Scottish MPs Complain about BYU President’s “Homophobic” Institution After Speech to Parliament

Picture: The Scotsman. Ian Rutherford.

BYU President Elder Cecil O. Samuelson has managed to create quite a stir here in bonnie Scotland after giving a speech before the Scottish Parliament last month.  Samuelson was invited to speak at the assembly for their regular Time for Reflection address, which has previously hosted such illustrious speakers as the Dalai Lama. However, Elder Samuelson’s presence was rejected by a number of MPs (Members of Parliament) due to his leadership over a university that labels homosexual behavior as “innapropriate.”

The headlines and commentaries that have been erupting around the UK express outrage at the Samuelson invitation, calling him “homophobe” and “anti-gay.” They refer to Brigham Young University as a “homophobic” institution.

Elder Samuelson, in his very brief remarks, said nothing about the university’s (or the Church’s) stance on homosexuality or homosexual behavior, but presented a very harmless (in my view) introduction to the university/Church’s view on seeing all mankind as brothers and sisters and loving and serving others (citing Mosiah 2:17).

You can read his full remarks here: http://newsroom.lds.org/article/church-leader-scottish-parliament-i-bless-you

While I can’t see how anyone would take offense at his comments,  some were upset by the fact that he was invited to speak in the first place.

Green Party MP Patrick Harvie, who is gay, said: “Mr Samuelson should never have been invited to address the parliament, given that he leads an institutionally homophobic academic institution.”

He added: “I make this point not in respect to religion, but an academic institution that has a policy that would be utterly illegal and unacceptable here.” (source: The Scotsman.com)

You can read more about this story here and here (and many other places — just Google it).

Even more remarkable, to me, was that when the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick, courteously sent Elder Samuelson a letter thanking him for his “excellent contribution,” she was thoroughly criticized as well.

Mr Harvie again made comment on this: “It’s frustrating to see that the Presiding Officer still supports the decision to invite such an inappropriate speaker to address Holyrood. Mr Samuelson leads a homophobic institution, and parliament should not have given him this platform. The whole basis for Time For Reflection now needs to be reviewed.”

Personally, I find it tragic that, because of perceptions of his religious affiliation, a good man can’t get up and give a positive message without fear of backlash. Can’t there be an allowance, a bit of tolerance, for diverging views in a governing body such as this? Are they saying that just because a man belongs to a Church (nevermind what his own personal views may be) and runs a university whose policy is that homosexual behavior (not homosexual people) is inappropriate, it means that he is not suited to speak before the Scottish Parliament, although his credentials may be impeccable? What does the Dalai Lama believe about homosexuality? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

I don’t mean to make this post a discussion of the Church’s (or BYU’s) position regarding homosexual relationships, but just wanted to point out what seems to be a glaring example of reverse discrimination against a man who’s message had nothing to do with that subject.

28 thoughts on “Scottish MPs Complain about BYU President’s “Homophobic” Institution After Speech to Parliament

  1. So I clicked through the newsroom link (broken BTW) and I see the first quote in the talk given in that article was, “God honors those who serve with integrity and humility.” I think that explains the reasons why some politicians would get upset and grab for any hammer to beat him up with as a pretext.

    In that one line we have:
    1. God
    2. Honor
    3. Serve
    4. Integrity
    5. Humility

    Each of those are concepts or principles rarely embodied by politicians. So I understand why he got their hackles raised up. Thems fightin’ words.

  2. On more specific note, was the MP correct in stating BYU’s policy would be “utterly illegal”. Are there no religious schools or institutions in Scotland? Are they forced to employ and admit openly practicing/advocates of homosexuality?

  3. This incident shows the complete intellectual bankruptcy of the secular (and in some cases non-secular) left. So, there is no problem with the Dalai Lama because basically he is politically correct. What does the Dalai Lama say about homosexuality? “Buddhist sexual proscriptions ban homosexual activity and heterosexual sex through orifices other than the vagina, including masturbation or other sexual activity with the hand… From a Buddhist point of view, lesbian and gay sex is generally considered sexual misconduct.” So, the Dalai Lama is definitely a homophobe, but he gets a pass.

