I was surprised when the Mormon Church---Latter Day Saints---announced to the press last week they are changing their position and will now be backing legal efforts to insure the LGBT movement's rights.
The press, as you can imagine, was on the story in a New York minute.
The New York Times wrote: "Mormon Leaders Call For Measures Protecting Gay Rights."
ABC: "Mormon Leaders Call for Measures Protecting Gay Rights."
CNN: "Mormon Church Backs LGBT Rights---With One Condition."
ABC News said, "Democratic Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis who was raised Mormon and is openly gay said, 'This is a bold, strong, principled statement...today we are seeing the fruits of civility and respect'."
The gay-rights group Equality Utah is applauding the Mormon leaders.
However, there are 2 very different responses to the LDS's actions.
Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention called the Mormon leaders "well intentioned, but naive."
The far left Huffington Post published an article under this headline: "How The Mormons Punked The Press."
What's going on? And why does it matter?
Seahawks. We're still with you. Just wait till next year.
ABC News reported, "The Mormon church announced a campaign Tuesday for new laws that protect gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender people from discrimination while somehow also protecting people who assert their religious beliefs."
At a press conference, Dallin Oaks, an elder in the LDS's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, mentioned several recent examples of religious freedom not being respected, including when California universities forced Christian groups off campus, the CEO of Mozilla was forced to resign because he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and the lesbian mayor of Houston subpoenaing the sermons and communications of pastors who preach or advocate for natural, biblical marriage---all of which we have written about and spoke about on the radio.
ABC said, "Mormon leaders did not explain just how it would draw lines between gay rights and religious freedoms and its unclear how much common ground the church will gain with this campaign."
Outside the State of Utah, this new campaign to "support LGBT rights" may not gain any common ground at all.
The national homosexual Human Rights Campaign says the Mormon's plan is "deeply flawed."
The far left Huffington Post is much more direct, headlining their report on the matter with this: "How The Mormons Punked The Press."
They say, "The new Mormon position is like candy with a razor blade inside that your mom warned you about on Halloween. While calling for LGBTQ people to be protected from those who hate them for non-religious reasons (and who are those people, anyway?), they have hidden their real agenda, which is to legalize such discrimination by anyone who claims their prejudice is backed by faith."
Brooke P. Hunter writing for the Huffington Post, "Why does Mr. Oaks think that religions should enjoy more influence than other entities? He wants special privileges and special rights for churches and for religious people. The painful irony? He is demanding something gay people have long been accused of seeking: special rights."
There is a difference between First Amendment Religious freedom and sexual behavior.
Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention says while "the new position of the LDS church may be well intentioned, it is naive."
Mormon leaders say they believe this "middle ground approach is consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ."
Hunter wrote in the Huff Post, "Don't believe for one second that the LDS church this morning showed compassion or humanity. They're just trying to codify their right to discriminate against LGBTQ people."
ABC News says, "This campaign is the latest example of a shift in tone on gay rights by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which counts 15 million members worldwide," questioning how this move will factor into the political dynamics around the Mormon church, because, they say, "Accommodations for religious objectors have factored into every state legislative debate over gay rights."
ABC says, ""Much has changed since Mormons led a fight against same-sex unions in California."
Members of the Mormon Church stood with those of us who led in the Referendum efforts---71 and 74 to protect marriage in Washington State as well.
However, it does seem apparent that much has changed in regard to their previous positions.
But why would the LDS church decide to move to what they are calling "the middle ground" on issues as important as these?
I don't know. I'm an evangelical, with significant differences of belief to those of the Mormon church.
I do know, however, that a "move toward middle ground" on moral issues is generally a move toward compromise.
The Republican Party is in chaos in great part because it claims one set of values in its Party platform, while often acting on a different set of values, explaining that they have to build a bigger tent so they can win elections.
Perhaps the most poignant example is that of the Boy Scouts of America.
This past year BSA voted to change a 100 year old belief in regard to openly homosexual participation in the BSA program.
Boy Scouts are continuing to decline in membership. It has declined another 7% after a previous decline reported earlier. Worse yet for its future the Cub Scout program, which naturally feeds the Boy Scout program, has already declined 14%.
Meanwhile, a Christian based scouting program is thriving. Trail Life was set up after the Boy Scouts made the decision to accept homosexuals into the program.
Trail Life Executive Director Mark Hancock says they finished the year up with 534 troops in 48 states and just under 20,000 members. He says the growth could have been greater---they have more than 300 troops waiting to be chartered---but they are being very careful to be absolutely sure that their values and beliefs are clearly understood by all who join the program.
"Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths" (Psalms 119:1-3).
Be Faithful. Be Joyful.