Wednesday, March 13, 2013
My Response to Mr. Oaks' Article
In 2006, Mr. Dallin H. Oaks received an interview from the Mormon church's Public Affair department in order to clarify the Mormon church's view of homosexuality. In this article I will reply to Mr. Oaks interview. His interview is available by clicking on the link above (interview) or by going to this website: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/interview-oaks-wickman-same-gender-attraction. Please read this article before reading my reply below:
I will begin by stating that I have read this interview through before. This is now my second reading. I will begin with the points I agree with. Mr. Oaks is very much correct in that people have every right to speak against homosexuality. We are a country and people that believe in and practice the principle freedom of speech. I also heavily agree with his point that "religious freedoms to teach what we know our Father in Heaven wants us to teach." While I obviously disagree with his use of the word "know" (he should use "believe"), he is very much correct in that we all have a freedom of religion that provides for the preaching of whatever we believe in. We all have the right to preach against whatever we believe to be "sin" and to reject said "sins." I have heard that someone was attempting a friend of mine that the Mormon church must accept homosexuality. I disagree. A religion is a private organization that may choose it's beliefs and members in the same manner that various clubs, LGBT organizations, woman organizations, prestigious clubs, etc. can pick and choose and reject members. I do not advocate forcing religions to accept any principles as it is their freedom to select what they accept and believe.
However, this is the final point upon which myself and Mr. Oaks agree. While I agree that the threat of imprisonment of the pastor that he mentioned is an infringement of his rights, most religious individuals are themselves infringing on the rights of the homosexual; this is accomplished when religious individuals cross the boundary known as the separation of church and state. Mr. Oaks himself crosses that boundary when he makes the statement "It also ignores the definition that the Lord Himself has gives" when asked his opinion on some countries sanctioning homosexual marriage. Not everyone believes in the Mormon God, Catholic God, Protestant God, Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Muslim God, Buddhist nirvana, and some believe in any power at all. Even people of the same religion often disagree on the true nature and intentions of their god. As such, religious definitions, especially those by a religion's deity, cannot be used to define and enact secular law. Mr. Oaks, as a Mormon,would not approve of Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant beliefs being forced upon him via law. Nor would a Muslim, Jew, Catholic, or Protestant approve of Mormon beliefs being forced upon them via law. In addition, any individual would revolt and challenge said law. It is for these reasons that the boundary of church and state was formed and exists today. Yet religion frequently crosses this barrier. Laws with obvious religious undertones such as those against homosexuality, drugs, abortions, sodomy, etc. are continually enacted, even today.
The last sentence of the above paragraph brings me to the central point of this article: everyone is free to like, dislike, and believe anything you want, but no one has any right to force those beliefs on others via law. One can choose to dislike and reject homosexuality in the same manner as a homosexual can dislike and reject heterosexuality, a religious individual can dislike and reject atheism and vice versa, a Mormon can dislike and reject Catholics and vice versa, etc. etc. etc. Most individuals would consider it wrong to instate a state religion, illegalize religion, force a healthy diet by law (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/nyc-soda-ban-dismissed-judge-large-sugary-drinks_n_2854563.html), make a law to wear a specific uniform, only drive cars without specific license plate letters on Sundays (Mexico in the past, not sure if still currently a law), etc. To give an example specific to Mr. Oak's article, heterosexuals would not approve if a largely homosexual (or even a largely heterosexual) government outlawed heterosexual marriage. It is also obvious that homosexuals do not approve, and are greatly angered at, the illegality of homosexual marriage. In essence, people fundamentally disagree with THEIR lifestyle being controlled by law. However, those same people that hate their lifestyle being governed by law are typically okay with specific groups lifestyles' being controlled by the government; blatant hypocrisy.
Everyone's lifestyle is their choice, be it heterosexual, homosexual, socially conservative, socially liberal, goth, punk, emo, modern, ancient, vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, healthy, unhealthy, virgin, sexually active, religious, non-religious, etc. One may disagree with a lifestyle, but that gives them no right to legally limit that lifestyle; that lifestyle also has no right to legal limit your lifestyle. One may think their lifestyle is best, but they have no right to force that lifestyle on others; that lifestyle might think their lifestyle is best, but they have no right to legally force it on you. This includes religion. No religion has the right, nor should it have the power, to force it's beliefs and lifestyles on another because not everyone agrees with that religion. Disagreement on a religions validity and teachings by other religions is precisely why the concept of the separation of church and state is morally correct and supposedly upheld in modern society. Because it is impossible to objectively conclude that one religion is better than another or that one lifestyle is better than another, lifestyle and religious preference is completely and utterly arbitrary and subjective.
The judge in New York City invalidated the city mayor's ban on sugar drinks due to the law being "arbitrary and capricious." This is because a law based on arbitrary and subjective opinions and beliefs naturally oppresses certain groups of people and forcibly removes their freedoms with no logical basis and due process of law. The laws against homosexual marriage and, in some cases, conduct are based on arbitrary and subjective beliefs and opinions of religious individuals who are opposed to the homosexual lifestyle. The laws that limit homosexual freedoms have no factual basis; in fact, the only basis for anti-homosexual laws is opinion and belief. While religion, and society as a whole, has the right to believe and preach whatever it desires, they do not have the right to forcibly remove one's rights ever, especially not when it's based on biases against specific lifestyles or commandments by their peculiar god. The crossing of this principle against many lifestyles, but especially the homosexual lifestyle, causes oppression against, pain for, and misunderstanding of the said lifestyle. Ergo, homosexuals are oppressed, pained, and misunderstood by society as a whole, but especially religious individuals like Mr. Oaks.