Voting for a “biblically balanced agenda”

What happens when, for example, the candidate or party for whom you would like to vote takes a stance which you find morally problematic? Let’s say you intend to support Barack Obama. You like him. You like his message. You like most of his policies. He’s your man…except he opposes Prop 8, and you’re a Mormon. You worry (or are told to worry, not by the Brethren mind you) that a vote for Obama would be a vote against your church’s position on the matter. What do you do? (We already know that God supports McCain, so Republicans need not read on.)

As one possible solution, I offer advice that was given to Evangelicals and Catholics at the last election, faced, as they were, with a pro-choice candidate, John Kerry. You are, of course, free to consider Prop 8 support a deal-breaker if you wish, but for those who are torn, here’s something to think about.

Many Catholics and Evangelicals are even more vehemently anti-abortion than Mormons. You would think, then, that single-issue voting would dominate their politics. Not always.

Back in the summer of 2004, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who then headed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a memo that discussed whether Catholics should vote for pro-choice candidates. The answer was basically no, but with, perhaps, an important exception:

“When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

In other words, as long as a Catholic does not share the candidate’s pro-choice view, he/she may vote for that candidate if there are “proportionate reasons.” (BTW, I love the term “remote material cooperation.” Let it never be said that the Catholics don’t know how to describe issues with panache.)

I am no expert on Catholicism, and I know that this statement has been endlessly debated (and that Ratzinger was no Kerry fan), but to me it seems that the basic advice here is don’t (necessarily) vote on a single issue.

Even Evangelicals were urged to pursue a “biblically balanced agenda” (National Association of Evangelicals.) As Christianity Today put it:

“Abortion is a monstrous tragedy for the nation, but our Christian commitment to a culture of life does not permit us the luxury of abandoning other important issues.”

There is something to learn here about mature political engagement. Be sure to weigh all the issues carefully. Gay marriage and abortion are two, but what about war, justice, social policy, and healthcare? As citizens of free nations we should vote for a balance of policies that aim to make our society more prosperous, peaceful, moral, and just for all people, Mormon or not. Such a calculus could lead us to vote for the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, or Green. (Well, maybe not Labour.) The church does not endorse one party, not even tacitly, so do not listen to anyone who claims otherwise (such people are guilty of spiritual intimidation). Support or reject Obama based on the totality of his policies, not just one.

Can a Mormon who supports the FP position vote for a politician, like Obama or Schwarzenegger, who is anti-Prop 8? Yes, if that vote is cast for “proportionate reasons.” Given the political neutrality of the church, and its reluctance to publicly offer a Mormon solution to this Gordion knot, I recommend Mormons consider the Ratzinger formulation.


  1. What? Compromise? But a vote for an abortion supporter is a vote for eeevil!

  2. N.B.
    This post is not about abortion, Prop 8, gay marriage, or Nick Literski. It is about whether a Mormon can support Prop 8 but vote for a politician who does not support it. See the sideblog for the source of this hypothetical.

  3. Yes. It is the nature of politics. Your representative will always hold views you do not hold. The rather neat opposition of two major moral goals here is telling. Obama is against war/killing but for gay marriage, where McCain takes the opposite views. There are plenty of faithful, obedient Latter-day Saints who have voted and will vote for Obama.

  4. Of course, the whole issue might be a red herring anyway:

    Obama’s views on Prop 8 have no bearing on whether Prop 8 passes.

  5. “except he opposes Prop 8, and you’re a Mormon.”

    Here’s hoping you write that with tongue in cheek. The facts that I’m Mormon, and that the SLC Church leadership have taken a position on a political issue, don’t require me to share or agree with that opinion.

  6. cj douglass says:

    Obama’s views on Prop 8 have no bearing on whether Prop 8 passes.

    This is another great reason not to vote based on a single issue. I always point to the two decades of Republican domination with no Roe v Wade reversal.

    But I like the term “biblically balanced”. For example, why do we always hear about the “multiply” without much mention of the “replenish”?

  7. Actually, SA, I’m not being facetious. As has been pointed out, most US Mormons aware of the issue probably support Prop 8 and want to follow the FP on this one. This post is for them.

  8. Mark IV says:

    We often talk of politics as the art of compromise, and we usually have to do a load of compromisin’. The trouble is, we don’t admit it. For years now, many people on the American Left have been banging on their high chairs, accusing GWB of spying on the citizenry and shredding the constitution. They demanded, loudly, that he be impeached for his stand on FISA. Now that Obama has decided that FISA isn’t so bad after all, those same people have (finally!!!!! blessedly!!!!) chosen to remain silent, thank The Maker.

    smb is no doubt correct that this is simply the nature of politics, but I find it beyond ironic that the sponsors of the Federal Marriage amendment are Sens. Vitter and Craig. One of them trolls for anonymous sex in public lavatories and the other has addmitted to paying a prostitute to put a diaper on him, among other things. I mean, gah-ahh-ahh. For prop. 8, the church has aligned itself with groups which hate our guts and don’t hesitate to say so, every chance they get. It seems to me that we are sacrificing something for the sake of momentary politcal expediency. When we find ourselves repeatedly getting into bed for one night stands with such unnatural partners, we probably ought to stop long enough to consider the possibility that we might be going about this the wrong way.

    A. Lincoln said: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in…”

    God gives each one of us to see the right in a different way from our neighbor. That is why there is such an urgent need for charity.

  9. Ronan,

    Of course a Mormon can support Prop 8 and vote for a candidate like Obama who is opposed to it. Most voters are not academics and do not study issues as well as a BCC perma might or a well educated LDS conservative. I have seen a lot of studies on why voters vote the way they do. Issues are not always the most important factor. Some are

    1. What party their parents supported
    2. party loyalty
    3. Factors like race, gender, who looks good on TV
    4. Likability
    5. Political headwinds/trends. AKA lots of voters unhappy with the trend lines in the US the last few years

  10. Ronan,

    Just to give you a personal example. My wife has a conservative 90 year old LDS Grandma in SLC who is voting for Obama despite the fact that she does not agree with him on a host of issues in the social arena. See my #1 and #2 above. She votes Dem out of habit that started during the FDR years. My wife’s other grandma is she was alive (she died in 05) would be voting similarily for Obama for the same reasons.

  11. I think this quote by John Mansfield seems to say it all:

    “It’s pretty safe to say that there will be a very strong overlap between those who vote for Obama in California and those who vote against the marriage amendment; I consider his presence on the ballot to be the biggest obstacle the amendment faces. Any work to drum up Obama voters will work against passage of the marriage amendment. If there are those who are campaigning to get Obama supporters to vote for the amendment, though, that is great and valuable.”

    As much as there are differences in the candidates, and those you support hold positions counter to your own, the “one-issue vote” is reflective of a political and world view. For instance:

    “I personally stopped supporting the GOP because of the Iraq war, and switched to supporting the democratic party. I know a number of other committed religious people in other faiths who have done the same.”

