Mormon Democrat. Why?! How!?

My new friend Aunt Lolo asked me why I am a Democrat. I'm so glad she did. It is somewhat unusual to be a Democrat and Mormon although there are several prominent Mormons who are Democrats (including Senate majority leader Harry Reid and church leaders like the late President James E. Faust and the late President Heber J. Grant).

It is also important to understand that the Mormon church has a policy of neutrality regarding politics. So the Mormon/Republican thing is strictly a cultural thing. We do not discuss politics except in very broad terms in church meetings and are not encouraged to vote for any political party.

To those who think that I am on the brink of outer darkness trying to pass myself off as a good Mormon while being a Democrat I say this: Until there is a temple recommend question asking me if I vote Democrat, I will assume that I can be considered an equally worthy member of the Mormon church as any Republican who is trying their best to the right thing and voting their conscience. I also assume that the church would take a strong stand against a candidate if they believed they were into "killing babies". So I am going to trust my Prophet that it is ok that I am a Democrat and would thank my fellow church members to do the same.

Like most people I know in this country, I don't consider myself especially well versed in political matters, I do my best to know what I need to know but I do not make politics my hobby.

Unlike most people in this country, I have the point of view of someone who did not grow up here. This meant that I did not have my American political leanings shaped or influenced by any one in any way. I had no idea Mormons were "supposed" to be Republicans or that they were more righteous then Democrats :P So when I got here as a young adult and I wanted to figure out which party I most supported, I relied only on my personal, religious and moral convictions to make that decision. I studied the scriptures to make those decisions.

Here are some of the convictions I have reached:

On Taxes

1. I believe that we should help others as much as we can. I don't believe that what I earn is my God-given right to keep. I don't believe in the "I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and so can they" theory. I think, quite frankly that this is judgmental garbage. You did well because you worked hard (maybe) and you were lucky (for sure). How can I say that? This is how. Give me one person who is making over 60K a year and I will show them 10 who make less then of half that and work a heck of a lot harder then they do, people who can't heat their homes. So that argument holds zero weight with me, and I just find it very uncompassionate, closed minded and arrogant. Maybe because I grew up in South Africa and I saw how hard some people worked and how little they have. and will always have. This "I worked hard so you can too and be just as well off as I am" is just not realistic. I don't believe that I should be able to be rich at the expense of other people. I have no problem with people becoming successful and independently wealthy. I hope to be myself one day, I like to think I could do a lot of good with some money, but I don't view it as my inalienable right to have more then you do or to hoard it to give to my kids one day. At the end of the day, you can't take it with you so if it comes down to helping others or being rich, I'm going to invest in helping others. I am aware that not all Mormon Republicans hold this view, I'm just saying that this is an argument I am frequently given for their views.

I believe that what we have is not ours at all actually. According to my religion all we have been given is a gift from God and we are commanded to share it. The Mormon scripture upon which I base my belief is found here:
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I agive not because I bhave not, but if I had I would cgive. Mosiah 4:24

One of the many Biblical scriptures on the matter:

  1. 4 He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the aoppressor.
    • • •
    12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.
    13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
On the much recently maligned matter of "spreading the wealth" I cannot for the life of me figure out why this is referred to in such horror and disgust. Funny, I was always under the impression that Christians (and particularly Mormons) believed in that:

2 Cor. 8: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:

4 Ne. 1: 3 (Also Acts 2: 44; Acts 4: 32-37; 3 Ne. 26: 19; ) And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.

Moses 7: 18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.


The main Republican argument I have heard regarding taxation is this: Republicans believe that taxing people to support welfare programs or any program help those who are in need, violates our free agency. They believe that we should help others according to our conscience. That the Big Government should stay out of it. Since Mormons voluntarily give 10% of their gross incomes in tithes and an additional amount in fast and other offerings each month, they can argue that they would choose to give voluntarily as they saw fit, without the government telling them to. Fine, I can't tell you you wouldn't, but I do want to point out that the vast majority of the country do not give 10% of their incomes as a charitable donation and I don't think that the welfare programs could be run by just those who are inclined to pay tithing (Mormon or otherwise) or even by those who are inclined to make even significant charitable donations. I believe we all have to do our part to help the less fortunate and to run our country efficiently and that has to be regulated in some way. Just like tithing.

All that aside, if you are going to use the "give me my free agency, go away Big Government" argument, I still have a really hard time understanding why the same people who feel that the Government should have a say over who marries whom, the issue of abortion, and the doling out of the Death Penalty, don't also believe the Government should have a say in how we as a nation help those less fortunate then ourselves. To me it is like saying "How dare the government regulate how we take care of the teacher who educates our children, as well as it does the Oil Tycoon! But they'd better make sure they have total control over who has an abortion!"

