Mormons are the New Black?
October 14 2009 12:30 PM EST
November 17 2015 5:28 AM EST
In a speech at Brigham Young University-Idaho on Tuesday, Elder Dallin H. Oaks suggested that Mormons are facing the same type of intimidation that Southern blacks had to endure from Reconstruction to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
Mormon temples and wards have been the site of protests following the church's support and fund-raising for the passage of Proposition 8 in California.
"These incidents of 'violence and intimidation' are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic," said Oaks, reports The New York Times. "In their effect they are like well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation."
Oaks, a former Utah supreme court justice, is currently a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a governing body that is second only to the First Presidency in the church's hierarchy.
Marc Solomon, marriage director for Equality California, an organization that fought to preserve same-sex marriage in the Golden State, believes that the analogy is offensive.
"Blacks were lynched and beaten and denied the right to vote by their government," said Solomon, according to the Associated Press. "To compare that to criticism of Mormon leaders for encouraging people to give vast amounts of money to take away rights of a small minority group is illogical and deeply offensive."