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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why Mormons are Conservative Republicans: Part 9: The Inconvenient Truth

Recently the Church issued a delightful little video to explain the Church’s political neutrality.

View it below:




It accurately depicts the Church’s neutrality. This may not have been how the Church operated in the past, but it IS how things are done now. For example, I remember the Church allowing mass meetings (precinct caucuses) in Utah to take place in church buildings. It has been a long time since that occurred though and it may not have been done with official approval even then.

However, neutrality is not necessarily non-partisan. It is difficult for the Church to claim it is non-partisan when its members are almost wholly associated with the Republican party. This is an inconvenient truth.

The Church is neutral and non-partisan, much more so than anyone would guess. I've been astonished to discover this cannot be said of all other religions.

My husband and I have a Christmas tradition where we attend Christmas programs of other religions. We go to as many as we can – Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopalian, Assembly of God, independent denominations, etc. I'm amazed at how often politics creeps into the proceedings.

Politics is absolutely off-limits in Mormondom. We may refer to it in general terms. We may use terms like politican, elected leaders, national elections, broadcast new media, but rarely specifics.

If someone does bring up specifics it makes some irate and the others uncomfortable. Then, closed door meetings ensue on how to deal with the inappropriateness.

If a current local Church leader endorses a candidate in his private, personal capacity it can often backfire, sometimes badly, even in a primary.
 "Here in Utah, it's not kosher to use your religion overtly for any purpose," says Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, and a friend of Mitt Romney.
"You don't hear politicians quoting the Bible or the Book of Mormon."
News media generally access L.D.S. political science/government faculty for information, commentary, sound bites and whatever else they need. L.D.S. political science faculty are almost entirely liberal Democrat; as are all such higher education faculty, regardless of religion.

Scholars that think government activity should be limited don’t generally want to study government. People who study government generally see an expansive role for government in society and in the lives of individuals; so it is perfectly logical that political science/government professors are liberal Democrats.

I’ve written before on how statistically I didn’t exist being a conservative Republican and working in academia.

These faculty members like to try and present the Church as being open to both parties. I think their commentary is skewed for this reason. Their own political ideology interferes with them being straight about how all the Mormon numbers align with conservatives, and especially, Republicans. It is an inconvenient truth.

Journalists and those associated with news media are overwhelmingly liberal Democrat. This also is an inconvenient truth.

So you've got liberal Democrats interviewing liberal Democrats about conservative Republicans. How can we really expect objectivity?

The Church may be open to both parties but the people aren’t.

There is no other religion so closely associated with one party, the Republican party, as the Mormons. I’ve known this ever since I got into politics which was about 1980. Mormons are overwhelmingly Republican and have been for years.


Highly religious Mormons are even more likely to be conservative and Republican than less active Mormons.  Mormons with lackluster commitment are much more likely to be liberal Democrats.

It is very hard to find good Mormons who are Democrats. Good Mormons are nearly always Republicans. That also is an inconvenient truth.

I share this viewpoint of Harry Reid's liberal Democrat views:
It is not possible for a faithful Mormon to support state-sanctioned gay marriage because it entails rejection of prophetic authority. On this issue Sen. Reid’s stance is not a liberal Mormon position; it is an anti-Mormon one.
Although the LDS Church does not expect or demand that its member politicians vote in accordance with its doctrines on political issues, it is possible to compare and contrast their positions with official church teachings. By this standard, Mitt wins the Better Mormon Award, though not by a landslide.
The “L word” is political death in Utah. Mormons do not like liberals, period.

Current news reports underscore that it is liberal Democrats that don’t want to vote for a Mormon President, not Evangelicals. That also is an inconvenient truth.

Given that the majority of church membership is now outside the United States, I see nothing wrong with underscoring that United States Mormons are conservative Republicans.

This is an inconvenient truth we all need to face.


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