This is a glaring inconsistency to me and try as I might, I have never been able to wrap my mind around it. How can one be willing to allow the Government to be "big" enough to further your moral agenda, but not willing to let it be "big" enough to protect and help the least of this nation's people. I don't get it.

The Christian in me believes that "where much is given, much is required." This is what Progressive taxation means to me. Many Republicans like to call Progressive Taxation da da daaaaaaummmmhm..... Socialism. Especially lately. .It's become the big scary (why so scary, I don't get that either?) buzz word and lots of people are throwing the term da..da...dummmmmm "socialism" about with gay abandon. Before they do that too much more, I think they should research socialism to find out how different it is from Progressive Taxation. They are not one and the same.

And while we are on the topic of "socialism" (eeeeek!!!) here's how consistent John McCain has been on that issue over the years. It seems he used to believe in Progressive Taxation (aka socialism in McCain 2008's world), quite strongly himself That is until he was able to twist it into a smear on Obama and rename it socialism. No really, you should see this. Really John? Wouldn't that be da da daaaaahm..EEEK....."spreading the wealth??" Again, I was always kind of under the impression that Jesus wanted us to do that. (See the above scriptures again.)




On purely selfish economic grounds, Obama's tax plan will result in me and pretty much everyone I know getting a major tax cut, far bigger then the one McCain is offering. And heck man, I can use it!! (Speaking of which, if I know you and you are making enough money that you will come out ahead with McCain's tax plan, please email me immediately so that we can talk about you giving me a job as your maid or something ;)

Not only this, Obama's health care plan will also put the average American family ahead by about $2500. I'm not going to sneeze at that. Haha, get the pun, man I slay me.

Let's move onto the horrible topic of
Abortion.

I am in the business of birth. I feel that I am on sacred ground when I attend a birth. One of the reasons why I became a doula was so that I could have that spiritual experience more often and that I could help the expectant parents to be able to focus on the sacred aspects of that experience. I help pregnant mothers to have as healthy babies and as meaningful pregnancies as possible. I do not believe life begins at birth.

I also support a pro-Choice candidate. This makes me a baby-killing monster according to some. Yes, I think that is pretty ignorant and judgmental too. Whatever.

Here's the thing, people who are pro-choice are not automatically pro-Abortion. Many of them abhor abortion. I am personally repulsed by abortion. Just typing the word sort of sickens me. Which is why I would like it to happen a lot less often. Which is why I am willing to get off my high moral horse to support programs that I believe will actually lower the incident of abortion. I'm practical that way. (And I say get off my high moral horse because I used to be on one before I actually studied this issue a bit).

And let's be clear about one thing. Legalizing abortion will in no way ever make it an acceptable birth control option for me. Pre-marital sex is legal too, drinking and smoking are legal too. I don't support those things. As a Christian himself, I don't believe Obama takes the idea of abortion lightly either. At all.

Let me reiterate this one. more. time. : I don't want abortion to happen. There are cases when it is necessary to save the life of the mother, but like I'm sure pretty much everyone else, I want there to be as few abortions happening as possible.

I strongly believe that abortion destroys lives. Studies show that apart from the fact that an innocent life is lost, women have a harder time emotionally recovering from having abortions then they do any other trauma. I have been to great lengths and spent much emotional energy to share this message with others, fervently praying that they would not make this decision . But making abortion illegal will not, in my opinion (and according to quite a lot of scientific research), lower the incident of abortions. It will definitely though, result in more unsafe abortions where the mother's life has a good chance of being lost as well.

I believe when programs are put into place where women and girls who may be considering this awful option can go, to speak to trained professionals and understand what it really means, and what it will do to their life, that the incidence of abortion would be lowered. I also believe more programs (funded by our tax dollars) will go towards counseling programs which will increase the number of women who choose the adoption option, something that is so often not even considered by women carrying unwanted pregnancies. Adoption is something I believe is a great blessing. I can't think of anything better then spending my tax dollars so that good loving parents will have an easier time adopting babies. Heck yeah, spread my wealth all you want over that.

Once again, according McCain/Palin we should have our free agency regarding who we share our money with, but nobody, not even women who have been raped or victims of incest, should be allowed the agency to make that choice about her body? I disagree, and the leaders of my Church do too.

While it is clear that the LDS church takes a tough stance on abortion, they do acknowledge circumstances when a women who has been properly counseled, and engaged in earnest prayer, should be able to make that decision for herself.

One last word on this topic. I humbly request that if you are in the habit of telling your children that Barack Obama (or I, by virtue of supporting him) kills babies, please stop. That is just not true and I think you know it. I consider it slanderous at best and extremely offensive. Obama has never participated in an abortion.

