Although our society is still painfully unsettled in managing the relationship between religious freedom and nondiscrimination, I believe that it need not remain so. I was grateful to share this message at the Joseph Smith Lecture on Religious Liberty at the University of Virginia earlier this evening. As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I advocate the moral and political imperative of reconciling existing conflicts and avoiding new ones.
As a practical basis for coexistence, we should accept the reality that we are fellow citizens who need each other. This requires us to accept some laws we dislike, and to live peacefully with some persons whose values differ from our own. When some advocates voice insults or practice other minor provocations, both sides should ignore them. Our society already has too many ugly confrontations. If we answer back, we tend to mirror the insult.
Far from being a weakness, reconciling adverse positions through respectful negotiation is a virtue. As Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
All that is necessary for unity and a broad coalition to promote our common need for religious freedom is our shared conviction that God has commanded us to love one another, including our neighbors with different beliefs and cultures.
The right relationship between religious freedom and nondiscrimination is best achieved by respecting each other enough to negotiate in good faith, and by caring for each other enough that the freedom and protection we seek is not for ourselves alone.
If you would like to learn more of what I shared this evening, I invite you to review the Church Newsroom article here: https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/…/president…