Will the Mormons Please Excommunicate Harry Reid Already

harry_reid.jpgOne thing I've always admired about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) is that they, unlike other denominations, haven't forgotten the time honored Christian tradition of excommunication. With Sen Harry Reid's (D-Nev) new found stance opposing the Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as betwen a man and a woman at odds with that of the Mormon church, isn't it time the Mormons disassociate themselves from him?

An organization, by definition, must have boundaries. That is, there must be a way to recognize who is "in" the organization and who is "out" of the organization. Excommunication has traditionally been the way a church proclaims a person is "out"--that that person is no longer part of the organization.

So, when was it that Christian churches stopped excommunicating their members who publicly oppose the official stances of the church?

My Catholic friends say to me that "you can be pro-choice, but you can't be a pro-choice Catholic." Okay, that sounds about right. The Catholic Church's official stance is that abortion is homicide. So, why doesn't the Catholic church go ahead and excommunicate Ted Kennedy?

Not to pick on the Catholics. That's just an example of a public personality at public odds with a church he says he "belongs" to. Protestants, it seems to me, are much worse than Catholics. At least the Catholic church does still excommunicate, albeit more rarely than I'd like to see.

I've never heard of a Protestant church excommunicating some one. Never. Perhaps it happens, but it must be a rare event.

So, back to the Mormons. These guys seem to have no problem with excommunicating any one for pretty much any reason. Good on them.

I know a couple of people who were excommunicating from the LDS church for adultery. Not only does excommunication tell the world, "we do not tolerate this sort of behavior," it also serves as a social sanction so that members of the organization are warned not to do certain things considered "out of bounds". People who wish to remain "in" the organization are warned that if you do something considered morally aggregious, you are "out".

Had the Baptists had the same policy, perhaps my Grandfather--a practicing Baptist minister--would not have been a serial adulterer. As far as I can tell, my grandfather loved the Baptist church, and had their been consequences for his actions perhaps he would have thought twice before the actions.

I've also often wondered what would Bill Clinton's Presidency have been like had the Baptists preached less forgiveness for sin and more don't do the sin in the first place lest you find yourself "out" of the group.

Which brings us back to Harry Reid. He is allegedly a good Mormon. I'm sure he's faithful to his wife, is honest, and does all the things good Mormons are supposed to do, but it seems to me that his political philisophy is now at odds with the Mormon church.

KUTV:

An apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stood with several other religious leaders at a news conference in Washington supporting a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participated in a press conference with the Alliance for Marriage, and met with President Bush at the White House before giving a statement in support of amending the U.S. Constitution.

"Together we share a duty to preserve marriage and family as established by God," Nelson said. "The time has now come when a constitutional amendment is needed in this country to protect our divine inheritance. Such action does not reduce our regard for individuals who choose to live by other standards. But it confirms our conviction that marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue and the foundation for eternal exaltation."

An apostle? Sounds like the Mormons are pretty serious about their support for this constitutional amendment.

But maybe that's just one leader's own opinion on the amendment. Or is supporting the amendment the official position of the LDS Church? KUTV:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has spent millions of dollars campaigning against gay marriage, urged members Sunday to lobby U.S. senators on the proposed constitutional amendment that would limit marriage to being between a man and a woman.

The church sent a letter to leaders throughout the United States that was to be read to the congregations Sunday.

The letter from the First Presidency – church President Gordon B. Hinckley and his counselors – noted the church leaders "have repeatedly set forth our position that the marriage of a man and a woman is the only acceptable marriage relationship.''

The letter noted that the Senate was scheduled to vote on the proposed marriage amendment on June 6, and said, "We urge our members to express themselves on this urgent matter to their elected representatives in the Senate.''

So, the offical position of the LDS church is that it's members should support the amendment.

So, what is Sen. Harry Reid's take on the amendment banning gay marriage? The Hill:

“The reason for this debate is to divide our society, to pit one against another. This is another one of the president’s efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract and to confuse America.”
Er, since Harry Reid's own church supports the amendment, why does he choose to be part of an organizationa that, presumabley, is engaged in an effort to "frighten, to distort, to distract and to confuse America"?

But the real question I have is for the Mormon Church. Why would you guys want to claim a guy like Harry Reid, who thinks your official support of a Constitutional Amendment is not only ill advised but ill motivated?

The highest elected Democrat in the country thinks you, the Mormon church hierarchy, are full of crap. Are you guys just going to stand there and take it?

If Harry Reid no longer feels the Mormon church leaders are speaking for God, then the logical step would be to either to stop calling himself a Mormon or for the Mormons to kick him out.

Just to make myself clear, my objection to Reid's stance is niether political nor theological. As a Christian Universalist I believe all people--even Democrats and gay people--eventually go to heaven. As a libertarian, I have no problem with two hot chicks going down to the local Unitarian church and getting hitched. Heck, I don't even really have a problem with three hot chicks getting hitched. Or even one guy, and three hot chicks getting hitched! (although I do object to states being forced to recognize such kinky unions as legally binding "marriage" contracts)

But I do have a problem with people who wish to claim they are part of an organization, but then are consistently at odds with it. This is not Europe. One is not "born" into a religion. Your religion and your ethnic identity are not the same here. One chooses which religious organizations one belongs to.

