A leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told a gathering of several hundred lawyers, judges and religious leaders in California today that secularists and religionists with opposing views should seek balance and accommodation with each other rather than total victory for one side only.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made the comment during an address to the second annual Sacramento Court/Clergy Conference at Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento, California.
“There should be no belligerence between religion and government,” Elder Oaks said. “Governments and their laws can provide the essential protections for believers and religious organizations and their activities. Believers and religious organizations should recognize this and refrain from labeling governments and laws and officials as if they were inevitable enemies.”
Elder Oaks said that those skeptical of or hostile to believers and their organizations “should recognize the reality—borne out by experience—that religious principles and teachings and their organizations are here to stay and can help create the conditions in which public laws and government institutions and their citizens can flourish.”
Although not mentioning Kim Davis by name, in a clear reference to the Kentucky county clerk who refused on religious grounds to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, Elder Oaks said public officials who take an oath have a responsibility to support the constitution and their local laws.
“Office holders remain free to draw upon their personal beliefs and motivations and advocate their positions in the public square. But when acting as public officials they are not free to apply personal convictions — religious or other — in place of the defined responsibilities of their public offices,” he said. “A county clerk’s recent invoking of religious reasons to justify refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples violates this principle.”
Kim Davis of Rowan County stopped issuing marriage licenses after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June legalized same-sex marriage. She spent five days in jail for refusing to obey a federal judge’s ruling ordering her to issue the licenses.
Read more of this article at Meridian Magazine
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