    So, for some, the Iraq War has become a “one-issue Vote” determinate of whole political party support. It has become for some what Abortion is for others. Now what that “one issue” happens to be might change from person to person, but it is there. My guess is that that if you ask why a Republican and a Democrat support their respective parties, you are going to get a very short list for both. It is the nature of modern political discourse for Conservatives and Liberals. You might deny this, but Democrats (even of the LDS persuasion; just think Harry Ried’s rants) think of Republicans as evil as Republicans think Democrats.

    One study that I haven’t seen is how much “mixed voting” goes on in the United States? What that might mean I don’t know if it was or was not the case. However, I do think that a one vote issue goes far beyond the religious or Mormons. To get past that there would have to be a sea-change in how politics is reported. Since most people get their (National) politics from the news, then all they have to go with is the reports of candidate positions. Since news reporting is often about “one vote issues” and not nuances, then is it any wonder that is how people vote?

    You also have to remember that just because a person votes for a party doesn’t mean they support all of the party platform – or do they? That, I believe, is a chicken and an egg question. After all, you aren’t voting for individual issues, but an individual. Since you can’t line item veto an individual, or even a party, then the deciding factor goes to what you consider the most important platform postion. Again, for some it is abortion and gay marriage and for others the Iraq War. Yet, for others it might be something completely different, but you won’t here from them because of the national political narrative the news creates.

    There are very few people that vote by line item careful evaluation. Almost everyone votes according to a single or very short list issues. If they aren’t on a ticket, then all things equal, they go with them. I don’t know how this seems so strange or why it is worth a post that examines only one side of the political spectrum.

  12. I mean: if the issues of most importance aren’t on a ticket, then all things equal, they go with the party or individual that has them.

  13. We can’t count on Obama supporters to defeat Prop 8. One of his strongest demographic groups trends very homophobic. In my own Democratic precinct caucus in Washington, a member of that particular demographic group, who vocally supported Obama, used offensive anti-gay epithets against my partner, and may have tried to spit on him (he couldn’t be certain that was intentional). Lest you think my partner was being provocative, I can assure you he’s much lower-key than I am. I was chairing the caucus.

  14. Ronan,

    You’ve given me a vocabulary for a thought process that I have tried to utilize for a lot of my adult life. Though I trend to the left of center generally, I usually vote a split party ticket for various reasons, and in fact will be voting for a Republican in my local congressional race, for the same reasons I will vote for Obama in November. The proportional balance in the congressional race is too heavily imbalanced in one direction for my tastes, and the incumbent Republican more towards the center.

    Jettboy, sometimes a single issue is what tips a decision one way or the other after looking at several other issues and the candidates come up pretty equal. That doesn’t mean that particular issue is the only reason, just the tiebreaker. But you are correct that there are probably just as many knee-jerk liberals as knee-jerk conservatives.

  15. “Can a Mormon who supports the FP position vote for a politician, like Obama or Schwarzenegger, who is anti-Prop 8?”

    Yes. If anyone cares, I wrote about this extensively a few weeks ago:

    “When Moral Issues Become Political Issues”

  16. Didn’t finish:

    If I can vote for an issue differently than an official statement from the Church and than most members, I certainly can vote for a candidate despite disagreement over one or more issues.

  17. #11

    “One study that I haven’t seen is how much “mixed voting” goes on in the United States?”

    If you are talking about people voting for both democrats and republicans, the literature seems to show that this rarely happens. Those people who say that they vote for the person and not for the party still typically vote for people from the same party.

  18. Nick,

    “We can’t count on Obama supporters to defeat Prop 8. One of his strongest demographic groups trends very homophobic.”

    True, but most people voting against the Amendment will likely be voting for Obama. Though, I am sure that many Arnold-Republicans in California will be voting against it and for McCain.

    I am not sure what you mean by one of his “strongest demographic groups” since is strength his among liberals with high-levels of education, clearly a friendly group on this issue.

  19. Single issue voters on either side bug the hell out of me. I’ve never even voted straight party, it boggles my mind that people can cast their ballot just because someone is anti-war or anti-abortion. Every election my cousin tells me they’re voting for so and so because he doesn’t support gay rights. That same cousin couldn’t tell me a candidates stance on a single issue other than whether homosexuals should be allowed to get married.

  20. I am not sure what you mean by one of his “strongest demographic groups” since is strength his among liberals with high-levels of education, clearly a friendly group on this issue.

    He’s talking about African Americans.

  21. Even if that is that case, while African Americans do not seem overly in favor of gay marriage, they at the same time so not have the anti-gay marriage fervor that evangelicals and Mormons do. This is not to say that there might be some homophobia.

  22. No,

    He is talking about Hispanics. They went pretty heavily for prop 22 in 2000. Like 66% if I remember right.

  23. You’re probably right bbell, but if I’ remembering correctly, African Americans were somewhere up in the 60’s as well.

  24. Chris H., that is exactly what I mean. Now what do those findings mean?

  25. JJ,

    In CA Hispanics are bigger bloc.

    The prop passed by 61% so 60’s for most groups would not surprise me.

    I predict a vote for prop 8 of 52-55% in favor.

  26. Congratulations, Ronan, on getting me to post a comment on BCC after nearly 3 years of boycott. I succumb only because BCC’s link to my post unfairly mischaracterizes what I have written, and your post responds, in part, to that mischaracterization.

    My post did not say that a “vote for Obama is a vote against God,” and while I can see how you might interpret it to advocate one-issue voting, that was not its intention.

    I agree to a great extent with what then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) called voting for “proportionate reasons,” which I would call “Prudence.”

    My assertion that Obama’s opposition to the California Marriage Amendment (combined with his stated desire to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act) puts LDS members in an uncomfortable position and that voting for Obama may not be easily reconciled does not imply that reconciliation is impossible. It recognizes and leaves open the involvement of “proportional reasons.” An “uncomfortable position” is not the same as “impossible position.”

    Your derogatory aside saying that Republicans believe that God supports McCain implies either a woeful ignorance of Republican politics, or a willful distortion, or a poor ability to project sarcasm. I will assume the first. There are few Conservative Republicans who are thrilled with McCain. And I know of none who would ever consider him “God’s Candidate.” However, there are a number of liberals who talk about Obama in quasi-messianic terms. Does “Obama the Lightworker” represent “proportional reasoning?”

    My post was directed toward those members of the church who found themselves, because of the kind of prudence we BOTH advocate, leaning toward Obama. Many of them were unaware of not only Obama’s opposition to the amendment, but of his desire to repeal the Defense of Marriage act, and therefore virtually require that other states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in California. Proportional Reasoning is also a function of the information available.

