What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader, is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is also a democrat. Some would argue that being an LDS Democrat is like trying to mix oil and water. It just doesn’t work.
A few weeks ago, the First Presidency of the Church issued a statement urging all members to contact their elected representatives and make their voices heard regarding this divisive, important topic.
However, Harry Reid, while supporting marriage being between a man and a woman, stands in opposition to a federal-level, constitutional amendment:
“This is another one of the President’s efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract, and to confuse America. It is this Administration’s way of avoiding the tough, real problems that American citizens are confronted with each and every day.” (source)
Frankly, I don’t care much for Harry Reid. What I did find interesting, however, was a recent blog post [at time of post, site was down. try google cache] by somebody who is not a member of the LDS church, calling for Reid’s excommunication. This blogger’s stance was that Reid is in direct opposition to the policy of the LDS church, and therefore should be excommunicated.
An interesting idea (well, a new one anyways, since I’ve yet to hear people demanding that Reid be excommunicated), but I see no reason. Excommunication is reserved for the most serious of sins, since it strips the person of their rights to fully commune with the Saints, participate in meetings, attend the temple, and so on. It is not a threat tool to quell potential naysayers and all those whos views differ from the General Authorities of the Church.
As General Authorities, we sustain these men and believe that what they preach is the mind and will of the Lord. While spiritual and doctrinal conformity is expected, political conformity is not. The leaders of the church only become involved in politics (e.g. issuing their recent letter) when it is a moral issue. Just as Captain Moroni of old, we too should be involved politically when moral issues are on the line.
That is why I loathe Senator Reid, and admire and respect Governor Mitt Romney (also LDS), who issued a letter to Senators, affirming his stance on the same-sex marriage issue (and heeding counsel of the First Presidency).
So, in summary, we are not to blindly follow our church leaders… But when it comes to issues of morality and fundamental doctrine, you’ve got a pretty weak testimony if you disagree with them.