Category Archives: Civility

Vigilantism’s Return to America

Several weeks ago, George Zimmerman, the man acquitted of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin, made an appearance at a Florida gun show as the guest of honor. Zimmerman was invited by the gun show’s organizer, who had supported Zimmerman at his trial, to help promote the event by signing autographs. The appalling reaction of several of my right-wing acquaintances after I complained on Facebook about the celebration of Zimmerman as a hero prompted me

Censuring Arizona’s GOP

I personally want to thank Arizona’s Republican Party.  From the removal of concealed-carry permits, to SB 1070, to radical border philosophy, to Sheriff Joe’s posse, and now the attacking of Senator John McCain, misguided legislators are alienating key voting demographics in the state.  The Hispanic vote is growing leaps and bounds, doubling this past decade and edging close to 30% of the electorate.  Moderates are regularly siding with Democrats over issues like gay rights and immigration reform causing key political

Government Shutdown – The Lincoln Analogy

Obamacare pales in comparison to the importance of freeing the Slaves. And shutting down the government is nothing at all like Civil War. But the principles are exactly the same. President Obama came in inexperienced and made mistakes – so did President Lincoln. But they both promoted the overriding principle of Constitutional government of, by, and for the People – all of us People – not any particular faction, party, or philosophy, except for this: The Constitution is not some stale,

Today’s Founding Fathers

We all owe a debt of gratitude to our country’s Founding Fathers. Their drive and tenacity put into place the longest surviving constitutional republic in the world. The Constitution is nothing short of inspired; stitched together through compromise and collective experience. I do not believe it is chance that such an extraordinary group of individuals were able to set aside their vast differences and create a common document. I also believe that today’s presidents are equally inspired and have a

Political Food Stamps

A great example of our nation’s partisan politics is the careless discussion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps. Lately there have been several measures passed by the House of Representatives which feed on misinformation or play upon voter’s perceptions. As citizens we are left to dissect rampant talking points and blatant fabrications with little help from our media outlets. In general, misinformation has become a lucrative industry with talk show hosts, pundits, and politicians selling unsubstantiated

Church Leaders’ Political Opinions Aren’t Official Doctrine

In past decades, there have been a few General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have been outspoken on American politics. Some Church members frequently quote from these politically outspoken former General Authorities in order to justify certain right-wing political views, often implying a doctrinal quality to such views, and, on occasion, attempt to question the faithfulness of members who disagree. President Ezra Taft Benson’s political statements are perhaps the best example of this. I

Stop the Madness!

With November right around the corner our country is bracing for a barrage of political attacks, skewed data, and faulty logic.  It is our job as citizens to vet these political distortions and hold our politicians accountable.  Forwarding emails, trolling on Facebook, or posting links from partisan blogs does little to support positions and creates a wider divide.  Taking a “good versus evil” stance is unproductive and should remain clear of our civil debates. How did we get here? I

The Church’s Political Neutrality

During the last Presidential election season, I wrote the following letter to the editor, which was printed in a prominent newspaper: Lost amid the hype about Mitt Romney’s religion speech and Mike Huckabee’s surge is a story about a church that, unlike most contemporary Christian organizations, does not participate in partisan politics. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church, has stated for years that it does not “endorse, promote or oppose political parties,

Let’s Tone it Down Several Notches

So far, it appears that the person who targeted Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona for assassination, in Saturday’s shooting rampage that left 6 people dead and many others seriously wounded, was not directly inspired by the virulent and violent political rhetoric that has been dominating the public discourse over the past 2 years and beyond. And in this post, I am not trying to assign blame for the shooting rampage to anyone aside from the deranged, homicidal gunman, Jared

“Ground Zero” Mosque

The Eleventh Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints states, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” [emphasis added] It is frankly shocking and disappointing that about 70 percent of Americans apparently oppose the building of an Islamic center that will include a mosque in Lower Manhattan, according to a

A Renewed Call for Civility from LDS Church Leadership

During the most recent LDS General Conference, we heard yet another call for civility in our public dialogue. Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated, “many in this world are afraid and angry with one another. While we understand these feelings, we need to be civil in our discourse and respectful in our interactions. This is especially true when we disagree. The Savior taught us to love even our enemies. The vast majority of our

Right-Wing Terrorism

The news over the past few days has demonstrated that elements of the Tea Party and others on the far right have resorted to blatant bigotry and threats of violence in the run up to and in the aftermath of Sunday’s House vote on the landmark heath care reform bill. As some Democratic lawmakers were making their way up to Capital Hill on Sunday, Tea Party protesters hurled racial and other epithets, like ni***r and fa***t to a few black

Glenn Beck vs. the First Presidency

On March 12th, the First Presidency of the Church issued a statement encouraging all Church members in the United States to participate fully in the 2010 census. “We urge all members to respond to [census questionnaires] in an accurate and timely manner. It is an important obligation for all citizens to be counted in the census.” However, Glenn Beck had a different idea. The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c United States Census 2010 www.colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full

“Beware of Those Who Stir Us Up to Anger”

To start the blog, I would like to link one of my favorite LDS General Conference talks from the past few years given by Elder Robert S. Wood of the First Quorum of the Seventy. In observing the political climate in 2006, Elder Wood noted: We appear to be living in an era in which many are speaking without thinking, encouraging emotional reactions rather than thoughtful responses. Whether it be on the national or international stage, in personal relations or