Sunday, September 18, 2016

Rejection of an amoral candidate

I've always considered myself a moderate on most things political. I may have differences with some candidates, but at the same time recognized the potential value of a presidency led by Mitt Romney; I might have voted for John McCain if he hadn't sold his soul for 30 bags of tea; George Bush was inexperienced but not a bad guy (unlike Cheney), while Al Gore's experience and blunt honesty made him a reasonable candidate; Bob Dole was a great American and Bill Clinton was a true leader (despite his philandering); George H.W. Bush was perhaps the most resume-qualified candidate before this year; Dukakis was naive but had potential; Mondale was certainly qualified to be president. None of the candidates in the last 40 years was a bad candidate.

So it is with stunned amazement that we have a major party candidate this year who has no redeeming quality to justify his elevation to the highest office in the county - perhaps the most powerful in the world. His is a multiple-failed businessman with a personal-profit centered philosophy who displays nearly every personality flaw  that offends liberty, justice, equality, and the essence of what it means to be American, making his call to "make America great again" an absurdity.

The roll call of Republicans affirming his inappropriateness both as a candidate and as a potential victor in the election is stunning. The roll call of distasteful ideologies supporting him is equally stunning. Given those two roll calls, it seems incredulous that anyone is supporting the Republican candidate. I consider it a failure of my teaching that some of my students have publicly expressed support for him -- apparently they didn't learn critical thinking. It hurts my heart to see family members fall for his fascist ideology.

This is not to affirm the Democratic Party candidate - herself flawed in some political sensitivities. But when faced with a choice between an amoral Republican and a resume-qualified Democrat the choice is so very simple.

Friday, November 06, 2015

In re: the LDS policy statement on LGBTQ families

     Friends and family. As you are already aware, I am troubled by the recent LDS policy statement, particularly as pertaining to LGTBQ individuals and their children. There are some things I know that I want to share.

     I know the LDS Church leadership has a long history of saying stupid things. It wasn’t that long ago that they taught: Blacks were not valiant in the premortal life, which (they said) justified systematic racial discrimination; homosexuality was caused by masturbation; a women would be better off dead than a victim of rape; the John Birch society, with all its hateful rhetoric even reached the office of the president of the church. (I remember very clearly thinking that if Ezra Taft Benson became president, that I would leave the church.) Stupid people are found all the way through the church, including area presidents, mission presidents, stake presidents, bishops, Sunday School teachers, home teachers, and even the lowly membership clerks.

     I also know the ability to say and do stupid things is not limited to the LDS Church or to its leaders – it’s at this point that I’m holding a mirror up on myself. (I’ve always loved the statement by The Rev. Jesse Jackson about “God isn’t finished with me yet.”)

     I know that cultural change is almost always unbearably slow (the women’s movements and the civil rights movements are examples – and both of them have not yet reached their full fruition).

    I know that God is above all this, and that He/She is unlimited in His/Her love for all creation, often in spite of how humanity thinks, speaks, and acts. I envision Him/Her facepalming at this latest business.
     I know that God lives. 

     I know that policy statements are human creations and are not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that there are many gnats that irritate the hell out of me in the policies (like women needing approval for a second sealing; like the whole modesty debacle; like… well you know what I mean).

     I know it’s not the best situation (and there is no “best situation” out there anywhere) but I know that as long as I don’t let the church leadership dictate my relationship to diety, I receive spiritual gifts by being in the Church that are not available anywhere else.

     I know the Gospel is eternal and true (having veracity), and I know that when the church follows the Gospel, the Church is also true (having directional accuracy). I hope and pray that I have taught this important distinction to my children, and hope to teach it to my grandchildren also.