Wednesday, June 14, 2006

BYU Lets Go Professor Who Spoke Out Against Gay Marriage Amendment

Jefferey Nielson, a professor at BYU, and a member of the church, wrote an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune, voicing his opinion on the issue of gay marriage. His view was contrary to that of the First Presidency. He states:

Currently the preponderance of scientific research strongly suggests that same-sex attraction is biologically based. Therefore, it is as natural as a heterosexual orientation, even if rare. It seems it might be caused by environmental conditions in the mother's womb, before birth, triggering the DNA to give the fetus a homosexual orientation. Neither the mother nor the child has any choice in the matter; it is a completely natural process.
The only problem I have with that is that even though this may be the case, it still is immoral, for one reason and one reason only: because God said so. Naturally speaking, a man begins feeling sexual urges towards a woman after passing through puberty. It is natural, and the man has no choice in the matter. He will feel that sexual desire. Does that mean he should act on it? Why are we told not to pursue sexual relations before marriage? Naturally speaking, according to professor Nielson's logic, we have no choice; we are sexually drawn to women, so why are sexual relations before marriage immoral? why are sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage immoral? Com'on, Professor Nielson, you should know the answer to this. Simply being drawn to something, whether this urge is naturally created or by your environment still does not excuse, nor justify, nor relieve one of his choice. BYU, justifiably will not hire Professor Nielson for the next semester. Their reason:
"In accordance with the order of the church, we do not consider it our responsibility to correct, contradict or dismiss official pronouncements of the church," the letter reads. "Since you have chosen to contradict and oppose the church in an area of great concern to church leaders, and to do so in a public forum, we will not rehire you after the current term is over."
Andrew Sullivan is playing him up to be a martyr for the cause. The problem, Mr. Sullivan is that BYU is a private institution and can hire or fire whomever they desire. It is very unfortunate that people choose to believe they have no choice.

11 Comments:

At 6/15/2006 03:31:00 PM, Anonymous Paul Cook-Giles said...

Andrew Sullivan is playing him up to be a martyr for the cause. The problem, Mr. Sullivan is that BYU is a private institution and can hire or fire whomever they desire.

And the greater problem, Mr Padigone, is that the Twelve Apostles apparently cannot differentiate between religious doctrine and civil law. When Church leaders try to make law (or encourage others to make law) based on Scripture, they open the door to the Inquisition.

 
At 6/15/2006 04:06:00 PM, Blogger nicolaepadigone said...

that is a pretty harsh comparison, Paul, and an unfair one. The Inquisition was barbaric, cruel, inhuman, and un-Christian. I dare you to show me today's Apostles and their comments on homosexuality and compare them to the writings during the Inquisition. I have no problem with people disagreeing with the Apostles, but please let's not jump to hyperbole.

 
At 6/15/2006 04:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Naturally speaking, a man begins feeling sexual urges towards a woman after passing through puberty. It is natural, and the man has no choice in the matter. "

Natural for you perhaps. My life experience is different from yours, and natural for me. Have a nice day and a great life and if our paths ever cross and you need help, I will help you.

 
At 6/15/2006 04:31:00 PM, Blogger nicolaepadigone said...

well thanks, anonymous. I hope that you understand that I would help you too. I bear no ill will towards anyone (....well except maybe one George W. Bush and his minions, but that's another story) ;)

 
At 6/15/2006 09:19:00 PM, Anonymous Paul Cook-Giles said...

Nic, its not my intention to be either harsh or unfair... and you'll note that I didn't say that the Twelve are like Inquisitors, I said that making laws based on Scripture made an Inquisition possible. If America begins to make law based on what Scripture says is sinful, how far away are laws requiring attendance at church on Sunday? Or laws forbidding public (or private) expressions of atheism? Or even more direction of tax dollars into the coffers of "faith-based" organizations? And what happens to those Jews and Moslems and Pagans? Do they have to be baptized to hold public office?

We see examples all through history of the horrible things that come when Church and State are conflated. America had the ability to set Scripture on the shelf with our civil laws, and we chose not to; our government derives its authority from the just consent of the governed... not from Divine right. Let's stay clear on that concept.

