Yesterday Elder Jeffrey Holland (the Former President of BYU and current Apostle of the LDS Church), spoke to the faculty of Brigham Young University and criticized what he described as their failure to defend the anti-LBGTQ+ policies of the Church. He also denounced BYU graduate Matt Easton’s heroic act of coming out during his commencement speech as valedictorian of BYU’s political science program in 2019.
Holland’s speech began with glowing praise for BYU as an institution, but took a violent turn, suggesting that that BYU Professors needed to use their “musket fire” against LGBTQ ideology rather than directing “friendly fire” against the church.
Religious Exemption Accountability Project Director Paul Southwick responded to these offensive, dangerous and defamatory comments, saying:
“REAP condemns these harmful words. To use such antagonistic and warlike language in reference to LGBTQ+ ideology is indefensible, particularly when so many LGBTQ+ students attend BYU. Quoting Mr. Holland’s own language, it is ‘more divisive than unifying, at a time we want to show love for all of God’s children.’
“Every student should have the freedom to be honest and open about who they are, without being subjected to dangerous rhetoric that puts them in harm’s way. All students should feel safe in their campus environments.
“Being LGBTQ+ is not a ‘challenge' and Holland's statement and overall speech demonstrates the "unkindness" and "crushing cruel[ty]" that he claims to condemn.
“We stand united against this speech and the message of exclusion that it sends to our LGBTQ+ youth at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives. We invite Mr. Holland, BYU, the LDS church, and all other religiously affiliated universities to join us in embracing these young people. These are your children and they deserve our unconditional love and acceptance."