The thought gives you the shudders. Political activism? “Not me. I hate confrontation. I’m afraid. Let others do it.”
Consider this story: More than a decade ago, under pressure, the Gilbert Public School Board voted to remove audible prayer from its board meetings. As a substitute, a moment of silence was put in its place and those who don’t want God seen or spoken of, in public, were satisfied.
Last month, thanks to determined citizens of many faiths, the board put audible invocations back into its meetings. All faiths are invited to participate. The reverse took years, but it occurred through the diligence of many, many who may have been uneasy about the opinions of their neighbors, but nonetheless, the matter seemed important.
It’s about the camel. You know, the camel’s nose? Over the past 50 years, as evidence that God is removed from one place, then another, even from the month of His Son’s celebrated birthday, the camel is now in the tent.
There’s something that feels good about the push back. Gilbert citizens did just that. Gilbert, where churches of many faiths are on nearly every corner and worship is a family practice for the majority.
Of course, due to the nature of this war against God and religion, this matter isn’t over and the courts and lawmakers will continue to debate our freedoms of every kind.
A month ago, I was privileged to attend a neighborhood fireside in Salt Lake City. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve discussed the urgency of “hastening missionary work.” His enthusiasm was warm and encouraging.
Then, he shifted energy and spoke with a touch of sorrow about the attacks against religious freedoms and said, “We will be sorry if we remain silent.”
Later, I asked him to expand on “if we remain silent.” And he shared his concerns over events which are putting pressure on religions to change beliefs, to alter practices. He repeated we need to be involved. It is important.
Which makes sense. As we work to expand the gospel, the very tenets we expound are under attack. Our freedoms, all of them, are needed in order to do the Lord’s work.
There are many ways we can make a difference. The issues blend and the Spirit guides us each, differently. Take note of the article in this February Ensign: “Get Informed, Get Involved.” Then, remember civility. We are constantly reminded by General Authorities to maintain civil discourse.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks says: “As believers we should frame our arguments and positions in ways that contribute to the reasoned discussion…we will contribute to the civility that is essential to preserve our civilization.” (LDS.org)
There is urgency to share our voices in our communities. Now’s the time. Consider a comment made by a mother of four, who had never attended that Gilbert board meeting before. She said, “It’s not okay anymore to be silent.”