A Need for Equal Access to the Public Square

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Prophet Statesmen, Quentin L. Cook

There has always been an ongoing battle between people of faith and those who would purge religion and God from public life.12 Many opinion leaders today reject a moral view of the world based on Judeo-Christian values. In their view there is no objective moral order.13 They believe no preference should be given to moral goals.14

Still, the majority of people aspire to be good and honorable. The Light of Christ, which is distinct from the Holy Ghost, informs their conscience. We know from the scriptures that the Light of Christ is “the Spirit [which] giveth light to every man that cometh into the world.”15 This light is given “for the sake of the whole world.”16 President Boyd K. Packer has taught that this is a “source of inspiration, which each of us possesses in common with all other members of the human family.”17 This is why many will accept moral values even when founded on religious convictions which they do not personally support. As we read in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, “It is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right.” Mosiah then warns, “If the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come.”18

In our increasingly unrighteous world, it is essential that values based on religious belief be part of the public discourse. Moral positions informed by a religious conscience must be accorded equal access to the public square. Under the constitutions of most countries, a religious conscience may not be given preference, but neither should it be disregarded.19

Religious faith is a store of light, knowledge, and wisdom and benefits society in a dramatic way when adherents engage in moral conduct because they feel accountable to God.20

Source: Quentin L. Cook’s October 2010 General Conference Address, Let There Be Light! Quentin L. Cook is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Watch his entire address on video here.

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