October 17, 2009
I finally had a chance to read the transcript of Elder Oaks’ talk on religious freedom. Go read it if you haven’t already.
A couple of comments:
It’s obvious that Elder Oaks has been influenced by the Book of Mormon (surprise, surprise) because of the way he ties together freedom and responsibility.
Therefore they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins. (Mosiah 29:38)
I don’t know anywhere else that “equality” is tied like this to a “willingness to answer for his own sins.” This is quite a bit different from the way our culture increasing equates liberty to absence of responsibility.
My second point is something that Elder Oaks didn’t touch on. One of the things that increases the challenge of religious freedom today is that government has come to function for many politically active secularists in the way that church functions for people of faith. When some of these people talk about “separation of church and state” what they’re really saying is “keep your infidel beliefs out of our place of worship.” How do we prevent the establishment of religion when the state becomes a religion?