Mormonism’s Politics as Usual

On Friday, Donald Trump signed an executive order/action to ban immigrants (many of them refugees) from seven countries with large Muslim populations. On Saturday, the world practically stood still while men, women, children, and families found themselves detained at an airport or barred from boarding a flight to the US. Some of these people were simply returning home, to their home, in the US, where they have jobs, homes, cars still parked at the airport, etc. Fortunately, hosts of compassionate people did not rest, refused to stand still unless standing in protest at one of the many US airports detaining some of these people. I could write so many stories about the hell-scape Trump has already created in the US, but nothing compares to injustice (so far), the nadir in a week-long attack on basic human rights.

Refugee Rights Protest at Broadmeadows, Melbourne

However, intertwined with my rage has been hope, a certain pride in watching so many Americans refuse to let this happen without a fight. Men and women of integrity spoke up and condemned the actions of Trump and his administration: celebrities, politicians, journalists, leaders of countries and churches. But when I looked for a statement from the leaders of my own faith, silence. Despite the numerous times leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have spoken about embracing immigrants, making a place for the refugee, and the need to open our arms to every man, woman, and child in need, and religious freedom, they suddenly had nothing to say in the face of blatant religious discrimination. Surely, they were well aware of this crisis? So many Mormons kept waiting while others spoke out, “Faith groups across the country condemn Trump’s ban on refugees and immigrants from Muslim countries.” After Pope Francis’s blistering statement against such hypocrisy, surely it wouldn’t be long for Mormon leaders to speak out. Some Mormons, like Benjamin E. Park, grew tired of waiting: “The modern Mormon community must be as quick and vociferous to denounce similar infringements on others’ religious beliefs. Anything less would prove our commitment to religious liberty shallow.” Finally, after all the speculation, late Saturday night (after I had already gone to bed), after the damage had already been done and many, many others had long since swiftly spoken out and acted, the Mormon Newsroom posted this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 7.09.48 AM

The Mic-dropper in Chief the World Needs

“In response to recent media inquiries, the following statement has been released: ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is concerned about the temporal and spiritual welfare of all of God’s children across the earth, with special concern for those who are fleeing physical violence, war and religious persecution. The church urges all people and governments to cooperate fully in seeking the best solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering.’” In other words, “Do whatever the hell you want, as long as it doesn’t affect us.” Yes, that’s a loose and slightly skewed interpretation, but what the hell?

Where are the teeth? Where’s the righteous indignation that Jesus himself would no doubt display. WWJD? The man who flipped tables of the money changers in the temple would Bust. Some. ASS! However, as one man on social media proclaimed, the church that professes to have Jesus at its helm through direct revelation “wants desperately to cling to mainstream conservatism, but what happens when conservatism is hijacked by a dangerous demagogue? Unfortunately, it looks like Mormonism will simply buckle to the politics of the American right. … [I]n 2008 this church organized and fought marriage equality to the point where it divided the religion. We will see no such organization in favor of refugees or Muslims, despite the bland platitudes expressed in this weak ass press release.”

11 replies »

  1. Geez, man aren’t you afraid of consequencies? Do you want our temples seized again?
    We dont have to go toe to toe with ’em Government, unless we are absolutely certain the waters are calm enough.
    Sometimes I wonder if Joseph Smith were back, would he still want to associate with a group like what modern mormonisn has become?

  2. I think it is quite funny that folks are getting so bent out of shape about this. It was never a “Muslim Ban” like the media is painting it out to be. It is not about religion at all. There are 49 countries in the world that are predominantly Muslim. 49. Seven countries are in this order to limit travel because they don’t have the proper vetting processes in place to prevent fraudulent travel of criminals. That leaves muslims from 42 countries to travel without any problems. May I suggest reading the executive order? It’s rather short, 3,000 words, a quick read. Quit buying into and spreading all the fake news that is bent on dividing our country. I am sure the church leaders read the entire order and so therefore they didn’t see a need to jump into all the false conclusions that swirl around the gossip in the grapevine.

    • It’s cute that you pretend to know what you’re talking about. I am almost 700 years old. I have seen a lot of immigration bans in that time, awful, awful bans, and this is one of the worst, if for no other reason that it initially included legal permanent US residents. Read a book, preferably a history book. BTW, I seriously doubt a single LDS church leader actually read the entire order. I am sure God told them all about it.

  3. WWJD?

    This was the man who taught us to ‘render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” The church has rightly stayed out of matters of national security, which is a matter for the secular government. They rightly spoke out against same sex marriage as that is a social issue and not a governmental one.
    Yes, Christ flipped tables and whipped people in the Temple, which was a religious site dedicated to God, and thus He ‘rendered unto God what was God’s.’
    I think people need to be more careful before they start invoking Christ to try and bolster their political opinions.

    • Look, I am almost 700 years old, so I am far more comfortable with Middle English, which may be the problem, but you make absolutely no sense. What I will point out, however, is that Jesus was specifically talking about taxes not shutting out refugees, of which he once was and about whom he taught everyone to take care of regardless of country of origin.

      • What doesn’t make sense? Is it that you can’t understand the difference between social issues and issues of governance?

        And while Christ may have been addressing a question regarding taxes when he made his statement, that is not proof that the underlying principle is not to be applied in a general manner. He didn’t say “pay taxes to Caesar.” He said “Render unto Caesar.” That is, give to the government what the government can rightly claim. It is Christ’s way are saying “keep the church and the state separate.”

        As to being a refugee, I assume you are talking about Joseph taking Christ and Mary into Egypt. The problem is that you are claiming that all refugees are the same, which is not logical nor accurate. Christ was not a refugee fleeing one country to escape war and political unrest. Nor was He part of a large group that was seeking refuge. He traveled only with his parents, and only to another location in the same kingdom that He started in. His flight is much more comparable to a family leaving the city of New York and the unjust actions of a local official and going to South Carolina for a time until that official was no longer in power. That is nothing like what we are facing today with the threat of large scale terrorism and the protection of our national borders.

        Finally, Christ taught us to care for our fellowmen, but He was teaching the individual. He was not expounding of political policy, nor did he ever once give a sermon on how a government should act in regards to anyone else. His teachings were personal and individual, which is exactly what the Church is doing now. It is telling us all to act to assist the refugees as best we can, and yet at the same time avoiding any lectures or sermons on how the government should conduct its business.

        • Wow, you are thick. I can’t believe you took so much time to type up such a long, worthless response. Christ’s words are not exclusive. They are to all. As for “social issues and issues of governance,” are you really that lacking in understanding the principals of civil rights? The church opposing gay marriage is no different than its opposition to the Civil Rights movement and the legislation it sparked. If you don’t think that’s political, an “issue of governance,” then I shall render to you the same advice I gave to another respondent: Read a book, preferably a history book. Good day, sir.

  4. I have read many books, especially history books, and I take a particular interest in history and government. Now, again, you fail to understand the difference between political and governmental. Let me explain this again.
    Social Issues are those political issues that deal with social interactions between the citizens of a nations. Marriage and civil rights are social issues, even though they are political.
    On the other hand, issues of governance are those political issues that deal with the operation of the national government and international relations.
    Yes, both of these are political, but they are different areas of politics; the first is an area that the church has always spoken out on. The second they have never spoken out on.

    Maybe you should try reading more.

    • You just can’t stand being schooled by a 700-year-old philosopher and theologian. I love how you feel the need to so meticulously define your terms, as if everyone should accept your explanation of things. Keep it coming. I haven’t laughed this much in decades.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s