So, Harry Reid, if you are no longer a Mormon, please do us all a favor and be honest about it. And you Mormons, aren't you ashamed that this guy uses your religion as poliltical cover? And for the rest of the religious leaders out there: do us all a favor and start excommunicating people.

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear from readers about their thoughts on excommunication. Does your church or denomination ever do it? If so, under what circumstances?

Posted by: Rusty at 01:22 PM

Comments

1 Liberalism is like a viral weapon. You see, Liberals who disagree with their churches could easily just leave and start their own denominations. But they don't do that. Instead, just like a virus attacking a cell, they try to change the church from within and transform it into something that no longer even resembles a church. Until it starts looking less like a church and more like a Lion's Club or the Rotarians, except with pews and an organ.

They HAVE to transform that church because Liberalism and christianity cancel each other out. For christianity to co-exist with modern Liberalism it has to stop being christianity. It has to become Liberalism with just the patina of spirituality added to it. But it no longer bears any resemblance to the church it once was.

That's why Liberal churches that have been transformed like that are are quick to negotiate away the traditional doctrines and dogmas of their religion, yet are adamant about maintaining the trappings of the old religion (i.e., form of worship and liturgy, organs, traditional vestments and ceremonies, etc.). Those trappings are still very near and ear to them. They clutch to them for dear life. And they have to!!! Because if not, they'll have nothing left at all to call a church. It starts to look like windown dressing.

And in the process, Libs are killing those churches. They're dying out. Good riddance though. The evangelicals are growing by leaps and bounds even as the mainline churches wither on the diseased vine.

To be fair, some Libs have tried to start their own religion. It's called unitarianism/universalism. It's not doing very well either.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at June 06, 2006 01:48 PM

2 Carlos,

But aren't the evangelicals just as guilty when it comes to excommunication? That is, they are quick to condemn (it seems) with words, but not with deeds.

Posted by: Macktastick Wicked Numero Uno at June 06, 2006 01:50 PM

3 So the official position of the LDS church is that it's members should support the amendment

Actually, as far as I can tell, the official position is to have lawyers closely draft letters such as this.

The letter does not say the church supports the amendment, it merely says the church believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.

It also does not say that members should support the amendment, it just urges members to "express themselves".

Support for the amendment and expectation of members to support the amendment is not explicitly stated.

Given that the church highly values the ability of each individual to choose the right, I always find it interesting when the church takes a stand on political issues. There is a big difference between legal and right, something that sometimes gets lost among zealots of every stripe.

FWIW, I am a Mormon. I do not believe the constitution should be diddled in this particular manner. While I do not think homosexual marriage (or, for that matter, polygamy) is a good thing, that does not mean I think it should be illegal. The church's position should be one of instructing its members in proper conduct, not attempting to coerce good out of the unwilling.

(for a quick overview of the difference, go rent A Clockwork Orange)

Posted by: Anachronda at June 06, 2006 01:58 PM

4 Howdy, Rusty.
Re: protestant excommunications, look up Marian Guinn, a woman who was excommunicated by a Church of Christ in Oklahoma in the 80's. She sued, and won almost 400,000 dollars for "invasion of privacy." The fact that she had resigned from the church made the suit possible, the courts ruled. Of course, resigning and being excommunicated are two different things from a religious point of view - excommunication carries with it the command to the faithful to have nothing further to do with the excommunicated, while resignation is simply not addressed.
Interestingly, the websites I found discussing this were overwhelmingly mormon (which is not the same thing as Church of Christ - very, very different) sites which are advising their congregations on what NOT to do to avoid losing lawsuits.

Posted by: attentionseeker at June 06, 2006 01:58 PM

5 Anachronda,

To imply that following dogma is akin to brainwashing, with your Clockwork Orange example, is just effed up--seriously.

Not making something legal is not the same as making it illegal. Duh. This amendment does not "outlaw" gay marriage, it simply makes gay marriage extra-legal--not recognized by state institutions. So, if two hot chicks want to get "married" they still can, but what the amendment does is make sure state institutions don't recognize such a union as a valid contract.

Attention Seeker,

So, one church excommunicated one person 30 years ago???

Posted by: Macktastick Wicked Numero Uno at June 06, 2006 02:08 PM

6 Mack
Uh, no.... That was simply what I remember from my 'yout,' as I grew up in the CofC and it was a big deal back then. I'm sure if you search for cases of protestant excommunication, you will find some, but lack of finding does not indicate lack of occurance. After all, if some backwoods Baptist church excommunicates a member, why would that become either newsworthy, part of the public record, or something someone wishes to 'blog about, which are the three things I consider necessary for something to end up catalogued on the 'net? I'd be willing to bet some of the more fundamentalist churches do this with some frequency, but why would you or I find out about it?

In addition, I realize I made a mistake in my post above - the mormon sites are not sites to help churches, but seem to be targetted at those wishing to leave the LDS church and 'make it stick,' without going through what Norman Hancock went through when he resigned from the LDS.

Posted by: attentionseeker at June 06, 2006 02:18 PM

7 Yeah, well, it seems rare. Too rare, in my book. I don't know what this guy Hancock went through, but it seems to me that social sanctions are entirely appropriate for any one who leaves a church or is booted out. As opposed to Sharia which are legal sanctions.

