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.
photo credit: sknol
A common argument made against the LDS Church in Utah and the prominence and influence of its members in local politics is that it borderlines on a theocracy, with such a high percentage of state politicians being members of the Church. Whenever the Church decides to make a political statement or clarify their position on an issue, vociferous and numerous complaints arise from those who oppose these positions. The underlying fear is that the Church is controlling (whether explicitly or otherwise) the actions and votes of LDS elected officials.
Michael Otterson, managing director for public affairs for the Church, recently wrote an editorial for the Salt Lake Tribune clarifying the intent of the Church in holding annual meetings with local legislative leaders. His intent was to quell some of the “theocracy” concerns—voiced primarily by the Trib’s Rebecca Walsh—that arise whenever Church leaders wade into politics (whether that be via private meeting or public political statement). Since Church opponents loudly argue that religion and politics should never mix, Church leaders and PR people understandably must take the defensive approach at times to explain why their actions are perfectly reasonable.
It is unmistakably ironic, then, that Equality Utah would wrap the marketing campaign for its Common Ground Initiative around a couple statements made by Church representatives. Their own website makes perfectly clear the fact that their entire effort relies upon and takes advantage of two key statements that indicate the Church’s position on a specific issue.
It follows, then, that we have here a classic case of hypocrisy—something quite common among folk not founded upon principle or reason. No, instead we are relentlessly subjected to cries for the separation of Church and state (arguing that the two should never mix), but only when the positions of said Church are in conflict with their goals and objectives. But should the day come when these individuals’ ideals be supported in some small form by that Church, then they are all for using their statements and positions as pretext for political campaigns.
Never, but sometimes. Sounds rather Orwellian, I think…