All voices — black and white, religious and secular — belong in the public square in a pluralistic society, a Mormon apostle told a gathering of African-American church leaders this week.
“Our country has learned all too slowly, and forgets too easily, that we all do better when the voices of all minorities are given respect in our national dialogue,” Quentin L. Cook said in an address this week at the Seymour Institute Seminar for Black Church and Policy Studies at Princeton University. “We stand to lose a great deal now if insights from religion are labeled as irrational and irrelevant in the public sphere and if individual believers are dismissed as bigots when they express deeply held beliefs about the social importance of institutions like traditional marriage.”
Fairness for all, Cook said, requires that “no one should face a threat to their very existence. All should affirmatively recognize that everyone is entitled to protection for their core freedoms and interests. Everyone should be realistic and sensible. There should be more tolerance — not everything is core.”
A fairness policy would allow people of faith and their respective religions to worship, practice their beliefs and express them “openly without fear of retaliation or ostracism,” he said. Such believers would be free from occupational, educational, professional and social discrimination due to their religious thinking. It would be acceptable for faiths to “establish doctrines, ceremonies, and requirements for membership, including ecclesiastical office and employment.”
Equally important, Cook continued, a fairness banner would allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons “to speak out, petition government, to assemble and interact … [and] live the lifestyle they choose openly without fear of retaliation or ostracism.” They would also be “free from discrimination in employment, housing and traditional places of public accommodation.”
In 2015, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints successfully lobbied the Utah Legislature to adopt a landmark measure that protects LGBT individuals from housing and workplace discrimination while also safeguarding some religious liberties.
SOURCE: PEGGY FLETCHER STACK
The Salt Lake Tribune