LDS Neutrality ‘A Hard Sell’ after Prop 8
In a lengthy statement on their main website, Mormon leaders say the church does not “endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.”
“We’re just going to do what the church does, regardless of the election,” [LDS national spokesman Michael Purdy] said.
The neutrality message can be a hard sell since Mormons are known to be overwhelmingly Republican and more socially conservative than many other Americans. The impression was reinforced by Mormon contributions of money and volunteers for Proposition 8, the 2008 California measure to bar same-sex marriage. (LDS officials say they were advocating for a moral, not a partisan, issue.)
”Romney, Mormons Brace for a Mean Political Season”
Rachel Zoll for the Associated Press, 3 May 2012
LDS Church Explains Political Involvement in New Video
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral when it comes to party politics. Simply put, its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not elect candidates.
So just what does political neutrality mean? Let’s take a closer look. Political neutrality means that the church does not engage in party politics, endorse candidates, or try to influence them. Also off-limits: The use of church buildings for political events and political messages from the pulpit, or using membership lists for fundraising and campaigning. As, without exception, whether they’re Mormon or not it makes no difference.
Does that mean that Mormons don’t vote? Hardly. Latter-day Saints are encouraged to get civically involved. Like other citizens, Mormons vote during elections, are active in the political process, and some may even choose to run for office. Church leader Elder M. Russell Ballard has said this to church members: Be involved, but don’t look to the church as to how to get involved.The civic duty of any Latter-day Saint, regardless of where they live, or including any county they may live in, is to be actively involved in the political process—that meaning that they study the issues, they determine what the needs are as they see it, that they then use their freedom and their agency to vote according to their own conscience. It’s very important that good people everywhere are involved in this process.
What about speaking out on community and moral issues if they’re not about party politics? Of course that’s OK. It’s a long-held right of all religions to have a place in the public square. Like many of those faiths, the church may choose from time to time to join the discussion on moral issues that it believes could impact society.
So, in a nutshell, political neutrality means that the church does not back candidates, but Mormons as individuals are encouraged to fully participate in the election process, back the causes and candidates of their choice that inspires good government, and on election day, vote according to their conscience.
If you’d like to learn more, go to mormonnewsroom.org
“Political Neutrality: Whiteboard Animation ‘Draws Out’ Church Position (VIDEO)”
Buddy Blankenfeld for Mormon Newsroom, 3 May 2012
LSU NEWS OPINION: LDS Prop 8 Blowback Example of LGBT Intolerance
During the fallout of a California referendum which banned gay marriage in 2008 (after it had been legal for more than a year), several Mormon and Catholic churches were vandalized, and burning copies of the Bible and the Book of Mormon were left on their doorsteps.
Fighting intolerance with intolerance is like using a flamethrower to put out a fire. The California situation and others like it have done nothing but breed further distrust and anger.
“Blue-Eyed Devil: Church Leaders Need a Middle Ground on Gay Debate”
Nicholas Pierce for The Daily Reveille, 1 May 2012
ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES OPINION: NC’s Gay Marriage Ban Like Mormon Marriage Ban?
North Carolina’s Amendment One is not a religious issue, but a legal one. It constitutionally denies legal rights to same sex couples. Legislating based on one set of scriptures is a very dangerous slippery slope. Should the state only legally recognize Judeo-Christian marriages? Maybe the state should not recognize Jewish, Mormon or Catholic marriages. … The separation of church and state is necessary to avoid this kind of slippery slope.
“Readers Offer More Thoughts on Marriage Amendment”
Bil Stahl for the Asheville Citizen-Times, 27 April 2012
Mormon County Supervisor Candidate Questioned on Same-Sex Marriage
County supervisors have no … say in whether same-sex couples should be permitted to marry.
Despite that, [Tomi] Van de Brooke introduced the subject last week in the first face-to-face debate, telling the audience she is the “only pro-choice, pro-marriage equality woman in the race” and pledged to protect Planned Parenthood funding.
[Candace] Andersen fired back during the editorial board meeting, saying her more conservative personal values as a Mormon woman have “nothing to do with county issues.”
