I may choose to ignore anonymous comments. I consider this type of anonymity dishonest. Also, I don't post regularly. I post when I have something worth writing and something worth reading. I explain all this in: Don't Let Telling Tales Trip Up Your Truthfulness.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Obama, Beck, Mormons and Christians: Who Defines Whom?
A short article by Logan Penza entitled, "Anti-Mormon Bigotry Targets Glenn Beck" in The Moderate Voice caught my eye. It captures some of my frustrations well:
Anti-Mormon religious bigots have taken the opportunity provided by Beck’s prominence to renew their longstanding attacks on all Mormons . . . Many of those attacks come from evangelical Christians who have a long and tragic history with anti-Mormon persecution . . . . At worst, it is a red flag of the very bigotry that they would loudly condemn if anyone but Mormons were the target.
We Mormons have never denied there are differences between our beliefs and that of most Christians, but numerous members of these faiths are declaring that we are not Christian.
Beck is engaged in exactly the same sort of thing by declaring that Obama is not a Christian. Isn't Obama the best, and most reliable authority, on what his beliefs are? Who are we to question his belief system? How can anyone get inside his head or his heart? The best anyone can do is posit a personal opinion that someone who engages in particular actions is unlikely to have a particular belief system. But, that is shaky at best. It is not in human nature for ALL of our actions to coincide with our beliefs.
Shouldn't we grant everyone the right to define themselves?
Aren't we ourselves the final authority on what we believe? We can't tell anyone else what they believe any more than we can tell them how they feel.
Being Christian is a belief system. I don't think it can be wholly defined as membership in a particular, limited number of traditional religions. Mormons have never claimed they were Protestants or Catholics. We've never claimed membership in any particular religion like Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist, etc. We have always claimed to be Mormons, separate and apart from other religious bodies. We have never claimed to be an off-shoot, reformist or splinter group of anyone.
It is not inconsistent for Mormons to claim someone is or is not a Mormon.
Membership in the L.D.S. Church is not a vague identification or feeling of alliance; it is an actual membership record. You either have a membership record or you do not. You either are a Mormon or you are not. There is no gray area.
Penza points out that these traditional Christians seem to be engaging in some very unchristianly behavior. I think Beck is too. But, that is the strongest statement that I, or anyone, can make on the matter.