A Statement from Todd Stiefel
Posted on: October 25, 2012
Over the last few months, Mormonism has received a great deal of attention and positive press. I recently suggested to Dave that the time was ideal for American Atheists to remind the public of the fact that Mormonism has a checkered history on racial issues. Those who were members or missionaries for the church in decades like the 60’s and 70’s were espousing the morality of a religion that directly biased against black people by refusing to allow them to be part of the Mormon priesthood until 1978.
I believe we should praise the religion for the progress it has made, while continuing to learn from its history and the flaws in its current moral code. Today, the Church of Latter-day Saints denies membership to sexually active homosexuals; this is little different ethically than if it denied membership to sexually active black people. The New York Times has reported that it is estimated Mormons donated nearly half of the money raised to deny equal rights to homosexuals via California’s Prop 8. The stance of Mormonism on homosexuality is backwards and must change.
Stiefel Freethought Foundation donated to pay for the “Shame on Mormonism” mobile billboard because I believe these issues should be remembered and addressed directly. We should give respect to Mormon people, but should not give default respect to the values of Mormonism, especially because many Mormons themselves disagree with their own church on issues such as homophobia. The only way for humanity to advance its morality, is for it to learn from its ethical mistakes, particularly those still being made.