Posted by: Macktastick Wicked Numero Uno at June 06, 2006 02:25 PM

8 Mitt Romney supports the FMA, and wrote a letter to every senator asking them to vote "yes". Harry Reid is wrong, this is the most important issue for the Senate to address right now.

Posted by: Kevin at June 06, 2006 02:25 PM

9 Kevin,

And you'd think Mitt Romney would know something about the need for the amendment, since he was the governor of a state where the court forced gay marriage. Is he Mormon?

Posted by: Macktastick Wicked Numero Uno at June 06, 2006 02:30 PM

10 >>>But aren't the evangelicals just as guilty when it comes to excommunication? That is, they are quick to condemn (it seems) with words, but not with deeds.

There is excommunication based on sin, vs excommunication based on doctrine. If the doctrines are not in sync, they will be asked to leave.

Excommunication based on personal sin is entirely a different matter. My experience is that they condemn the sin, but they don't single individuals out for condemnation. In other words they teach what the Bible says about sin, but they aren't picking on some dude sitting in the pews who happens to be sinning.

Take adultery for example. You'll hear sermons about it, but they aren't going to single some dude out for ridicule. It is expected that the Holy Spirit would convict him, not the pastor. But let's say the dude's wife approaches the pastor with the problem. In that case the pastor would call them in for counseling. Worst case scenario in some churches is that they'd ask him to leave because he won't repent of his sin and he's making it miserable for her to keep attending.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at June 06, 2006 02:31 PM

11 Carlos,

Isn't there some kind of Biblical injunction about this? You know, "anathema" and all that?

Posted by: Macktastick Wicked Numero Uno at June 06, 2006 02:32 PM

12 There is excommunication based on sin, vs excommunication based on doctrine. If the doctrines are not in sync, they will be asked to leave.

Let me clarify that. This applies to church leaders, not to regular slobs sitting in the pews.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at June 06, 2006 02:34 PM

13 Why not?

Posted by: Macktastick Wicked Numero Uno at June 06, 2006 02:36 PM

14 why not what.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at June 06, 2006 02:50 PM

15 Call me cynical, but finances may play a role in the decision not to excommunicate.

Booting people isn't good for donations.

To repeat: I said "may play a role." Not slamming any denominations here.

Posted by: Vintastick Mambo No. 5 at June 06, 2006 02:52 PM

16 Why didn't the Vatican excommunicate pro-choice politicians? Two reasons.

First, when anti-Catholicism was all the rage, as recently as the 50s, the primary argument against Catholics was that we would be loyal to Rome before the US. This was a particularly strong argument against electing Catholics to office. The Vatican is leery of this.

Second, it isn't technically a sin to support the right to have an abortion, though it definitely is a sin to have an abortion. Women who have abortions excommunicate themselves from the Church.

Posted by: rightwingprof at June 06, 2006 02:58 PM

17 JC,

Why not excommunicate the congregants as opposed to the ministers?

Rightwingprof,

If abortion is "homicide", then I don't see how supporting a "right to commit homicide" could be anything but a sin. If abortion is nothing more than clipping a toenail, then no problem theologically.

Posted by: Macktastick Wicked Numero Uno at June 06, 2006 03:02 PM

18 >>>>Why not excommunicate the congregants as opposed to the ministers?

Because the role of congregant and minister are so different. Congregants go to church to LEARN about the word of God, so it's tolerated if they are ignorant or wayward. It is expected that the Holy Spirit will do the convicting of his sin, not the pastor.

But the church leaders can't be given that kind of leeway lest they lead their congregants astray. So they're asked to repent, or leave.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at June 06, 2006 03:08 PM

19 JC,

I see. Seems better than no church, but not as good as good old-fashioned Puritanical social shunning. But maybe that's just me.

Posted by: Macktastick Wicked Numero Uno at June 06, 2006 03:18 PM

20 AGREED!!! As a "Mormon", I am embarrassed about Harry Reid. His views are completely contrary to that of our church, and I agree with you completely about the excommunication. At least remove his status as a member in good standing! I hope our church will make a point of this a take the appropriate measures!

Posted by: UtahPatriot at June 06, 2006 03:28 PM

21 MORMON'S PERSPECTIVE:
A mormon here. Hello. Harry Reid IS doing something expressly discussed among grounds for excommunication. It isn't of course my decision to make, but that of his immediate ecclesiastical leaders. Okay, so here's what he's doing--he's affiliating with a group whose ideals are contra gospel principles. Plain and simply, that's what democrats have become as they've attempted to reach out to all the downtrodden. Gays have finally found some success turning their predicament into a race issue. Democrats have taken the bait, and are willing to stand up for gays as though some social injustice is done when gays get told they're wrong, and it's not a race issue. The democratic party certainly wasn't always like this. Jefferson's ideals were much more inline with gospel principles than Hamiltonian rhetoric in the outset. Of course the Church didn't exist until 1830, but the principles have always been around.
Reid is smart to stick with his story of bad motives, rather than attack the substance of the argument. He's like a pharisee standing there watching Jesus purge the temple grounds of its merchandisers. Of course he doesn't tell Jesus he's wrong to do it, But he does ask 'Who's this guy?' and 'Why now, why not later... or earlier?'
Now, excommunicate him? Pure speculation here, but that probably won't happen. Not for this. If he came out and said gay marriage should have the same esteem as traditional marriage, that would be more like it. So far he's just kind of dancing around it, hoping he never has to say it. Even then, would he really believe it?

