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Letter: Laws should be based on evidence, not religion

Published January 8, 2014 1:01 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It is time for religion to release its grip on the mantle of moral authority on matters of public policy. As much as possible, personal and policy choices should be based on evidence of benefits and harms. What ultimately makes murder, theft and bearing false witness wrong is not that the Bible says so, but that they are so plainly and egregiously harmful.

Other biblically accepted practices, such as slavery, have since been outlawed because of the answer to the basic moral question: Are people and society benefited by the practice, or harmed by it, on the whole?

The social and legal benefits to gays and lesbians of nondiscrimination laws and same-sex marriage have become plain, while the societal harms of same-sex marriage predicted by opponents have not materialized, even in places where it has been legal for many years.

Likewise, nondiscrimination laws based on sexual orientation and identity should be the same, and for the same reasons of simple fairness, as laws that protect on the basis of sex, race and religion. Religious convictions and visceral feelings to the contrary carry no legitimate moral weight against real human consequences.

Robert Dow

Salt Lake City




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