SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expressed appreciation today for a full-page advertisement in The New York Times that decries the “violence and intimidation” directed toward the Church because of its support of Proposition 8.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expresses its gratitude to the signatories of the full-page advertisement that appeared today in the New York Times . This was a thoughtful and generous gesture at a time when the right of free expression of people of faith has come under attack. We join with those of all religious faiths and political persuasions who have called for reasoned and civil discourse on matters that affect our nation.”
The ad was sponsored by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and was signed by scholars, dignitaries and religious leaders from a variety of faiths.
“Religious groups can’t claim some sort of special immunity from criticism,” the advertisement stated. “Nevertheless, there’s a world of difference between legitimate political give-and-take and violent attempts to cow your opponents into submission. Violence and intimidation are always wrong, whether the victims are believers, gay people, or anyone else.”
The statement in the ad continued: “Participating in ballot initiatives is legally different from politicking for candidates. It is perfectly lawful for charities, including religious ones. It is perfectly appropriate as well that all voices be heard.”
The statement by the group also called for others to add their names to the letter and concluded with a declaration of unified support:
“Therefore, despite our fundamental disagreements with one another, we announce today that we will stand shoulder to shoulder to defend any house of worship — Jewish, Christian, Hindu, whatever — from violence, regardless of the cause that violence seeks to serve.”