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Home / Articles / Opinion / Guest Editorial /  Broken Bridge
Guest Editorial

Broken Bridge

Empty words from gay support group

By Gregory A. Clark
Posted // June 6,2012 -

Gay marriage remains controversial. So, Dear Reader, let’s start instead with some other, presumably less-nuanced, questions:

1. Is it OK to kill people for having gay sex? 2. Was it OK to do so 2,000 years ago?

You might think the associated answers are straightforward: “No.” And, “No.” And you might think that reasonable folks—especially folks at the recent Utah Pride parade—would jump at the chance to say it loud and say it proud.

Think again.

For the celebrated Mormons Building Bridges group, that’s just too big of a gap for their bridges to cross.

To its credit, MBB is encouraging its members to “love thy neighbor”—including gays. That’s certainly better than, say, rounding up gays into concentration camps, or killing ’em outright, as other religious organizations have recently promoted. And, granted, even such pale emotional support is better than none.

Hosannas and hallelujahs have been thrown at MBB for its presumed bold leadership and tolerance. But let’s not kid ourselves in overanxious gratitude for the least bit of acceptance. In reality, many of the MBB’s faithful fall right in line with the church’s positions on homosexuality, gay rights and same-sex marriage.

MBB founder Erika Munson is quite explicit on this point. “We are pointing everybody toward the church statements on homosexuality on LDS.org,” she said in an interview at the Pride Parade. “We’re not taking a stand on marriage equality one way or the other.”

And just what does LDS.org preach?

It rails against same-sex marriage, of course, promoting marriage as a sacred, eternal bond between a man and a woman, ordained of God. (At least till God changes His mind again, one supposes.)

And as for “Love thy neighbor?” Sure. We’re all children of God. But let thy neighbors fully love each other, too? Sorry, no. Not if they’re LGBT.

When it comes to homosexual love, LDS.org tells us clearly that the New Testament (Romans 1:24-32) considers it “sinful,” and that in “Old Testament times, Moses included in his law that homosexual relations were against God’s law (see Leviticus 20:13).”

That’s God’s own law, remember, which states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: They shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

And as for the Christian New Testament? Romans 1:32 tells us, “They which commit such things are worthy of death.”

Remarkably, when asked to rebuke the Leviticus passage cited at LDS.org and to reject the command that gays be killed, Munson repeatedly and explicitly refused to do so.

Apparently, loving thy neighbor doesn’t mean speaking out against killing them.

MBB member Kendall Wilcox readily acknowledged that, when it came to the expression of anti-gay sentiments, Mormons’ “silence and acquiescence in the past has caused damage.” To his credit, Wilcox also stated, clearly and unambiguously, that killing people for having gay sex is wrong in today’s society.

But, when it came to times past, was it right to kill gays then, as Leviticus so clearly states? “Possibly,” Wilcox said. “That’s a much more nuanced conversation.”

What could possibly prevent fair-minded, caring people from endorsing gay marriage and from rebuking the bloody slaughter of gay lovers?

In a word, religion. So says Dan Ellis, president of Salt Lake Valley Atheists­­­, and media contact and vice-president of Atheists of Utah, a group to which I also belong.

People’s “ridiculous religious views” are the “only justification that anybody apparently has for denying gay people the same rights as everybody else to marry who they love,” Ellis says.

For Ellis, no nuance is required: God’s command to kill gays for having sex is wrong now, and it was wrong 2,000 years ago. The prohibition against gay marriage is also wrong. It’s simple. Gay rights equal human rights. Ellis doesn’t have to wrestle with a god who said otherwise—or with prophets, followers or apologists.

Both Lizel Allen, president of Atheists of Utah, and Adam Isom, president of University of Utah’s student group Secular Humanism, Inquiry & Freethought (SHIFT, to which I am the faculty adviser), agree with Ellis. They each express their unequivocal support for gay marriage.

For many atheists, it’s a matter of separating church and state. Marriage is a civil right. The LDS Church has no more right to impose its religious beliefs to deny gays a marriage license than to deny them a driver’s license.

Love conquers hate, some gay-rights advocates would have us believe. And, for many of the atheists, that appears to be true. But when it comes to MBB and the Mormon church, religion still conquers love.

Ms. Munson shared her testimony: The bridge that MBB really wants to build is to LDS.org.

But for Ellis, Allen and Isom, that’s a bridge to nowhere—or, at least, to nowhere good. For the LGBT community to receive the full equality it so rightly deserves, that’s a bridge that needs to be burnt, not built.

Private Eye is off this week. Gregory A. Clark, Ph.D., is an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Utah, faculty adviser to the student group SHIFT, and member of Atheists of Utah. The views expressed are his own.