 
At 6/15/2006 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous sara said...

I second what Paul said.

In addition, you yourself say that the cause may be biological. Yet you still claim they have a 'choice'.

Do you feel you have a 'choice' to be straight? If you are attracted to someone, you are attracted to them irregardless of gender, usually. You can make the choice not to date them, not to be with them, but attraction itself is far, far less controllable.

Those that have tried to change their attractions to the 'acceptable' genders have almost completely failed. The success rate is near 0. They eventually tend to reject the church that has betrayed their trust, their faith, their LOVE, and come out both as a homosexual and as an atheist. This is sad. No one should feel driven away from their faith, but I have spoken with those that felt just that lash. :(

This isn't martyrdom he seeks... he seeks a debate. He seeks to open the door to even the IDEA that maybe, just maybe the church is wrong.

Maybe.

And you say, it is wrong to even ask... that too is sad.

 
At 6/15/2006 11:02:00 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Nicolae,

Do me a favor and go choose to make out with women, okay? Really get down and dirty with some women; that's your choice after all. Wait...what? You find that sort of thing objectionable? Well maybe that's how gays feel about the opposite gender. Suggesting that gays have a choice is condescending crap offered up by the religious who refuse to believe that their God could have created gays. The point is that sexuality isn't a choice, but rather a born feature. You were born attracted to the opposite gender; Elton John wasn't.

 
At 6/16/2006 06:05:00 AM, Blogger nicolaepadigone said...

Paul,

there are many examples that we already have that scripture first said was sinful. take for example stealing and murder. America's laws are a result of Judeo-Christian values, whether you like it or not. In a post that follows this post, called Legality vs Morality in regards to Gay Rights, I show what the Fouding Fathers thought about gay activities. I don't agree with their stances, but just showing that America has regulated morality, and still does today.

You use the "slippery slope" scenario, but what do you think about when "Christianists" use a slippery slope example to say that we're not too far from the day when pedophilia will be legalized, (as someone in the Netherlands is apparently attempting right now.) Would that party be legally right? not sure. I'm not familiar with Dutch law. Would they be morally right? I think that is for you to decide. For me, it is repugnant.

There are limits that a society must make at times. The way to decide is through the voice of the people. Not through judges, but through legislators (who are the ones supposed to create laws).

 
At 6/16/2006 06:18:00 AM, Blogger nicolaepadigone said...

Sam,

I think where religionists and gays differ is in which choices we are talking about. you say that you have no choice in being gay. what does that mean? does that mean that you had no choice in being attracted to men? does that mean you had no choice in having no attraction to women? if so, to this point, i wholeheartedly agree with you. I did not choose to be heterosexual. it is in the design of my body. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believes the same. It is not there that the problem lies. The problem lies with what you do with those tendencies.

You gave me a challenge to go out and "make out with women....really get down and dirty." Do you notice the difference though? You are asking me to ACT on possible desires (i don't personally want to get down and dirty with women---being married, i'm very happy right now with my wife). I choose not to act on desires that might be inside me. I chose not to be sexually active before marriage, even though my body told me it wanted it, that it was natural, that it was desirous. Why did I wait? Because that is the right thing to do.

The world around us does not tell us what is right, but only what feels good. there is a difference and always will be. One will lead down a path of unhappiness and the other will lead towards pure and eternal happiness and joy.

"Suggesting that gays have a choice is condescending crap offered up by the religious who refuse to believe that their God could have created gays."

Let's go with this. Let's say that God created some men to be attracted to, and have sexual contact with, other men. Where has God said this? What has God said in regards to gay relationships? I challenged Mr. Ormsbee on his blog to show me what God has said on gay relationships, but to this point, he has not replied (he does think my level of discourse is below his, but all professors think that.)

"The point is that sexuality isn't a choice, but rather a born feature. You were born attracted to the opposite gender; Elton John wasn't."

