Monday, November 03, 2008

Semi-anonymous complaints

Someone has complained about my Obama bumper sticker on my car, yard sign, my Obama "Hope" t-shirt (which I have actually tried to not wear around anyone at church) and my democratic views in general. Yesterday I got a new calling as a counselor in the Stake relief society presidency - I think it's all very balanced because the new Relief Society President has a McCain sign her yard. I think if she and I can get along and be happy, so can the rest of you. So for all my mormon nay-sayers, here's a nice article about neutrality in the church published a few years ago. The church actually wants some diversity in the members.

THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE GOP Dominance Troubles Church; It hurts Utah, says general authority, disavowing any perceived Republican-LDS Link; LDS Official Calls for More Political Diversity

Author(s): DAN HARRIE THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE Salt Lake Tribune Date: May 3, 1998 Page: A1 Section:

COPYRIGHT 1998, THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE The LDS Church, through a high-ranking leader, is making its strongest public statement to date about the need for political diversity among members, while expressing concerns the Republican Party is becoming the "church party."

" There is sort of a division along Mormon/non-Mormon, Republican/Democratic lines, " says Elder Marlin Jensen, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. "We regret that more than anything--that there would become a church party and a non-church party. That would be the last thing that we would want to have happen."

Jensen said major national political parties may take stands that do not coincide with teachings of the 10 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but that should not put them out of bounds for members. . . .

Jensen . . . was designated by church officials to respond to The Salt Lake Tribune's request for an interview on the topic of partisan imbalance in Utah and among LDS members. . . .

In an hour long interview at the church's worldwide headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City arranged and overseen by LDS media-relations director Mike Otterson, Jensen discussed leaders' views about the seeming demise of two-party politics among members. Among the concerns he aired:

--The LDS Church's reputation as a one-party monolith is damaging in the long run because of the seesaw fortunes of the national political parties.

--The overwhelming Republican bent of LDS members in Utah and the Intermountain West undermines the checks-and-balances principle of democratic government.

--Any notion that it is impossible to be a Democrat and a good Mormon is wrongheaded and should be "obliterated." . . .

Jensen, who was called as a general authority in 1989, said high church officials lament the near-extinction of the Democratic Party in Utah and the perception--incorrect though it is--that the GOP enjoys official sanction of the church. . . .

"One of the things that prompted this discussion in the first place was the regret that's felt about the decline of the Democratic Party [in Utah] and the notion that may prevail in some areas that you can't be a good Mormon and a good Democrat at the same time," Jensen said.

"There have been some awfully good men and women who have been both and are both today. So I think it would be a very healthy thing for the church--particualrly the Utah church--if that notion could be obliterated." . . .

"There is a feeling that even nationally as a church, it's not in our best interest to be known as a one-party church," Jensen said. "The national fortunes of the parties ebb and flow. Whereas the Republicans may clearly have the upper hand today[1998], in another 10 years [2008] they may not." [!] . . .

Jensen said it is time for LDS members to take a broader view of political affiliation.
"We would probably hope that they wouldn't abandon a party necessarily because it has a philosophy or two that may not square with Mormonism. Because, as I say, [parties] in their philosophies ebb and flow," Jensen said.

"You know, the Republicans came very close last time to bringing a pro-abortion plank into their platform. That was maybe the biggest battle of their [1996 national] convention," he said. "Which shows that if you're a pure ideologue, eventually you're going to have trouble in either party."

"Everyone who is a good Latter-day Saint is going to have to pick and choose a little bit regardless of the party that they're in and that may be required a lot more in the future than it has been in the past. But I think there's room for that and the gospel leaves us lots of latitude."

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