To protect from fail

Courtesy of a twitter follower (follow my tweets!) we have the following puzzling argument in favor of the Mormon Church's quondam policy of priestly racial discrimination.

In a Feb. 28 Washington Post article, Randy Bott, an associate professor in BYU's Department of Church History, provided what he reportedly believed to be a possible explanation for the church's policy until 1978 of forbidding blacks from holding the priesthood.

"What is discrimination?" Bott told the Post. "I think that is keeping something from somebody that would be a benefit for them, right? But what if it wouldn't have been a benefit to them?"

Bott reportedly told the Post the ban protected blacks from what the newspaper described as "the lowest rungs of hell," where they would have been sent had they abused their priesthood powers.

"You couldn't fall off the top of the ladder, because you weren't on the top of the ladder," he reportedly told the Post. "So, in reality the blacks not having the priesthood was the greatest blessing God could give them."

This argument achieves new heights in awfulness.  I'm tempted to say that the whole thing hinges on a narrow interpretation of "discrimination."  On the Saint's reading here, it's to deny someone a benefit.  But a benefit which may involve failing in some other regard is not a benefit, so it's not discrimination.

But it is also awful in ways I struggle to classify.

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