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July 1, 2008

Heterosexual Mormon Professor Opposes Church Leaders

My partner just sent me this media release he discovered at Affirmation.org which is a support group for gay and lesbian Mormons.

The release is a letter from Professor Jeffrey Nielsen who is currently at Westminster College after losing his job at Brigham Young University for opposing the church's leadership.

In his "Open Letter to California Mormons" he said, in part:

“We should never allow our constitutions, whether state or federal, to become weapons in a crusade to impose a particular religious value system upon a pluralistic democracy”

I am a member of the Mormon Church, a married heterosexual, and a supporter of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. I am asking you to pause and give sincere thought to the letter from our religious leaders you have heard read, or will soon hear read, over our church pulpits asking you to get involved and oppose marriage equality in California. Please think deeply about this, not only as a member of a particular church, but also as a citizen of a democracy.

To press for an amendment to a civil constitution that would legalize discrimination against an entire class of people is no small matter, but of the greatest significance. When the argument, no matter how well intentioned, is based solely upon a religious proclamation; then, I believe, it is a serious contradiction of the wisdom of our founding fathers. It also does tremendous damage to the great progress in civil rights we've made in our country respecting the equal dignity of each person and towards a more certain legal equality for all citizens.

As you can see, not all Mormons think alike. As usual, it's the hierarchy that needs to be educated. Unfortunately, under the current leadership of this church, you can be severely punished for speaking out against policies or teachings you disagree with. Fortunately, there are more and more Mormons with the same courage as Professor Nielsen. Let's hope their numbers grow fast enough to unseat the bigoted leaders that this church still has. It's people like Professor Nielsen who have made this country great. Now, it's your turn. Speak out!

The letter, in its entirety, can be seen at: affirmation.org