Thursday, June 21, 2012

Religious Voices Are Invaluable to the World

Martin Luther King
Reverend Martin Luther King
Mother Teresa of Calcutta; 1986

at a public pro-life meeting 

in Bonn, Germany

This article was written by Devin Thorpe, author of "Building Wealth for Building the Kingdom: A Financial Planning Guide for Latter-day Saint Families". Devin has owned and operated an investment-banking firm, which included an investment advisory business, a mortgage brokerage and having served in a variety of corporate finance positions. He has unique experience in this area. You can buy his book here. You can also follow his blog at

As our world becomes increasingly secular, I’ve found that there is a parallel increase in the voices calling for Churches to step out of the public forum. A friend recently posted an image on Facebook that said simply, “New Rule: Churches don’t get to offer their commentary on political matters until they start paying taxes.”

Of course, the motivating issue of our day is gay marriage. These arguments are a bald attempt to discredit views about gay marriage that are based in religion. Given that virtually all arguments against gay marriage come from religion, the campaign is designed to get people to reject or ignore religious messages on the topic of marriage, because once religious messages are removed from the discussion, there is only one side to the discussion. It should also be noted that if the proponents of gay marriage are confident in the rightness of their views, they shouldn’t be worried about the source of the arguments in opposition, rather they should welcome the discussion and the opportunity to enlighten the unenlightened, as they perceive them.

This campaign, however, ignores the broader history of religious voices in America. Where would we be without the historic voice of the Reverend Martin Luther King? Can you imagine the civil rights movement without his voice, his passion, his vision? Absent his leadership, we can assume that the rights of minorities in America would have been trampled for years to come before America would have come to the conclusions it reached (sufficiently late) specifically because of his passionate, religious leadership. If you remove religious voices from the public square, you’ll get a world without voices like his.

Think too, about Mother Teresa, whose biography I recently read. Although she won her Nobel Peace Prize for her service to the poorest of the poor in her adopted homeland of India and around the world, when she accepted the Nobel Prize—and in virtually every other forum in which she was handed a microphone (including, notably, President Clinton’s Annual Prayer Breakfast)—she spoke of one principle theme: her strong opposition to abortion. Her voice was tolerated even by those who disagreed with her simply because the good she did in the world was universally perceived to entitle her to express her opinions, even when they were unpopular.

So much of the non-profit work done in the world is led by faith-based organizations or by religious people that it seems that the same spirit of tolerance that applied to Mother Teresa must continue to be applied to religious leaders of our generation. If society at large wishes for churches and religious people to continue doing the good that they do in the world, tolerating their voices, especially on moral issues, is a fair price to pay.

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