Posted by: David Sudweeks at June 06, 2006 03:41 PM

22 uhhhh yes the sanctity of holy matrimony. Wedded bliss. Family values. Divorce rates are lowest in the northeast highest in the south. Atheists and agnostics have a lower divorce rate than any christain church group. Buddhists were not listed. http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm




Posted by: john ryan at June 06, 2006 03:47 PM

23 Harry Reid is trying to nuance his way out of something where there is neither excuse nor room for such 'nuance.' I'm a member of the LDS Church and the only way he'd be ex-communicated is if he came out vocaly, and directly (explicitly direct) against the Church leadership. I hope he changes his mind.

Between all the talk of state powers and the attempts to trivialize this issue I hope enough people see these inane smokescreens for what they are. Give the states the chance to vote up or down on the amendment. If you want to talk about state powers the propositioning of amending the federal constitution CAN'T take their powers because it both uses them to determine any amendment AND because the moment an amendment is passed the constitution is changed and the rights are NO LONGER the state's jurisdiction.

And this crap on diviciveness is such garbage. When we as a society pretend that altering the way that the government interacts with the most fundamental unit in our society is a "side show" then we'll fully warrant the damnation that is inherent in such a fundamental change. People freak out about GMO (Geneticaly modified organsims) yet they don't take a second thought scrambling the endorsed structure of society at it's fundamental levels. This truly is akin to saying that the DNA sequences should be "endorsed" in whatever random mutations that can occur. When you endorse detrimental mutations you get cancer. That's what our society is so close to doing here in the US.

Make no mistake, this is one of the most important issues in the history of human government. And so many in the MSM and in the left wing want to pretend that it's some cheesy side show.

Posted by: HiveRadical at June 06, 2006 03:52 PM

24 I am a politically conservative Mormon who finds Harry Reid very misguided and annoying but from what I understand of excommunication within the Church, it is very unlikely that he has anything to worry about.

As mentioned in the post, excommunication or more mild forms of church discipline are invoked when personal behavior conflicts with church teachings.

Despite what its critics may suggest, the Church is reluctant to publicly endorse a political position unless it directly involves a moral issue. Even so, the Church does not require its members to adhere to or actively endorse these positions (even if it asks us to).

The last time something similar happened was in the '70s when the Church opposed the ERA and a member, Sonia Johnson was excommunicated not for opposing the Church's position but because she actively tried to undermine Church leaders and the Church's missionary efforts. Some may quibble with the distinction but I believe that if she just stuck to pursuing her honest poltical differences she would not have been exed.

Regarding Senator Reid, I don't know how he resolves his personal beliefs (which he claims to be in accord with his Church) with his public actions (which are not). But that is not for me to judge.

Posted by: David H. Sundwall at June 06, 2006 04:25 PM

25 In response to the statement made by Anachronda. -- "Actually, as far as I can tell, the official position is to have lawyers closely draft letters such as this...The letter does not say the church supports the amendment, it merely says the church believes marriage should be between a man and a woman...It also does not say that members should support the amendment, it just urges members to "express themselves".

Actually the very reason that Elder Russel M. Nelson was sent to Washington under the direction of the First Presidency was to call to the attention of others the need for such an ammendment. The Church does support it! To "express yourself" and not be for or against it, might AND I say MIGHT be interpreted as being "luke warm" or a fence sitter. As members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (YES I am a member) we believe and sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators with the authoritative right to speak to the Savior's people and all nations of the Earth the mind and will of God. Does the Savior himself have to come and do this for the people to know of it's validity?...I think not...that is why these men have been called by God to be who they are. We do not believe leaders of our Church to be infallible but in matters such as these when the Church makes a move and takes a stand, it is not something that can be trivialized to a point of just expressing ourselves. It was stated earlier right out of the broadcast what Elder Nelson said while in Washington, D.C.(see below in quotes). My belief is that this is a spiritual issue for the Church as much as is it is a political issue for the rest of our nation with regards to members of the LDS Church.

"Together we share a duty to preserve marriage and family as established by God, the time has now come when a constitutional amendment is needed in this country to protect our divine inheritance. Such action does not reduce our regard for individuals who choose to live by other standards. But it confirms our conviction that marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue and the foundation for eternal exaltation." --Elder Russel M. Nelson

Posted by: PraticalReason at June 06, 2006 04:52 PM

26 Harry Reid is a Mormon???

Protestants can excommunicate members???

Learned two things in one post. WTG Rusty ;)

Posted by: RepJ at June 06, 2006 05:01 PM

27 I'm not Morman but I believe in polygamy. I've been trying to convince the wife that she needs some help around the house. One about 25 years old with long legs and big hooters should do.

Posted by: greyrooster at June 06, 2006 05:31 PM

28 Is there something wrong with holding the opinion that marriage should be between only between a man and a wife, and also hold the opinion that we don't need an amendment to the constitution to say so?

As a lifelong observant Mormon, I see no reason for Harry Reid to be excommunicated or reprimanded in anyway. On the contrary, I think it would be very disturbing if *any* diciplinary action resulted from Senator Reid's vote. Those of you who do need to get a better understanding of what charity is--otherwise your whining makes the rest of us Mormons look bad.