    But for many of you here at BCC, and elsewhere in the Murmurnacle, this is post purely an academic exercise (as comments #5 and #7 demonstrate). You would vote for Obama because he opposes the amendment, not despite his opposition.

    You can hem and haw all you want about “proportional reasoning” but on BCC and in the Murmurnacle the widespread, public opposition to the First Presidency regarding same-sex marriage is plain to most everyone who visits here. Even a declaration of staying silent on the matter is a form of public opposition. If you cannot in good conscience support the First Presidency except by staying silent, than do it, don’t say it. Blogs are public media.

    Anyway, I know that I am likely preaching to stones here, so I will simply withdraw to my own corner of LDS Blogging again. Good luck in your collective fight for same-sex marriage. If this is God’s Church, and it is, than your disagreement would be better directed toward Him in private prayer than publicly toward the world. If you take it up with Him, and you are right, I’m sure he will make the necessary adjustments to His church.

  27. If there’s not a big chunk of Californians voting for Obama and for the marriage amendment, then the amendment won’t pass.

  28. Ronan, what I think you don’t account for is that not all issues merit equal weight.

    For example–could you support a Democratic presidential candidate with all the same stances as Obama, with the exception that this hypothetical candidate were a white pro-segregationist?

  29. Resolution: A minimum of three (or five or ten) years shall pass before J. Max Wilson posts a comment on BCC again.


    All in favor?

  30. #18:
    The African American community, in general, has been very anti-gay. Obama is aware enough of this, that he strongly criticized that trend during a speech at Martin Luther King’s church, this past January.

  31. Alert! Alert! Mormons reasoning about a public issue. They are not all voting the same way. Good thing we have J. Max Wilson here to set us straight by telling us that we are voting against the Brethen by voting for Obama. Now, who is going to tell the brethen that they think this way? I am pretty sure that they are unaware of this principle of the restored gospel.

  32. JimD,

    I think the language of “proportionate reasons” implies that issues are of equal weight. Of course, the weight given to issues varies by individual as well. In my case, a candidate’s stance on poverty is much more important than say their position on farm subsidies or the federal student loan interest rate. To those in other positions, for instance farmers and students, those issues may be exactly alike.

    I don’t want to start a threadjack here, but I think this goes along with Ronan’s point. We (Mormons) need to start taking a broader view of our politics, in terms of its effects internationally. We are members of a global church (ever heard that in General Conference before?) and one of Mormonism’s chief tenets is that we are all, Africans, Americans, Asians, etc., children of God. I am not sure that there are defensible moral reasons why I should value the life of an American more than that of a Saudi, a Canadian, a Brazilian, or so on and so forth. In that sense, foreign policy issues become moral as well.

  33. J. max: “I think I’ll write a post entitled Obama vs. the LDS Church.”

    Ronan: “Check out J. max — he’s claiming that a vote for Obama is a vote against God.”

    J. max: “Balderdash!! You’re completely mischaracterizing what I have written. Furthermore, you and all your murmurnacclites should remember that opposing the FP is opposing God’s Church. Repent, liberal marriage-destroyers!”

  34. Nick,

    Homophobia is everywhere (as you are well aware). Your generalization based on some thugs was inappropriate (especially given the same types of generalization made about gays because of the behavior of a few). They have tended to support pro-civil rights causes which have been friendly (if not indirectly) to the cause of gays.

    Obama voters are not your problem here. Your ability to alienate is amazing and politically problematic.

  35. Steve Evans says:

    J. Max, if you were at all sincere about withdrawing from the Bloggernacle (and indeed I long hoped you were!), you would never have posted your site as part of the largest Bloggernacle aggregator there is. Now is the time for you to prove your sincerity and honesty, by never showing your face anywhere in the Bloggernacle ever again.

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  36. I’ll have to agree with Nick on this one. African-Americans do statistically tend to be more homophobic than Whites. See

    According to this author, the chief cause of the increased homophobia may be…you guessed it- religiosity. This may in fact be a better predictor of homophobia than simply race.

    The news on Hispanics is a little more mixed: more tolerant of homosexuality, less tolerant of civil liberties for homosexuals.

  37. I find it hard to reconcile the war issue with the gay marriage issue.

    On the one hand, I could surmise that a clearly unjust war with countless lives taken is worse that two guys or gals who are not Mormon practicing their form of religion by getting married in a church with no authority.

    On the other hand, I notice that wars come and go… if not for nonexistant WMD’s, corrupt leaders would find another way to get young men and women to serve their country by killing others.
    Laws, however, such as laws regarding marriage, could be here for generations to come… long after those who were killed and those doing the killing have long since crossed the veil.

    I for one find myself leaning towards the first hand, especially since the government can allow some churches to practice gay marriage, while not forcing it on the True Church.

  38. On the race and ethnicity questions, there’s directly-relevant information about California. It’s not as stark as people here suggest. The California Field Poll from May 28, 2008, reports on percentages of Californians in favor of same-sex marriage. Among non-Hispanic whites, 53% favor same-sex marriage while 41% oppose. Among Latinos, 49% favor same-sex marriage while 42% oppose. For all other racial and ethnic groups, 43% favor same-sex while 47% oppose.

    In other words, there isn’t a major racial/ethnic group out there in California that overwhelmingly opposes or favors same-sex marriage. Non-Latino non-whites are less favorable of such marriages than are Latinos or whites — but not by particularly large margins.

  39. Nick, it turns out to be a relatively weak point, though. The relationship between party ID and opposition to same-sex marriage is substantially stronger than the relationship between race or ethnicity and opposition to same-sex marriage among Californians. Among Democrats in the Field Poll, 65% favor same-sex marriage and 29% oppose. Among independents, 61% favor same-sex marriage and 27% oppose. Among Republicans, in sharp contrast, 25% favor same-sex marriage and 69% oppose. In fact, the party ID relationship is comparably strong to the relationship between religiosity and opposition to same-sex marriage.

  40. A question I have is: Which ballot issue will spill over and effect the other? Will Obama bring lots of young voters to the polls who will also vote down Prop. 8? (No one will be going to the polls just for the special opportunity to vote for John McCain.) Or will interest in Prop. 8 bring out people who care about this issue and who will then vote for McCain or Obama while they happen to be in the booth? My hunch is that the day the court decision was announced, there were cheers at the McCain headquarters and groans at the Obama headquarters.

  41. John,
    I suspect that if that were the case, Obama would have remained above the state-issue fray here and not weighed in on the amendment.

  42. Nick,

    “My terminology made it abundantly clear that I was speaking of broad trends, not making a blanket statement about any group.”

    That was in no way clear by your comment. I am sympathetic to your position. I oppose Prop 8 and similar measures. I do not think that you should limit your circle of friends on this issue.

    Of course, #18 was not an honest question. I did not ask you any questions. I was challenging your comment.

