A professor at the Mormon-owned Brigham Young University has been fired because he wrote an op-ed column in the Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune saying the Mormon Church's opposition to gay marriage -- and support of a constitutional amendment banning it -- was wrong. On June 4, part-time philosophy prof Jeffrey Nielsen's newspaper column said, in part:
"I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral."
A few days later, he got a letter from his boss: "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. ...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."
Assuming that Nielsen wasn't spouting propaganda in the classroom, this firing is at least a moral violation of free speech, if not a legal one. He expressed an opposing view off-campus -- as is his inalienable right to do -- and an extremely draconian church landed on him with its considerable weight.
Mormons aren't jihadists, but sometimes they act (and react) with the same intolerance. They control the State of Utah and many of its social, cultural and economic affairs. Like America itself, if the inflexible and corporate Church of Latter-day Saints can't absorb dissent on a clearly divisive issue that will ultimately not cost anyone's life or liberty, it's a house of cards.
(But it gets better ... see the next posting....)