Friday, October 07, 2005

ACLU in the Times and Seasons

I left a comment today at T&S which I'd like to reproduce here so I can easily find it. The original post defended the position that members of the Church of Jesus Christ can also be members of the ACLU which sometimes opposes that church.


Your logic on all the sticky issues relied on the true statement that not all sins should be crimes. For example, envy would be hard to prosecute lacking objective mind-reading tools and thus would be a bad candidate for a crime. There is a continuum of sins ranging from those that should clearly be crimes (e.g. murder) to those that should not (e.g. envy). There is room on this continuum for reasonable people to differ. When a person or organization falls all the way to either end of that continuum, we can infer that they are not being “reasonable.” The real estate at the very edge of the continuum (for reasons speculated at by other posters) seems to be occupied by the ACLU. It would seem, then, that supporting that organization would be unreasonable or even illogical.

Elder Oaks has observed: “Similarly, some reach the pro-choice position by saying we should not legislate morality. Those who take this position should realize that the law of crimes legislates nothing but morality. Should we repeal all laws with a moral basis so our government will not punish any choices some persons consider immoral? Such an action would wipe out virtually all of the laws against crimes.”

Given that all laws legislate morality and that we as church members believe that our morals lead to a happy life and good society, how could we in good conscience support an organization that opposes our morals? In summation, I see how you can, by sliding to the far edge of the sin/crime continuum, reconcile church membership with ACLU membership. But I just don’t get why any reasonable person would want to go there.

I’d love to read a follow-up post that would prove to me the goodness of the ACLU’s positions rather than just the acceptableness of them. I believe you are an advocate of the good and I just can’t wrap my mind around how you’re getting there. Please write more!

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