  43. Thomas Parkin says:

    “Obama … quasi-messianic …”

    This almost made me pee my pants.

    Mr Cloudo, President of Heaven, indeed. :)


  44. John, in past proposition votes related to same-sex marriage, the vote has been far more mobilizing for same-sex marriage opponents than for supporters. This make sense, though, given that supporters usually had nothing to gain in those votes. Those propositions mostly intended to ban same-sex marriage even though there was no same-sex marriage in practice. So supporters of such marriages still wanted to defeat the propositions but really wouldn’t be any better off if they did. Not a terrifically motivating situation. In California, the situation is different and supporters of same-sex marriage will be just as mobilized by circumstances as opponents. So this probably results in slightly higher turnout but no real partisan tide. Of course, there would have to be a large partisan tide indeed for McCain to take California.

  45. One of my good friends says that she’s going to have the yard signs for Obama and Prop 8 sitting side by side. The only yard signs in my lawn will likely read, “lemonade $25 a glass.”

  46. 25 cents, not dollars.

  47. Thanks for the stats, JNS!

    Chris, I tried to be very clear that I was not ascribing a particular opinion to all African Americans, using words like “trend” and “in general. I’m sorry if this was not sufficiently clear for you. On the other hand, your personal attack did little to foster clearer understanding between us.

    As for being friendly toward civil rights causes, you should know that some of those “thugs” have been quite vocal about how “offended they are to have the fight for marriage equality considered similar in any way to the civil rights movement. Perhaps this comes down to JNS’s point, that religious and party ties are the larger factor.

  48. Jami, $25 a glass is a good idea. Then you only need to sell 1 glass.

  49. #34:
    thanks for making it clear that your #18 was just an attempt to bait and strike, rather than an honest question. My terminology made it abundantly clear that I was speaking of broad trends, not making a blanket statement about any group. The point was that many Obama supporters may actually favor Prop 8, based on the very generalized demographics.

  50. Yeah, I could have the kids dress in rags and print the sign on torn cardboard…I see potential.

  51. J. N-S., McCain won’t win California, but Obama may need to devote more resources there. Plus, having the amendment on the ballot in California following the court ruling makes the matter a current issue of national interest, so the candidates’ stances on the matter become more than the hypothetical curiousities that they have been for the last decade.

    Your reason to expect for more attention to Prop. 8 by same-sex marriage supporters makes sense. However, this time around is also different for same-sex marriage opponents: They aren’t opposing a hypothetical concern that may or may not exist.

  52. Nick,

    It was a political attack. I will now adhere to Ronan’s rule in #2.

  53. Brad (#42), I don’t see Obama sticking his neck out much on this. He’s trying to keep everyone happy like a good politician, supporting civil unions, but not same-sex marriages, but opposing measures that would oppose same-sex marriage. On his campaign website, you can look at the issues section; nothing about homosexuals under Civil Rights or under Family. On the other hand, John McCain’s campaign website has a Protecting Marriage subsection under Human Dignity & Life.

  54. I would hope that all voters would consider the following when deciding for whom to vote:

    –Which candidate has the political philosophy closest to my own?
    –Which candidate has moral integrity?
    –Which candidate would be a good leader and make the country safer?

    Notice that the amendment to support marriage is not even on the list of things I would consider, except that it may be one of 100 things I look at regarding political philosophy.

    If Obama were pro free-market, in favor of lower taxes on everybody, in favor of smaller government, in favor of using market forces on health care (rather than the govt), pro free-trade, pro-life, did not have a lot of baggage regarding violent leftists and wacky reverends being his foundational supporters, in favor of the war on terror and against gun control and he happened to oppose Prop. 8 I would probably vote for him over McCain. Very few conservatives are very enthusiastic about what the Republican party has to offer. Unfortunately Obama’s political philosophy is diametrically opposed to mine and Prop. 8 is one of about 100 large issues on which we disagree. There is no way I could vote for him under those conditions.

  55. John Mansfield, the non-hypothetical nature of what same-sex marriage opponents are now facing might be more mobilizing for each voter — but it really can’t be mobilizing for more voters, since such voters have had nearly full turnout in past referenda on these issues; that’s why these referenda seem to have influenced the outcomes of other races. So I doubt there’s much room for same-sex marriage opponents to be more mobilized than they were, say, for Proposition 22. Those in favor of same-sex marriage did not turn out at as high a rate in past votes on the issue, but it seems likely that they will this time. So I guess this is probably a net neutral for Obama.

    But I agree that Democrats in general almost certainly hoped to avoid this issue during 2008. While most Democratic party leaders oppose same-sex marriage, a clear majority of politicians who favor same-sex marriage are in the Democratic party. Hence, this issue has the capacity to make the party look further to the left than it actually is. Exactly the sort of issues parties like to avoid. (See also war with Iran for the Republican party.)

  56. Geoff B., I don’t know how you think Obama is anti-free-market. No such politician could hope to succeed in either party in early 21st-century America.

  57. S.P. Bailey says:

    #29 & #35: Disagree with J.Max all you want, but these contemptuous “get lost” comments seem unfortunately harsh.

  58. SP, we’re all capable of being nicer. I’m glad for the reminder.

  59. There is no one who has exhibited more contempt for his interlocutors than J. Max, so others being contemptuous of him is understandable, however much turning the other cheek might be a wiser course.

  60. S.P., agreed. A bit of tolerance for differing opinions would be a nice thing to see. And, btw, it would be nice to see an honest title to the link on the sideblog. The snarky claim that Jon is saying “a vote for Obama is a vote against God” is inaccurate and slanderous.

    JNS, there is no way you are going to convince me Obama is pro-free market. I barely think McCain is pro-free market. Both of them have an unfortunate history on taxes and on regulation, and both of them turn to the federal government to resolve all problems. McCain wins — barely — because he now supports the Bush tax cuts and is mostly in favor of free trade.

    Even the editorial writers at the NY Times recognize Obama’s opposition to NAFTA and other free trade agreements is a dangerous sign of anti-free market tendencies.

  61. J-Max,

    Your rudeness and hostility to people around here is unlikely to win anyone to your cause, unless you think you are Jesus in the temple or something, in which case, good luck to you. Sounds like you have your own Messianic tendencies to deal with along with a worrying tendency to speak for the Brethren.

    You know nothing of me, my faith, my church service, nor my position on Prop 8. This is a post that invites a discussion about your question as to how to square support for Obama with support for Prop 8. The fact that you choose to look in the shadows says something about the size of the beam in your own eye.

    Anyway, I know you think we are evil, so quit spending your time with publicans and sinners.

  62. Funny thing is, I don’t think the politicians in either party are really opposed to abortion.

    The Republican politicians simply pretend that they are. Truth is, they’d be perfectly content to see the status quo continue. None of them really give a damn about the Religious Right or its convictions. But they have no problem cynically exploiting their hot-button issues for votes, and then ignoring them until the next election.