I don't agree with the Democrats stance on abortion, but there are also plenty of Republicans nowdays that support abortion that it is a moot point for me (Bo Derek for example).

I'd rather vote for a "tax & spend Democrat" over a "borrow & spend Republican" any day. Where in the Republican Party have those sound Mormon principles of self-reliance and "pay-as-you-go" disappeared to?

Posted by: Jason at June 06, 2006 05:47 PM

29 "So, the official position of the LDS church is that it's members should support the amendment."

Actually, the official stance, according to that letter is that members should express themselves to their elected representatives in the Senate. The letter is specifically written not to explicitly tell people how to view this politically.

Posted by: Kim Siever at June 06, 2006 05:51 PM

30 "Take adultery for example. You'll hear sermons about it, but they aren't going to single some dude out for ridicule."

The Mormon church usually only excommunicates adulterers when they refuse to repent, or if they're in a position of trust. Also, its not really "singling out some dude for ridicule." Its hardly ever announced or anything. Usually the only way you find out is that you're connected to the events somehow or you start asking about why so and so hasn't come to church in a while. In every instance, if a Mormon excommunication gets publicized, its because the excommunicated person has decided to announce it.

Posted by: Adam Greenwood at June 06, 2006 06:21 PM

31 Er, Kim, if that is the case how come one of your Apostles went to D.C. on an official visit and officially endorsed the Amendment?

Posted by: Macktastick Wicked Numero Uno at June 06, 2006 07:03 PM

32 To Kim Siever,

The statement that was made in my previous post was that the Church does support it as far as the brethren are concerned. The opinion, which I failed to identify it as such, in my previous statement is that to "express themselves" only to the degree of expression MIGHT be interpreted to be "luke warm". I believe that Church officials would indeed yes, have us, as they say "express ourselves" to our elected representatives. But that cannot be interpreted as express ourselves and then go on our merry way and say the politics are dancing. The point I was attempting make was not a political one at all. It was directed towards members of the Church to evaluate it from a spiritual point of view. I do this because of being a member and at the same time belonging to an organization that opposes Gay and Lesbian couples from adopting children. As an adoptor and adoptee, digging deep into what has been taught in my upbringing there is no compromise to the divine appointment of a Father (man) and Mother (woman).

Now if you are a not a member of the LDS Church and you are reading this then you can take it at face value and view it with all the political ferver that you can muster up. But if you are a member of the Church I would hope that you would rely on basic Gospel principles and what has been taught and look beyond the political attributes of the matter.

Upon careful observation of Elder Nelson's statment he explicitly stated, "Together we share a duty to preserve marriage and family as established by God, the time has now come when a constitutional amendment is needed in this country to protect our divine inheritance". That is not a political statement more than it is a spiritual statement and I doubt that he went or was sent to Washington with any political agenda to advocate a political position. Unfortunately such matters fall into the realm of having to play around the political affairs of an almost godless nation, or at least one that is slow to remember who has blessed them with what they possess. Although the Church will not dictate to its members how to view this politically, I do believe that they are emphasizing in a "counseling" like manner to do what D&C 9:9 tells us to do. Otherwise the warning is the same as what is given in Alma 60:7. We can "express", which is fine, but we should also do and support our leaders by becoming involved where and when we can.

Posted by: PraticalReason at June 06, 2006 07:19 PM

33 Er, MWNU, where in that letter does it say anything about one of the apostles going to DC on an official visit?

Rusty quoted the letter (or an article quoting the letter) and then based his statement on an interpretation he made of the letter. Nelson's trip to DC has nothing to do with what direction Mormons were given in that letter.

Posted by: Kim Siever at June 06, 2006 07:22 PM

34 PraticalReason,

What I said had nothing to do with morality. It had to do with Rusty's use of an non-partisan comment to support a moral claim. I was simply pointing out that what he deduced from that statement is not what the statement said, regardless of what other statements have said.

Posted by: Kim Siever at June 06, 2006 07:25 PM

35 Exommunicate AL GORE he is a deffinit new age earth worshiping pagan freak

Posted by: sandpiper at June 06, 2006 08:18 PM

36 I am not wrapped around the letter. The news article can be seen at the following link:

http://kutv.com/local/local_story_157104811.html

We can all form our own opinions and if anything Elder Nelson's visit to Washington to me was an extension of the letter on the First Presidency's views of the matter. I was only stating that the Church's position is more of a spiritual one than it is a political one.

If you are referring to Rusty's statement, "So, the official position of the LDS church is that it's members should support the amendment". I agree with you 100%; that is not what the letter or any other Church press release has stated. You are correct in pointing out the non-partisan comment being used to support a moral claim as being unfounded.

I was not trying to support the claim that Church has asked its members to explicitly support this amendment. It could be ‘word-smithed’ to death and left to endless interpretation. What I was attempting to do was to show my devotion to what I believe to be true. By the content of the letter that was released to members from the First Presidency and the Quorum or the Twelve and then a follow-up of an Apostle of the Lord being there in Washington with other leaders to support the amendment, I do believe that the message (non-formal) that is being sent from our Church leaders with regards to supporting such an amendment is to do the "morally" correct thing as per the teachings received within the boundaries of our religion. Some might say that this point of view is an oversimplification to a complex problem. In my opinion, if this is only a political situation for Church members or in the least degree political views have superseded the role of moral and spiritual views of the subject matter, then it is sadly unfortunate.