It also strikes me as ironic that I hear this line a lot from conservative NRA supporters who are so fond of the slogan, "guns don't kill people, people kill people". By supporting the free agency that so many Republicans hold so dear as long as it pertains to tax, Barack Obama does not kill babies. People make their own decisions where that is concerned.

The war.

I support Barack Obama because wars of aggression are against my religion. Does that mean that I am a concientious objector? No. There are cases when countries have no option but to go to war, if they do not, it will mean utter destruction for them, or for their allies. These situations do arise and those that are loyal to their country must then be willing to fight for it.
"The Book of Mormon implicitly condemns wars of aggression. Until their final calamity, all Nephite military objectives were strictly defensive. It was a mandatory, sacred obligation of all able-bodied Nephite men to defend their families, country, and religious freedoms (Alma 43:47; 46:12), but only as God commanded them"
I do not classify the war in Iraq as one of those cases. I believe the War in Iraq was a war of aggression and it was started under false pretenses, and good patriotic Americans were, I believe, duped into thinking it was the only way to protect our country against another of Bin Laden's attacks. In case there are still people who believe that 9-11 had anything to do with Iraq, it did not. Osama Bin Laden lives in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda is based in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Osama Bin Laden is still believed to be alive in Afghanistan while the majority of our troops remain in Iraq.

I strongly believe that George W.Bush and his advisers rode the wave of the horror and anger after 9-11 to start a war that furthered agendas and vendettas which had no connection to 9-11. They took advantage of a country in shock and pain and got them to support a war they (Bush and co) had been wanting for a long time.

I cannot support a candidate who will continue the tragedy of this deception, and who will allow even more innocent people on both sides to die, who will sacrifice the lives of our loyal soldiers for the sake of "victory". I don't believe there ever will be true "victory" for the perpetrators of a war of aggression.

Finally, I support Barack Obama because to me he represents the most Christ-like of the two individuals. He refrains from sarcasm, anger and eye rolling and is capable of being respectful when he addresses his fellow candidate. Barack Obama has shown himself to be even-keeled, calm and consistent in his bearing and behaviour, even under extreme duress and false personal attacks so vicious that they have been denounced by people in the party opposing him.

The same can not be said of McCain. Republicans themselves admit that he is angry and volatile. But , they tell me, they like this! Maybe the "fire in his belly" will be a good thing, motivate him to bring about make some real change.

I disagree. Again, on the basis of my religion. I don't believe anger or contention ever solve things, they merely beget even more anger and contention. Something we cannot afford. Jesus was very clear on this matter.
“He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away” (3 Nephi 11:29–30).

I don't want someone as full of rage as McCain, or as reckless in riling up a crowd to murderous anger as Sarah Palin, negotiating with people who aren't feeling good about us to start with. I would far prefer someone with a calm and calming demeanour take on that task. I would rather someone whose demeanour allowed them to be led by the Spirit, take on that task.

From the international perspective again, I can tell you that having Obama elected to office will go a very long way towards restoring the view the world has of America.

The environment. I believe it is our stewardship and we have been commanded to care for it prudently. I don't believe that John McCain or Sarah Palin place very much priority on this charge and disregard good Science which points to why this is very dangerous.

I am done (for now). You are free to disagree with me, but when you do, please consider that I came to these convictions through personal study and prayer. They are strictly my opinions, I do not represent other Mormon Democrats or anyone other then my very own little self.

If you read this truly epic post, I truly appreciate it. Particularly if you aren't a Democrat. I think that shows admirable open-mindedness. It took a lot of work and thought on my part, and frankly it takes quite a bit of courage to post it. I have no interest in getting into a political fight with anyone, I have no interest in contentious confrontation but respectful discussion..always.

I hope that if you choose to leave an angry or ugly comment, that you will consider your motivation for doing so. If it is because you think I undermine your Christian values, then you should consider if you are being Christ-like in the way you address me and my personal beliefs or not. Again, you are free to disagree but I will not publish anonymous comments or any comments I deem inappropriate, vulgar or hateful. That includes anything that calls Obama a baby-killer. Fah gosh sakes.


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26 comments:

Deanna said...

The Mormon Church would lose its tax exempt status if it chose sides. That's why they don't.
My view on the taxation thing is that private agencies have shown that they can put more of a percentage of money donated into the social programs they run. I know we still need taxation for things such as schools and infrastructure, so total abolishment of taxes is an impossibility and not really desirable. I still believe that people would donate more if they didn't have to pay so much in taxes--and more of that money would go where it should--those who need it.
I happen to believe the same as you on abortion. And I don't think there's a president in the near or even in the next 20-30 years who could or would even want to ban it.

aquamarine said...

