Director of Interfaith Relations
Office of Public Affairs
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints
15 E South Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 8415
January 29, 2015
Dear Mr. Taylor,
On behalf of the members of Interfaith Alliance, I write to express our appreciation of the Church of Latter-Days-Saints’ change in policy regarding certain civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We are glad you have joined the cause to which we committed many years ago, affirming that civil equality for LGBT individuals and religious freedom for all Americans exist in harmony with each other. We look forward to working with the LDS Church to advance both ideals.
Of course, there are inevitable differences about how Interfaith Alliance and the Church set the contours of those two ideals. I invite you into conversation on the subject any time; I hope we can contribute to your understanding of the impact of religious teachings on people inside and outside any faith community, and I know I have much to learn from the principled values of the Mormons and how you came to this momentous decision.
The history of many faith communities in the United States – yours and mine included – is replete with examples of the damage of religiously motivated discrimination. The participation of Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Catholics, atheists or any other subscriber to a belief system in American public life should not be dependent on the doctrines of those around them. Likewise, the civil rights of the LGBT community should be subject only to American law, not to religious belief. Surely, we can protect the rights of houses of worship, clergy and religious institutions without giving a legal imprimatur to religious doctrine or discrimination.
As a long-time activist for civil rights and religious freedom, I know that lasting change is incremental. The announcement you made this week represents another step in the remarkable process of equal protection under the law that is both hallmark and aspiration in the United States. None of us can predict when we will be satisfied that religious freedom and civil rights have reached the proper expression and perfect balance, but we all know it is not yet. I welcome you into fellowship with the members of more than seventy-five faith communities who make up Interfaith Alliance as we work to protect faith and freedom.
Rabbi Jack Moline,
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.