Posted by: PraticalReason at June 06, 2006 08:33 PM

37 What I am trying to say is that we know where the brethren stand on this and granted they have not asked us to explicitly support this amendment, but I do sustain their actions in opposing Gay and Lesbian marriage and support the ideals of preventing activist judges from over-turning the people's vote for what ever their (real) motives might be. Until a prophet of God tells me that such "unnatural affection" within the legal bonds of marriage have been divinely sanctioned I myself could not find myself to do anything else but support and advocate support for the amendment. Within the bounds of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints the moral principle is an absolute until otherwise revealed.

Posted by: PraticalReason at June 06, 2006 08:53 PM

38 What I am trying to say is that we know where the brethren stand on this and granted they have not asked us to explicitly support this amendment, but I do sustain their actions in opposing Gay and Lesbian marriage and support the ideals of preventing activist judges from over-turning the people's vote for what ever their (real) motives might be. Until a prophet of God tells me that such "unnatural affection" within the legal bonds of marriage have been divinely sanctioned I myself could not find myself to do anything else but support and advocate support for the amendment. Within the bounds of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints the moral principle is an absolute until otherwise revealed.

Posted by: PraticalReason at June 06, 2006 08:59 PM

39 ROTFLOL! ...One thing I've always admired about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) is that they, unlike other denominations, haven't forgotten the time honored Christian tradition of excommunication....

Great post! Excommunication certainly has it's time and place, yet Reid's political opinions simply does not qualify him for that level of exclusion and/or censure.

However, I do agree with the sentiment.

Posted by: LDS Patriot at June 06, 2006 09:10 PM

40 An ammendment is necessary to protect the traditional family from judges bent pleasing the few.

Posted by: peacemaker at June 06, 2006 10:25 PM

41 The Church doesn't endorse political positions, only those viewed by the leaders as a "moral" issue. For example, in the past, they have asked members to vote agains't.... gambling, alcohol, Equal Rights Amendment (Sonia Johnson)and now Protection of Marriage issue...as defined by marriage between man and a woman.

To most it is politics...to the Mormon Church..it is purely a moral issue....one central to the main purpose of the Church....the continuance of the family thru marriage....here and in the future.

Posted by: Tony at June 07, 2006 12:24 AM

42 That said...Harry Reid is an idiot..
an embarrassment to all....

Fortunately, most people clearly recognize it!

Posted by: Tony at June 07, 2006 12:32 AM

43 As a Mormon, I must say, with the greatest reluctance, that Harry Reid should not be excommunicated, because it would provide grist for the propaganda mills of the apologetics who claim the Church "dictates" how we vote, or "runs" the state of Utah behind the scenes.

But Harry Reid proffered one of the more disingenuous explanations I've heard since John Kerry tapdanced his way to defeat in 2004. He says he's against gay marriage, but is also against the Marriage Protection Amendment? What's up with that?

Posted by: Anchorage Activist at June 07, 2006 01:50 AM

44 I don't have much to say about Reid and excommunication; not being of any church myself. Many others have addressed the issue quite succinctly. But I think they're going about this all wrong. While they insist on handling the whole illegal immigration issue, from securing the border to what to do with those already in violation, they have attacked this problem of marriage in a narrowly focused manner by ignoring what is really at the bottom of it all.

Supporting an amendment without regard to certain legal rights that gays are unable to enjoy as contributing members of society is making the matter worse. It is my personal opinion that if they want to ammend the Constitution to specify marriage as between one man and one woman, then they need to also extend to gays some manner of protection from being exploited. A civil union or some manner of protection.

If John and Bill (or Jane and Mary) spend thirty years together and Bill dies, John has no real legal right to Bill's estate. Without a contract legally bound by law Bill's parents, and even his siblings, can strip John of everything he and Bill worked together to achieve. A will can be too easily annulled, and has been. Yes, some judges will find on John's behalf, but by making this ammendment alone, it will be even harder for that to happen.

So - if they want to take this all the way to the constitution they should take a two-pronged approach. Or leave it to the States.

Posted by: Oyster at June 07, 2006 03:50 AM

45 Oh yeah, amendment has two m's, not three. Copy/paste has it's disadvantages.

Posted by: Oyster at June 07, 2006 03:52 AM

46 Is this still the Jawa report?

Posted by: greyrooster at June 07, 2006 06:34 AM

47 "...we urge members..." NOT "...we command members..."

Posted by: Paul F Justham at June 07, 2006 07:54 AM

48 If abortion is "homicide", then I don't see how supporting a "right to commit homicide" could be anything but a sin.

Many Catholics would agree that it is. However, the Church tries to stay away from even the perception that elected Catholics are being directed from Rome.

Also, anyone would surely agree that there is a huge gulf between supporting the right to an abortion and actually having an abortion.

As a Mormon, I must say, with the greatest reluctance, that Harry Reid should not be excommunicated, because it would provide grist for the propaganda mills of the apologetics who claim the Church "dictates" how we vote, or "runs" the state of Utah behind the scenes.

There's the Mormon analogy.

Posted by: rightwingprof at June 07, 2006 10:05 AM

49 Great post, Oyster.

Why don't catholics excommunicate the members who support abortion? How about because an estimated 50% of catholics support legal abortion in circumstances the church would not?

