Sunday, September 20, 2009

The arc of history

We sometimes assume that arc of history moves us forward, that successive ages bring us to more humane place. Unfortunately, this isn't the case; just look at Iran in the 1950s versus Iran today. What was once a developing, open society is now closed to science, economic development and education (especially of women).

In recent decades, the LDS Church has seemed to move forward in its policies toward its gay and lesbian members. In the past year and a half, though, it has reversed this course and taken a number of steps backward.

The latest is a talk given by Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy. You can find it here. It's a big step backwards; I don't have the heart to quote from it. What's remarkable about the speech is its ignorance. A big tip off is Hafen's regurgitation of the utterly discredited Freudian theory of homosexuality. It also is much more of a secular political speech than it is a sermon.

The chickens, as they say, have come home to roost.

Via proxfm (whose summary is worth reading).


Max Power said...

I am speechless. Absolutely speechless. It makes me sad. It makes me lose hope in the church. There's nothing quite like waking up on a Sunday morning to hear that you are a worthless human being.

I think the "two steps forward, one step back" idiom has been replaced in this case with something more like "two steps forward, lay down and roll all the way back down to the bottom of the hill."

Anonymous said...

after reading a number of comments about this speech and having said i had no desire to read it, i went ahead and read. it wasn't so bad. just of rehash of old stuff. no one really thought that a g.a. would come up with something else did they?

Lorian said...

It leaves me gagging when church authorities tell lies in order to further their cause opposing the glbt community. If someone wants to stand up and oppose gays by saying, "I believe it's a sin," then fine. He's entitled to his opinion on religious matters, as much as I disagree with it and would gladly dispute it in theological argument.

But when someone who claims to be a Christian, speaking on behalf of a church, stands up and tells already refuted lies in furtherance of their "message," I just have to shake my head in disgust. He should be ashamed of himself.

Sabayon said...

I actually think if you're seeking to disprove the theory about the arc of history curving towards justice the Church's current backlash against homosexuality is not a good place to start. The church is merely doing what every institution who's power or ideology is threatened always does. They are doing what the Catholic church did during the inquisition and witch trials as a reaction to the Protestant reformation, what the KKK did during the civil rights movement, and what the Roman empire did to early Christians (and then later to non-Christians). The very power of the current gay rights movement and the much wider acceptance it is enjoying is causing a massive backlash within the church, causing them to roll back any loosening or restrictions or attitudes and re-assert what it sees as core values. All this is doing is making the church look rather horrendously bad, and while it is destructive for the many gay church members in the short run, I'm not sure how pessimistic I can be about the long term. The fact that they feel the pressure to do things like this is actually kind of a hopeful sign.