    If you want to vote for a party that opposes abortion, you can’t really vote for either party.

    Might as well table the issue and vote on something else.

  63. I’m pretty sure I’m not a violent leftist even though I consider myself an Obama foundational supporter. I’m not a wacky reverend either, although both campaigns seem to have their share of those. One thing I do agree on… “that the amendment to support marriage is not even on the list of things I would consider…”

  64. Mark IV says:

    Geoff B.,

    I’m wondering why you think that the sidebar is inaccurate. He called Obama voter “fringe members”. That’s pretty insulting, not to mention slanderous and inaccurate. It is not his place (nor mine, nor yours) to decide who is in and who is out.

  65. Geoff B,

    “I barely think McCain is pro-free market.”

    That says it all. The Democrats are as pro-market as the Republicans. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA and destroyed the welfare system after Reagan and Bush Sr. were unable to do so (which is why I dislike Clinton so).

    For you, almost any government activity is an attempt to “turn to the federal government to resolve all problems” and therefore an affront to the free market. If only we could take America back to the 1880s, then everything would be better.

    As a liberal socialist, I am opposed to the free-market system (at least in the way that most Americans think of it). Obama clearly is not. Heck, even his health plan incorporates private health insurance companies (the root of the problem). For me, that is unfortunate. I support him despite those evil capitalist tendencies. In America, I have no better option.

  66. Geoff B., I guess this is a matter of definition to some substantial extent. For a very long time “free market” was used in opposition to “centralized planning” as two major economic systems. The U.S. experimented with centralized planning to some extent during World War II, but has otherwise never adopted the central tenets of this system. Certainly Obama isn’t talking about nationalizing industries or issuing five-year plans for the American ceramics industry. In any case, it seems clear that, for a lot of people, “free market” is not the same as “low taxes” or “free trade.” I am convinced that Obama is actually a supporter of free trade and that his announced opposition is a political tactic — the Democratic party at the presidential level has been pro-free-trade since Clinton and Obama’s record suggests that he really feels the same way.

    On the question of taxes, I think Obama will almost certainly raise them. So will McCain. Our current low level of taxation is unsustainable, given our military involvements and the debt from the Bush years.

  67. Mark IV, but he did not say a vote for Obama is a vote against God, and claiming he did is unnecessarily insulting to him as well as being inaccurate. Why stir up the pot unnecessarily?

  68. He said the a vote for Obama is a vote against the First Presidency. In the comments he says that it is a vote contrary to the restored gospel. Essentially a vote against God.

  69. Chris and JNS, yup, definitions are important. For a socialist, I would agree that Obama seems pro-free market. But remember I was saying I would vote for him based on my definition of pro-free market, not yours. I will vote for the candidate who is in favor of the lowest taxes and favors the smallest government (and is pro free trade). Obama loses my vote there (and in many other areas).

    JNS, interesting to note re Obama’s position on free trade that Obama is just as cynical about politics as any other politician. Wow, saying something to pander to a political base!? For shame. “Change” indeed.

  70. Geoff, yeah, I agree: Obama isn’t as idealistic a campaigner as his campaign literature would lead us to believe. Same with McCain. It’s a pity. I would have loved the more cordial and honest campaign they both promised. It would have been so… Novel.

  71. The public financing issue is already a disappointment (though not a surprise) for me.

  72. JNS and Chris H, if it makes you feel better, you can criticize McCain all day long, and I won’t take offense or even contradict you. He was the worst of the Republican candidates (except for Ron Paul and Tancredo). But I find myself in the very uncomfortable position of voting for somebody with whom I agree about 40 percent of the time vs. voting for somebody with whom I agree about 1 percent of the time. I guess I’ll have to take the 40 percent guy.

  73. Chris H and JNS, speaking of pandering, take a look at this:

  74. Yeah, Geoff, I know. Sad, isn’t it? This is what our institutions force any successful candidate to do.

  75. Thanks BCC for taking down the sideblog reference. We may disagree, but we can still disagree agreeably, right? I love you guys (and gals) and love BCC, even though I don’t show it as much as I should.

  76. Taking down a sideblog reference because it slightly exaggerated the egregiously inflammatory message of a blog post?! Talk about running to the center.

  77. MikeInWeHo says:

    There are plenty of Republicans in CA who oppose Prop 8, including our Governator. And who really cares what Obama’s position is? He can’t even vote on it. McCain is all over the place too. He opposed a federal marriage amendment, but now in an election year supports Prop 8? How dumb does he think voters are? At lease there’s hope this election cycle for those intrepid Log Cabin Republicans.

  78. Peter LLC says:


    The snarky claim that Jon is saying “a vote for Obama is a vote against God” is inaccurate and slanderous.

    I was with you until “is.” I wonder how you define “defamation”?

  79. Geoff,
    I believe that you are tilting at windmills with your Obama “anti-free-market” talk. I suppose we all have internal definitions of political terms, but I don’t think you definition matches up with the commonly held one. If it did, we’d see Obama wearing a Che T-shirt or some such.

  80. John C, funny you should mention Che Guevara and Obama. :)

  81. sister blah 2 says:

    #80–That’s been debunked. Word for the wise: never cite LGF as a source.

  82. As sister blah 2 says, there’s a back story that makes Geoff’s image meaningless:

  83. On a side note, I am a native of Florida and, as a result, I have all the respect for the Cuban lobby that they rightfully deserve. The Castros vs. the Miami exiles is a fight, generally speaking, between two sets of weasels. There ain’t a one of them I would trust farther than I could throw them.

  84. With your bad knee, John C., you shouldn’t throw anybody.

  85. One of my favorite tee-shirts is a Che shirt. Better quality than another tee-shirt my wife picked up in a diner in Nashville.

  86. C. Biden says:

    I think those who are calling the denial of equality to same-sex couples proposition “Prop 8” are mistaken. I don’t believe it has been given a number yet.

  87. JNS, I obviously don’t believe Obama is actively promoting Che Guevara as a hero. Thus the little smiley emoticon. In addition, that would definitely not play well in South Florida or in Middle America, and getting elected it what it’s all about. Having said that, “meaningless” is a strong word given Obama’s support from the violent left. The campaign HQ where this took place may have been a volunteer office, but it was still an Obama office staffed by Obama supporters. That is not “meaningless” at all.

  88. Mark IV says:

    With the utmost respect to J.N-S and sister blah 2, doesn’t it dodge the issue a little bit to say that the Che worship doesn’t matter because it was not an official campaign office?

    The disturbing thing is that this flag was displayed prominently for months in a place where enthusiastic Obama supporters worked and nobody objected. The candidate is certainly not responsible for the things his supporters do, but it does reveal something at least a little ugly about at least this batch of supporters, wouldn’t you agree?