And it is of course possible to oppose gay marriage and this amendment on federalism grounds. That's Reid's position. Historically, marriage has been a core state function. To attenuate that freedom at the national level is problematic for many. Even in 1912, when the vast majority of white Americans opposed any interracial marriage, an amendment to prevent Mass. and other liberal states from marrying blacks and whites failed to pass the congress. Despite the extraordinary dominance of racists in the Congress, they treasured federalism more. (this was the same congress that also failed, repeatedly, to pass federal laws against lynching, which was killing so many blacks without any state penalty). At the time, a few interracial couples would leave the South or Midwest, and go north to get legally hitched.

Just as it took a long time for the principle of interracial marriage to be accepted, it will take a long time for gay marriage to win. But the tide of history on this issue is clear. Conservatives are fighting a "rear guard action" (yes, a funny way to describe anti-sodomists) on gay rights, and they know it. Gay rights are moving much faster than black rights did. Majorities of Americans already accept that gays should have workplace rights. That wasn't true of blacks for several hundred years, and decades after the civil war. Gays are elected officials, openly, in both parties, when in 1968 there were none.

This amendment is going nowhere, and everyone knows it. It is a sideshow distraction from a failed administration. Are social conservatives this dumb, to think Bush cares about this? In 2004, an election year, he gave hundreds of speeches on this. In 2005, a lexis search shows that he NEVER mentioned it, not once. In 2006, up till now, he NEVER mentioned it. Wake up, fools. You vote for pro-life, prayer in the schools, and a ban on gay marriage. You get tax cuts for Paris Hilton.

Posted by: jd at June 07, 2006 10:22 AM

50 Ah. Forget the fags. They are not only against, The church they are against nature. And you should never mess with mother nature. I thought aids was going to take care of this problem.

Posted by: greyrooster at June 07, 2006 12:57 PM

51 One Can't be excommincate for voting contrary to the leaders. Here's what former LDS president Heber J. Grant said about those who voted differently than he did on rescinding
Prohibition - "Some of my friends begged
me to come out and appeal to the people individually, to ask every Latter-day
Saint to vote to maintain the Eighteenth Amendment. I believe men that have lived
the gospel just as well as I have ever
lived it, many of them, were conscientious in voting for repeal." (Heber J. Grant)

Posted by: Leah Hona at June 07, 2006 04:08 PM

52 PracticalReason says: "Until a prophet of God tells me that such "unnatural affection" within the legal bonds of marriage have been divinely sanctioned I myself could not find myself to do anything else but support and advocate support for the amendment. Within the bounds of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints the moral principle is an absolute until otherwise revealed."

How can you call yourself "Practical Reason" when your position quoted above puts faith before reason. It is clear by your response that you have abdicated your agency to choose for yourself to others who evidently know better than you. This is not "practical reason", it is blind faith, if not a form of idolatry.


Posted by: Stupor of Thought at June 07, 2006 05:42 PM

53 I am a faithful Mormon, and I especially like "Give 'em hell Harry." I completely agree with his position and his observation that we are ignoring more critical issues in order to pitch a fit over this proposed amendment. I saw that the ultra-conservative press tried to make him ridiculous by comparing the price of gas to the eternal sanctity of the family. Pretty transparent.

Posted by: kateye at June 08, 2006 12:07 AM

54 How about because an estimated 50% of catholics support legal abortion in circumstances the church would not?

Whose estimation is this? Obviously, someone who does not know many Catholics.

Posted by: rightwingprof at June 08, 2006 10:27 AM

55 One can't be excommincated for voting contrary to the leaders. Here's what former LDS president Heber J. Grant said about those who voted differently than he did on rescinding
Prohibition - "Some of my friends begged
me to come out and appeal to the people individually, to ask every Latter-day
Saint to vote to maintain the Eighteenth Amendment. I believe men that have lived
the gospel just as well as I have ever
lived it, many of them, were conscientious in voting for repeal." (Heber J. Grant)

Posted by: Captain Moroni at June 08, 2006 01:12 PM

56 testing

Posted by: HooverDam at June 08, 2006 02:45 PM

57 Stupor of Thought,

I am not sure to which religion you belong. But what I "evidently don't know", is quite possibly a lot of things.

What I do know is that I have not abdicated my agency to choose for myself but that I choose to sustain and support the leaders of the faith that I belong to because of an inward conviction and commitment to certain moral principles that are unchangeable. In simpler terms God did not put Adam and Steve or Madam and Eve in the Garden and command them to multiply and replenish the Earth as per biblical terms. It was Adam (man) and Eve (woman). The amendment is establishing that very precedence of preserving the sanctity of marriage and what Christians and most other religions generally believe to be the basic foundation for the family unit.

In my observation society has come to a point of setting themselves above the standard that was established a long time ago; a standard that is, yes a moral principle. It seems that some organizations would rather deny the existence of a God altogether to sanction within their power the ability to do things beyond such standards; redefining them (per se) for an evolving society so as to not be accountable for going against a moral principle. But again this is just what I believe. What you call "blind faith" I would call a "personal conviction of a moral principle". But you are entitled to your own beliefs regarding the matter and I will respect that.

Posted by: PraticalReason at June 08, 2006 03:28 PM

58 >>>They HAVE to transform that church because Liberalism and christianity cancel each other out.

Yeah, Jesus was a stuanch conservative.


