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BYU professor loses contract over opposition to marriage amendment

“Since you have chosen to contradict and oppose the church in an area of great concern to church leaders, and to do so in a public forum, we will not rehire you after the current term is over.”
— from a letter to part-time Brigham Young University professor Jeffrey Nielsen, announcing that he would not be rehired because of an op-ed he wrote in the local paper opposing a marriage amendment

The Mormons play hardball. The AP story notes that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has spent millions to support a marriage amendment; Nielsen speaking out against the church was not part of the plan and so he had to go.

Augusto at Queer Beacon points to the op-ed in the The Salt Lake Tribune that got Nielsen in hot water. It’s an eloquent piece. A snippet…

The leaders of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently spoke out against gay marriage and asked members to encourage their U.S. senators to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting homosexual marriage.

As a member, I sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as LDS general authorities; however, I reject the premise that they are thereby immune from thoughtful questioning or benevolent criticism. A perfect God does not require blind obedience, nor does He need unthinking loyalty. Freedom of conscience is a divine blessing, and our privilege to express it is a moral imperative.

When the church hierarchy speaks on a public issue and requests that members follow, it is difficult indeed if an individual feels the content of their message would make bad law and is unethical as well. I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral.

Currently the preponderance of scientific research strongly suggests that same-sex attraction is biologically based. Therefore, it is as natural as a heterosexual orientation, even if rare. It seems it might be caused by environmental conditions in the mother’s womb, before birth, triggering the DNA to give the fetus a homosexual orientation. Neither the mother nor the child has any choice in the matter; it is a completely natural process.

Truly, God would be unjust if He were the creator of a biological process that produced such uncommon, yet perfectly natural results, and then condemned the innocent person to a life of guilt, while denying him or her the ordinary privileges and fulfillment of the deep longing in all of us for family and a committed, loving relationship.

Hat tips to Richard and Trey.


Speaking of Mormons, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is hitting up the folks in Utah for big buxxx as he plans his 2008 presidential run. Take a look at what he’s pulling in.

Utahns have contributed nearly half of the funds being raised by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as he prepares for a possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Records from political action committees in four states and federal campaign disclosures show Utah donations account for 45 percent of more than $1.6 million in contributions.

Most of the $732,500 — all of it from 50 Uthans — is being spent to support Republican campaigns and causes outside of Utah. Only Utah consultants Kirk Jowers and Max Farbman are seeing any Romney funds.

…The bulk of the Utah money raised came from a single Salt Lake City fundraiser in March. Another event was held in Orem last week and a fundraiser is slated for Logan today.

Tickets for the events can run as high as $1,000 per couple for dinner, $2,000 per couple for a “VIP briefing reception,” and $3,500 per couple for a “private photo reception” with Romney, according to information from an invitation for a canceled Ogden fundraiser which had been planned for today.

…Utah billionaire philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr., father of Utah’s governor, is the largest single contributor. He’s given $128,500, the most recent disclosure records show.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding