Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

legal support from the Church


  • Please log in to reply
29 replies to this topic

#1 dahlia

dahlia

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1798 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:58 PM

I won't go into the whole thing here, but I guess most of us know about the LDS kid in Florida who was suspended for not stomping on the piece of paper with 'Jesus' written on it. Well, on the conservative site I visit, some anti pointed out that a non-Mormon Christian group, Liberty Counsel, represented the student and wondered why the Mormons hadn't provided him with legal aid; that it took 'real Christians' to help the kid. So my question is, does the Church have a legal arm that will protect, defend, or at least come out with a public statement if a member is harassed for his/her religion? I don't think the Church has an obligation to represent individual members, I'm just curious. A public statement about religious freedom might have been nice, tho. I'm of two minds - a statement would be nice, but I can also see where the Church might hesitate to jump out there with everyone who says they have a claim. Perhaps had this issue proceeded to trial, the Church might have written an amicus brief on the student's behalf? Does anyone know if that has been done in the past?

#2 DHK

DHK

    5,000+ posts and hasn't been banned yet...

  • Members
  • 5568 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 02:09 PM

I think we have a great persecution complex that we rarely stand up to our accusers.

There is no legal arm of the Church that defends against slander or other anti-LDS literature against the entire institution... so why individual members? (F.A.I.R. is a great authority, but it is not "official" of the Church.)



On a personal note, I think the entire thing got blown out of proportion for that particular case. According to the news articles I've been reading, the exercise said this:

“Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper,” the lesson instructed. “Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture."


When he refused (which was anticipated in the lesson), the next step was to discuss symbols in culture. The exercise was to provoke a response to lead to discussion.

They used Jesus as the object of the lesson because the majority of the population considers themselves Christian, so you would get a response from the majority of the students.

What I think is going over the line, was that the student was suspended from the class by the instructor's supervisor for voicing his opposition to the lesson (which was the whole point of the exercise).

Basically, it's appalling that it had to take legal aid to help rectify the situation.
"But make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kings 18:21). President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had "never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life" (CR, April 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ." - Neal A. Maxwell, October 10th, 1978.

http://speeches.byu....viewitem&id=909

#3 pam

pam

    Keep your hands off my gumdrops.

  • Administrators
  • 52373 posts
  • LocationUtah

Posted 26 March 2013 - 02:11 PM

Not that I'm aware of but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened.

#4 dahlia

dahlia

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1798 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 02:39 PM


What I think is going over the line, was that the student was suspended from the class by the instructor's supervisor for voicing his opposition to the lesson (which was the whole point of the exercise).

Basically, it's appalling that it had to take legal aid to help rectify the situation.


Absolutely. I am still trying to wrap my head around how the kid merits a suspension.

#5 anatess

anatess

    Resident Alien

  • Members
  • 10909 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 03:09 PM

Well, on the conservative site I visit, some anti pointed out that a non-Mormon Christian group, Liberty Counsel, represented the student and wondered why the Mormons hadn't provided him with legal aid; that it took 'real Christians' to help the kid.


Simple. Because we don't discriminate between Christian lawyers versus non-Christian lawyers... or Protestant lawyers, versus Catholic lawyers, versus Mormon lawyers, versus Buddhist lawyers, versus....

The kid needs legal aid, he goes find a competent lawyer... if he can't afford one, he has 2 options - ask the State for one, or ask his family/friends/church to help him with some money to afford one.

No difference really between him filing a suit against being suspended for speaking out against stepping on Jesus or filing a suit against being suspended for peeing his pants.

#6 anatess

anatess

    Resident Alien

  • Members
  • 10909 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 03:16 PM

Absolutely. I am still trying to wrap my head around how the kid merits a suspension.


It would depend on how he expressed his opinion. If he stated why he wouldn't step on Jesus because... in a "studently manner" discussing why he wouldn't want to do so then no harm no foul. Calling out the professor as unprofessional with the professor defending his professionalism to the point that it had to go to the college admins.... that's a different story. Especially since there's no report on what happened in the discussion with the admins.

What's worse than liberal professors? Conservative students accusing liberal professors of unprofessionalism for no apparent reason other than the liberal professor is liberal.

#7 prisonchaplain

prisonchaplain

    Senior Moderator

  • Senior Moderators
  • 12373 posts
  • LocationFederal Way, WA

Posted 26 March 2013 - 04:08 PM

Despite what the "anti" took from Liberty Counsel's involvement, I'm rather impressed that LC did help the LDS student out. Sometimes the glass is half full, I'd say that one is over 80%. Also, it matters not what the textbook lesson plan meant the lesson to be about. The instructor chose to cajole students into an anti-Christian sacrilege, and the supervisor chose to punish-by-suspension the student who voiced opposition to the exercise. I'm not sure how that can be over-blown. It's an outrage.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#8 dahlia

dahlia

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1798 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 04:13 PM

The anti's comment today was typical - they can't stand when something good happens to an LDS, they always find fault, in this case, the fault was that the Church didn't come forward to support this guy. I'm sure I've said it here before, but after reading tons of threads with nasty comments about Mormons on this particular conservative site (the site owner is very anti-Mormon. He had major cognitive dissonance when Romney got the nomination.) I decided to learn about Mormons and see what all the hubbub was about. Vile, hate-spewing anti-Mormons led me to the Church!

#9 anatess

anatess

    Resident Alien

  • Members
  • 10909 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 04:50 PM

Despite what the "anti" took from Liberty Counsel's involvement, I'm rather impressed that LC did help the LDS student out. Sometimes the glass is half full, I'd say that one is over 80%.

Also, it matters not what the textbook lesson plan meant the lesson to be about. The instructor chose to cajole students into an anti-Christian sacrilege, and the supervisor chose to punish-by-suspension the student who voiced opposition to the exercise. I'm not sure how that can be over-blown. It's an outrage.


I know where you're coming from. But, I just want to offer a correction - the kid was not punished-by-suspension for voicing an opinion to the exercise. The kid was punished-by-suspension for demoralizing a professor of the school.

The JESUS exercise is in the Teachers Manual of the textbook used in the classroom. It was not an exercise invented by Dr. Poole. The Textbook is authored by somebody who is working as a professor of St. Norbert College - a Catholic School. So, regardles of Dr. Poole's faith leanings, a person who is not a devout Christian would not have any reason to think that this exercise would be anti-Christian.

#10 wyarwehere

wyarwehere

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 356 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 04:58 PM

At least the college apologized, wiped his record clean, and decided to remove that from their syllabus.

#11 prisonchaplain

prisonchaplain

    Senior Moderator

  • Senior Moderators
  • 12373 posts
  • LocationFederal Way, WA

Posted 26 March 2013 - 05:34 PM

I know where you're coming from. But, I just want to offer a correction - the kid was not punished-by-suspension for voicing an opinion to the exercise. The kid was punished-by-suspension for demoralizing a professor of the school.

The JESUS exercise is in the Teachers Manual of the textbook used in the classroom. It was not an exercise invented by Dr. Poole. The Textbook is authored by somebody who is working as a professor of St. Norbert College - a Catholic School. So, regardles of Dr. Poole's faith leanings, a person who is not a devout Christian would not have any reason to think that this exercise would be anti-Christian.


I'm still not getting this. The exercise was never intended to result in Christian students stepping on the name of Jesus. As I read it, when a student objected (in other words, the text author EXPECTED objection) the subsequent conversation about why the student objected was the whole point.

If the Dr. Poole had no reason to suspect that Christian students would be offended then s/he hadn't read the manual very well. Knowing there would be some offense, the professor should have been prepared for the discussion, rather than feeling demoralized (huh?...I really don't get that). That the student was suspended for expressing the very outrage the teacher's manual anticipated suggests some pretty broad incompentence on the part of the professor and supervisor...unless I'm missing something.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#12 bytebear

bytebear

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2355 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:13 PM

I know at least on my mission and I have heard stories otherwise, that the church aggressively pursues cases involving missionaries and the freedom to proselytize. If a missionary is arrested or hindered, the church is right there ready to fight for his freedom.

#13 anatess

anatess

    Resident Alien

  • Members
  • 10909 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:53 PM

I'm still not getting this. The exercise was never intended to result in Christian students stepping on the name of Jesus. As I read it, when a student objected (in other words, the text author EXPECTED objection) the subsequent conversation about why the student objected was the whole point.

If the Dr. Poole had no reason to suspect that Christian students would be offended then s/he hadn't read the manual very well. Knowing there would be some offense, the professor should have been prepared for the discussion, rather than feeling demoralized (huh?...I really don't get that). That the student was suspended for expressing the very outrage the teacher's manual anticipated suggests some pretty broad incompentence on the part of the professor and supervisor...unless I'm missing something.


Yes, you're missing something. The objection the student raised that led to the altercation was not because of the activity itself but an accusation of the Professor's lack of professionalism/character in including this activity in the classroom which the Professor then defended (not the activity, but his professionalism/character). As a result, the student was not suspended for objecting to the activity. The student was suspended for attacking the Professor's character.

Dr. Poole, of course, expected the objection of the students to stepping on Jesus... a refusal to do so for reasons that were to be explored in class. But he did not expect the student to attack his character.

#14 Just_A_Guy

Just_A_Guy

    Semi-Senior Moderator, and Repentant Sea-Lawyer

  • Senior Moderators
  • 8696 posts
  • LocationUtah County, Utah, USA

Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:57 PM

So my question is, does the Church have a legal arm that will protect, defend, or at least come out with a public statement if a member is harassed for his/her religion?


I understand the Church has a relatively small in-house counsel department, preferring to contract much of their work to a Salt Lake law firm called Kirton McConkie. However, it mostly has to do with situations where the interests of the institutional Church are directly involved; or to weigh in on high-profile cases where the Church wishes to have a voice (for example, Kirton McConkie filed an amicus on the Church's behalf to SCOTUS in the Prop 8 case).

As a Mormon you get a lot of help from the Church in a go-to-pot situation--housing assistance, food from the Storehouse, etc--but the Church is not (yet) offering its members a prepaid legal services plan. ;)

Edited by Just_A_Guy, 26 March 2013 - 10:00 PM.

About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are darned fools and should stop.
 

--Senator Elihu Root


#15 Finrock

Finrock

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1039 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:44 PM

Good evening anatess. I hope you've been doing well! :)

Yes, you're missing something. The objection the student raised that led to the altercation was not because of the activity itself but an accusation of the Professor's lack of professionalism/character in including this activity in the classroom which the Professor then defended (not the activity, but his professionalism/character). As a result, the student was not suspended for objecting to the activity. The student was suspended for attacking the Professor's character.

Dr. Poole, of course, expected the objection of the students to stepping on Jesus... a refusal to do so for reasons that were to be explored in class. But he did not expect the student to attack his character.


I concede that I don't know the details here and so I am responding based solely on what I've read in this thread. Further, I'm not making a claim as to whether the student was right or wrong. I am looking for clarification because I can't see the distinction that you are making.

You can object to something with the use of an ad hominem. In context, by attacking the professor's character, the student was clearly indicating that he objected to the activity.

Are you saying that the student can object to the activity in some other way, but they cannot object to the activity by attacking the professor's character?

Regards,
Finrock

#16 pam

pam

    Keep your hands off my gumdrops.

  • Administrators
  • 52373 posts
  • LocationUtah

Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:47 PM

I know at least on my mission and I have heard stories otherwise, that the church aggressively pursues cases involving missionaries and the freedom to proselytize. If a missionary is arrested or hindered, the church is right there ready to fight for his freedom.


That I understand because they are in essence working for the church. I realize it's for the Lord but they are representing the church.

#17 anatess

anatess

    Resident Alien

  • Members
  • 10909 posts

Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:52 PM

Good evening anatess. I hope you've been doing well! :)



I concede that I don't know the details here and so I am responding based solely on what I've read in this thread. Further, I'm not making a claim as to whether the student was right or wrong. I am looking for clarification because I can't see the distinction that you are making.

You can object to something with the use of an ad hominem. In context, by attacking the professor's character, the student was clearly indicating that he objected to the activity.

Are you saying that the student can object to the activity in some other way, but they cannot object to the activity by attacking the professor's character?

Regards,
Finrock


The student can do anything. But, the college will suspend your enrollment if you publicly attack a professor's character without compelling evidence to support your position.

#18 prisonchaplain

prisonchaplain

    Senior Moderator

  • Senior Moderators
  • 12373 posts
  • LocationFederal Way, WA

Posted 27 March 2013 - 08:36 AM

Anatess, I found this: UPDATE: Student now suspended for complaining about Jesus-stomping assignment

Apparently the suspension is now total, but the school seems to be insinuating (I could not find specific allegations) that the student went off the deep end, making threats, and violating the student code.

I'm willing to suspend judgment. However, if this is the university covering itself, then this is an underhanded defamation it will likely get away with.

And again, I can't help but point out that this non-Muslim professor (Dr. Poole) would have had no difficulty discerning that Muslim students would never stand for anyone stomping on the name of Allah or Mohammed.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#19 anatess

anatess

    Resident Alien

  • Members
  • 10909 posts

Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:35 AM

Anatess, I found this: UPDATE: Student now suspended for complaining about Jesus-stomping assignment

Apparently the suspension is now total, but the school seems to be insinuating (I could not find specific allegations) that the student went off the deep end, making threats, and violating the student code.

I'm willing to suspend judgment. However, if this is the university covering itself, then this is an underhanded defamation it will likely get away with.

And again, I can't help but point out that this non-Muslim professor (Dr. Poole) would have had no difficulty discerning that Muslim students would never stand for anyone stomping on the name of Allah or Mohammed.


What one does or does not do infront of Muslim students has no bearing on what one does or does not do infront of Christians. You don't stomp on Allah, not necessarily because you are "sensitive to the feelings of the Muslim student" but because you know it could get somebody killed. No such reservations with Christians. Now, if Christians would start killing people in the name of Jesus, then yes, it might send a cultural change rampaging through the globe that you don't mess with Christians. But, that's not who we are.

It's really no different than things you say/do to a Texan you may not be able to get away with saying to a New Yorker without media outrage. It's these nuances in cultural flavor that make life in America very unique. It's just another by-product of the freedoms you enjoy that allow for people to have their own idiosyncracies.

Edited by anatess, 27 March 2013 - 09:38 AM.


#20 anatess

anatess

    Resident Alien

  • Members
  • 10909 posts

Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:42 AM

By the way, that Yahoo article is a classic example of the decline of the integrity of journalism in these here parts.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

IPB Skin By Virteq