The Straw Man That Broke The Deseret News’s Back
In case you missed it, there is an editorial in the Deseret News about the criticism LDS Inc. is receiving over Boyd Packer’s homophobic talk during General Conference. The editorial is both dishonest and weakly argued. Let’s start with the half-truths:
This focused attention on the LDS Church is deeply ironic given the church’s shared condemnation of hate and violence toward gays and lesbians, its mutual support of anti-discrimination laws for gays and lesbians and its compassionate ministry to LDS Church members who have same-gender attraction.
LDS Inc. makes one step toward preventing discrimination against LGBTQs in housing in Salt Lake City, possibly for self-serving reasons,and they think they can claim to support anti-discrimination laws for gays and lesbians? This is like a serial killer who targets adult women finding out that a potential target is 17 and deciding to not kill her, then claiming that he opposes murder. LDS Inc. led the fight for Proposition 8 in California (among other states), which is a law enshrining DISCRIMINATION! To claim that it opposes discriminatory laws against LGBTQs is absurd.
Then there’s this beauty:
Interestingly, given the events of this week, Elder Holland spoke about other church leaders: “I’m reminded of a comment President Boyd K. Packer made in speaking to those with same-gender attraction. ‘We do not reject you,’ he said. ‘ We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you.’?”
Right, LDS Inc. doesn’t “reject” you, they just reject a large part of what makes you, um, you. So, it’s not like they reject “all of you,” just a large part of you. That should make LGBTQs feel better, right? Oh, and of course, the fact that they demand you remain celibate and deny your sexual orientation FOR LIFE is their way of showing you love, not hatred. ‘Cause, well, when someone loves you they deny you companionship and companionate love. You know that’s what “loving” someone means, right?
Here’s the last half-truth:
Perhaps the focused attention has come because the LDS Church continues to assert principled opposition to same-sex marriage, a view shared by most Americans. Indeed, the majority of states have passed legislation clarifying that marriage is between a man and a woman.
So, it is true that the majority of states have passed such legislation. But last time I checked pollingreport.com views toward same-sex marriage were split nearly 50/50 (actually, more like 45/45 with 10% unsure). I guess if you want to fudge the numbers a bit you could believe the claim that “most Americans” agree with LDS Inc., but I think that is stretching the data.
Finally, there is the straw man that is basically the gist of the article (follow this link if you don’t know what a straw man is):
We encourage all to read President Packer’s talk rather than simply rely on the media interpretations and selective quotations. It stretches all credulity to find in President Packer’s pastoral counsel what some are calling a hateful message “that can lead some kids to bully and others to commit suicide.” Contrary to what some have written in provocative press releases, nothing in President Packer’s talk says that “violence and/or discrimination against LGBT people is acceptable.”
Boyd Packer didn’t say “kill gay people.” Yep. That’s true. He didn’t. Yea Boyd! This, of course, is a straw man as no one actually said he did advocate direct violence against LGBTQs. The editorial team at The Deseret News knocked this straw man down pretty impressively. Way to go!
Of course, what critics of his talk have said all along is that his talk is just the sort of rhetoric that leads young homosexuals to feel like who they are is a sin and is immoral, leading to suicide, bullying, discrimination, abuse, and violence. Indirectly his beliefs and teachings lead to violence, but not directly. That the editorial team at The Deseret News and LDS Inc. continue to deny this is basically like flipping the bird to the parents of all the kids who have killed themselves for just this reason, and the numbers who have aren’t insignificant.
Will anyone take the Deseret News seriously anymore if this is the level of writing they have to offer? I have a new slogan for the revamped Deseret News:
Deseret News, where defending The Church is more important than the lives of young people.