    But the Dalai Lama is a Marxist, and of course that is OK with the politically correct today. Let’s see. Marxism is responsible for about 100 million deaths in the 20th century in Russia, China, Cambodia, Peru, Cuba and on and on. But again, nothing wrong with that.

    I did not go to BYU, and I don’t have any reason to defend it except to point out that it is a voluntary organization. Nobody is forced to go there (and if you were forced by your parents, I have news for you, you are an adult and you can leave. Please leave today!) If you don’t like BYU’s policy on homosexuality, you can choose not to go. What a concept!

    But if there is one thing Marxist institutions have shown us, you don’t have a choice. In Cuba, for example, you can’t leave the country, and in most cases you are not even allowed to change jobs or move from the city you live in. So, when it comes to the whole free will thing, the Dalai Lama and the idiot Scottish MPs need a bit of a history lesson.

  4. The Dalai Lama’s position on homosexuality is a bit more nuanced than the one quote Geoff listed. In a 1994 interview, he stated: “If someone comes to me and asks whether homosexuality is okay or not, I will ask ‘What is your companion’s opinion?’. If you both agree, then I think I would say ‘if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay’”. He has also suggested that he’s open to the idea that some Buddhist teachings have been particular to individual cultures and times.

    Perhaps more importantly in reference to the OP here, the Dalai Lama has also repeatedly spoken out against discrimination against gays and lesbians in terms of secular/civil law. Perhaps the Parliament member saw a distintion between anti-gay religious teachings vs. anti-gay political activism?

  5. Not familiar with any of the Dalai Lama’s teachings, I went to Wiki and read this:
    In his view, oral, manual and anal sex (both homosexual and heterosexual) are not acceptable in Buddhism or for Buddhists, but society should tolerate gays and lesbians from a secular point of view.[66] In 1997 he explained that the basis of that teaching was unknown to him and that he at least had some “willingness to consider the possibility that some of the teachings may be specific to a particular cultural and historic context” while reiterating the unacceptable nature saying, “Buddhist sexual proscriptions ban homosexual activity and heterosexual sex through orifices other than the vagina, including masturbation or other sexual activity with the hand… From a Buddhist point of view, lesbian and gay sex is generally considered sexual misconduct”.[67] In a 1994 interview with OUT Magazine, the Dalai Lama explained “If someone comes to me and asks whether homosexuality is okay or not, I will ask ‘What is your companion’s opinion?’. If you both agree, then I think I would say ‘if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay’”.[68] However, in his 1996 book Beyond Dogma, he clearly states, “A sexual act is deemed proper when the couples use the organs intended for sexual intercourse and nothing else….Homosexuality, whether it is between men or between women, is not improper in itself. What is improper is the use of organs already defined as inappropriate for sexual contact.”

    So it would seem when he is being interviewed by a favorable publication he relaxes his views a bit. It sounds to me like he is saying it’s incompatible with Buddhism but secularly if you want to do it you can. I don’t think that’s so far off from the LDS churches teachings is it?

    Who knows what his opinions on gay marriage are, but I am assuming he is either in favor or indifferent of it based on the Buddhist view of marriage as a secular non, religious institution.

    So Nick, unless I am mistaken, his beliefs seem to be fairly consistent with LDS beliefs in that they permit XYZ in the secular arena as long as they do not interfer with their religious beliefs. Since marriage is a part of religion in the Christian world, it makes sense they see it differently than he does. I would assume if there was some kind of Buddhist institution or sacrament, and homosexual people wanted to participate in it as a matter of a civil right, he would be against it. I don’t know if there is an equivilant concept of marriage or some other Buddhist social order. The only think I could think of would be for someone to insist on being a monk, while still being in a homo or heterosexual relationship. He would naturally be opposed to that I assume?

