Paul Mero: An odd way of arguing with people of faith

(Jeremy Harmon | The Salt Lake Tribune) President Dallin H. Oaks speaks during the Sunday morning session of General Conference on April 1, 2018.

Secularists have an odd way of arguing with people of faith – odd in that they even try. Their frames of reference are too different. Regardless, moralizing is moralizing. Whether secular moralizing or religious moralizing, the affect is the same – both voices claim an authority to moralize. Whether utilizing a sense of ethics or the mantle of God, both are telling people how best to behave and what behavior or thinking is right or wrong.

Secularist George Pyle and, to a certain degree, Robert Gehrke recently have risen in defense of Latter-day Saints for whom they feel have been slighted, insulted or oppressed by arbitrary authority. This week’s offender before their secular court of justice is President Dallin H. Oaks, a prominent leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His crime? Using his religious mantle to tell people of his same faith what their God thinks about sex and gender within the context of official church doctrine.

That’s the crime. The insult perpetrated by Oaks is that his words have made some people feel bad – making them feel as if they act in contradiction to God’s will. Oaks should be more sensitive and compassionate as he shares God’s will, so say Preacher Pyle and Pastor Gehrke.

In denial to even entertain the idea that each man’s moralizing has the same intent as the voice of God, an eternal conundrum for secularists who judge others based upon their own mantle of morals, Preacher Pyle and Pastor Gehrke nonetheless rebuke Oaks in a manner belying their oh-so-pious sense of brotherly compassion.

As if with the judgment of God, Pastor Gehrke knows that Dallin Oaks pretends to love Jesus and feigns piety while condemning as satanic a family with a transgender son – because, of course, Jesus never would look to hurt anyone’s feelings about how to live and behave (except for Dallin Oaks). Pastor Gehrke is the true saint. He is “not going to disparage Oaks.” He’ll allow the father of the transgender boy to do it.

Preacher Pyle simply wants to ensure that everyone, especially people of faith, do not fall “for the argument that someone who seeks to tell you what to think or do is really telling you what God wants you to think or do.” After all, there is no difference between Pope Francis, Russell M. Nelson and Brain David Mitchell, the latter having kidnapped and brutally raped Elizabeth Smart. Don’t they all claim to speak for God, Preacher Pyle wonders aloud?

I truly like and respect George Pyle and Robert Gehrke. I understand how difficult it must be for them to reconcile ideas, words and behaviors from people of faith that seem to them to be irreconcilable. They see illegitimate or false paradoxes from people of faith, most recently from Oaks.

Just because George and Robert do not believe in my God does not mean they cannot judge other people as a voice of God – or condemn to secular hell Oaks for expressing God’s will. As God’s servant, Dallin Oaks easily conjoins love and law – a hard task for secularists whose sole allegiance is to the “neighbor” only with expressions of love. Understandably, they are blind to the entirety of the First Great Commandment. And so they judge others as their god would judge without God’s understanding and expectations.

What irony! The secularists who judge Oaks as intentionally insolent versus people of true faith seeing George and Robert as merely wrong.

Paul Mero lives in Herriman and cannot wait for faithful readers to prove him right.