For many people, especially Mormons, everything is a religious contest. Let’s face it, Mormons are largely one issue voters and that issue is Abortion, well two issues if you include gay marriage. Most don’t really care about economic issues, and if they do they are for vote for the class they would like to be rather than the class to which they belong. But having adopted conservative political thought based on Family Values issues they buy into the rest of the philosophy without much thought. So they parrot whatever their conservative hero’s might say about the economy.
The problem with this line of thought, as I've pointed out before, is that conservatives are do nothings on so-called moral issues, but they are all out to remake the economy into some Randian nightmare that cannot possibly benefit the average Republican voter. It is nearly impossible for most Mormons to make the intellectual leap which suggests that perhaps their pre-conditioned ideas about conservative political might not match ideas from scripture. The idea for example that we are all beggars. The idea suggests that we do have a responsibility to take care of the poor, and the widow? I know the argument is that we shouldn't be forced to it by taxes. I fail to see the difference actually. A people who won’t help the poor or consider them unworthy of help is mean spirited, whether they refuse to help through taxation or community giving. Either way fail to get the job done. Can you imagine your local ward or community trying to tackle the health care and wide spread needs of a whole community? It’s the reason we pooled our resources as a nation and not individual communities. The Government is the only organization which in hard times can actually handle the problem.
There is nothing stopping those who would like to help the poor , or the hungry , or the needy from doing so right now regardless of what the Government is doing. In many areas it doesn't happen. In Davis County, it doesn't happen. The Food Bank is always in need. We simply pass by them and notice them not, or make the critical mistake of saying that “ The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just” Well that’s probably true to a certain extend their punishment is just. The person may have brought on himself his own misery. But that line of reasoning is right out. And by the way while the call is to individual go give of their substance, are we not doing the same thing when we declare that we are unwilling to support a candidate because he is for helping the poor? Or we willingly give our support to someone who is going to stick to the moochers who don’t produce?
I’ll continue with Benjamin “But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?” Mosiah 4:16 – 19. Notice that this is an economic argument. It doesn’t say we are spiritual beggars, which is also true, but economic beggars, all of us, including Mitt Romney, depend solely upon God for our Gold and Silver, our food and raiment. How mean spirited is it to withhold that from another. Benjamin continues “And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.”
I’m not suggesting that if someone votes for Mitt, or Republicans they are passing by the poor or ignoring them. Many people do a lot of good things regarding those who are needy, emotionally or physically or spiritually. I’m suggesting that the values of the democratic party are not separate from Mormon values in a good many things. I don’t conflate the two. I realize that they don’t match perfectly. I am also trying to point out that conservative values don’t match either. Choose your poison, neither will get you to Zion. It’s the conflation in the minds of my Mormon friends that conservative thought equals righteous thought that so bothers me. And yes, I've had my commitment to the gospel, as well as my sanity questioned by those same Mormon friends.
Your post does a great job of why I am registered nonaffiliated. Generally I find both parties to be a hodge podge on "moral issues," and even Democrats aren't really far enough to the left on economic issues to meet my faith's teachings on economic issues. I often turn to Mosiah 4, when politics might drive me crazy. For all the time and energy we spend talking about "ideals" in the family and social sphere, I would LOVE a talk on an ideal community and economy. Sigh. A girl can wish at least.ReplyDelete
I nominate today's essay for "Best of Passionate Moderate Mormon Posts", should you ever decide to publish!ReplyDelete
One of the things I've found as I've gotten older (only 32, but still) is that Zion can exist no matter where you are. I may be completely wrong, but I don't think God cares too much about government, especially since he included so little of it in the scriptures (we really only have two scriptures that are doctrine: "Render unto Caeser..." and D&C 134). He cares more about what's in our heart. We have been commanded to care for the poor and to "sell all that thou hast", and the sermon of King Benjamin referenced above leaves no room for argument that charity is key to salvation. In either case, whether through government programs or private donation, our souls are damned unless we freely give. For my part, I give through my vote.ReplyDelete