|Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints General Conference|
Back in the mid-1990s, these prophets gave us “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” which at the time seemed not that remarkable, because we’d understood the concepts about family all our lives. But within a very short time, every line in that document has been under attack—in international policy meetings, in media, in other churches, in politics.
So when the prophets speak, it gets my attention. For the past year I’ve been hearing them say that we need to stand up for religious freedom. That has made me take notice, and indeed there are many cases in the courts, responding to our government’s and other pro-savage/anti-freedom groups’ attacks on our First Amendment rights.
So, on Saturday, I took notice when just about every talk mentioned the word courage, mainly in relation to standing up for what we believe, regardless of attacks from disbelievers.
Jeffrey R. Holland said (from my notes—I don’t have a transcript yet), “You will be called upon to defend your faith, or endure personal abuse…. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and compassion—but defend them.”
Neil L. Andersen talked about tornados in Oklahoma, and compared them to the spiritual whirlwinds we must face. Toward the end of his talk he let us know one thing we will need to stand strong for, despite the whirlwind of opposition: “The Lord has not redefined marriage.”
Russell M. Nelson said, “Even if everyone is doing it, wrong is never right.”
Richard G. Scott referred to the courage and commitment of his wife, Jeannine, for making all the difference in the happiness in their lives.
Robert D. Hales said that rationalizing doesn’t change God’s law, and that obedience makes us progressively stronger.
President Thomas S. Monson said we need “the courage to say no when we should… and to do the right thing because it’s right…. We will almost certainly be called upon to defend what we believe.” He added, “The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. Every day of our lives courage is needed.” He quoted Robert Louis Stevenson, “Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowd shouts your name.” And he quoted Christian author Charles Swindall, “Courage is not limited to the battlefield…. The real tests of courage are much quieter; they are inner tests, like remaining faithful when no one is looking, like standing alone when you’re misunderstood.”
|President Thomas S. Monson|
President Monson added, “This inner courage also includes doing the right thing even though we may be afraid, defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed, and maintaining those beliefs, even when threatened with loss of friends or social status. He who stands steadfastly for that which is right must risk becoming, at times, disapproved and unpopular.” And, “It is impossible to stand upright when one plants his roots in the shifting sands of popular opinion and approval. Needed is the courage of a Daniel… in order for us to hold strong and fast to that which we know is right…. We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us, all of us, have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’ approval.”
This call to courage for our beliefs overlapped news this past week of the CEO of Mozilla-Firefox, Brendan Eich, being forced out of the corporation he helped found. His unforgivable crime? Six years ago he donated $1000 to the Prop 8 campaign in California, to keep the original definition of marriage—along with a majority of California voters, and in line with what President Obama claimed was his position at that time (evidently a position Obama held only for the political popularity of that position during an election year). Eich offered an apology, but that would not suffice; he had to be ousted as well. (My son Political Sphere said it was flagrantly anti-speech enough to cause him to give up using Mozilla from now on.)
|Brendan Eich, formerly of Mozilla|
photo credit: Heritage
Eich isn’t the only one who has suffered this type of persecution for holding a belief—that the majority holds—in opposition to the vocal, teeth-gnashing pro-homosexual lobby. This vocal mob has tried to equate love of family and traditional marriage with hatred and bigotry toward homosexuals. They claim that we who believe in the civilizing power of traditional marriage are evil, and are forcing our beliefs down the throats of others. Meanwhile they are hating us, and forcing their beliefs down our throats—against our First Amendment rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
This particular case got people’s attention in ways that the aggregate of cases involving bakers and photographers refusing to service “same-sex marriage” ceremonies has not. I’m not sure why. But it is suddenly obvious who the haters are.
Bill Maher, who is almost always wrong, being a liberal, but is at least honest about his beliefs, referred to them as the “gay mafia,” saying, “If you cross them, you get whacked.”
Matt Walsh, my current favorite blogger, wrote a positive response, “Hey gay rights fascists: in spite of your Mozilla victory, you will still lose.” He begins,
Dear gay rights militants, dear progressive tyrants, dear liberal fascists, dear haters of free speech, dear crusaders for ideological conformity, dear left wing bullies:
You will lose.
Matt Walsh speaks colorfully. Here’s his description of the attack:
So, you’ve tracked another dissident and skinned him alive. You’ve made an example of Brendan Eich, and now you dance joyously around his disemboweled carcass. You have his head on a spike, and you consider this a conquest in your eternal crusade to eradicate diversity and punish differing opinions. You launched your millionth campaign of intimidation, and now another good man has been dragged through the mud, to the sounds of taunting and jeering and death threats.
Why does he think this is evidence they are losing?
Don’t you people read? Haven’t you learned anything from history? ‘Advancements’ earned through tyranny never endure. You can only win a debate by suffocating your opposition for so long. Your strategy is doomed for failure, because it has always failed.
I think he’s right. But I don’t know about timing. I don’t know how many more will be tyrannized first. It depends on who we’re dealing with. Gandhi won out by simply standing firm for his beliefs, without violence, because he was up against the British, who in most ways were seeking to be civilized and just needed to be forced to see that what they were doing was uncivilized. It’s said that if Gandhi had been going against Stalin, he’d simply be dead, and India would have remained under the oppressive regime.
But as far as the ideological argument of the "gay mafia" is concerned, something about this case has turned the tide, according to Matt Walsh:
You might have fooled society forever if you’d just kept singing about love and kindness, and never started bombarding Christians with your bitter hate and hostility. You might have gained some lasting ground if you hoisted your banner of free love, and never used it to diminish free speech.
But the proverbial cat is out of the bag. You’ve been made.
Because of your own behavior, when people like myself tell the world about the vicious death wishes and vulgar hate mail we receive from your kind on a DAILY basis, everyone will believe us. It’s no secret anymore. Without question and without exaggeration, the ‘gay rights movement’ is the angriest, most ruthless, most controlling, most intolerant of all the ideological enterprises in the country. Now, everyone knows it.
I hope he’s right about everyone knowing it. In the end—the very end, when Christ returns to reign personally upon the earth—I know that good wins out over evil. I don’t know how much courage in the face of bullying we will need to withstand in the meantime. But I do know that standing with courage is a better way to live than giving in to tyranny.
I continue to stand. Please read my Defense of Marriage collection.