    If an unofficial group of McCain supporters had a confederate flag on the wall, I don’t think we would brush it off or say it was meaningless just because it was not an official campaign office.

  89. How and who I vote for is my business. That is my right as a U.S. citizen. My works and deeds will be judged by only the highest authority. Everyone else can mind their own business.

  90. Latter-day Guy says:

    Ronan, thanks for this post. I very much agree with the basic thesis here. (Besides, I am always happy when someone marshals the pope to their cause.)

    I think that there is simply too much contempt for “the other” on both sides (not in this discussion in particular, just in general). Hateful discourse is not the territory of any one ideology, and just as it is inappropriate to say that Harry Reid should face excommunication for his positions (which I have heard first-hand), it is equally wrong to adopt an attitude of disdain for those mindless Mormon republicans who clearly know nothing of caring for the poor and who love oppressing minorities (which I have also heard). I suppose that this is what made me cringe at your (admittedly playful) little jab at the end of the first paragraph. I don’t for a moment believe that you intended to be vindictive, but, seeing how far political discourse had deteriorated in the last 10 years, I still hate to observe what is worst in the world reflected in the Body of Christ.

    If, while voicing our deeply held opinions and examining our serious disagreements, we lose the ability to assume good intent and thoughtfulness in those with whom we do not see eye-to-eye on some issues, we are wrong… no matter what side we’re on.

  91. Mark and Geoff, no, I really don’t think the flag means anything. It’s a two-party system. Obama gets supported by everybody left of center, and McCain gets supported by everybody to the right. Who do you think skinheads support? Remember the large Republican meeting where a vendor was selling a button saying, “If Obama wins, can we still call it the White House?”

    Both partisan coalitions in the U.S. contain scary people. It just doesn’t mean anything to point that out. Nor is it reasonable to infer that McCain is a racist or Obama a totalitarian because of some people who support them.

  92. Mark IV, you probably remember this episode:

    Senator John McCain’s misadventure with the neo-Confederate movement in the 2000 South Carolina primary provides a cautionary tale that must not be lost on Allen. Facing George W. Bush in South Carolina, McCain hired Richard Quinn as his state field manager. Quinn was an editor of the neo-Confederate magazine Southern Partisan, and a frequent critic of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, who he once dubbed a “terrorist.” Before the primary, Quinn organized a rally of 6,000 people in support of flying the Confederate flag over the statehouse. Quinn dressed up McCain volunteers in Confederate Army uniforms as they passed fliers to the demonstrators assuring them that McCain supported the Confederate flag.

    As soon as news spread that McCain had called for removal of the Dixie flag from the statehouse, the SCV’s Richard T. Hines funded the distribution of 250,000 fliers accusing McCain of “changing his tune” and describing Bush as “the [only] major candidate who refused to call the Confederate flag a racist symbol.” Bush surged ahead of McCain and took South Carolina, dooming McCain’s presidential hopes.

    “People didn’t buy it,” Baum told me about McCain’s gambit. “When he thought the flag issue would help him, he was for it. When he thought it wouldn’t help him, going North, he denounced it. And you still have all these gullible liberals who think McCain’s a saint.”

    Of course, as a McCain supporter at the time, I was more worried about the unscrupulous actions of unofficial GWB supporters.

  93. … McCain gets supported by everybody to the right.

    I just don’t think that’s the case. One of the big problems McCain faces is lukewarm excitement at best for him which means he’s not getting a lot of support. And in those cases a lot of people might just stay home and elect to say, “none of the above.”

  94. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA and destroyed the welfare system after Reagan and Bush Sr. were unable to do so (which is why I dislike Clinton so).

    Bill Clinton was to Democrats what McCain is to Republicans. Except that Clinton was amazingly charismatic and far more competent in many ways – albeit with a pretty self-destructive tendency.

    The difference is that McCain doesn’t have a weak President of the opposite party. The exact opposite is the case. I’d say that McCain has about zero chance of winning unless Obama self-destructs.

  95. Clark,

    The difference is that McCain is who he is (honest). Clinton used the left to actually get elected then sold out on their causes.

    That the right rejects McCain over torture and immigration is disturbing. It is also evidence that the right is dangerous and lacks a soul.:)

  96. Chris H, as somebody on the right, please rest assured that I actually support McCain on the immigration issue, and the torture issue is complicated, but that is not the source of my animus for him by a long shot.

    McCain was against the Bush tax cuts. He is a classic big government Republican who looks to the federal government to solve all our problems. He barely tolerates social conservatives like myself, mostly because he sees himself as so much smarter and sophisticated than us rubes. He is against Alaskan oil drilling. He loves poking a stick in the eye of conservative Republicans.

    These are the real reasons many of us on the right don’t like McCain. I will agree with you, however, that many of my fellow conservatives concentrate too much on the immigration issue, and I am frankly ashamed of it. “Disturbing,” indeed. :(

  97. Clark, in opinion polls right now, McCain’s support is completely solid among those who describe themselves as “very conservative.” The idea that these people won’t support him, or that their failure to support him would decide the election, isn’t really one that I would give a lot of credibility to. Maybe if we start seeing high single digit numbers for a third-party candidate of the right this line of reasoning would start looking more attractive. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure that people on the right will fall in line by November. Just like people on the left did for Clinton.

  98. Geoff,

    I think that the eye poking is what bothers most Republicans. I have read some of your comments on immigration elsewhere and remember agreeing to a large degree. Do not worry, he is coming around to your view on drilling.

    When it come to his feelings about social conservatives, I know how he feels. Of course, I actually am smarter than you rubes (though I am not sophisticated). I has been nice chatting with you today.

  99. Clark and JNS,

    The right has also shown that they will fall in line behind the GOP. They are good foot soldiers. They are very savvy when it comes to doing what it takes to win. I think the abortion issue plays a role in assuring this unity.

    The left has shown a higher likelihood of turning on the Democratic Party if disgruntled (see 2000). We like to eat our own.

  100. Mark IV says:

    J. N-S,

    You are certainly correct to observe that a two party system creates some odd and extreme partisans on both sides. However, I’m not sure your comparisons apply. Everybody recognizes skinheads and racist button vendors as obnoxious and shuns them. The button seller lasted only 24 hours.

    The Che lovers, as far as I can tell, were mainstreamers. The situation with the flag troublesome precisely because it was displayed so prominently for months and nobody thought it was extreme or obnoxious. However, I’ll defer to your knowledge here, since the chances are very good that you are better informed than I. If you say that it isn’t mainstream or typical of Obama supporters, that’s good enough for me.

  101. Mark, it isn’t mainstream or typical of Obama supporters. I’ve never seen this kind of stuff in real life, and the internet only ever found the one office.

