skulls. But the mistake we make is assuming our Christian brothers and sisters feel the same way.
Remember – their fight is not for religious tolerance – but for Christianity to be the state religion. That does in no way benefit Mormons or any other religion. This is a mistake we are still making. We are not one of them. We are not on the same team. Let’s stop trying to be.]]>
What our deliberative, pluralistic democracy does demand is that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals must be subject to argument and amenable to reason. If I am opposed to abortion for religions reasons and seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or invoke God’s will and expect that argument to carry the day. If I want others to listen to me, then I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.
(The Audacity of Hope, page 219)
When you’re right, it shouldn’t be onerous to explain why in terms of real world consequences. If we can’t insist on some basic objectivity in our laws, then what’s to stop some larger religion from restricting your rights based on their belief that you’re heretics, infidels, etc.?]]>
I love this talk. Love it. What gets me excited is when I read the Prophet’s and Apostle’s words from decades ago and realize it applies to the here and now. It’s like how I feel when I read the Book of Mormon and I see that it was written FOR US.
In Sunday School yesterday, I taught my husband’s Course 14 class (he’s been out of town on business) and we discussed 3rd Nephi 1 and 2. We talked about how the people were told something would happen (ie Christ being born) and most people didn’t believe it. When it happened, most people changed their minds and were converted. But within 3 years –THREE! –most of the people ignored spiritual experiences and signs and just wrote them off as coincidence. I asked the class if that kind of stuff happened now. We agreed there hadn’t been any HUGE signs like the day/night/day without night, but we agreed that in a lot of instances, this thing is happening constantly –people are forgetting their spiritual experiences, prophetic counsel that has happened (and I would daresay Elder Maxwell’s words have come to fruition –we can see it happening!), and they are throwing away religion for various reasons.
Whew! Long comment. Sorry. I just get excited about stuff like this.]]>