Attraction is not a choice. What I do with that attraction is. And that is a world of difference, and where the problem really lies

 
At 6/16/2006 06:32:00 AM, Blogger nicolaepadigone said...

sara,

"In addition, you yourself say that the cause may be biological. Yet you still claim they have a 'choice'."

yes, it probably is biological, but the attraction is not the problem, but rather the choices we make with it.

"Do you feel you have a 'choice' to be straight? If you are attracted to someone, you are attracted to them irregardless of gender, usually. You can make the choice not to date them, not to be with them, but attraction itself is far, far less controllable."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has never said the attraction is the sin, but rather the act itself. I do not have a choice in being straight, but I do have a choice in being sexually active. From what I've read, I don't think the church is bothered by two men living together (heck, they send out missionaries in pairs and they have to be together 24/7/52/365!!!)

"Those that have tried to change their attractions to the 'acceptable' genders have almost completely failed. The success rate is near 0."

Now this is a fascinating thing. I think we, America, need to look at this more closely (and I'll probably start a new blog about this very issue). I've heard this before from many gays. They feel that they cannot get away from the desire to have sex with members of the same sex, to the point that they feel they've lost all control.

What about heterosexuals. Do heterosexuals have the same reaction towards members of the opposite sex? Do heterosexuals get to a point where they feel they've lost all control and can do nothing but find someone to sleep with?

Or, on the other hand, how many heterosexuals can go through life holding back on sexual activity, without a worry in the world, feeling just fine.

What's the difference? I don't personally know, because I've just thought about this now, but I will do some research. There is an obvious difference though. Millions of heterosexuals can hold off on being sexually active until they are married ( and many more can hold off on sexual activity all their lives and not lose it mentally), yet homosexuals have a zero success rate at this apparently.

something is not "normal."

Gays claim God created them the way they are, therefore they are normal. But yet, they cannot control their appetite in the same manner as heterosexuals can, which brings me to a conclusion that it is NOT normal. But I'll have to research this more.

"They eventually tend to reject the church that has betrayed their trust, their faith, their LOVE, and come out both as a homosexual and as an atheist. This is sad. No one should feel driven away from their faith, but I have spoken with those that felt just that lash. :("

I totally hear you. I am also very sad that a) members of all churches have a hard time distinguishing between the sinner and the sin, and push away people who need the love and attention they need, and b) gays get bitter towards religion alltogether. It is one of the worst consequences of this problem.

"This isn't martyrdom he seeks... he seeks a debate. He seeks to open the door to even the IDEA that maybe, just maybe the church is wrong."

He identified himself as a representative of the university, and in his op-ed, derided the Brethren. That's like Paul O'Neil, the former Treasury Secretary, deriding Bush while on the job. It's not going to get you a promotion.

If he seeks a dialogue on the issue, he cannot use his position at the University of a major religion, as his springing board and not expect to return again. It is an abuse of his position and privilege. However, if he seeks dialogue, he's perfectly fine as a private citizen to do so, even while he was still a professor at BYU.

What this professor does not realize will happen now is that the church will get even tighter with its hiring of professors for BYU. The Church does not like to be used for political points.

 
At 12/27/2009 03:24:00 PM, Blogger Machinato.Charlie said...

Realizing this post was made long ago, still, I just found it. My comment: We are all free to choose. None of us is forced to do anything - we use our bodies as we choose to do so. My genes cause me to tend to be overweight. Still I can choose to live in such as way as to overcome those tendencies, if they exist at all. furthermore, the Lord said it's a sin, so it is just that, no matter what words you choose to state or how you personally look at the subject. It's a sin. It's therefore wrong and should be avoided. If you can't stand the thought of getting close to a member of the opposite sex, then don't get close to one. But for "God's sake" don't act on homosexual tendencies that you believe you may have. Trust in the Lord and live so that you are led by the Holy Ghost, and you will have the strength to overcome any tendency. Only the weak in spirit - those who don't wish to follow "God's laws", choose otherwise, and they will be held accountable for those choices. That's what the Lord says, so that's the way it is regardless of your own opinions. Your opinions mean nothing next to God's, and we know what He said. Read your Book of Mormon to see for yourself.

 

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