    It’s mainstream and typical of more-or-less college-age kids, and a wide range of other people who don’t think for three seconds, to have Che stuff. A favorite of mine was the College Republicans recruiter kid I saw on campus this fall wearing a Che shirt. I asked him about it and he said he was wearing it because of Rage Against the Machine. This doesn’t mean it isn’t inappropriate, just that it may not mean actual support for actual communism. Instead, it might mean that someone doesn’t have enough brain cells to start a fire.

  102. Let me note that my last comment isn’t intended as a general defense of the Obama campaign. There are doubtless some people involved in it that I wouldn’t want to be personally associated with, as with any major campaign. But I do think that taking the decisions of nth-tier activists within a campaign organization seriously is probably more of a distraction than anything.

  103. Well, there is this poster that the Obama campaign (much higher up then the nth-tier) thought was a good idea.

  104. Yeah, John, kinda tacky, isn’t it? I hate that kind of stuff… Why not stick with the clean and attractive campaign logo?

  105. JNS, regarding your #96, the problem McCain has is enthusiasm. Bush won in 2004 because of an enthusiastic turnout from conservatives. If you look at the numbers, the Dems did a great job getting out the vote — the issue is that Rove and company did an even better job. And this was all about enthusiasm.

    I know lots of conservatives who gave to Bush in 2004. I gave him several hundred dollars. None of them, including me, have given to McCain so far. (I just got an appeal from Mitt to give to McCain, btw). I will not give to McCain if he chooses Charlie Crist (a moderate Republican) as his running mate. He needs to choose somebody like Jindal or Mitt to get a cent from me.

    I think you make a mistake when you assume all conservatives will vote for McCain because they don’t have a choice. I will vote for him (holding my nose). But a lot of conservatives won’t vote at all. And, most importantly, we will not campaign actively for him nor will we give him money. If I were McCain, I’d be very worried about this.

  106. It’s not about the issues, America wants change. Obama Likely has a poster in his office with “It’s the Change stupid”, and will be taking it into the White House.
    People have tied of the Conservative Dream. They want a new dream.
    Sooo..The Old South, the White Buffalo, the Conservative Dream…table for three , please.
    Obama, will be bring, what 50,000 Democrats to Washington with him(?) That alone is change.

  107. John, 102, that poster does sort of look like something out of the 1920s USSR, doesn’t it? But it’s not quite as bad as that pretend presidential seal with the Obama logo in the middle that some silly designer thought was a good idea.

    Geoff B, I gave to McCain in 2000, but it was more in a vain attempt to derail the Bush campaign (knowing what a disaster his administration would be, but still underestimating the magnitude) than a mark of my enthusiasm for McCain, which was genuine, but hardly overwhelming.

  108. In my region here in California, there was a huge run-up in housing prices a few years back. Many of the most conservative members I know sold their houses and bought houses outright in cheaper, more conservative states (mainly Idaho and Utah). It strikes me that the conservative proposition in question might have a decreased support because of the exodus.

    Additionally, the constitutionalists I know are not only disgusted with McCain, they are also against constitutional re-writes on principle, so that might also cut into the conservative voter turn out.

  109. Ronan,
    Thanks for the thoughtful post. It’s nice to hear push-back against single-issue voters.
    I must say the comments have been a little random, and petty. surprising, considering this is a political discussion :)
    Last Saturday my husband and I attended a Unite for Change event (like Pampered Chef for Obama) at a home near us.
    About 25 people showed up for the wine and cheese (no non-alcoholic beverages, unfortunately) and we watched a video of the grass-roots Obama campaign.
    It was really cool, actually. The best part was the end where we sat in a circle and went around, person by person bearing testimony about Barak Obama. (not kidding. hardly anyone mentioned his policies, just his why they like him, how he has judgment and will bring change.)
    Anyway, they didn’t ask for money which was nice, just for us to host our own parties (ala pampered chef) and bring our friends and family into the Obama umbrella.
    Is McCain having similar events?

  110. Chris, I don’t think you know why the right rejects McCain. It certainly isn’t for the reasons you outline.

  111. JNS, that polls say they would vote for McCain over Obama is clear. Of course any conservative would vote for McCain over Obama. The question is how enthused they are over him and how active they will be in their participation.

  112. “Bearing testimony” of Barack Obama freaks me out, and he’s the guy I would probably vote for. That’s just weird.

  113. MikeInWeHo says:

    But you don’t get to vote, Canada boy.

    re: 107
    Not really, Bill. The Soviets would have steered clear of those color choices in their quest for Socialist Realism.

  114. Peter LLC says:

    Steve, for the right price I’ll fill in a ballot for you…

  115. Peter LLC says:

    …at the next PTA election. 8)

  116. I don’t understand why the church is in such a tizzy about proposition 8. It only affects civil marriage and the church has managed to survive and thrive in Canada and Scandinavia where same sex marriage is legal. This is a civil issue only. The proposed amendment states the “State of California …” shall recognize marriage only between a man and a woman. It says nothing about the religious institution of marriage, ONLY the civil one.

    One’s left to wonder what would Christ do? My reading of the four gospels leads me to suspect he would be disgusted with any church that blasphemes his name in support of prop 8 when it sends out letters promoting literally tearing same sex families apart, promoting sexual promiscuity or at least serial monogamy for gay people, and limits children to a single parent in some cases (yes some gay people have children and in California, like most states, they can adopt … you don’t have to be married to do that).

  117. Steve Evans says:

    Rub it in, Mike!

  118. Is this color scheme close enough?:

  119. Sam, I’m not sure that in the United States marriage can be said to be a civil issue only. Historically it’s certainly not the case. I wish it were the case. That is that the government got out entirely of the marriage business and simply dealt with civil arrangements completely unrelated to sex or families. But that’s not the case. To say that marriage is unrelated to religion seems disingenuous at best.

    As to why the Church treats American politics differently I think there is a special view of America and the America constitution. That’s partially because of the constitution being inspired, America holding the resting place of Zion and America being where a significant number of Mormons live.

    As for what Jesus would do, I find in discussions he always seems to do what the person in question likes politically. Odd, isn’t it? I’d just note that Jesus seemed quite concerned about maintaining religious ritual judging by his actions in the temple. I think turning Jesus into a libertarian is a difficult proposition.

  120. John Mansfield says:

    I’m pretty glad that my parents started their marriage with a trip to the county courthouse; I’m all for valuing and defending civil marriage.

  121. John Mansfield says:

    The libertarian sniping at civil marriage is really weird. “So you two want to marry. Well, go join the Elks Club or the Moose Lodge, and they’ll patch you up. If only Barry Goldwater had been elected president, we wouldn’t still be burdened with this ‘civil marriage’ stuff that FDR foisted on us in between social security and income tax withholding.”

  122. While I have my own personal political convictions, as time goes on, I have a harder time tying any gospel principles to either party. I used to say that my religion informed my political opinions, but now I really do think that politics really are the epitome of “the philosophies of men”.

