Nelson v. Lewis: Or Why Religious Freedom Isn’t in Urgent Danger

Some of you may have seen Elder Nelsons talk to an LDS group in Massachusetts last month. As it is the bugbear this election cycle, religious freedom was the topic. Elder Nelson said the following:

Nelson: “If civil law were altered to recognize so-called “same-gender” marriage, you as believers in God, and keepers of His commandments, would then be regarded as exceptions to the rule. Your conscientious convictions would then be regarded as discriminatory. If you were a Christian school teacher, you could be charged with bigotry for upholding the Lord’s law of chastity. In truth dear brothers and sisters, if you lose marriage, you also lose freedom of religion. Atheistic moral bedlam and religious repression go hand in hand. At stake is our ability to transmit to the next generation the life-giving and inseparable culture of marriage and the free exercise of religion.”

Putting aside the veracity of his statement (if you really want to contest it point by point please start here) I would like to target one point of Elder Nelsons.
If civil law allowed for same sex marriage, “you as believers in God … would then be regarded as exceptions to the rule.”

Now maybe I am missing something but has Mormonism, and religion in general, ever really been anything BUT the exception to the rule? Let’s listen to what CS Lewis said about being an exception to the rule in his seminal work Mere Christianity.
“Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.”

Put quite simply, Allowing marriage equality will not change a single thing. We religious will still be regarded as an exception as we always have. Have Mormons or even Christians generically ever, ever, been in the majority? No! Perhaps this nation founded by Puritan religious pilgrims established by deists is an enclave in a fallen world but in no sense has there ever been truth in the majority, we are soldiers behind enemy lines and so I understand the need an desire to cling to tradition and fight with any means necessary to accomplish out goals but deceiving people to believe that same gender marriage will put is in the enemy’s camp is succumbing to Satan, the father of lies.