Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Church And Politics

Over the weekend, the press heavily covered LDS Church President Hinckley's talk condemning racism. Was that talk related to the Church's statement that gently encouraged political pluralism? A hot topic right now is immigration. The Church is surely wary of the fact that many of the illegal immigrants in Utah are Mormons. The immigration debate is sliding in and out of racism laced insanity and has everyone on edge. Is the Church worried that the most frantic voices in the immigration debate are the same people who fraudulently carry the Church's banner into the political breach? Is the Church worried the political actions of their people will pigeon hole them forever in the Mountain West, stalling missionary efforts? Is the Church worried they will end up like Evangelical Christians whose political activities prevent them from getting traction outside of the South?

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the City Weekly win. It's about time.

4/05/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey- good job Ethan. Love your blog.

4/05/2006 09:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is this award? Details please- someone!!!!

4/05/2006 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is paying you? Is the City Weekly?

4/05/2006 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Reach Upward said...

Ethan, very astute observations. I have been present at meetings with relatively high church leaders where immigration has been discussed. Some will say this sounds corny, but there seems to be a genuine concern for carrying out the Christian duty to love and care for one's neighbor.

At the same time, the church feels that it is ill equipped to determine the legality of an individual's immigration status. It is, after all, a religious organization that has no business being an arm of the government. Do we really want churches in the U.S. to be like the ones in China?

I think we need to be very careful with the demagoguery of equating every immigration concern with racism. I listened to President Hinckley's talk and thought he might be alluding to an immigration-racism link, but the stronger message was that (notwithstanding church history) all races are alike to God and that church members are obligated to align their personal views with this view. (Pres. Hinckley used the word "repent.")

The Church's image is part of its brand, and its general leaders understand the importance of maintaining that brand. So your observation that the Church might be concerned that some of its members actions might cause problems for the brand is probably not unfounded.

4/06/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

The thing about Utah, and this is why I thought President Hinckley's talk was interesting, is that if you replace "Mexican" with "Black" in many conversations with Utahns, then you get exactly the kind of racial rhetoric that I heard so often in Montgommery Alabama in 1986-89.

But, in Alabama people at least recognized that the racial rhetoric was racial rhetoric (sadly, they just kind of accepted it). Here in Utah, I don't think people are generally aware of how racist they sound.

Mike.

4/06/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is being against illegal activity racist? I haven't heard anyone say that they want to throw everyone of Hispanic descent out of the country. And there are more than just Hispanics are here illegally. Come here through the proper process and you will be embraced, come in like a thief in the night and you will be treated as a lawbreaker. Sounds simple and very non-racist to me.

4/06/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger That One Guy said...

The last "anonymous", you said it exactly right - it's what I've been ranting about for months now on this issue...

"reach upward", in a pretty real way, to most people here in Utah, both inside and outside of the Church, the Church very much IS an arm of the government, and a very powerful one at that. It is for this reason I think they are trying to shy away from the rhetoric about this topic - it takes them out from the shadows and puts them in the spotlight. the Church is more comfortable silently pulling the strings behind the curtains. At least that's how (I, and) most people around here see this. My $0.02.

4/06/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe we have all missed the point. Maybe he (Pres. Hinckley) was talking to the Hispanic population about not being racist. After all the Hispanic in the 7-11 parking lot who screamed obsceneties at me and called me all sorts of names, the least offensive being "whitey" while I pumped my gas may have been the target of the remarks. Or maybe he was talking about the illegal aliens who carried the Mexican flag and screamed "brown power" were the ones. When are we going to stop acting like the only people capable of ever being "racists" are white ? - oh, and to be perfectly politically correct, they must be white males.

4/07/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't Mexicans understand what the words "illegal alien" mean? Do it legally and no problem. Hey, I enjoy low prices on fruit and vegetables just like the next person. This issue is not a religious issue, it's an economic one.

4/10/2006 08:44:00 AM  

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