>>>That's why Liberal churches that have been transformed like that are are quick to negotiate away the traditional doctrines and dogmas of their religion, yet are adamant about maintaining the trappings of the old religion

Jesus should have stuck to the traditional doctrines and dogmas. You're right.

Posted by: iGNORANT jACKOFF at June 08, 2006 03:58 PM

59 From the Mormon Church's official website:

Issues on which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has felt compelled to take a firm stand include civil rights, MX missile testing in Utah, same-gender marriages, pornography, gambling and Utah alcohol laws.

The Church does not extend reprimands or ecclesiastical punishment to persons who choose not to support its views on these issues.


I personally think Harry Reid is motivated primarily or exclusively by partisan politics, and would loke nothing more than "to divide our society, to pit one against another."

However, one can oppose homosexual marriage without supporting a Constitutional amendment or other particular political solutions.

More pertinent to this discussion, the Church does not assert political infallibility and is not about to excommunicate people for disagreeing with it. If Reid had said "gay people ought to get married" or "people ought to have gay sex," the answer would probably be different.

Posted by: tml at June 08, 2006 05:10 PM

60 It's probably obvious, but my post should read "... would like nothing ..." rather than "... would loke nothing ..."

Posted by: tml at June 08, 2006 06:33 PM

61
Don't blame Reid for the same thing that Orrin Hatch did (partisan politics). Hatch was just lucky enough to be on the "right" side of the amendment proposal. Just wait, he'll have his turn soon enough. I'm sure the repubs got the fodder they were looking for. Whether or not it will work to their advantage remains to be seen.

Posted by: DCO at June 11, 2006 11:29 PM

62 Hi there, Mormon here.

Harry Reid appears to be a politician first and religious man second. He's walking a fine line. I'd love to know how he can reconcile his political position with what he supposedly believes to be right and true. Depending on how far he carries this thing, he could find himself on the outside looking in, but the Church won't excommunicate without grounds. It'll be interesting to see how this shakes out.

For the Church's part: Members are never told how to vote, but they are encouraged TO vote and contact their elected officials to make their voices heard. Which side of the moral issue members fall on, how they vote, and what they say to their elected officials is entirely between themselves and God.

The fact that Elder Nelson is in D.C. "helping" the Republicans by endorsing the signing of the Act, does not proclaim a partisan affiliation - he is most likely on assignment, trying to see that the country's best interests, as far as the Church views them, are being upheld.

Posted by: Natalie at June 12, 2006 05:54 PM

63 Who's to say that Reid doesn't have a better idea for the concept of "marriage protection." Maybe the amendment was flawed and not the concept. Maybe Harry and Orrin will put their heads together and come up with something that resembles bipartisan support.

Posted by: DCO at June 12, 2006 07:33 PM

64 This case, like so many others, follows the pattern established by Joseph Smith, the first leader of the church who said: "I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves." All the church is saying in this letter, (emphasized by the follow-up visit of a leader), is that the traditional family is something that the church teaches as being fundamental to the purpose of life itself, and something that therefore becomes of a moral nature. Since we happen to live in a society that allows its members the right to have a say in the direction that society goes, the church is simply saying that as a member of the church, and a member of a free society, if you care about the moral direction of the society, this is a matter about which you might want to make your voice heard. We are free, as is Harry Reid, to make our own choice as to whether we will follow their counsel.

Harry Reid would not be excommunicated for expressing his own views. This is exactly why critics of the church have such an empty argument against Mitt Romney running for president. Romney, Reid, Leavitt, or any other public servant is free to "express" himself in the matter he deems most appropriate,without being bound to do whatever the church dictates.

Excommunication is a very different, and weighty process where those who have committed serious sins, or come out in open opposition to the church
place in jeopardy their good standing in the church.

Posted by: val at June 13, 2006 10:20 PM

65 If the Church ex'd Harry for opposing the amendment, they would also have to ex all the politicians who were so slow to follow the church's counsel to exe the MX missile program. They'd also have to ex all the Utah state legislators who voted down the gun control bill that the church publicly supported a few years ago. Etc etc etc...

Luckily, the church doesn't do this. All of you Mormons who are amazed at how Harry can reconcile his private and political convictions should go ask the same question to everyone in your ward that owns a business that's open on Sunday. Grow up. And if you think Orrin and Bob are morally unassailable, you're naive.

And I will tell you this: a good friend of mine in Washington tells me that when the Church needs some help behind the scenes in the capitol, Harry is a much more valuable resource to them than Orrin or Bob.

Posted by: JG at June 14, 2006 09:40 AM

66 Reid's position does oppose the LDS Church's official stand, make no mistake. This is significant when you think about what Mormons believe. To be clear Mormons believe that there is no difference when the prophet (President Hinckley) speaks than if the Lord has said it Himself. Therefore in the eyes of mormons the Lord has taken the position to support a constitutional amendment.

In any society the family is the fundamental unit. Simple reason follows that what happens to the family will eventually happen to society because the family is society's building block. There are clearly enough studies that show that childern are best developed with a father and a mother. Therefore one must be extreemely concerned with the trivality that Reid has approached this subject, particualry in light of the extensive LDS doctrine regarding the centrality and import of the traditional family to God's plan and mankind's progression.

Posted by: Jon Duersch at June 14, 2006 09:03 PM






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