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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 23, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 43
Mormons vs. Kim Davis
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Mormons vs. Kim Davis

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Anti-Gay county clerk Kim Davis should shut up and do her job, a high-ranking Mormon official said October 20.

Public officials 'are not free to apply personal convictions - religious or other - in place of the defined responsibilities of their public offices,' Mormon Apostle Dallin H. Oaks said in a speech in Sacramento, Calif.

'A county clerk's recent invoking of religious reasons to justify refusal by her office and staff to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples violates this principle.'

Dallin, the third senior member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, the Mormon Church's governing body, made the remarks in a speech to a Sacramento Court/Clergy Conference titled 'The Boundary Between Church and State.'

Oaks was previously a law professor at the University of Chicago, president of Brigham Young University, and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court.

'Believers should . . . acknowledge the validity of constitutional laws,' Oaks insisted in his speech.

'Even where they have challenged laws or practices on constitutional grounds, once those laws or practices have been sustained by the highest available authority, believers should acknowledge their validity and submit to them.'

Oaks went on to call for an end to 'culture wars.'

'First, parties with different views on the relationship between church and state should advocate and act with civility,' he said.

'We all lose when an atmosphere of anger or hostility or contention prevails. We all lose when we cannot debate public policies without resorting to boycotts, firings and intimidation of our adversaries...

'On the big issues that divide adversaries on these issues, both sides should seek a balance, not a total victory. For example, religionists should not seek a veto over all nondiscrimination laws that offend their religion, and the proponents of nondiscrimination should not seek a veto over all assertions of religious freedom...

'We may have our cultural differences, but we shouldn't be having 'culture wars.' '

While the Mormon Church has opposed same-sex marriage and allied with Catholic and evangelical protestant churches to fight it, Mormon leaders also have endorsed antidiscrimination legislation protecting LGBT people, which their former allies did not.

Highlighting the split between the Mormons and their Protestant allies, the Rev. Gregory Johnson, chairman of the evangelical group Standing Together, publicly disagreed with Oaks.

'Conscientious objection and religious exemptions are part of our country's heritage,' Johnson said. 'When fighting in wars or endorsing or participating in a marriage you think does not honor God's design for marriage, such people have to be accommodated.'

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