Can a Liberal Democrat be a good Mormon?

I confess that I have been a little bit taken aback lately by the attacks that Harry Reid has made on one of my favorite conservative talk-show hosts, Rush Limbaugh. I've already stated in a previous post that Rush Limbaugh doesn't need me to defend him. His record stands for itself and is readily available for anyone to review. But what about Harry Reid - what does he stand for and does it square with what I believe a good Mormon should espouse?

Although I have not met Harry Reid I have watched many video clips and read enough of his statements to formulate an opinion that he is not a nice man. He just seems so mean to me. It's as if he had to turn into an attack dog to keep his post as the senate majority leader. I know that position requires one to be outspoken and always in your face but why can't the senate majority leader be in my face with some good news instead of always attacking people that I like?

I don't hear many good ideas coming from this liberal Democrat. In fact, all I ever seem to hear from Harry Reid and his party are attempts to tear down and destroy his opponents using character assassination and name calling. Why can't they debate issues civilly and honestly instead of resorting to lies and distortions of the truth? Personal assaults and attacks have replaced the offering of an alternative, of an idea that is constructive and good.

Is this what America has come to - constant attacks, and made-up ones at that, on people who espouse good ideas and patriotism? Have we lost sight of what it means to be a Patriot - to stand up for the freedoms that God has granted us as a nation? I can't believe it, but in my mind, it has come down to a battle of good versus evil and I am afraid I cannot put Harry Reid on the side of good because of his offensive and demeaning character. What poor leadership!

How can Harry Reid be a good Mormon and attack people the way he does, especially when the attacks are based on lies and distorted truths? Is he that much of an opportunist that he will jump on the bandwagon of liars and those who promote an agenda to destroy America for their own profit? Has he been deceived or is he doing this on purpose? I can't hardly believe he really feels that character assassination is the way to demonstrate discipleship of Christ.

Yes, I am calling a fellow Mormon's faith into question. I cannot tell that he is a follower of Christ by the way he acts. If he were a bulldog about attacking our enemies I would stand up for him, but he attacks our Patriots. Shame on you Harry Reid. You can do better than that. Stand up for what is right. Be a nice guy and say something nice about someone who millions of Americans trust and respect. You have lost my respect and have proven yourself to be someone that I could never trust.

Update: Harry Reid recently spoke at BYU. He explained some of his political and religious views including the invasion of Iraq and Global Warming. I still disagree with what he is doing in the way he treats others.

Comments

Squiddy said…
I totally agree! I call him a MINO -- Mormon In Name Only because he's the antithesis of what an LDS should be!
NoSurfGirl said…
The objection that I have to Rush Limbaugh is his tone and disrespect to his fellow Americans. He engenders contention by belittling people based on their party affiliation.

As to whether or not a Good Mormon can be a Democrat, James E Faust was a Democrat. He was appointed to JFK's civil rights counsel.

Check this link out, too, from the LDS newsroom:

Political neutrality


I'd say that's a pretty clear statement, by the church, of political neutrality.
Tim Malone said…
Hi NoSurfGirl,

I enjoyed reading your blog. The stories of your family are endearing. We share some favorite song lyrics especially Hallelujah - the Rufus Wainwright version.

I can appreciate your comments about Rush. Yes, he has a big ego. What's the word most critics use to describe him? Oh, yes - 'bombastic'. I have to look that one up every time. I don't use it every day.

For those who don't know it means pompous, grandiose, verbose, theatrical, staged or overblown. Yep, most of that is about right.

But if you have ever listened to him you know that he can be humble, sincere, persuasive, pragmatic and has a distinctive ability to cut right to the heart of the matter at hand.

Engendering contention is another way of saying divisive and I suppose that is also true. Yes, there's no doubt about it. Rush makes you choose sides. It seems that most people either hate him or love him.

Of course a Mormon can be a Democrat. And of course a liberal Democrat can be a good Mormon. I was just pointing out that I didn't think Senator Reid was being very nice in some of his comments about Rush and others.

I am very familiar with the church's stand on political neutrality. Of course, that only applies to the church in official pronouncements and not to the opinions of the members.

The church has also made it clear that we are to stand up and speak out for the principles in which we believe. I happen to be very conservative and so is Rush. So is Mitt Romney.

Harry Reid is not conservative and from what I have seen is just not very nice. So I have to agree with squiddy who labeled him a MINO - Mormon in name only.

