President Oaks calls for society to balance religious freedom and equality

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(Video story by Emma Evans)

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor of the First Presidency, gave a keynote speech at the University of Virginia and spoke about the need for both the religious and nonreligious to seek equality and fairness in local settings.

The speech was during the university’s annual Joseph Smith Lecture on Religious Liberty on Nov. 13. President Oaks emphasized the importance of working together to achieve civil unity and equity with remarks focused on the often found contention between religious freedom and non-discrimination.

President Oaks said to “resolve differences without compromising core values” and to “accept the reality that we are fellow citizens who need each other.”

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency spoke at the University of Virginia during the Joseph Smith Lecture on Religious Liberty. His comments encouraged a balance between religious freedom and non-discrimination. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

He said it is not necessary to sift through doctrine or personal belief to try and prove one side right or wrong. Rather, the focus should be on God’s love for all His children and let that be the basis on which laws are made and solutions are found. 

Individuals should be wary of extreme voices, he said, because they often lead to outcomes which are “rarely sustainable or even attainable.” 

“The right relationship between religious freedom and non-discrimination is best achieved by respecting each other enough to negotiate in good faith and by caring for each other enough that the freedom and protection we seek is not for ourselves alone,” President Oaks said.

Other important quotes and a partial video of the speech can be found on the Church Newsroom website.

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