We editorialized about the speech on Tuesday.
In the editorial we noted that Oaks urged members of the church to be respectful when defending church teachings or debating topics such as gay marriage. But he also said this in regards to atheism: “Atheism has always been hostile to religion, such as in its arguments that freedom of or for religion should include freedom from religion. Atheism’s threat rises as its proponents grow in numbers and aggressiveness.”
Clearly Oaks sees so-called militant atheism as a catalyst for secular efforts to delegitimize religious arguments from public policy debates.
He worries that religious freedom of speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment, is under attack. I think that is the crux of Oaks’ concern, more than just a rehashing of the church’s position against gay marriage and subsequent harassment. Oaks, and by extension the LDS Church, are worried that faith, as an argument, will be deconstructed out of the Constitution in years ahead. That will lead, as mentioned, to religious arguments being derided or disqualified from public debate.