    That doesn’t mean I’m not still a political junkie, and love to watch the upcoming race. I just find that on a purely religious footing, both major parties are telestial material. Libertarians only have the concept of agency going for them, and it doesn’t go very far.

    Mark’s Biblically Balanced Agenda idea is interesting, but ultimately, I’m growing more wary of trying to equate political philosophies with the timeless gospel.

  123. kevinf- Amen! To all three paragraphs.

  124. #122:”Libertarians only have the concept of agency going for them, and it doesn’t go very far.
    Yeah, ” Nobody but me” makes it hard to build a party.

  125. John, I’m no libertarian, but I find it odd that you find it odd. Clearly there are government programs with benefits tied to marriage. To me it’s clear this is tying benefits to a religious ceremony. Remove the religious ceremony aspects (i.e. stop calling it marriage for everyone) and then where’s the problem?

    Even though I disagree with them those who argue that state intervention in marriage is good because of issues such as say stopping promiscuity can point to stable relationships without necessarily pointing to marriage. So I just don’t see the necessary state intervention on human relationships as marriage

    You say you’re glad your parents marriage started with a trip to the courthouse. Could you explain why? To me my trip to the courthouse was an annoyance and pointless.

  126. John Mansfield says:

    Clark, there are two main reasons I’m glad. First, marriage isn’t just a relation between the spouses; it’s also a relationship between the couple and the rest of society. Entering into that relationship requires a representative of society. The second reason is that some act is needed to unambiguously mark the beginning of the married state. Religious societies could take care of these things, but a lot of people aren’t part of religious societies.

  127. “Libertarians only have the concept of agency going for them.”

    Umm, agency IS the prime directive, is it not…? It is pretty hard to get to arrive at correct conclusions when your premise is faulty. And the Libertarians have the correct starting point.

    The idea that righteousness cannot be achieved at the point of a gun is central to the Plan of Salvation. Perhaps we ought not to forget that when we hear about political platforms that promote forcefully confiscating the property of others for the purpose of redistributing it to the satisfaction of some entity in an office somewhere. Or when we hear about parties that would deprive of us every civil liberty to assure our security…..

    Libertarians are the people who point out how wildly aggressive our government and our society as a whole have become. If you think about it, their assertion is actually correct: Every law and regulation does have a gun at the end of it. When there is a gun pointed at you, you are no longer operating within the realm of reason and persuasion – and reason is the realm that the Lord operates within.

    The suggestion that Libertarians are “all about me” is based upon misunderstanding. Libertarians value personal liberty to the extent that they do no harm to others. There is nothing in that statement to suggest they oppose voluntary charity or belonging to organizations devoted to good works. Conversely, they believe that private individuals and private organizations are much more effective at accomplishing good works for mankind than the government. Our own experiences in doing service in the Church lets us know how true this is.

  128. sister blah 2 says:

    The suggestion that Libertarians are “all about me” is based upon misunderstanding. Libertarians value personal liberty to the extent that they do no harm to others.

    It’s not a misunderstanding. Getting rid of socialized government services like schools, roads, libraries and welfare would in fact do a great deal of harm to others.

  129. Are you suggesting schools and libraries can
    only exist with the government in control? I’ll bet your average home school-er would beg to differ.

    Come now. Libertarians think these things can be done better and more cost-effectively by the private sector — and without committing the atrocity of
    coercion. It wasn’t all that long ago that your average Republican thought so too. People can and do congregate and cooperate on a voluntary basis.

    You seriously misunderstand libertarian thought if you think libertarians “want” illiteracy and that they “want” poverty and that they “want” rampant
    sickness and death. Actually, they “want” all these things to dwindle and go away, and believe liberty is the best way to achieve that.

    But, just like the 1/3 of the hosts of heaven who
    chose Satan’s plan — many people out there do
    indeed fear liberty. The more they have allowed the government to take over their lives, the more
    they fear it.

  130. I posted a couple of days ago on T&S that it makes me very uncomfortable to see so many LDS who either support SSM or who think the First Presidency is wrong (inconsistent, misplaced, hypcritical, or what have you) to oppose it.

    It’s not just the SSM issue: I have seen something of a bias towards those who are in some way critical of the Church, its leadership, its doctrines, its programs, or its members leanings.

    “Murmurnacle”, as JMW called it, is an apt description of some of the prominently featured, highly placed, or frequently appearing blogs on Mormon Archipelago. may be the largest aggregator of LDS related blogs, but I trust and sincerely hope that it’s not a representative sample.

  131. jonahtrainer says:

    I find it odd that out of 130 comments no one has cited the official Church doctrine concerning the Proper Role of Government. Most of this doctrine can be found in D&C 134 & The Constitution A Heavenly Banner; a 1986 BYU devotional address by Pres. Benson directed to the general membership of the Church and available at the BYU Speeches website (the mp3 has the general membership statement). This doctrine is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and applied in most of the US Constitution as originally framed.

    As far as comment #119 ” I think turning Jesus into a libertarian is a difficult proposition.” the author has either does not know what a libertarian is or has not read the doctrine cited above or is in open rebellion against it.

    As Pres. Benson states, “The central issue in the premortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed him stood for the former proposition–freedom of choice; Satan stood for the latter–coercion and force.” and “The fourth basic principle we must understand is that people are superior to the governments they form. Since God created people with certain inalienable rights, and they, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that the people are superior to the creature they created.”

    Thus, we can reason that our political desires are an extremely accurate index of what we would do with the Lord’s power. If we would exercise ‘control or dominion or compulsion’ unrighteously then our support of laws which regiment and control the business and private affairs of our neighbors and deprive them of their stewardships would clearly indicate this. We must expect the Lord to use our political beliefs as a measure of our character being either moral (like Christ advocating freedom of choice) or immoral (like Satan advocating coercion and force).

    Both Pres. Hinckley and Monson have reaffirmed many times the doctrine as taught by Pres. Benson and found in D&C 134. The Brethren have not explicitly used their mantle as Prophets, Seers and Revelators to repudiate the forgoing principles and doctrines or to provide immunity (D&C 132:46) at the judgment bar of God for a potential claim of unrighteous dominion (as government is the hired agent of individuals it follows that one is vicariously liable for acts committed by governments on their behalf and with their consent; D&C 134:1) against anyone who carries out the directive in the letter (assuming there is liability for Property or Liberty interest infringements which must always be considered when contemplating governmental action of any kind). For example, the June letter states ‘We ask you’ where it could easily have read ‘The Lord commands you through His authorized servants’. There is a big difference between the two. Thus the issue is unresolved as to whether the First Presidency is asking for this cooperation as Prophets, Seers and Revelators OR as mere men and concerned fellow citizens.

    Thus, each person should study the doctrine and apply the principle of personal revelation so they can stand blameless before the Lord.

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