I just wanted to applaud you for your brave post! I think all those who read your post will understand that you came to these conclusions through serious thought and prayer! I hope everyone going to the election takes as much thought and care into picking their candidate (whether it is McCain or Obama) as much as you have. :)

Genevieve said...

Great post Kirsty...you are oh so wise.

Kirsty said...

Deanna, thanks for your post, although I'm going to disagree with you for why the Mormon church does not pick a side. They can afford to lose tax exempt status and if the church leaders felt so called by God to have the people "pick a side" I have no doubt they would. They have sacrificed a lot more then tax exempt status in the past to do what they felt was in keeping with the Lord's will.

Again, please note many Democrat LDS church leaders. If they had a feeling one way or the other I'm pretty sure the leaders would lead unanimously by example by voting that way.
I'm very happy that this is not the way it works.

I appreciate your comments on your feeling that people would donate more if they were charged less tax. Do you think they would donate enough though? I am definitely interested in more conversation on this issue.

Thanks!

Kirsty said...

Thank you Aqua, I really appreciate you reading my post in the spirit in which it was written. Ironically I can't even vote but I do hope those who can, will take the decision as seriously as I do. :)
Thanks again!

leah said...

you go girl.
signed - another mormon democrat who's been lurking here for months! LOL!

amy said...

Kirsty,
we're here because of free agency. He taught people what to do by example, not force.
I agree there are things that the government needs to enforce and other things they should not. I believe that killing (abortion included) is in need of some regulation. I agree that there are times when the reasoning needs to be taken into account (ie rape, accidental deaths, etc) but there should be accountability for our actions. Killing (as you stated in your section about the war) is not the way to fix problems.

Taxes -- why does it seem as if the rich keep getting richer, notice that the government is determining who will spread their wealth -- is Obama taking a pay cut??? Is he spreading his wealth?? How about his friends in congress?? He has spent more money on his campaign, why isn't he spreading his wealth to those in need? I know that we have been taught to reach out and serve, but I am not willing to give my money over to agencies that do not spend it the way in which I would on my own. They take too much for themselves leaving little to pay for what is needed. For example, schools do not get the amount that people are led to believe but receive much less. Many people effected by 911 didn't recieve the money we contributed for them through United Way.

I find it interesting that you would comment on how McCain/Palin want to give agency on who we share our money with but restrict killing. I am proud of them for that, for I believe that killing others is a far deeper sin (Cain and Abel for instance).

You would like to give money to support agencies that go against abortion. Do you realize that I was unable to post adoption fliers on the boards at Planned Parenthood or Dr. offices. They would rather a child be kept by a 14 year old or aborted than speak of adoption. I too agree that we need more emphasis on the idea of adoption, but several TV shows and talk shows have been known to put this concept down (focus on bad situations instead of the beauty and hopefullness of it). I must add, last year there were some Talk Show hosts who put a positive spin on adoption, but at the same time I watched shows (7th Heaven for example) throw a scary spin on idea.

I too have put thought into the candidates. At one time I did like Obama, however, despite your idealistic view of him, he is not a Saint. He too puts down people where it's not necessary (ie Joe the plummer). He is not innocent.
I changed my mind on him due in part to the fact that he neglected to vote on many issues that have value -- sorry he didn't neglect he just chose to respond "present" vs making a choice. If he can't make up his mind I cannot support him.
I prefer to have a leader with enough experience to have an opinion and go for it. One who is willing to make a change. A team with experience of fighting against large companies and the wealthy for the sake of those in the minority. The ability to make a change for the better because it's what they believe to be right.

You know we have a democratic majority at this time and look where it is getting us. The fact is, our president does not create or fix problems on his own. I'm tired of people putting down presidents for what happened during their presidency, because congress has a lot of say over what happens. Obama speaks of needing a change . . .we do need a change . . . in the congress majority. I don't believe the change we need will be taken care of by a man who can't make up his mind or opts for the "present" vote as opposed to taking a stand and accepting responsibility for his actions. I am glad I have the right to vote and I will do so at this election.
This is my opinion and I too don't wish to be torn down for my beliefs. We all have the agency to choose for ourselves. I believe we all do the best we can with what we have and know. I am not trying to change your opinion or force my beliefs on you, just sharing another viewpoint as you did yours.

Kirsty said...

Amy
Thanks for sharing your views. I had no idea you read my blog :)
I disagree with much of what you say, and feel that you have misunderstood or missed quite a bit with what I have said, but I would never tear down your point of view and I appreciate you taking the time to share them. Peace,
:)

Nancy said...

