Monday, October 26, 2015
NYT: "Mormons Say Duty to Law Trumps Faith"
The New York Times is reporting, "Despite its deep opposition to same-sex marriage, the Mormon Church is setting itself apart from religious conservatives who rallied behind a Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, who cited her religious beliefs as justification for refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples."
Interestingly, the Mormon Church is on record telling the Supreme Court earlier this year they will not perform same-sex marriages---because, they wrote in their brief, "changes in the law do not, indeed cannot, change the law of God."
Jonathan Rauch with the Brookings Institution says, "This is a big deal" because they have embraced "compromise over conflict."
Christian attorney Matt Staver says, "They are misinformed."
What do you think?
The New York Times notes, "The Mormon Church once stood at the forefront of the fight against same-sex marriage with its support of a 2008 California ballot measure, known as Proposition 8, that limited marriage to a man and a woman. But that advocacy brought a backlash from outside the church as well as from its own members, and since then, the church has modulated its tone and positions on some gay rights issues."
I would add the Mormon Church was very supportive of our own R-71 here in Washington State, however, I personally noticed a more restrained response to R-74. Several Mormons told me at the time they were disappointed in the lack of response from their church.
If a church organization believes changes in the law "do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established," then are they now telling Mormons everywhere to believe one thing while practicing something different?
Rauch says he thinks they are ----to a degree. While Rauch does not necessarily reflect the conservative, or evangelical view, he does say he believes the Mormons are saying, "Count us out---we will not have any part of massive resistance. We're going to go through the channels of political dialogue and compromise."
Mormon Elder Oakes, a former Utah Supreme Court justice and US Supreme Court clerk, said in Sacramento last week that religious freedom should not be asserted "to override every law and government action that could possibly be interpreted to infringe on institutional or personal religious freedom."
He said once laws and practices have been established by the highest available authority, "believers should acknowledge their validity and submit to them."
Matt Staver, an evangelical Christian lawyer and head of the law firm that represents Kim Davis, is critical of Elder Oakes remarks. Staver says Oakes is "advocating a view that granted no religious freedom to those in elected office."
He says of Oake's position, "It's misinformed both about the case of Kim Davis and is shortsighted with respect to religious freedom and the right of conscience."
Staver says, "The church is going to face these kinds of issues."
Oakes says the Mormon church, however, "must submit to those laws and acknowledge their validity."
Is the Mormon Church, that has lived with controversy and social rejection from its founding, now compromising what they say they believe in an attempt top avoid more social conflict?
I believe it is.
But homosexual activists within the church, of course, see it differently.
Erika Munson with "Mormons Building Bridges"---an organization focused on helping Mormons better understand gays---says "that court rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans has unsettled some Mormons..."
She says, "I think Mormons in particular haven't quite known what to do with the new reality of legal gay marriage."
"We can now have much more open conversations about how we live our Mormon-ness," she says. "We have to learn to live with our neighbors. It's done. It's a done deal."
Matt Staver and a number of highly qualified, respected lawyers rightly say it is not "done." The Supreme Court does not have the constitutional authority to "make" law.
Unfortunately, it is not only the Mormon church that is taking this path of least resistance; too many evangelicals are doing so as well.
Look at what the Constitution actually says:
The Supreme Court does not make law. Article I, Section 1 clearly states that all legislative authority rests with Congress.
Congress, who does have the authority to make law, has no authority over marriage. It is not within their 18 enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8.
Any marriage regulations/laws (e.g. bigamy, polygamy, incest, etc.) are the State government’s jurisdiction. See Amendments 9 & 10.
Many states have passed Defense of Marriage Acts – DOMA – their citizens voting to define marriage as being a union between one man and one woman. The federal government has no authority to overrule State governments and their citizens in this regard. Once again, see Amendments 9 & 10.
Lastly, but actually primarily, no one…repeat, NO ONE…has the authority to overrule the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God – the foundation for all law in America as stated in the Declaration of Independence.
Marriage between one man and one woman was established by God as both natural and scientific law. No man can overrule this law any more that they could overrule the law of gravity. Our founders referred to any such attempts as “pretended legislation.” Check out grievances 13 & 19 of the Declaration of Independence.
Sir William Blackstone, a renowned English jurist who played a significant role in the development of the American legal system through his codification of Nature's or God's laws, spoke directly to this kind of issue.
Blackstone said, "This law of nature dictated by God Himself is...superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this."
Man cannot alter God's created order---the Laws of Nature and Nature's God---by "pretended legislation" or bogus, arrogant court decrees.
David Barton has written extensively of Blackstone's influence on our Founders and our legal system in his book, "Original Intent." I recommend you read it.
I do not accept much of the Mormon Church's doctrine.
And on this issue, they are dead wrong.
Paul wrote to the Roman church, "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the power of God."
While Romans 13 gives us a mandate to be law abiding citizens, the book of Acts teaches there are exceptions when we must choose whether to obey man's law or God's law.
There are many incidents in Acts where the leaders in the early church chose to "obey God rather than man."
I am not advocating lawlessness or rebellion against authorities.
I am strongly advocating a biblical worldview that influences our lifestyle and actions.
Today on the radio I will be talking about this issue further. There are at least 6 occasions in the Old and New Testaments, in addition to the book of Acts, where people of God chose God rather than man.
Biblical believers must be informed and prepared to stand for godly values and principles in our current culture.
You may join me live on the radio this morning at 9 AM PDT, and rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PDT from anywhere in the world.
Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Strong. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.