60 young adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with 21 members of parliament last week during a visit to Queensland’s Parliament House. (Watch the video below)
During the visit six of the youth discussed whether religious freedom was a right or a privilege — in front of an audience comprising members of parliament, other officials and friends of the young people.
One youth speaker, Liberty Simpson, said, “Religious freedom does not merely enable us to contemplate our convictions; it enables us to execute them.”
Mark Baker said, "Religious freedom is a right because of the internal nature of religious beliefs which no one has the right to control. And … it applies to all groups of people, not simply a select group of people."
The sponsor of the debate, Steve Davies, MP for Capalaba, spoke to the young people about his faith and the opportunity they had to keep their faith as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to serve their communities.
After meeting with the members of parliament, the youth enjoyed a tour of Parliament House with Ipswich West MP Sean Choat as their host.
Latter-day Saint leader from the Brisbane suburb of Eight Mile Plains, Asa Smibert, said, "It was inspiring to see so many young adults come to Parliament House anxious to better understand how they can be an influence for good within their communities. It is clear that the Church and our country are in wonderful hands. Great things can occur when our vision is expanded by experiences like this.”
Reacting to the challenge of speaking for the negative argument James Parker said, "One of the great things about the debate was being able to make a case for a cause you may not necessarily agree with, but it forces you to view the topic from a different perspective. It was great meeting some of our MP's, having a tour of the House and appreciating its history. "
Madison Sturgess, final speaker for the negative, agreed. "To debate in the negative to this topic was controversial, but an opportunity I relished. As we practice seeing virtues in an opposing argument, it is challenging but becomes ultimately invaluable. To be able to do so lends to more constructive, sensitive and informed problem-solving with those who you ideologically oppose."
Video: YSA Parliament visit.