Two newspaper commentaries recently caught my eye – one from the Deseret News and the other from The Salt Lake Tribune – both written by self-proclaimed LDS Democrats and both arguing a deeply spiritual connection between their Mormon faith and the Democratic Party.
In the Tribune, former state legislator Scott Daniels tries to make the case that the Book of Mormon, held sacred by Latter-day Saints, is a blueprint for liberal fiscal and social policies. Daniels writes, “I don’t see how it is possible to read the Book of Mormon, believe it is the word of God and support the Romney-Ryan tax and budget plan.” He goes on to describe sections of the Book of Mormon that chastise people for materialism and implies that supporting Mitt Romney for president is a vote for materialism. Likewise, I suppose, the author is defending the idea that a vote for Barack Obama is a vote for God’s team.
In the Deseret News, a woman with a hyphenated name defends LDS Democrats by arguing, “We believe it is the Democratic Party that best meets our values.” She adores Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and says that her growing band of LDS Democrats are in “harmony with our religion” precisely because they are Democrats.
All of this cheerleading comes on the heels of a year-long effort by the homosexual, former Mormon chairman of the state Democratic Party to try to win over Mormons into the Democratic fold. I thought I would include the adjectives “homosexual” and “former Mormon” to describe this Democratic party chair given that it seems now that everything we are or do has some sort of bearing on what political party we belong to – at least according to Utah Democrats.
It’s interesting that the Utah Republican Party doesn’t have a caucus of LDS Republicans, but for some odd reason Mormons who identify with Democrats, and even Mormons who identify with libertarians these days, seem compelled to defend the idea that a sensible Mormon can be a Democrat or libertarian. Maybe that’s because it’s a difficult case to make when one group sides proudly with socialism and the other side rests all of its politics on selfish individualism.
Heaven knows I’m not defending the Republican Party as the party of God. But I will defend every rational attempt to protect freedom and, as a conservative, it so happens that the Republican Party, by and large, still seems to attract supporters who understand the full requirements of a free society in a dangerous world.
I don’t want anyone to misunderstand what I’m saying. I am a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Latter-day Saint first and foremost. I’m just saying that the authors of these two commentaries I’ve cited are about as wrong as you can get. I’m also saying that to project the gospel of Jesus Christ onto any political party is stupid. I get that all of us want a better world and that partisan politics has a role in shaping that world for better or worse. I’m just saying that a better world for Mormons begins by living the gospel of Jesus Christ, not by some self-justifying baptism into the pool of party politics – and certainly not misrepresenting the words of Jesus to make you feel better about yourself.
Americans take care of our poor because it’s prudent to do so in a free society, not because Jesus calls upon coercive government to do it. If LDS Democrats think Jesus had the modern welfare state in mind to care for the poor, I can see why they worship President Obama as His true apostle and why they care so deeply about mixing church and state.
For Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.