“Three Candidates — Two Seasoned, One Newcomer — Running for Contra Costa Supervisor”
Lisa Vorderbrueggen for the Contra Costa Times, 17 April 2012
Mormon Apologists FAIR to Discuss Gay Marriage at August Conference
The annual FAIR Conference of scholars, apologists, and interested individuals will meet August 2-3, 2012, at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah. …
The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, commonly known as FAIR, will host speakers and other experts who will discuss many of the topics and questions that have arisen as a result of Mitt Romney’s campaign. Among other hot topics and important issues to be discussed this year are questions regarding Mormonism and Blacks, Mormon women, polygamy, troubling aspects of Mormon history, and the difficult issues surrounding gay marriage.
“Apologetics Conference Targets Important Issues Confronting Mormons”
Press Release via PRWeb, 30 April 2012
Mormons Hope Romney Won’t Re-Entangle Church, Gay Marriage Debate
“I cannot count the number of stories I’ve heard from moms who left the church because of Prop. 8,” explained Utah writer and social critic Holly Welker. “The reason? They have a gay son or daughter.”
Indeed, since the backlash after Prop. 8, the church has been cautious when it comes to hot-button social issues. It has proclaimed itself on the sidelines of Maryland’s gay-marriage referendum and allowed a gay student club to form at Brigham Young University. Romney, however, could re-entangle the church with social issues: He’s signed the National Organization for Marriage’s pledge and backed a federal marriage amendment. Now, with commentators suggesting that Romney “own” his Mormonism as part of his campaign, some Mormons are hoping that he doesn’t.
“Mormons Who Fear Mitt”
Troy Williams for Salon, 27 April 2012
Dustin Lance Black Explains Mormon Marriage Beliefs
[Mitt Romney] still pays a full and complete tithe to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
To Mormons, this signals an investment in maintaining his Temple Recommend … [T]his also reflects a deep investment in core LDS beliefs — including the promise of an afterlife reserved only for heterosexual Mormons married in an LDS temple. Full tithe and obedience in exchange for his own planet in heaven to send down the spirit children he creates with his heavenly wife. Procreation here and in heaven, that’s the LDS view of marriage. Marriages for gay and lesbian families fly in the face of those core beliefs.
“Dustin Lance Black Blames Obama and Romney for the Mess of Gay Marriage”
Dustin Lance Black for The Hollywood Reporter, 26 April 2012
Soulforce LGBT Activists Meet with LDS Representatives
Gay-rights freedom riders met for more than two hours Monday with a handful of LDS officials …
The group, Soulforce’s 2012 Equality Ride, had four specific requests for the LDS Church: to cut all ties with and denounce Evergreen International, which continues to use “reparative” therapy in its treatment of gays; to stop funding groups that are fighting civil marriage equality across the country; to encourage LDS Business College to bring its policies on homosexuality in line with current Mormon teachings; and to add sexual orientation and gender identity/expression to the faith’s policies for church employees.
Equality Ride had sought a meeting with Mormon higher-ups, including apostles or members of the church’s governing First Presidency. Instead, the advocates huddled with LDS legislative lobbyist Bill Evans, public-affairs representative John Taylor, former TV reporter Ruth Todd and LDS attorney Alexander Dushku, who helped write briefs defending the church’s position on California’s Proposition 8.
“Gay-Rights Advocates Meet with LDS Officials”
Peggy Fletcher Stack for The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 April 2012
DAILY BEAST: LDS Singled Out for LGBT Positions by Anti-Mormon Democrats
The second way in which Democrats justify their anti-Mormonism is via the LDS Church’s own flirtation with bigotry. Until 1978 the Church of Latter-day Saints would not ordain men of African descent into the priesthood. And as recently as 2008, the church organized massively to ban gay marriage in California. It wouldn’t be surprising, therefore, if one reason Democrats are more anti-Mormon than Republicans is because African-Americans, gays, and lesbians are more anti-Mormon. But using the church’s historic (and even present-day) intolerance to justify intolerance toward its members is idiotic. LDS is hardly the only faith with a history of antiblack racism, and individual Mormons should be held no more responsible for the LDS Church’s antigay views than individual Catholics should be held responsible for the Vatican’s.
“Democrats Have Bigger Anti-Mormon Problem in Election Than GOP Has”
Peter Beinart for The Daily Beast, 23 April 2012