I can't comment on it all - I'm tired and don't want to fail to do your brilliant blog justice. Can I republish it? In the meantime, I've chosen to reiterate the parts that immediately 'struck' me... take it for what you will... I think these points bear repeating:

I had no idea Mormons were "supposed" to be Republicans or that they were more righteous then Democrats

Give me one person who is making over 60K a year and I will show them 10 who make less than of half that and work a heck of a lot harder then they do...

I don't believe that I should be able to be rich at the expense of other people.

I believe that what we have is not ours at all actually.

they would choose to give voluntarily as they saw fit, without the government telling them to.

I believe we all have to do our part to help the less fortunate and to run our country efficiently and that has to be regulated in some way.

I don't want abortion to happen. There are cases when it is necessary to save the life of the mother, but like I'm sure pretty much everyone else, I want there to be as few abortions happening as possible.

They took advantage of a country in shock and pain and got them to support a war they (Bush and co) had been wanting for a long time.

If you read this truly epic post, I truly appreciate it. Particularly if you aren't a Democrat. I think that shows admirable open-mindedness.


Geeze Kirsty - I sure love you!
You always give me 'hope for humanity'

I love you 'mucho'!

Ryan said...

Kirsty,

As a Catholic, I was asked by a fellow church member how I could be a Democrat AND Catholic (perhaps she's forgotten John F. Kennedy). You said it all for me. They especially bring up the Pro-choice issue. I am against abortion. Like you, I believe that life begins way before birth and I am in no way supporting abortion. However, Pro-choice also means the right to choose to HAVE children. What if one day the government decides we can only have one child? China did it. I also agree that making it illegal will cause even more deaths, as you so clearly pointed out. I also agree with the "dirty politics" of the Republican campaign this time around. One of your commentors said that Obama picked on "Joe the Plumber". I don't recall that at all. I believe it was McCain that put that man in the spotlight. Anyway, we are all entitled to our opinion and we should not be condemned by anyone or any religion for exercising that right. Thank you for wording my own thoughts so beautifully. I wish I could have some of my Republican friends read this so they could understand.

Ryan

Kirsty said...

Nancy, thank you. That is very kind. And coming from someone who does make politics their hobby..humbling ;)
I love you too.

Ryan, thanks so much for this perspective, it is so interesting to have someone from your point of view weighing in. Your China example was a way of looking at it that I never had before. Thanks! Agreeing re: Joe the Plumber reference, I was under the same impression.

Leah-glad you delurked. Don't be so quiet in the future :)

Toad-xo Miss you!

Shona said...

Well said Stin,

I am constantly amazed and disturbed by the number of church members in the US who feel that you cannot be a good member of the Church unless you are a also a good Republican, which essentially implies that the Republican party was founded upon the same principles as the gospel.

Regardless of the values and beliefs that any political party espouses, it is essential to maintain separation of church and state in order to ensure that religious practice is not tainted by political motives, as was the case prior the Reformation, when religious and political agendas were inexplicably intertwined.

For this reason, and not for fear of losing tax exemption the church has always encouraged its members not to vote en bloc. In addition to this one of the most basic principles of the gospel is free agency and we are encouraged to think, choose and act for ourselves.

This adherence to a particular party and censure of members who do not have the same views appears to be a uniquely American phenomenom. I have lived in Africa, England, Canada and Australia and in no other country have members of the church been pressured to display loyalty to a particular party. Political views are in fact very seldom discussed in a church context and most certainly never judged. At our stake conferences local representatives from all of the policitical parties are invited and welcomed.

I remember going onto a chat site for Mormon women shortly after the US invasion of Iraq. I expressed my disappointment regarding what had occurred and was attacked in a way that I had never experienced anywhere else. I was horrified that the very people who should have been the most supportive, kind, tolerant and loving to me were the very opposite. Being Christ-like had obviously been sacrificed at the alter of political loyalty - another reason why the church so strongly encourages a separation of church and politics.

Love
Shona

Amy said...

Beautiful Kirsty! Thanks for writing down all of my feelings.
Amy

Deanna said...