  6. Chris, if I read you correctly, you seem to be unduly blending civil vs. religious marriage. It sounds to me like the Dalai Lama would have no issue whatsoever with civil marriage equality, and actually opposes the denial of equal civil rights on the basis of sexual orientation. It should also be noted that Buddhism is no more monolithic than christianity. I’m aware of other prominent Buddhist teachers who have no issue whatsoever with homosexuality, and I know several partnered gay Buddhists in Seattle who are completely welcomed.

    It’s also a mistake to confuse the desire of gays and lesbians for marriage equality with a demand that your church marry gay and lesbian couples. I can’t say that I’ve ever come across a gay or lesbian couple who wanted to be married in an LDS temple, etc.

  7. Nick, it is true that the Dalai Lama’s position is more nuanced than the quote I mentioned, but since when has that mattered in the world of political correctness, where as you know most things are black and white?

    The Church’s position is also considerably more nuanced than the claims of the Scottish leftists. For example, we are constantly told to treat all people with respect and Christ-like charity and love, including those with same-gender attraction. The Church also came out (nice word choice) in favor of the non-discrimination laws in Utah. The Church’s political activity on SSM has died down considerably since 2008 for whatever reason (the Church was not active in the NY SSM legalization debate, for example). So, if you want to see nuance, you certainly could see it in the Church opinion if you were so inclined. There definitely is a double standard on this issue, and as I say it is on the side of political correctness and people who support Marxism, despite its undeniable mass-murdering history.

  8. This incident shows the complete intellectual bankruptcy of the secular (and in some cases non-secular) left.

    Imagine some future Democratic Governor of Utah (yes, I know it’s difficult) inviting someone that had spoken out against Mormons, kicked practicing Mormons out of an institution and actively campaigned for Mormons to have less rights than other people. Can you honestly tell me the Christian Right in the Utah legislature wouldn’t be saying the exact same things we read in the original post? Especially when you take into account how much we Mormons love to remind people how picked-on we are.

  9. I worked in the Scottish Parliament as a part of BYU’s international internship program, and I will say that this is not surprising. I’m not sure if BYU is still sending interns (there was a visa problem that looked like it was going to keep new ones out just after I graduated a few years ago), but I assume so (hence the connection with Pres. Samuelson). I worked for an MSP (member of the Scottish Parliament are called MSPs, MPs are the ones in Westminster. It’s very confusing.) who was widely regarded as one of the craziest people there, and this would have been right up his alley (except, he might not have said this sort of thing while I was working in his office). But he was super nice in his craziness. Politics over there is essentially who can say the craziest thing in the hopes that a newspaper will pick up the story and then your name will get out there – and there is essentially no balance between the right and left spectrum. I think the green party is also highly marginalized, particularly now that the Scottish National Party doesn’t need them to form coalitions. Not that that excuses anything that he said, but it just doesn’t surprise me in the least because of everything that goes on over there. I know the SNP has had a relationship with BYU in the past, so I doubt any of them would say something like this, but anything goes for essentially anyone else :)

  10. Geoff, I’m saying your immediate jump to their reaction to Elder Samuelson being some part of the left or secular left is completely ridiculous and actually a reaction you’d see by many Conservative Mormons if the situation was reversed.

  11. So you don’t think Green Party MP Patrick Harvie is on the left? JJ, his response is exactly what political correctness is all about. It is why there are anti-first amendment speech codes (promoted by the left) on campuses. If anybody dares present a viewpoint you might disagree with, you squelch their right to speak. So, his first reaction was: “Mr. Samuelson should never have been invited.” Because of what reason exactly? Well, if you were to drill down, the MP could not have come up with a real reason, just the fact that he was a representative of the hateful Mormons.

    So, a Mormon should not be allowed to speak? Can you perhaps see a wee problem with that?

    If you want to claim that in some theoretical future some right-wing knuckle-draggers would do the same thing, you certainly can try. But I don’t think anybody is buying it. A better comparison might be that Utah conservatives try to prevent a person from Missouri from speaking because of the Boggs extermination order, and of course that ain’t gonna happen. In the actual real world, most people know that all of the political correctness these days comes from the left.

