Same-sex marriage: Some chasms are unbridgeable

There’s a post by Michael Austin over at By Common Consent on the subject of same-sex marriage, the thesis of which is the heterodox but increasingly fashionable idea that the church should not discipline members who have legally married someone of the same sex.

I’ll briefly disagree before getting to the deeper issue. Michael argues that this change would not require any alteration in theology, and maybe not in fundamental doctrine either. The “line” of Latter-day Saint sexual ethics, he says, is drawn, or at least has historically often been drawn, by the phrase “legally and lawfully wedded”. Thus, a change in secular law (US law?) is a change in Mormon religious teaching. But while the phrase he refers to is part of our body of revelation, so are hundreds of instances where prophets and apostles have gone to the trouble of teaching explicitly that marriage is between a man and a woman and, of course, that sexual contact is only permissible within marriage. Let’s take them at their word, if only out of respect for their time. Continue reading

America, land of tyranny?

I was recently speaking with a friend, who just quit his job at a correctional facility. This is a place where I once worked, but was fired at, due to a new boss that believes in taking no prisoners. Since my firing 6 months ago, this boss has fired, demoted, or driven away many good people.  What once was a close-knit family with some struggles, is now a divided work place, where many people tip toe around, fearing for their jobs.

Sadly, this seems to more and more be the norm in our society. There was a time when a person was hired at IBM and stayed forever. Loyalty went both directions, up and down the chain. The boss and the worker would look out for each other.

Today, people are just resources to use up and replace, while work locations are just a temporary place to make money, with no loyalty for one another. Continue reading

Why the Hobby Lobby Decision is a Victory for People of Faith and for Society

Why the Hobby Lobby Decision is a Victory for People of Faith and for Society

Guest Post by Daniel Ortner

The recent Hobby Lobby decision has been widely praised in the conservative media and greeted with deep alarm among the left. Yet, in reality the decision was a modest one that will likely have almost no impact on the employees of Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Wood. Indeed, the most likely outcome is that the government simply offers to religiously motivated for-profits the same accommodation that they are currently offering churches and religiously affiliated hospitals whereby upon certification of a religious objection, the health insurance providers cover contraception at no cost to the employer or employee.

So why is this case nevertheless a big deal? Why should members of the LDS Church and other people of faith celebrate the ruling? The threshold question in this case was whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which congress passed in the early 90’s to protect religious people of conscience applies to religiously motivated for-profit companies as well as churches and other people of conscience.

In other words, the key question is whether individuals who form for-profit entities lose the ability to assert religious freedom claims under the RFRA. For the dissent, because “an individual separates herself from the entity and escapes personal responsibility for the entity’s obliga­tions,”[1] by incorporation, that individual cannot argue that a government requirement violates his/her individual conscience. In other words, because the law removes personal liability from most business decisions, the dissent suggests that an individual should be expected to compartmentalize or separate his faith and his business activities.
Continue reading

Educational Christmas Advent for Children

NativtyThis year our family is doing a new educational Christmas Advent for the 12 days of Christmas.  This advent idea was given to me by my good friend, Yvonne Averett.  She has two girls ages 9 and 11, and made it for them.  They are a homeschool family, and this is one of the ways that they are inviting the Christmas Spirit and Christ into their homeschool this year.  I know not everyone who reads my blog is a Christian, but I am and loved this idea.  So, I thought I would pass it along.  I am always up for family learning and good homeschool ideas. Continue reading

I Still Believe Romney will be President

. . . of a Mormon Mission. Many pundits wonder what Romney can do next. They say his political fortunes are over, as he isn’t a powerful force in the Senate like Kerry or McCain. He doesn’t have a faithful ideological following like Huckabee. For a weakened GOP, unless you count the continued success of the other House, they hardly want to be reminded of the lost opportunity for expanded power by giving him a political position. To be honest, he was always a political outsider even when accused of belonging to the ruling party elite. Those who have studiously followed his rise know he built what he did out of whole cloth. Conservatives never completely supported him and the only office he held was Governor in a Democratic state (Chris Christie is similar, but he lost all chances of going anywhere with his support of Obama during Sandy). He never had any solid backings in the Party other than his own will and inertia. Unless there is a surprise in the wings, he has nowhere in politics to go.

The other possibility floating around is he will go back into business. Sounds logical at first, but his current history says otherwise. He hasn’t seen the inside of a corporate boardroom outside of a friendly visit since taking over the Salt Lake Olympics. He has enough money and to spare to last the lifetime of his whole family put together. Since he isn’t the greedy Gordon Gekko that the media and others have painted him, he is old enough to retire from making more money. On the other hand, if he does do anything of his own volition this will most likely be the course taken. He is known to have saved big risky businesses. Perhaps he could take on advocating small upstarts. Just because he lost the U.S. Presidency doesn’t mean he can’t do some good as a private citizen.

Yet, he could have greater things in store for him than Earthly positions and jobs. Even Mormon commentators in the traditional media didn’t talk about religious opportunities. With the expected increase in missionaries there is going to be the need for leaders. He and his wife seem very qualified for the position of Mormon Mission President. Where? Only the Lord and his servants know, if they decide this at all. Utah, however, should be on the top of the list. Continue reading