I guess a better headline for the post could have been "Can a liberal be a good Mormon?" Leave the political party out of it. Of course the answer is yes. We have several members of our ward who are Democrats.

Can I assume that you are a democrat? Would you say that you are liberal or conservative? And by the way, putting labels on people is never fair but it is human nature.

Thanks for your comments.
NoSurfGirl said…
:)

I'm glad we agree, then. I guess i've talked to to many people who really do think that Mormon can't be a Democrat and still retain their temple reccomend.

My mom listened to Rush as I was growing up, and I agree he can be a good guy. Probably is, actually.

I'd consider myself moderate. But here in Utah, that means I'm a Democrat by some peoples' standards, because I frequently cross the party lines. I voted for Barack in the Primaries.
Daniel said…
I would never say that a member of the LDS Church could lose their temple recommend by being a democrat--we all know that is just not true; however, I would question how in tune with eternal principles of agency the liberal Mormon is.

When voting for a candidate like Barack Obama, you are asking someone to represent you who will push toward bigger government (i.e., universal health care and continued support of existing social programs like food stamps, welfare, medicaid, and social security). These are all steps toward socialism--something Ezra Taft Benson said leads directly into communism. But socialism itself is harmful to our progression.

The more money that the government takes from us and then redistributes (even if it is directly back to us), the more our agency--the power to act for ourselves--is taken away.

I truly wish to understand the eternal principles of government--although the Church remains politically neutral, true principles of government must be eternal. The Church does have a position on the constitution--that it is inspired of God and therefore true. The increasing number of social programs of the democrats today including the redistribution of wealth is unconstitutional.

If it is true that President Faust was a democrat, I would like to hear him speak about his political theory. Perhaps he would have been dissatisfied with the democratic party's liberal presidential candidates.
Tim Malone said…
Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your comments. I like what you had to say about government being an eternal principle. You may interested in reading another post I wrote about that very subject.

Being a Democrat back in the early days of President Faust when he formed his political opinions was way different from being a democrat today. But as I wrote in an earlier comment, this issue is more of conservative vs. liberal, not so much to which political party you belong.

I could never vote for Barack or Hillary for the very reasons you noted. Unfortunately, I am not so sure that McCain is any better. He is no conservative. I am dismayed by the size of our government these days and it is not all attributable to the spending on the war in Iraq.
Daniel said…
Tim,

I am new to your blog. I have appreciated the posts I have read so far. Thanks for what you do.

I agree that it isn't about what political party you are a member of, but it is about liberal or conservative ideals. We see that clearly today (as you mentioned with McCain).

What has troubled me lately has been the upcoming presidential election.

John McCain did some dirty things when Mitt Romney was still in the race and that brings to mind the following scripture from Doctrine and Covenants:

"Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil" (D&C 98:10).

What to do?

-Daniel
Joseph said…
I really enjoy your blog.

I respect Senator Reid and I respect your opinion about him.

I am a democrat and I consider myself to be more on the liberal side but I am no left wing psycho. Oh and I do have and Temple Recommend and I am worthy of it.

If any of you are interested in what I have to say about politics I invite you to visit my blog. Http://bigmormon.blogspot.com
Tim Malone said…
Hi Joseph,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I visited yours and congratulate you on your efforts there. I have no doubt that a Democrat can be a good Mormon. To any future readers of this post, please accept my apology if you found the title of the essay to be offensive. I was just a little ticked at a news story that day and took it out on Harry Reid.

I think I am coming to regret some of the essays of my early blogging days. This is one of them. I do not write many essays with political overtones any more. I feel that I went a little overboard and was a little harsh on our friend Harry Reid. I may have even changed my whole viewpoint of the political process recently.

I no longer think it matters much who serves as the president of the United States. I'm not even sure that the efforts of our elected officials can make much of a difference in what is happening in America in the last days. I hope this doesn't sound too pessimistic. I see what is happening as being prophesied and unavoidable. No I take that back - repentance can always changes things but I do not think we will see that happen.

I do not care for either political candidate running for office as I write this - John McCain or Barack Obama. If you have read any of my other early posts, you will have gathered that I believed that Mitt Romney was the best man for the office. Unfortunately, he is not electable in America today. I also doubt that McCain will choose him as his Vice President.

Although I will vote for McCain because that is my party, at this point in time I would have to guess that Obama will win the election. I am sure he will make many changes. I do not believe they will be in the best interest of a strong America but they may do wonders for our standing with the rest of the world. But that's just my two cents worth.