I think Shona articulated it better why it would be a nightmare for the Mormon Church--and any church--doesn't and shouldn't pick sides, besides the tax exempt status. That only came up in my mind due to the whole Jeremiah Wright situation with Obama since it was mentioned over and over that Obama's former church could lose their status over Wright's political statements. I'm pretty involved in my church as well. I do know that some are more Republican and some are more Democrat. It seems to be an interesting mix there. The Church leaders do be careful not to name candidates or parties when discussing politics--only individual issues--and many of them could be suggesting either party, depending on the issue. For instance, even just the pro-life issue: anti-abortion is more in favor of Republicans while anti-death penalty is more in favor of Democrats (although, like you, that confuses the heck out of me too).
About whether or not charitable giving would be enough if not for taxation and welfare--well, either way it's not enough. However, I feel that the government so badly runs many of the programs they do run, that it would be a much better situation should private donors be allowed to use their money to run programs. I KNOW we'd donate more if so much of our money wasn't going to the government. I know that not all people have that moral compass, but I'd like to believe that more people do than don't. I also believe that my 15% per year could do a ton better than the Social Security Administration.
RE: Joe the Plumber--a lot of the outrage at the Obama camp is in the FACT that a woman from the division of children & families in Ohio took it upon herself to go into all the records she could find on the guy and his family, trying to dig up any dirt she could find on him. No, Obama didn't do that, didn't ask her to do it (and I wouldn't dare put that one on him), but the result remains that his privacy was breached and situations like that are occurring in Obama's name all over the country. Just ask the LA Times what they're hiding. But that would be worthless because they won't even show exerpts of the tape they have--yet it was perfectly fine for them to try to get Jim & Jeri Ryan's divorce papers unsealed which caused Jim Ryan to pull out of the Illinois Senate race against Obama in order to protect his EX-wife (and I have friends who know her, and Jim had been far ahead in the polls--we wouldn't be having this discussion right now if it weren't for that smear campaign).
Wow, this is so much easier here than on the board...

nyn said...

Kirsty,
This was such a well thought out and insightful post. I find myself agreeing with much of your thoughts and views. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation yesterday and am thrilled that we can have such candid discussion. YOU ROCK!!

Soxy Pirate said...

Great Post! This is my first time visiting your blog and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. And while you did not find it necessary to reply to Amy, I hope you don't mind if I do:

"I believe that killing (abortion included) is in need of some regulation."

It is regulated...heavily (abortion included).

"I agree that there are times when the reasoning needs to be taken into account (ie rape, accidental deaths, etc) but there should be accountability for our actions."

As children of God, there are ALWAYS consequences for our actions. The government is not required to stand as an intermediary or an enforcer of God's word.

"Killing (as you stated in your section about the war) is not the way to fix problems."

I dare say it would be nearly impossible to find a pro-choicer who felt that abortions were the only necessary step to fix the problem of unwanted pregnancy.

"is Obama taking a pay cut??? Is he spreading his wealth?? How about his friends in congress??"

Obama will pay more taxes under his plan. No surprise there. Other members of congress who make more than $200,000/year will also pay more. Where's the dilemma?

"He has spent more money on his campaign, why isn't he spreading his wealth to those in need?"

Means and ends. The end result will be helping those in need. By that same token, I'm in need of a Democrat in the White House. Money well spent!

"I know that we have been taught to reach out and serve, but I am not willing to give my money over to agencies that do not spend it the way in which I would on my own."

This will happen regardless of how MUCH you are taxed.

"They take too much for themselves leaving little to pay for what is needed."

This will happen regardless of how you spend your money.

"I too have put thought into the candidates. At one time I did like Obama, however, despite your idealistic view of him, he is not a Saint."

There are NO saints running for office.

"I changed my mind on him due in part to the fact that he neglected to vote on many issues that have value -- sorry he didn't neglect he just chose to respond "present" vs making a choice. If he can't make up his mind I cannot support him."

He voted "present" on something like 2% of his total votes, and almost always on bills whose implicit wording threatened rights that he believed in. He was not voting "explicitly" against the bill. This is common practice in Illinois. If a vote came up for "giving a free ice cream and a slap in the face" to all Americans, voting "present" would show disapproval over SOMETHING in the bill, not necessarily ice cream or a slap in the face. To jump to a conclusion based on a present vote is illogical.

"I prefer to have a leader with enough experience to have an opinion and go for it."

Charles Manson has a lot of experience in the prison system, I don't want him to be the warden, though. John McCain has tons of experience being wrong about things that impact the country. If that's what you want, so be it.

"I will do so at this election.
This is my opinion and I too don't wish to be torn down for my beliefs."

I hope you don't view this as tearing you down. But your beliefs are fair game, even if you aren't.

"We all have the agency to choose for ourselves."

But our choices are still made in a world governed by laws of logic and truth. Some choices are worse than others, personal and private as they may be.

Kirsty said...

Shona: My big sister ladies and gentleman *applause* She should comment more often. Don't you think??!! HINT.

Deanna: Not to diss my brilliant sister and her brilliant comment but I believe I actually articulated something different and separate from what she did. (I agree wholeheartedly with what she said on the matter though). What I wanted to be clear on is that the Mormon church is not in the habit of backing down when the going gets rough or sacrificing their principles for the sake of something as shallow as a tax exemption. We have a tragic number of martyrs and a pretty impressive trek to prove this point. I guess I just take exception on behalf of my church for their moral stands being interpreted as mercenary. I have no doubt they are mindful of their tax exempt status on some level as they manage their money unbelievably prudently, but I really don't think it is what guides their view to remain non-partisan.
Thanks for your further input on taxation, I wish I could be as optimistic, I certainly don't debate that you would not pay more if you had more. I agree that there is a great deal of abuse of power and unnecessary red tape within many govt. agencies. (INS anyone?)