 
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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // September 16,2012 at 07:21

Shawn, thank you so much for your comment.  I'm also a straight ally and I, too, have been lied to and hurt by both Kendall and Erika.  Recently Kendall announced that he needed $75,000 to complete his movie - and many have been drawn in to giving him money, unfortunately.  

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // September 8,2012 at 18:22

This article coudn't be more on point!! The MBB group is a farse! Especially being led by Kendall Wilcox. He is out to get his movie (directed to LDS members).  

The march in the parade was false advertising as far as i'm concerned. Gay members came running to the site for support and love and were turned away by being told they were speaking about subject matter inappropriate for the site.  

My wife and i watched as gay and lesbians were treated horribly and either left the group after exhausting themselves trying to share their opinions but only being shut down, or others that were actually deleted. These were favorites in the group and i believe were chased out and deleted because their opinions were actually making sense and didn't follow the LDS guidlines.  

If Mormons truly wish to build bridges they need to have some leaders that are holding strong to equality for gays. Not a celibate gay (Kendall) who clearly is not comfortable in his own skin. Or allowing unqualified people to be running the site as admins who end up fighting with the members of the page.  

MBB has a lot of growing up to do, or its just going to end up in the dumpster. Nobody should be praising Erika or Kendall. They have done more hurt then good from what my wife and i have seen on the sidelines.  

 

Shawn 

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // June 22,2012 at 17:46

I stand by my quotes and reporting.  For interview transcripts, further information, and commentary, see the full article, briefly excerpted below from utahfreethinkersDOTcom

 

-----

Deceptions, Devils, and Delusions: Mormons Building Bridges, 2

17th Jun, 12 Gregory A. Clark

By Gregory A. Clark

 

Which delineates MBB’s demonstrably false denials of its declarations regarding death for deviants; deliberates on the dubious delusions of the devoted; and discusses the dilemma of the despicable, detestable deity.

 

… And here, for the doubters, are the dirty details of how the damning dialogue actually went down, distinguishing of course between what is “right” now, and what was “right” back then:

 

Greg Clark: …let’s take Leviticus. Leviticus said very explicitly, unambiguously, that gays having sex should be killed…So, it doesn’t apply now. Did it apply a thousand years ago? Was it “right” then?

 

Kendall Wilcox: Possibly.

 

Oops. Let’s replay that in slow motion. GC: “Was it right then?” KW: “Possibly.”

 

Yep, that’s a definite “possibly”. No one could possibly, plausibly claim that it’s not. And that’s a fact….

 

Oh. One more thing. As for any claim or implication that I misrepresented myself? Wrong again. I duly informed both Wilcox and MBB founder Munson at the very start of their interviews that I was potentially writing an article for potential publication. I also explicitly stated, without prompting, that I was not impartial. Write it I did. Published it was. I freely acknowledge my own positions.

 

Which is more than Wilcox is willing to do.

 

Deception, Devil, or Delusion?

 

It’s a stumper.

 

Why does Wilcox—and, in fact, why do so many different members of Mormons Building Bridges—deny what Wilcox so clearly said?...

-----

For possible answers, check out the article at utahfreethinkersDOTcom

 

Posted // September 16,2012 at 10:22 - Shawn, thank you for your words. I want to add what a lot of people still on MBB is that a lot of us didn't leave the site by choice but were blocked from it--kicked off. I was myself, and not for anything I said on MBB, but for expressing my frustrations ABOUT MBB on a totally seperate FB page, and a closed one, at that. I got a private not from Kendall, quoting my comments on the other page and challenging my intent. I felt spied on, which was essentially what was happening, by Kendall. I told him he was out of line to confront me about comments on a totally seperate page--that it was none of his buiness. I was deleted from MBB shortly thereafter. This is internalized oppression in full operation here.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // June 13,2012 at 08:45

Ahhh! This article was like a breath of fresh air! Finally, someone telling it like it is in regards to religion. Yes, its responsible for hate, prejudice, and fear and so many other negative and harmful things in our world. How courageous of City Weekly to print such controversial truth. My level of respect for this publication just rose sky high.

We atheists are out there and although we may not always have been the most vocal of folks, there are lots of us. I for one am getting sick and tired of superstious people inflicting their predujices all over this society and it's laws.

I hope I will be reading more about the free thinking groups mentioned in this article. Whether you are an atheist, agnostic, freethinker, or just simply a closeted doubter, know this-you are not alone!

 

 

 

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // June 13,2012 at 01:50

I can tell you're pretty full of yourself, like a true narcissist, and all I had to do was read one article you wrote.  I could sense your BS from your second sentence.  I wonder if you're ever really happy.  It must be depressing to spend so much energy on negatve stuff

 

 
 
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