Paul Mero and the Sutherland Institute: Ultra-Conservative Utah Think Tank in Open Revolt against Mormon leadership

LDS Apostle Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: Salt Lake City gay-rights measures could work statewide.

Audio: Jeff Reynolds from the Sutherland Institute and the chuckleheads at KVNU compare the LDS position on the Salt Lake City nondiscrimination ordinances to "giving a mouse a cookie" (jump in around the 6:40 mark to hear the comparison):

Excerpt from the Sutherland Institute statement:
"As a public relations opportunity, the LDS Church’s statement before the Salt Lake City Council may assuage the minds and soften the hearts of advocates of 'gay rights' in Utah. As a policy statement, it is problematic. The approved ordinances before the Salt Lake City Council are unsound in principle, clarity, and effect.

We, once again, call on the Utah State Legislature to overturn these local ordinances on the basis of sound public policy."
Check out this tweet from Joel Campbell, BYU Journalism prof., Mormon Media Observer columnist for Mormon Times:

joelcampbell Sutherland Institute begins its slippery slope campaign against "parochial" SL discrimination ordinances. Unfortunate

Sutherland's president, Paul Mero: The Gloves Must Come Off:

"Sexual orientation is an illusion. Your idea of rights is an illusion. Your equality is illusory."

Excerpt from Paul Mero's opening remarks at the Common Ground debate with Equality Utah:
"The gloves must come off. The fact remains that we don't just disagree with you over the Common Ground Initiative, we disagree with you over nearly every motivating assumption that underlies the initiative.

We're dealing here with two separate realities: one truth, one illusion. The intellectual, legal and moral chasm between the two sides is so great that true common ground is nearly impossible to achieve. And so, for my part anyway, I'm here to argue that the Equality Utah version of reality is an illusion.

The CGI bills constantly refer to sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is an illusion. It only exists in the minds of activists, and their academics, who need to explain away why people do what they do even when they don't want to do it.

There are no replicable scientific or medical studies about that issue of sexual orientation that exist. Never mind that the only way it can be identified is through sexual behavior. There's no reasonable argument to be made that subjective feelings or attractions toward another human being means anything deeper than what it actually is.

The truth is that we are born male and female with moral agency. Because it's behavior, our sexuality is always a choice, and any other sexual construct is an illusion.

Your idea of rights is an illusion. With the backing of every miserable misanthropic philosopher of the post-Enlightenment era, your initiative feeds on the unreasonable notion that you have these magically organic rights to do whatever you desire.

These rights are usually couched in terms of equality, but because you constantly confuse what you do for who you are, your equality is illusory. You think your equality is about who you are, when it's really only about what you do. In terms of human behavior, there's no equality as you try to imagine."
Check out the first comment left in response to Sutherland’s statement on this thread:
"I am not sure what the Sutherland group thinks they are doing, but the Brethren have spoken. No more needs to be said."
Folks like Sutherland’s Paul Mero have built careers in Utah peddling the notion that “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are figments of disordered minds. With the LDS church now suddenly supporting ordinances that include this supposedly “make-believe” terminology, is the Sutherland Institute finally being hung out to dry?

Popcorn time.

Here's local Utah TV coverage of the controversy:

Bonus links w/ background/news/analysis re this interesting development:

Meronite Mormon Paul Mero Splits From The LDS Church

Strange bedfolk

G-A-Y: The SLC Ordinances = LDS church's multiple strifes

Andrew Sullivan: The Mormon Move

Recent study indicates: Utah ranks last in attitude to pro-gay policies

And let's close this post the way it began ...

... with another children's story -

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar," as retold by Stephen Colbert:

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    News and views on NOM, marriage equality and the Mormon church from a former LDS missionary. This site is not affiliated with The National Organization for Marriage or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. © Copyright 2009 by Chino Blanco. All Rights Reserved.

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