I feel that Obama being less steeped in the tradition of govt would be able to see outside the box and better create reform. (And again, not optimistic/naive enough to think it is all going to be nirvana, but I feel as though he is a great step in the right direction).
Mistreatment of Joe the Plumber: Like you said, had nothing to do with Obama himself. I think its really misleading (and desperate to the point of being quite amusing) that McCain and Palin have been repeatedly suggesting that he personally has been tearing the poor man apart. Um, were they not the people to thrust him into the spotlight without checking with him if that was cool? Not that the spotlight appears to be too blinding for him as he has been catching a ride on McCain's campaign bus lately lately. He doesn't strike me as someone who is particularly downtrodden and helpless as they make him out to be. Again, Obama had nothing to do with any investigations he was subjected to and frankly any time ANYONE gets into that much of the spotlight certain people are going to stalkerish and do unethical things to get more of a scoop on them. Tis the nature of the beast.
I'm sorry for your friends Jim and Ryan, I really am. I just don't think Obama had a thing to do with that either. But shame on those who did.
Ultimately on policy Deanna, I would venture to say that we may agree on more then we don't. Imagine?!I hope you don't take that as an insult :D ;) Thanks for the discussion!

Nyn:I love your open mindedness and willingness to really investigate things. I so enjoyed talking to you the other day and while I have no idea which way you will vote-I'm proud of you.

Soxy Pirate-welcome! I appreciate your comments. I would agree with all of your points and though you and I and Amy may disagree, I believe the discussion has been a respectful one from both sides and I thank you both for that.

Deanna said...

Yes, Kirsty, we most definitely do agree on more than we don't--we just have different opinions on how best to achieve such things. Also, I'm in no way a staunch conservative/Republican. There are many issues I don't agree with them on: death penalty, half way on abortion, gay rights, etc... I believe, for instance, that gay couples need to be given the same privileges as married, most especially on adoption. My brother-in-law and his partner and those we know on the board are great examples. I can't imagine my BIL's partner not being part of our family, and neither can my much more conservative in-laws.
I apologize that you were offended about the tax-exempt status being mentioned by me in regards to your church. True, from what I know of LDS, you're probably right that they would let it go if they felt strong enough about one party. I know your sister most completely hit the nail on the head on why no church is likely to do that--and it has nothing to do with taxes. It is fortunate that the exempt status helps many churches help a whole lot more people in the end.
RE: Joe: They aren't portraying him as downtrodden. They're saying that if a small business such as the one he works for is taxed higher because it makes over whatever number of the day Obama uses (since it's definitely gone down now from $250K to $200K--I heard them in original, unedited speeches in both the Democratic National Convention and at the end of his prime time infomercial last week--and Biden has even said as low as $150K) they will not be able to employ as many people as they do now, and that will contribute to unemployment rising even further. That's another story altogether that I doubt we want to get into now on your comment section.
Thanks for the discussion. It's been quite enlightening! I've really enjoyed discussing this here.

leah said...

just wanted to point out to kristy that soxy pirate is my brother. :)

i don't know why i'm laughing out loud typing this comment. but i am. LOL!

but really. he is. :)

Scott Fuhriman said...

I haven't yet read through this entire post, but after just reading a few paragraphs, I think it's great. It's tough out there sometimes as a Mormon Democrat. It's disheartening and even hurtful sometimes when people seem to honestly believe that one cannot be a democrat, or support a democratic candidate or idea, and still be a good, worthy Mormon.

joshuapackard said...

Great post Kirsty.

I'm married to Heidi who posted a similar "I'm a Mormon democrat" blog because we received a lot of the same reactions from our republican friends and family.

It is refreshing to hear other good people of faith who suspended judgment, studied the issues out, and have come to enlightened, faithful, and rational conclusions. You make your points very well - especially on taxes, abortion, and the war (I'm an Army anesthesiologist and will be deploying this summer to Iraq to "defend our freedom" - this is a line I hear often from the pulpit).

I read a great new book by Greg Prince - "David O McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism" which has a chapter that I think explains why so many Mormons are republican and defensive to democratic ideals, because of the principle of "free agency". Interestingly the chapter is about how the church dealt with the communist scare of the 50's and 60's. We learn lots about our present, by studying our past. I highly recommend the book to you and your readers.

Josh

Brent and April said...

