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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mormons and freedom

Someone forwarded an excellent article to me, one that I would never have seen otherwise. I'm so glad I read it. He brought a unique perspective about Mormons and freedom. It's all true, though I had not thought of the connection between LDS theology and political beliefs exactly in this way before.
I’m inspired by this Mormon theological idea: God intended for humans to be free to make our own choices and live with the consequences of those choices.  The Founding Fathers of this country said essentially the same thing in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
My study of Mormonism has not only given me newfound respect for this people and their religion; it has also made me evaluate my own attitude towards the liberty that seems to be slipping through all of our fingers.  Is this just something that is nice to have, and for which I thank the Founding Fathers?  Or is it really something that is endowed by God, and that He expects me to fight for.  According to Mormon theology, I already fought for this once.  The fact that I’m here says that I was on God’s side in the war in heaven, and fought for liberty.
A Mormon might ask, why should any of us be less willing to fight for it here than we were there?
Which brings me to the question many conservative Mormons ask about liberal Mormons: how can you be a Mormon Democrat? Democrats attack freedom! Not that we all have identical understanding of eternal principles and not that Democrats don't stand for many kinds of freedoms against God's law (like abortion and gay marriage and substance abuse). [Yes, I firmly support that the LDS Church's political neutrality and the right of members to choose a political party.]

Still, people are given the freedom to make choices as a gift from God and they should be able to choose without the government telling them what to do. I'd only ask that Democrats also consider this in light of anti-smoking laws, anti-school choice, health laws, liberal power grabs limiting our freedoms (look at Obama) and financial regulations which similarly limit freedom to act by both businesses and individuals. Ask yourself whether the things the Democrat and Republican parties stand for are rooted in protecting and preserving freedom? Of course we need some laws and regulations to maintain a civil society, but there is a fine line between adding to society and making it more safe and becoming a burden on society by over-regulation and limiting options and red tape and basically the expansion of government at the expense of the private sector which feeds the government all it lives on (or should, like the days before deficit spending). It is a line we've already crossed.

I invite, and ask you to invite, Democrats to think about the consequences of their public policies. Do welfare handouts without work requirements really bring freedom or only a form of dependence? Do requirements on food stamp recipients to spend all the generous (double my budget per person!) money given or lose it all promote principles of self-reliance and financial responsibility or just waste and dependence? Do years of unemployment benefits while continuing to burden the job creators bring more freedom than pro-growth policies that create jobs? Do more taxes bring more financial freedom? Everyone wants to pay lower taxes than they have. I submit to you that Democrats can be reasoned out of their "feel-good," PC belief system and learn that the policies they think they support bring results opposite to the ones intended.

1 comment:

  1. I have often wondered the same thing, as many of my Mormon friends in NYC proclaimed themselves to be Democratic. Knowing them to be reasonable, smart people - I often asked these types of questions and sought to sincerely and truly understand where they were coming from - but more often than not my questions were received as attacks and impolite political talk. Or ignored. To make a long story short, I've never gotten any straight answers.