  12. Does anyone remember the furor over Michael Moore speaking at UVSC a few years back? And how offended the most liberty-loving of the Saints were that a State institution would allow such a cur to speak on its behalf? No, surely I’m remembering incorrectly…such things only happen at Marxist institutions (marxist, of course, being reasonably defined as “that with which I disagree”)

  13. Casey, Marxism is more correctly defined as “responsible for the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century.” But I’m sure you have no problem with that.

    As for speech codes and free speech, I know it may be difficult for you to challenge your very closed world view, but cast your eyes on this web site and click around a bit and then report back on what you find. What percentage of offenses of free speech are generally associated with the left and what percentage are the fault of “conservatives?” I predict an inability for you to engage in any critical analysis, but let’s see, perhaps you can surprise us all.

    http://thefire.org/code/speechcodereport/

  14. Would a member of the Muslim Brotherhood be eligible to speak in the Scottish Parliment? Remember that homosexuality is punishable by death in some Islamic countries.

  15. I’m sure it’s always useful to judge a system on the basis of how many people were killed in its name and/or at its hand. Marxism shouldn’t be judged on its merits, or the lack thereof. It should be condemned based on the actions of some of its adherents, such as Stalin, whose devotion led to the deaths of millions.

    For example:

    (1) Charlemagne in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded.

    (2) In 1234, between 5,000 and 11,000 German peasants were killed, for their unwillingness to pay christian church taxes.

    (3) During the 16th and 17th centuries, English troops sought to christianize pagan Irish citizens. Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish were murdered in the effort.

    (4) At least hundreds of thousands, some say up to one and a half million non-christians, killed during the Crusades for their unwillingness to convert to christianity and/or hand over lands which christians claimed divine right to rule.

    (5) Thousands of alleged “witches” put to death between the 15th and 18th centuries, by christians.

    (6) Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans, some say millions, killed for not converting to christianity and/or handing over their lands to christians who claimed divine right to the “New World.”

    (7) Six million Jews, and hundreds of thousands of other “undesireables,” killed in Nazi death camps, by those who claimed christianity as the divine force behind their efforts at world conquest.

    (8) Catholic priests held accountable for their roles in the 1994 Ruwandan genocide of up to one million native Tutsis and Hutus.

    I’m sure many christians would prefer to assign these massacres to “rogue” elements, or “not really christian” forces, but it would be wrong to give them that excuse. After all, we know for sure that murdering millions was the whole basis for Marxism, right?

  16. Nick, no, Marxism was the system used by tyrants as an excuse to do things they would have done anyway. But at the end of the day, their ideology was the same as Hitler’s or Charlemagne’s or any other tyrant’s: take power, maintain power, kill opponents, rule through fear. Marxism made it easier for the tyrants to grab power because there was a core base of middle class useful idiots who thought they were helping the poor by allowing Marxists like Lenin and Stalin and Mao and Castro to consolidate power. So, the particular evil of Marxism is that it was the same old tyranny covered with a veneer of “doing good.” Thinking people should be especially wary of ideologies that promote “doing good” by controlling and taking away the rights of others. Definitely a lesson to be learned there for our day.

    But beyond that, politically correct tyrants in a legislature or a university (more useful idiots) are especially dangerous because they have no sense of proportion. They see danger in a man who happens to be Mormon speaking but have no problem with a man who proposes Marxism speaking. The one may (in theory) be advocating ideas that may prevent some people from performing a state-sanctioned marriage — the other may be promoting ideas that lead to the deaths of additional millions.

    Personally, I think both Elder Samuelson and the Dalai Lama should speak without controversy. I would even add Michael Moore in there. He is a pathetic, disgusting hypocrite, but he has a right to speak, and exposure to his verbal diarrhea may actually help people recognize him for the demagogue he is. At the end of the day, free speech in a free society tends to weed out and expose the worst people.

