Monday, March 20, 2006

Don't Read Too Much into a Quote

A few Sundays ago the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued an interesting statement. From The Salt Lake Tribune:

From pulpits around the state on Sunday, Mormon bishops and other local leaders read a statement urging members to participate in next week's neighborhood political caucuses, and reaffirming the church's neutral stand toward candidates and parties. But the statement, which is traditional in general election years, had this added twist that excited Democrats:
"Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of all major political parties."
More can be read on this statement by clicking on the link above or by going to a similar article by BYU's NewsNet.

Also, for an excellent opinion on the issue, read this article that's also by the Salt Lake Tribune.

I take issue with these types of articles because it seems as though many Mormon Democrats take too much validation from statements like the one given by the First Presidency of the Church. While it is certainly encouraging, it shouldn't just be encouraging to Democrats because it certainly wasn't meant just for Democrats. The Church takes a neutral stand on politics, therefore the statement was obviously meant for Republicans as well as Dems.

Other than this, perhaps it will be a wake-up for some few Republicans who believe that the Democrats are all Satan worshippers. Perhaps it will be a wake-up for some few Democrats who believe that Republicans are a bunch of heartless bullies.

Beyond this, I believe that it's time that both parties stop politically capitalizing on moral issues. When politicizing morality happens people will often become too emotional therefore abandoning reason. This sort of "reasoning" is very common in politics and it serves as the basis for a large portion of modern advertising. Most political speeches are aimed at generating feelings in people so that these feelings will get them to vote or act a certain way.

In short, rhetoric that incites the emotions can be meant to cause the target audience to abandon reason.

8 comments:

Josh Daniels said...

"I believe that it's time that both parties stop politically capitalizing on moral issues."

There is a very strong a-moralist force planted firmly in the 'liberal' coalition. The communists felt religion was a tool of the capitalists to oppress workers, 'new-age' thinkers feel people are hampered by religious standards, liberal democrats fight for abortion on demand even for young women without parental consent, etc. While these examples are of far-left wing liberal sensibilities, they are left-wing sensibilities not right-wing or centrist. Granted there are plenty of conservatively and moderately minded democrats and there are other issues that do not have a moral dimension that are important. However, the assault on morality, the family, and religion is firmly the fault of the liberals, and people in this country are concerned about this, so concerned that they make it a political issue. I believe if the democrats want to be successful, they need to drop these liberals who have hijacked thier party and then the 'moral' issue will disappear. Sure, democrats were historically mainstream america including southern christians; sure, there are religous and moral democrats today; but, folks like the hollywood crowd who claim to speak for democrats are giving the rest of the democrats a bad name.

Peter Nguyen said...

Josh,

I think that you bring up some excellent points and I think that for the most part I agree with you. I certainly do feel that it's a shame that people like Howard Dean and the Hollywood crowd have hijacked the Democratic Party. However, that doesn't mean that it can't be taken back.

The only point on which I might disagree with you is this: just because someone says they are pro-life does not mean that they are a good person. Similarly just because you are a Mormon does not mean that you're a Saint. Likewise, I believe that when it comes to politicking that some will simply state that they are [enter issue here] and then people assume that, that must indicate the ability to perform their job function well in all areas.

It is a logical fallacy to think that just because someone believes in one thing than the rest of their beliefs must fall in line with that one belief.

While I know that you did not assert these things, I just wanted to make my position clear that I believe that the politicking of morality is often done so that some candidates will win elections regardless of that person's qualifications or political ideals.

Anonymous said...

"The only point on which I might disagree with you is this: just because someone says they are pro-life does not mean that they are a good person."

I agree with that statement, but the converse is not true. The converse statement is "just because someone says they are pro-choice does not mean that they are a bad person." Abortion, except in rare instances, is contrary to God's will. Therefore only a bad person is pro-choice.

Anonymous said...

If abortion were counted in the leading causes of death, it would be the number one killer in America. In fact, before 2001, there were more legal abortion murders than deaths from heart disease and cancer combined. Pretty staggering isn't it? Those numbers don't even include any other abortions that may have taken place. I am so thankful that we have two more conservative judges on the supreme court... one more and unborn babies will finally have a voice!

Check out out www.all.org The American Life League is a great organization that is fighting for what is right.

Peter Nguyen said...

Okay,

Just to set things straight so that there can be no confusion:

The BYU-I College Democrats do not endorse abortion, we are completely pro-life.

However, we do not believe that all people who believe in abortion are necessarily, "bad people," as inferred in the statement above. We believe that if people will recognize their personal divinity and if people will recognize that, "children are an heritage of the Lord" than abortion will take care of itself.

My conclusion: there are good people who believe in abortion, there are bad people who believe in abortion. The thing that we must do is to continue to educate people as to why abortion is generally wrong.

I think that it's dangerous ground to lump a large group of people into the "bad" catagory based on an issue without first considering the cause of their belief. I thank God that I had the opportunity to accept Christ into my life and to have the blessing of avoiding such a great pitfall as abortion.

Did I make any sense there?

Jessica said...

You made total sense. The labeling that is done to any group is never a good thing, no matter how justified or what their activities are. Jesus Christ withholds His judgement until the last day, and I think we would be wise to remember that and to know that as humans it is very hard to cast a righteous and just judgement, so we should just keep our mouths shut.

This isn't to say we shouldn't stand up for what is right, but we must remember that we are all God's children and Brigham Young's own words speak of the immense value we each hold: "Never try to destroy a man. It is our mission to, save the people, not to destroy them. The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth, in our capacity, is worth worlds."

Anonymous said...

Why have a blog if you rarely update it?

Anonymous said...

yet you all ignorantly shout praises of Harry Reid, who just can't seem to answer a the questions posed to him about abortion. but we all understand, his leadership position in the dem party is too important.