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Professor fired by Mormon university over support for LGBT rights

2017-07-19
A professor at a Mormon university has said that she lost her job over her public support of LGBT+ rights. Ruthie Robertson, former professor of political science and herself a member of the Christ of Latter-day Saints, was fired from her job at Brigham Young University-Idaho after she criticised the church's LGBT+ rights record in a private social media post. In the Facebook status posted on June 5, as reported in the New York Post, Robertson distanced herself from the church's teachings. “I’m currently a member of the LDS Church. This organization has openly and forcefully opposed same-sex relationships and legalized same-sex marriage. This is my official announcement and declaration that I believe heterosexuality and homosexuality are both natural and neither is sinful,” she wrote. Just last month, a young girl had her microphone cut off and was asked to leave the pulpit after coming out to her Mormon church. She also took aim at President Trump, who failed to recognise LGBT+ Pride month in June. “Trump can break the tradition of June being LGBT pride month, but I’m still going to celebrate it.. this month and every month to follow.” Robertson later added a sentence making clear that she will not preach against the church's teachings in her classroom. “These are my personal beliefs, and they have no place in my classroom nor will they ever.” However, few hours after the post was published, someone reported Robertson to her employers, despite the status being posted privately. She was subsequently let go from her teaching role at the university. Robertson later told KUTV that her employers implied that she could keep her job if she removed the post. However, she was never actually asked to delete it. When asked for comment, the university did not address the issue, merely stating that they have a "long-standing policy of not commenting on personnel matters". Read Robertson's orginal post below:
In honor of LGBT Pride Month, I thought I would reveal some things in the name of authenticity. I’m currently a member of the LDS Church. This organization has openly and forcefully opposed same-sex relationships and legalized same-sex marriage. They pushed members in California to fight against Prop 8, and had a policy claiming that same-sex relationships were a sin and discouraged individuals from participating in them. In the past, the Church was a facilitator for adoptions. They ended this part of the organization to avoid having to deal with adoption requests from same-sex couples. In November 2015, they took their stance further by labeling same-sex couples in the Church as apostates, meaning those found in these relationships would have a disciplinary hearing to determine their membership status; they can either end their engagements in this sinful life, or be excommunicated. The policy also prevents their children from joining the Church until they are 18, with the condition that they disavow their parent’s life style. For an organization that places so much importance on the family unit, this policy sure seems to be attacking a form of that unit. Most Christian faiths label homosexuality as a sin based on archaic writings. A few hateful verses in the Old Testament have led to hundreds of years of prejudice, hatred, violence, and pain. If we’re going to follow the Old Testament, and use it to justify a hateful stance, there are several other things we need to start condemning and punishing. Leviticus 19:19 tells us we can’t wear clothing of two kinds of material… so, basically every clothing item ever has to be burned. The next time you see someone wearing clothes (which is always… so, you’re welcome for the opportunity to show your spiritual superiority), check the tag to see the materials it’s made from. If it’s more than one, tell them they should desire to walk around naked rather than wear clothing made of more than one material! Women, in Leviticus 15, we learn that God purposely made us unclean. When we menstruate, we are unclean for those 7 days. Oh, and anyone or anything that touches us during that time is unclean as well. You aren’t allowed to go to church at that time because you’ll corrupt everything there with your blood flow. Oh, and you know how God also gave us the ability to grow a human inside of us? Well, after a woman has a child, she has a period of impurity and cannot be touched. If it’s a boy, she’s unclean for 40 days. If it’s a girl, she’s unclean for 80 days. As a female, you also are not allowed to read from the scriptures (wait… how am I supposed to know about my impurity rituals then?! I need to know how to make myself pure after my period!..too bad). You also cannot preach in a church (can I use this excuse next time I’m asked to speak in church?) None of this is archaic, sexist, or totally illogical at all though, right? God commanded these things, so we need to make sure we make these into policies as well! What I’m trying convey is that we like to pick and choose from the scriptures, and if we choose to use the Old Testament as a defense for condemning homosexuality… there’s a whole lot more we need to be condemning as well. The Book of Mormon is supposed to be the keystone of the Church, right? It never once mentions homosexuality. What is does mention is that God disposed the practice of polygamy, and the Nephites are brought to repentance for practicing it…. yet, Joseph Smith said God commanded him to practice it. We can’t keep picking and choosing what kind of God we worship, and we can’t keep picking and choosing which commandments of his are to be enforced or not. This is my official announcement and declaration that I believe heterosexuality and homosexuality are both natural and neither is sinful. I will never support the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin” because that “sin” is part of who that person is. Homosexuality and transgenderism are not sins; if God made us, and those are part of who we are then God created that as well. I realize that my views counter the current day policies of the LDS Church, but I hope that over time the Church will come to see the harm these policies have. Church History shows that the Church has rescinded policies before that weren't doctrinal, and that weren't inspired by the Lord. I hope that this will someday apply to the stance on the LGBT community. I will always and forever stand up for the equality of the LGBT community. Sexuality and gender are not binary, they are on a spectrum and that’s how we were made. Stand up for humanity, love people because of who they are... not despite who they are. Trump can break the tradition of June being LGBT pride month, but I'm still going to celebrate it.. this month and every month to follow. #LGBTPrideMonth
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