  17. And btw, I am not understanding your reference to Christianity and Hitler. Perhaps you could explain the point your are trying to make.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler%27s_religious_views

    To quote from the above:

    “He (Hitler) sometimes made public statements which seemed to affirm religion (which suited his political purposes) and prior to 1940 had promoted a “positive Christianity”, purged of Judaism and instilled with Nazi philosophy, but in private was hostile to Christianity and had a plan to destroy it after the war.”

  18. The Honor Code requires that all students live chaste lives. I know there are many gay students at BYU, who live chaste lives. I agree with Chris #1, that more than anything it’s about honor, intergrity, honor, service and God. Some people just do not like the fact that those things still matter to many people.

  19. Geoff:

    I’m having trouble understanding your rants. First you link the Dalai Lama with Marxism, then say Marxism is bad because it resulted in umpteen deaths. Can you help me with that connection? Would it then be fair to link Samuelson with the MMM, because he’s a Mormon after all, even though fewer people died? The logic of both arguments are the same, after all, in this world of tenuosity. Heck, for that matter the MSPs who argue that Samuelson is a homophobe are being just as logical as your diatribe on Marxism.

    Seriously, I didn’t know tenuous arguments were part of the M*’s commenting protocol. Nor did I understand telling someone, “…I know it may be difficult for you to challenge your very closed world view…” was a way to engage persuasion in some discussions. Taken in the context of this discussion alone, Casey has offered one comment to which you retort the “very closed world view” rhetoric.

  20. Home, but apparently you have no problem with comments claiming Hitler’s naziism was a Christian movement? Do a search for Dalai Lama Marxist and you may learn some things.

  21. Cecil Samuelson should invite homosexual students over to his home to have dinner with him and his wife. Mormons proclaim that they love all people equally, so I think they should show it.

    BYU should be the first and original higher institution of learning where homosexual are treated equally with as much love and acceptance as straight people.

    Let’s stop the fighting and let’s see some action!

    Cecil, is straight, but I think he love’s homosexual’s as well.

  22. To David F.

    One of the general authorities counsels those with same sex attraction to not give undue attention to these thoughts, not to define themselves by these inclinations. So for President Samuelson to invite “homosexuals” to dinner would be to do them a disservice by defining them himself.

    We all have inclinations toward sin such as impure thoughts, selfishness, unkind feelings towards others who believe differently, physical weaknesses, lack of self control, etc. Satan, using the world view as a voice since he has none, wants us to pay so much attention to our weaknesses that we come to believe we can’t overcome them. Satan wants us to believe we were “born that way” and that we should be true to the natural man. This is in exact opposition to the message of the gospel and the atonement.

  23. Scottish MPs Complain about BYU President’s “Homophobic” Institution After Speech to Parliament

    So it wasn’t Scottish MPs, it was one Scottish MSP who was gay. No surprise there. So why does the headline use the plural and make the story out to be more than it is? Of course MSP Harvie is going to play the ‘homophobe’ card on this, since that’s standard procedure for anyone who doesn’t buy into the gay agenda. BTW, MSP Harvie’s email address is [email protected] in case you’d like to send him a friendly word. And to set the record straight (no pun intended) the church does not have an official stance on homosexuals, other than to say that they are children of God and should be treated as such. However, it opposes attempts to ‘normalize’ or give legal endorsement to homosexual behavior, which it regards as wrong because of the many Scriptural references that say so, not to mention common sense and a little knowledge of biology. Although there are many groups that believe homosexual behavior is wrong and oppose its ‘normalization’, gays have zeroed in on Mormons because Mormons have always been a much maligned group anyway and targeting them is not politically incorrect. One pro-gay, anti-Mormon documentary title calls California’s Proposition 8 the “Mormon Proposition”, even though several groups were involved in sponsoring Prop 8 to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. I suppose the thinking is that, by making an example of the Mormons, other groups opposing the gay agenda will be intimidated and weakened. I don’t wish MSP Harvie ill, but he needs to show tolerance and acknowledge the right to moral opposition, even if it’s not in his personal interest to do so.

