The Mormon Church Really Wants You to Know It's Still Not Cool with The Gays

[Content note: homophobia, transphobia, holocaust reference]

Yesterday afternoon, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints held a press conference, which by its official account was about "Religious Freedom and Nondiscrimination."

What it was really about was the need for civility between "LGBT people" and members of the LDS church (as if those two circles don't overlap).

The church is pretty upfront about the fact that they still have problems with homosexuality:
"We are announcing no change in doctrine or Church teachings today."
Which, sure, it's your press conference. Do what you want. I mean, that seems like a pretty weird reason for a notably insular church to hold a press conference, but I don't tell you how to run your religion, you don't tell me which pharmacists to patronize, right?

The prepared statements start off well enough:
"On one side of the debate we have advocates of LGBT rights. This movement arose after centuries of ridicule, persecution and even violence against homosexuals [sic]." (emphasis mine)
I'm pretty glad you managed to gather the media together on Holocaust Remembrance Day to let everyone know that violence against homosexuals is a thing. (Or was a thing. Given that your press conference already makes it clear that you don't know the difference between "LGBT people" and "homosexuals", I'm guessing you didn't really do much research for this part of the press conference. It's really a shame, given how rarely you do one of these.

Anyhow, that's pretty much the end of the love fest.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that sexual relations other than between a man and a woman who are married are contrary to the laws of God.

This commandment and doctrine comes from sacred scripture and we are not at liberty to change it. But, God is loving and merciful."
Wevs. I mean, I have no interest in your doctrine. At least, I endeavor to not be interested in it.
"the Church has publicly favored laws and ordinances that protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing and employment."
I don't actually remember that, but thanks? I mean, I would have said thanks at the time, but I honestly don't remember what you're referring to. So, I guess that's a much-needed clarification on your part. I hope nobody in the media interprets this as a major shift in church policy.

But why are we really here?
"Since 1791 the guarantees of religious freedom embodied in the First Amendment have assured all citizens that they may hold whatever religious views they want, and that they are free to express and act on those beliefs so long as such actions do not endanger public health or safety."
Again, I get that this press conference to announce a significant stasis in church policy came at you without any warning, but I'm pretty sure the relevant bit of the First Amendment actually reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

I'm no Benjamin Quincy Jefferson, but I interpret that as meaning that you have a right to have your own religion, but nobody is obligated to give a fuck. And I don't. give. the. tiniest. fuck.

Since this is a press conference about civility (my word choice, not yours), I'll just point out that this is probably the point where we should shake hands and go home.

I get that you're super touchy about anti-Mormon discrimination. Some of the rituals (and tenets) of your particular sect of Christianity are different from the rituals (and tenets) of other Christian sects. I'm totally not cool with folks using your particular set of rituals and beliefs as a reason to discriminate against you. What you do in your church is your deal.

Lots of people treat me like crap because I have tits and a wang. Oh, and I also sleep with another lady. I'm all :( that your god is uncool with my relationship with my wife. (We'll just leave my titswang for another time in exchange for you not pretending to care about trans rights. This conference is about you pretending to care about LGB rights.)

Whatever. You can hold whatever religious beliefs you want. The government can't stop you. And I can sleep with whoever agrees to sleep with me-- the government can't stop us. I'm really glad we could have this conversation.

[A public university system won't support a group that has a discriminatory membership policy.]
[The government of Houston started investigating whether churches violated terms of their tax exemption.]
[Johnny Weir is a big meanie.]
[Mozilla Guy!]
[Also, this supplement material]

"Accusations of bigotry toward people simply because they are motivated by their religious faith and conscience have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and public debate....Churches should stand on at least as strong a footing as any other entity when they enter the public square to participate in public policy debates. (emphasis mine)"
Yeah, I've heard that before. You should probably not tip your hand by implying that disciples of your God might be entitled to a disproportionate say in determining the laws of our secular nation. Also, you're confusing freedom of speech with being subject to the law. You're free to hold all the press conferences you want. You still have to follow the law, though.

Like I said, there's nothing new here.
"It is one of today’s great ironies that some people who have fought so hard for LGBT rights now try to deny the rights of others to disagree with their public policy proposals."
Yep. Right between rain on your wedding day and deflated footballs. Ours are truly ironic times.
We believe laws ought to be framed to achieve a balance in protecting the freedoms of all people while respecting those with differing values.
Really? Me too! (PS: No homo, amirite?)

The press conference just goes on and on from there. Pretty much three-quarters of the press conference is about how people (particularly "LGBT people" / "gays and lesbians" / "homosexuals" / "activists" / "gay men and women") need to shut up and do what the LDS church says. The government needs to protect Mormons from people like me. Boycotting pharmacists who refuse to practice pharmacy is the opposite of free expression.

I mean, they actually ended the prepared remarks by pointing out that their sacred scripture lays out how non-church government (to the extent that the church eve is supposed to work, cough, cough, nudge, nudge. So it's no wonder that:

WaPo lead with "Mormon church announces support for legal protections for gay people."

Time chose "Mormon Church Supports LGBT Protections in Shift" which not only shares the Mormon church's confusion about trans people, but also misses the multiple times where the people convening the press conference stated that nothing is changing.

The AP and ABC went with Mormon Leaders Call for Measures Protecting Gay Rights." Okay, that's arguably an accurate headline. However, they actually went to the trouble of spelling out transgender (it's all the rage these days). Oh, and the article contains this sweetheart of a line:
"Much has changed since Mormons led a fight against same-sex unions in California."
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The LDS wants to people to treat people however they feel like it (in many cases, badly), and the media is more than willing to report "both sides" of the story, even when that means completely ignoring context (and content!) to tell whatever story it deems most beneficial to its interests. (In this case, I'm assuming a major policy shift is more likely to draw readers than the details of what actually happened.)

The LDS Church has its own sacred doctrine to justify its damaging actions. What's Time's problem?

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