‘…a critic from Washington, D.C. claimed that a person who serves in a church capacity should not comment on such matters. He charged that the separation of church and state requires that church officials restrict their attention to affairs of the Church.
‘I, of course, also believe that the institutions of church and state should be separated, but I also do not agree that spiritual leaders cannot comment on basic issues which involve the very foundation of American liberty.
‘In fact, if this were true, we would have to throw away a substantial part of the Bible. Speaking out against immoral or unjust actions of political leaders has been the burden of prophets and disciples of God from time immemorial. It was for this very reason that many of them were persecuted. Some of them were stoned, some of them were burned, many were imprisoned. Nevertheless it was their God-given task, as watchmen on the towers, to speak up.
‘It is certainly no different today.
‘To Moses God said: “….proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” (Lev. 25:10)
‘Why? For God knows full well that the gospel – His plan for the blessing of His children can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom.
‘To modern men God has said: the Constitution “should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh.” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77)’
Ezra Taft Benson
Stand Up For Freedom
Assembly Hall at Temple Square, Feb 11, 1966
Given to The Utah Forum for the American Idea
A text edition is available at: http://www.latterdayconservative.com/ezra-taft-benson/stand-up-for-freedom/