  24. Of course MSP Harvie is going to play the ‘homophobe’ card on this, since that’s standard procedure for anyone who doesn’t buy into the gay agenda.

    Just what is this “gay agenda,” Thos? My “gay agenda” today is to work 9.5 hours, eat dinner, facilitate a free community peer support group, drive home, and go to sleep. Is that so different from your “straight agenda” today?

    One pro-gay, anti-Mormon documentary title calls California’s Proposition 8 the “Mormon Proposition”, even though several groups were involved in sponsoring Prop 8 to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

    That’s just funny, Thos. Even the PR firm hired to run the Prop 8 campaign said, after the election, that it could not have passed if it wasn’t for the huge LDS support in dollars and labor. The vast majority of the campaign funds came from LDS donors. To pretend that the LDS were just “one group among many” is either grossly naive, or out right deceptive.

    I don’t wish MSP Harvie ill, but he needs to show tolerance and acknowledge the right to moral opposition, even if it’s not in his personal interest to do so.

    Thos, how does this “right to moral opposition” include a right to never be criticized by those who disagree with your beliefs? Anti-gay religionists (or at least their PR firms) started playing this game right after the passing of Prop 8, claiming that anyone who dared to publicly criticize them was “trying to take away” their right to free speech and free exercise of religion.

  25. Nick, there were many other groups involved with Prop. 8, and you know it. Thos is not being deceptive, he is simply pointing out a fact. I don’t think anybody has a problem with MSP Harvie speaking out, but his moral outrage is ignorant and misdirected and not consistent, and the repeated attempts to concentrate on the Church are bigoted. As others have said, the Dalai Lama has said things that could be perceived as anti-gay, but of course he’s politically correct so no problem. You can choose what you want to concentrate on in life. The Church has a long history of encouraging Christ-like behavior by its members toward all people, including those with same-sex attraction(and the members are imperfect, and they don’t live up to this all the time, but we keep on trying). The Church came out in favor of the anti-discrimination law in Utah. And the Church has remained silent on other SSM efforts in New York and New England and Iowa. In terms of agendas, I definitely have a pro-Church agenda and will shout that to the rooftops. Others appear to have an anti-Church agenda which is pretty easy to perceive based on where they concentrate their efforts.

  26. (Just what is this “gay agenda,” Thos? My “gay agenda” today is to work 9.5 hours, eat dinner, facilitate a free community peer support group, drive home, and go to sleep. Is that so different from your “straight agenda” today?)

    Nick, I’ve heard this before. Pro-gays see the issue as nothing more than being treated equally with everyone else. They refer to themselves only in terms of their perceived identity as ‘gay’. Their agenda, as you well know, is to sell, coerce or force that idea through the entertainment industry, news media, legal system and political process. In the list of activities that you give for your ‘gay agenda’ you intentionally leave out the obvious difference, which is the behavior that is unique to gays.

    I have no desire or interest in denying people their rights or oppressing minorities. My opposition to the gay agenda (to ‘normalize’ and legitimize homosexuality), is directed toward a behavior which is biologically anomalous and repugnant, and denies the psychological, social, and biological implications of the fact that the human race exists as male and female. I hear gays in the US state that they have a ‘constitutional right’ to marriage, adoption, etc. Does the Constitution really obligate the government to give legal endorsement to anomalous sexual behavior? If so, what about the pederasts of NAMBLA? Right now, it’s illegal for them to be who they are. They received widespread support within gay rights groups until they became a political liability. What about other alternative lifestyle groups, such as polygamists? No matter what social or legal gains gays make, the behavior cannot be justified biologically and this affects all other aspects of the human experience. I will continue to oppose efforts to normalize and legitimize homosexual behavior because to do otherwise, I would have to admit that black is white and night is day.

  27. Pingback: The Bulwark Review

Comments are closed.