That is the beauty of this country. You can be as misguided as you want to be and you are still allowed to vote. Time will tell if supporting Obama was the right choice. I hope he does well but I have every confidence that he will not. By your fruits ye shall know them. Sound familiar? I hope that you will get to know him by his fruits and your eyes will be opened in 4 years. We had two very bad choices this election. Obama will take us farther left faster than McCain would have.

You have many Socialist ideas which do agree with church doctrine. The only problem is that unless you have a righteous leader, it is doomed to fail. The law of consecration is the perfect law, but will never be successful until Jesus returns. Even then, it is voluntary. When any leader forces me to take care of anyone I don't choose to, it is not right. It is also not right for me to withhold my substance as you point out. The point is freedom.

Satan's plan was to save everyone... no freedom.
Jesus' plan was to allow choice and freedom. Not everyone would make it, but it was their choice.

Based on that alone I will always choose freedom over oppression. That is what our Heavenly Father choose for us.

Kirsty said...

Joshua, thanks for the post. I would be very interested to read that book,thanks for the recommendation. I find the origins of cultural beliefs (for instance that of all good Mormons being Republicans) to be fascinating.

God-speed in Iraq. You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Soxy Pirate said...

I always find it peculiar when people play the "freedom to choose" or "agency" card when talking about the results of a free and open election...

...as if the results of a democratic election are somehow antithetical to to the principle of agency...

...so strange...

...so many things wrong with that post that I wouldn't even know where to start...

Let me just leave you with this quotation by Brigham Young and the Quorum of the 12:

"The experience of mankind has shown that the people of communities and nations among whom wealth is the most equally distributed, enjoy the largest degree of liberty, are the least exposed to tyranny and oppression and suffer the least from luxurious habits which beget vice. Under such a system, carefully maintained, there could be no great aggregations of either real or personal property in the hands of a few; especially so while the laws, forbidding the taking of usury or interest for money or property loaned, continued in force.

One of the great evils with which our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals. The very liberties for which our fathers contended so steadfastly and courageously, and which they bequeathed to us as a priceless legacy, are endangered by the monstrous power which this accumulation of wealth gives to a few individuals and a few powerful corporations. By its seductive influence results are accomplished which, were it equally distributed, would be impossible under our form of government. It threatens to give shape to the legislation, both state and national, of the entire country. If this evil should not be checked, and measures not taken to prevent the continued enormous growth of riches among the class already rich, and the painful increase of destitution and want among the poor, the nation is likely to be overtaken by disaster; for, according to history, such a tendency among nations once powerful was the sure precursor of ruin."

Yeah, yeah, I know...E.T. Benson hated socialism and blah blah...the point is "My Father's kingdom is not of this world"...so we're allowed to disagree over political parties and philosophies.

Render unto Cesar what's his...
Render unto God what's his...

BTW, the Savior's last 3 parables (as told in Matthew) were:

First: Parable of the 10 virgins--BE PREPARED!

Next: Parable of the talents--GIVE THE LORD SOME RETURN ON HIS INVESTMENT (in you!)

And Finally: The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats...which tells us how we will be judged. And by what criterion will the Lord judge us at the end when we stand before Him?

33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I used my agency and my freedom in this election to vote for candidates who represent the party which, for all their problems and inconsistencies which are inherent in all political parties, does the best job of taking care of the least of my brethren.

Does it limit your freedom at all? Perhaps it does on the margin, but no more than taxation for the purposes of building schools, or roads, or bombs, or bridges, or tanks, or guns, or books limits your freedom.

Our freedoms were never an issue here. We just have different preferences, and different values, and we vote accordingly.

But does voting for someone who wants to use tax dollars to care for the poor as opposed to waging war REALLY indicate values that are inconsistent with Christ's message?

Perhaps I'm reading Matthew wrong.

Kirsty said...

Soxy. Re: Brent and April's input-

What you said.

Awesome scriptural insights. I've always found Matthew to be pretty straight forward :)
Thanks.

Mrs. M said...

While I was making your archives page I've done a little browsing and I wanted to comment on this post.

Though we are on pretty much polar opposite sides of the political spectrum (I'm a libertarian)I am glad to see such careful thought going into political ideas-even if they don't come to the same conclusions that I do.

There are a couple of things I do relate to-I have never understood the Republican willingness to have "free reign" over everything except personal morality, and I too get a lot of eyebrow raises (and worse) from people who are upset by the fact that I am both Christian and pro choice. To me that's all that makes sense-God (by my views) is the Creator of free will and so the originator of choice. Who am I to go up against that? Do I think that certain things (including but not limited to abortion) are wrong? Of course. I can never make that connect to me personally having the right to stop people-only the right to influence them as I can...right?

Thank you so much for putting so much thought into your politics-it is passionate beliefs, high ideals, and constructive political debate that make nations successful.