Last night I was invited by a Facebook friend to join a fast for Mitt Romney so he will do well in the debate tomorrow and win the Presidency. I was somewhat shocked and disturbed. Calming down a little, I posted this:
I've just been invited to a "fast" for Mitt Romney. I declined. This reminds of when members of my ward were using their manipulative tricks to get me to sign up for their "spiritual" self-awareness seminars. I declined that too. As a public notice to all - Please! No more invitations! If you don't understand why this is so highly inappropriate, then just condemn me to heck and move on. Please! (I think my Libertarian Mormon friends are with me on this one! Respect them too!)I think that was a pretty temperate response. (The whole "self-awareness seminar business" I'll save for another time).
I was so very pleased to have so many Mormon FB Friends click "like" and provide supportive comments. And that was from all over the political spectrum! Libertarians! Republicans! Democrats! Independents! and even Miscellaneous! (I don't actually know the politics of all my friends, just those that share that with me.) Here are some examples:
Too funny! I'm a Romney supporter, but still cringe in church on a regular basis when people suggest outrageous things about "the other side" in a very public and inappropriate setting.
Good grief. That is so wrong on so many levels. [Dem friend]
If I fast for Mitt can I request that my fast offering be given to someone who is going to vote for Mitt? You know there are 47 percent just looking for a....wait... [Smart-aleck relative]
What would do more good would be for Mitt himself to promise not to put his foot in his mouth for 24 hours on Wednesday. A thing he is incapable of doing. [Radical feminist friend - sorry, just having a little fun]
A lot of Republican friends are with you on this one too. Not appropriate... [Cousin with whom I have had political "discussions"]
So, just curious, but what happens to the faith of all those who fasted if Romney holds true to form and just really sucks in the debate? Who will they blame? [Dem blogger friend]
Fast for Mitt Romney? HA! I mean, I'll vote for him...but a fast. interesting and silly I think. That's like fasting for your basketball team to win. Not appropriate. [Good perspective!]
And the article mentioned putting Romney's name on the temple roll which is even more wildly inappropriate.
I'm with you brother, 100% on this one. Our Bishop on Sunday re-read the church's policy on political neutrality to the adults in the ward, and then firmly (but nicely) asked us to keep our political opinions out of church meetings. I thought that was highly appropriate.. [Not my actual brother, but close.]As soon as I digested the invite, I did a Google search and came up with Pat Bagley's great cartoon, Peggy Fletcher Stack's take in the Salt Lake Tribune, and an article on BuzzFeed. Another friend linked me to this about Glenn Beck. Groan.
Anonymous D sent me a great e-mail message that calmed me down a whole lot:
Honestly, I don’t have a problem if people want to get together and fast for Mitt. If someone feels he’s the guy for the job, go for it. I don’t like the implication that God has a clear favorite in the race, or the corollary, that in voting for Obama or not joining in the fast I am somehow a traitor to my Faith. Heck, I’d even join in if the terms of the fast are that Romney and the President are both blessed to present their arguments to the American people in an honest, forthright manner.
I tend to agree. And I am humbled by all the comments of my friends. We are often tempted to think that everyone on the other side of a political or religious question is either crazy or evil. And that is just plain wrong.We get too excited about these things. As a Mormon and a Democrat, my first reaction was to be offended. After reflecting on the subject for a while I don't see any harm in the fast as long as it’s not presented as an official church fast, something I fear is not easy to do.
And I probably took it a little too personally. It could be that the person who invited me simply made an erroneous click on the invitee list. This person knows how I feel about such things. But then, I also have had to block status updates from this source because of some very crude and rude comments and jokes of a religio-political nature. Beyond that, the individual is the type that President Eisenhower famously and specifically warned us about. I mean, I admit that my status as a federal employee affects my interests and belief in government and love for the Constitution. And I'd better just leave all that right there.
One of the of the best comments up there from the Facebook postings is the one calling it silly "like fasting for your basketball team to win." Maybe that's it. This tends to trivialize sacred things. Fasting is sacred. So is the right to vote free from religious manipulation.
God bless America! -and all Peoples of the world!