Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: Animosity

Our country is fast approaching election year. Candidates are debating, and soon the "frontrunners" will be chosen. Being a Mormon, I have been quite interested to watch the race between Mormon candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, who are both Mormon. Only time will tell if either is chosen to represent the Republican party. But if public opinion counts, perhaps neither will be chosen.

Today's topic is animosity, and it goes right along with the fact that many of the conservative Christians in America despise Mormons. I would wager that they would rather elect someone from the opposite party, than to elect a Mormon. What most liberals fear about religion is that the ecclesiastical leaders "preach" to their congregations about how they should vote. I am afraid they are right on this point. There are many church leaders who "warn" their congregations about voting for a Mormon. Although their membership is probably not tied with how they vote, still they are convincingly told that their souls will be in danger if a Mormon becomes president.

This animosity is seriously misguided, and comes from ignorance about our beliefs, but what most people don't realize is that there are already many Mormons serving in high political positions. Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts. Jon Huntsman was the Ambassador to China. Let's not forget Harry Reid who is the Senate majority leader for the Democratic party. Did you know that Ezra Taft Benson, who was the secretary of agriculture for both terms of Dwight D. Eisenhower's term as president, was also the 13th president of our church? Most Senators from Utah have been Mormon, including Jake Garn, who spent some time as an astronaut.

It is curious that many of these conservative Christians think nothing of having a president with Muslim ties, but shun the idea of a president with Mormon ties. This kind of animosity comes from fear, and misunderstanding. They do not believe we are Christian, and actually think we do the work of the Devil. The interesting thing is that even in "mainstream" Christianity, there are many vastly different religious opinions. Some believe in repentance, and other don't. Some believe in using the Old Testament, and others only believe in using the New Testament. The fact that we use both, but also use the Book of Mormon, which we believe to be the record of the people of ancient America, is too much for them to grasp. So they do what others have done through the ages with things they have not understood, and that is to throw the baby out with the bath water.

My thinking is that animosity is not part of Christ's teachings. He taught us to love our enemies, and to bless them and do good to them. Why a Christian would look at another believer of Christ as an enemy is beyond me. But this prejudice is found throughout the United States. It's sad that these kinds of walls have been built, because surely we could be working together to make the world a better place.

So keep your eye on the next US presidential election. Let's see if the citizens of the US can lay aside their prejudices and elect a Mormon president, should he be chosen. Let's see if intellect can overrule emotional bias.

Now go and see what the other Consortium members have to say about this issue!

Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, Conrad, Padmum, Magpie11, and Akanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit


blackwatertown said...

Interesting post on Mormons.

There's been a fuss recently about a Sherlock Holmes book which apparently is unkind about Mormons - and has been subjected to some sort of ban in Utah. I was surprised to read a Joseph Conrad story in which villainous Mormons featured strongly - though if other denominations are going to get a literary kicking (think the Catholic church and Dan Brown among others), then why not the Mormons too?

I studied Joseph Smith and the Mormon exodus and Brigham Young and the settlement at Salt Lake City at secondary school in Ireland - it was a history module.

I later travelled to the city to see it for myself, visiting the main religious sites in SLC.

I suppose I came away with mixed feelings. The was a lot of pride on display (and nothing wrong with that) and apparent welcome - though I felt that welcome did not necessarily go beyond the superficial - especially to the few visitors, like myself, who seemed to have some knowledge of the church history. I happened to be on a tour which also had another Irish man. I was pleased that the only two people to irritate the staff with awkward questions were himself and myself.

But then again, asking cardinals about the inquisition, child abuse, the Borgias, anti-semitism, etc probably wouldn't go down too well in Rome either.

What else? Shiny white teeth on display. (Hey, I'm European. You're probably used to seeing them blazing out at you everywhere.)

And the parting farewell from strangers in a bar in Wyoming, from where I set off to Utah. One rushed to my bus just before it set off and handed me a brown paper bag, saying: "Take this. You'll need it." I discovered to to contain a bottle of peach schnapps. When I encountered Salt Lake City licencing laws I realised why. Or perhaps the friendly stranger was making a comment on my propensity to drink, rather than SLC's restrictions.

A Mormon for President? Kennedy coped with being Catholic. Whatever his faults were, his religion was some way down the list. Romney's problem may be that he appears too reasonable - but he may manage to remedy that before the poll.

I'd find it more difficult to imagine an out atheist in the White House.

Plain / Ordinary Joe said...

The world could be a better place if religion is not used to govern it.

Mormon or not, if he/she is a good person, who loves his/her fellow man and other beings, then lead!

Grannymar said...

The US presidential election should be very interesting. The whole world right now seems to be on the edge of change.

Rummuser said...

Collective animosity towards strange sects has been the bane of humankind throughout history. That it spills over into politics is also a sad part of our reality. We have similar stories in our political landscape too.

Looney said...

Having been a Baptist, I would be more happy with a good Mormon than an abortion loving Baptist, of which we have had a few such presidents.

At the same time, I think humans are inherently religious animals. Thus, the notion that religion can somehow be separated from governance is nonsense. The real problem comes when they aren't honest about what religion they are following.

padmum said...

Delirious! You are so knowledge of Mormons has been from non-Mormons who look at your beliefs with a great deal of suspicion.

Orthodoxy can be misunderstood without realising that it is an approach that prescribes rules and regulations for the individual and then to the family, clan, society. As you say fear of the unknown is the culprit.