Protectionism and Policy Failure

In defense of the church’s alarming policy change toward the children of gay unions, an article has been circulating.  Unfortunately, it makes some fairly ridiculous assertions.

“Each of these boundaries provides protections for the church, the prospective member, and the family.
For the church, it allows them to clearly teach God’s plan of Salvation  (centered on Jesus Christ and marriage between a man and a woman) without worrying that those they teach will face conflict at home. For the family members of those involved, it allows family autonomy and reduces conflict and secrecy. For the prospective member, it helps them not have to lose vital family relationships (and, if they are under 18, food and shelter).”

There is no scenario in which all 3 of these are protected.  This policy forces the prospective member to repudiate his or her family or be refused entry to the church.  Also, this assumes that there is always a conflict where one may not exist, particularly in the case of divorced church members whose ex-spouses are gay and now living in a committed gay relationship.  This creates unnecessary conflict where it did not necessarily previously exist, as former church members may be more willing to let their children participate in the church even if they (as LGBT) may feel it is untenable for themselves.

He outlines that the policy covers three things:

“The first policy is that choosing to be married to a same-gender partner is incompatible with church membership (“apostasy”). As I mentioned above, The > Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is centered on the value of Christ’s atonement to the bond between a husband and a wife and their children. While individuals may experience and act on same-sex attraction without being apostate, the church considers the step of being a party to a same-gender marriage as a sufficient repudiation of the doctrine of the plan of salvation to constitute apostasy.”

Fair enough on this count.  The church can define gay marriage as apostasy while defining gay sex as serious sexual transgression, although it does put gay people in a unique position in which committing to monogamy is actual a more serious fault than promiscuity.

“The second policy, like the ones I began the post with, has the effect of not putting children at the center of a conflict between their household and the teachings of their church. The policy is that any child who is being raised by a same-sex couple may not receive baptism or be blessed as a baby.  Like with the policies I mentioned above, it protects not just the child, but the church and the household who is raising the child. Conflicts are inevitable if a child is taught that those the child’s legal guardians are sinners– and the only way for them to stop being sinners is by ending their relationship.”

This is ridiculous.  We baptize the adult children of both non and ANTI-Mormons.  We baptize people whose parents support them, but who disagree with the church’s teachings.  To claim that this is somehow designed to protect anyone from conflict-free home environments is both stupid and contradicts scripture.

“The final policy is that those who are adults and were raised by same-sex couples must meet extra standards before becoming baptized. This, like the policies regarding adults who are/were Muslims and adult children of polygamous parents, serves to protect the candidate. In the context of the plan of salvation, this policy will aim to help people come closer to Christ by helping them be baptized in an environment where they can spiritually grow.”

Children of gay parents aren’t at risk of being executed, so this specific Muslim analogy fails.  And polygamy is illegal, so that parallel fails.  Plus, neither polygamy nor being Muslim is an inherent characteristic like being gay is.

He concludes with:

“I sustain these policies. Some of my friends may well disagree with these policies. However, I plea with them to not lessen their commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “

Well, at least he didn’t encourage everyone who disagrees to leave the church.  That seems uncharacteristic.

While many are reeling from this policy, these justifications are not just cold comfort.  They are no comfort at all.