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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stephens: Muslims, Mormons and Liberals

The Wall Street Journal posted this editorial the other day elucidating the differences between Muslims and Mormons and how they each treat their antagonists, and also how liberals treat each of these groups. Lest you misunderstand me, please believe me when I say that I greatly respect the peaceful practice of Islam and that my biggest problem doesn't lie with radical Islam either: it lies with the liberal press misrepresenting the situation in the Middle East to Americans. Not that I approve of the practice of radical Islam, but the press bothers me more.

On to the WSJ: the introduction reminds us all that everyone has an opinion of the Book of Mormon whether or not they've read it, and the mocking Book of Mormon musical on Broadway is popular because of this. (I don't have any particular bones to pick with the musical, all it's doing is bringing more attention to the LDS Church which means some people actually learn more about us and what we believe).
So let's get this straight: In the consensus view of modern American liberalism, it is hilarious to mock Mormons and Mormonism but outrageous to mock Muslims and Islam. Why? Maybe it's because nobody has ever been harmed, much less killed, making fun of Mormons.

Here's what else we learned this week about the emerging liberal consensus: That it's okay to denounce a movie you haven't seen, which is like trashing a book you haven't read. That it's okay to give perp-walk treatment to the alleged—and no doubt terrified—maker of the film on legally flimsy and politically motivated grounds of parole violation. That it's okay for the federal government publicly to call on Google to pull the video clip from YouTube in an attempt to mollify rampaging Islamists. That it's okay to concede the fundamentalist premise that religious belief ought to be entitled to the highest possible degree of social deference—except when Mormons and sundry Christian rubes are concerned.

And, finally, this: That the most "progressive" administration in recent U.S. history will make no principled defense of free speech to a Muslim world that could stand hearing such a defense. After the debut of "The Book of Mormon" musical, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded with this statement: "The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."

That was it. The People's Front for the Liberation of Provo will not be gunning for a theater near you. Is it asking too much of religious and political leaders in Muslim communities to adopt a similar attitude?
Why is this opinion important to me? Because he's accurate about both the Obama administration, the complicit liberal media, and about Mormons. He didn't add this in directly, but it's pretty obvious in the LDS Church response: the fundamental belief and practice for members of the LDS Church is to follow Jesus Christ. As in, we don't believe in hurting people that hurt us. We believe in loving all people like Christ did and does. I've yet to find this central message of Mormons printed in the news media.

Skipping down to his conclusion:
President Obama came to office promising that he would start a new conversation with the Muslim world, one that lectured less and listened more. After nearly four years of listening, we can now hear more clearly where the U.S. stands in the estimation of that world: equally despised but considerably less feared. Just imagine what four more years of instinctive deference will do.
On the bright side, dear liberals, you'll still be able to mock Mormons. They tend not to punch back, which is part of what makes so many of them so successful in life.  
If you feel like you're missing something, you are correct. In the middle he talked about freedom of speech, but you can read the entire editorial yourself. And a friendly reminder: please read both sides for balanced coverage, because it doesn't exist in one place. And how can anyone make an informed opinion relying on only one point of view? Impossible.

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