Thanks again for visiting my blog and leaving your comment.
Anonymous said…
How can an american be a mormon, considering the way they treat the rest of the world?
Gwendolyn Lee said…
In 1987, Oscar McConkie said his brother, Bruce, had called the family together before his death and encouraged them to remain strong and participate in the Democratic party. Said he: “the party needs you, and the Church needs you in the party.”
We need more L.D.S. people who are democrats like James E. Faust, Hugh B. Brown, and Bruce R. McConkie, Marlin K. Jensen, and Gunn McKay to strengthen our nation.
Being a Mormon Democrat is great!
Joe LeDosquet said…
I think it's fairly ridiculous that your complaint against Harry Reid and the Democrats is that they always use negative character attacks. A recent independent non-partisan study showed that of the ads run by both party's candidates in the last month 34 percent of Obama's ads were negative ads and only one of his ads was a character attack. The study found, however, that 100% of John McCain's ads have been negative and nearly all of them were character attacks.
It's fairly obvious that the Republicans cannot win this election based on issues, so they would rather make this election about name-calling and baseless rumors.

As for squiddy's comment: Judge not that ye be not judged.
My question, as a Liberal Latter-day Saint, is how can someone who listens to Rush Limbaugh, and calls him a hero, claim to be a good Latter-day Saint? Talk about someone who uses half truths and fabricates facts for the purpose of character assassination?

So, let me get this straight. You, as a Latter-day Saint support someone who thinks it's OK for America to torture prisoners?

You, as a Latter-day Saint, support someone who openly, even gleefully supported America's invasion of a sovereign country based on half truths and innuendo?

You, as a Latter-day Saint support a man who calls women "babes", and "femi-nazi" and says yelling at your spouse is not abuse?

You, as a Latter-day Saint support a man who openly supported the Patriot Act, and an administration that actually talked about using United States’ soldiers to go into homes, in America, without warrants?

Just a thought, but maybe you better re-evaluate your own standing as a disciple of Christ before you question Senator Reid’s standing.
Tim Malone said…
Latter-day Liberal,

It's a difficult thing to find common ground when discussing current events of a political nature when the facts are represented differently by both sides. Everyone has an agenda. I do not agree that Rush uses half-truths or fabricates facts. Have you actually ever listened to his show? And remember, it is a show intended for entertainment value.

Senator Reid, on the other hand, is a public servant, and is held to a higher standard. He is a politician and is in a position of some leadership in this country. I know that his attacks are what his party demands of him to keep him in the position he is in.

It's just unfortunate that one that is so visible in that attack position is also a member of the church. Sorry, I have already said that I don't know him personally. I just cringe when I hear some of the stuff that he says and then have somebody remind us that he is a Mormon. My opinion of him is based on what I see and read in the news reports.

Most people have no idea what torture really is. America does not torture. Water boarding is not torture. No, I would not want to be subjected to it, but it is nothing compared to what our enemies do when they want to extract information. And yes, I believe we did the right thing with the advanced interrogation techniques that were used on a total of three prisoners to get valuable information that was not forthcoming in any other way.

Yes, I supported our president's decision to remove a dictator from power in a country that suffered for years under terrible tyranny. It's a shame that more stories don't come out about how much we have invested in that country through rebuilding. To me, it is heartwarming to read and hear the expressions of gratitude from the people who now enjoy freedom that allows them to prosper and grow.

I'm OK with Rush calling women babes and feminazis. I also agree with his characterizations of some of those women. They are frightening to see and hear. You'll have to get me the quote on where he says yelling at your spouse is not abuse. One can only assume that he was not talking about emotional abuse but physical abuse. Let's take a look at the context of the remark first.

I also supported the Patriot act, which enhances the ability of domestic security services to prevent terrorism. I agree with the military being authorized to provide assistance in some situations that involve weapons of mass destruction when so requested by the Attorney General. This provision has been grossly misrepresented by many people.

This is not about my standing as a disciple of Christ. This is simply an observation that one liberal democratic senator seems to be an angry and bitter man. I recognize that he is in a difficult position where he is required to be outspoken and get his party's views in the news. He does that by attacking those who do not agree with him. I look forward to reading his memoirs when he retires to know how he really felt about his difficult job. Will he have any regrets?
Kyle Pederson said…
Are you for real? You actually like Limbaugh? How can you listen to his hate filled garbage and consider yourself qualified to judge whether someone else is a follower of Christ?

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