Politics and Religion

The world of Politics today crosses over into the world of Religion more often then I think we would like to believe. The very thing that the Puritans came here to avoid, restrictions and control over the practicing their religion, is very much in danger of happening in the United States today.

I see and hear so many people in the Church say things, that I know that if they just realized how the Church stands on the topic they might take a little more time to think. I very often want to say something in the moment, but I don’t dare, as it’s either not a good place or not a good time, or I’m just not close enough to the person to feel like they will listen to me in that context, or really because I’m afraid to offend.

I probably shouldn’t be that way, I should be more brave to stand up for what I believe even, or maybe especially, to people who believe the same thing. So, that’s what I’m going to do here. It’s the chicken way, but it’s a start.

First example.

Pro-Choice. I could go on about this myself, but I’ll let an Apostle make my arguments for me.  Below is a link to the whole talk, which I recommend you read, and then a quote.

Weightier Matters by Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Pro-choice slogans have been particularly seductive to Latter-day Saints because we know that moral agency, which can be described as the power of choice, is a fundamental necessity in the gospel plan. All Latter-day Saints are pro-choice according to that theological definition. But being pro-choice on the need for moral agency does not end the matter for us. Choice is a method, not the ultimate goal. We are accountable for our choices, and only righteous choices will move us toward our eternal goals.

In this effort, Latter-day Saints follow the teachings of the prophets. On this subject our prophetic guidance is clear. The Lord commanded, “Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6). The Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience. Our members are taught that, subject only to some very rare exceptions, they must not submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion. That direction tells us what we need to do on the weightier matters of the law, the choices that will move us toward eternal life.

In today’s world we are not true to our teachings if we are merely pro-choice. We must stand up for the right choice. Those who persist in refusing to think beyond slogans and sound bites like pro-choice wander from the goals they pretend to espouse and wind up giving their support to results they might not support if those results were presented without disguise.

“Every woman has, within the limits of nature, the right to choose what will or will not happen to her body. Every woman has, at the same time, the responsibility for the way she uses her body. If by her choice she behaves in such a way that a human fetus is conceived, she has not only the right to but also the responsibility for that fetus. If it is an unwanted pregnancy, she is not justified in ending it with the claim that it interferes with her right to choose. She herself chose what would happen to her body by risking pregnancy. She had her choice. If she has no better reason, her conscience should tell her that abortion would be a highly irresponsible choice.

If we say we are anti-abortion in our personal life but pro-choice in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God’s servants have defined as serious sins. I urge Latter-day Saints who have taken that position to ask themselves which other grievous sins should be decriminalized or smiled on by the law due to this theory that persons should not be hampered in their choices. Should we decriminalize or lighten the legal consequences of child abuse? of cruelty to animals? of pollution? of fraud? of fathers who choose to abandon their families for greater freedom or convenience?

And another example.

I have seen several people who are decrying the Supreme Court decision today in favor of Hobby Lobby. People of my faith should be REJOYICING.  This protects OUR FAITH, just as much as it protects Hobby Lobby. The federal government should not compel people to do things contrary to their faith.  And if they could compel Hobby Lobby, what would stop them from compelling the Church?

Nothing.

And yet a third.

I have seen several people rejoice over the striking down of prop 8 in California (I know this is rather old news, but still valid to my point).  When the Church comes out with the statement, which they don’t often do, saying they are sad about it, you should be on board too.

There are more, but I’ll stop there for now.

I think very often people in the Church do not realize how far afield they get from their religion in what they believe politically.  I think people very often get into the “espouse ideas contrary to their religion.” without even knowing it. I think that’s because people try to have those things exist in a bubble, one separate from another. That’s impossible, and wrong.

Please please please, before you favor a political idea, see how it stacks up with your Faith. That’s all I’m really asking.

What talks from Apostles or statements from the Church have you see that influenced your political thought?

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