If the reports are accurate, Mr. Don Peay, who headed the presidential campaign for Mr. Donald J. Trump in Utah last year, exceeded his ecclesiastical authority big time the other day, and blurred the distinction between church and state in a rather offensive and quite inappropriate manner:
Here are a couple of responses to Mr. Peay’s overreach:
And here’s a brief reaction from me, myself:
I can imagine that there are some cases in which people ought to repent for holding a political opinion or casting a ballot. Any Latter-day Saints who supported Adolf Hitler for the chancellorship of Germany in 1933, for instance, soon had good reasons to regret their vote and to repent of their enthusiasm for a candidate who was plainly a racist autocrat, unconcerned with human freedom, who sought to make Germany great again through violence at the expense of its neighbors and by dividing its people.
But Latter-day Saints are entirely free to vote for or against legitimate candidates in democratic elections, to act as free citizens, and they shouldn’t be called to repent for voting their consciences according to their best judgment. Even when an active Latter-day Saint won the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, the Church took absolutely no position as to how American Mormons should vote and (as it has long done) barred the use of its chapels and facilities for partisan political purposes.
Mr. Peay’s comments, if accurately reported, were very much out of line. Shameful, even.
Interestingly, a controversy based on thinking that’s apparently somewhat similar to Mr. Peay’s is causing turmoil in America’s largest Protestant denomination. Here are a couple of short pieces about that controversy:
Posted from Newport Beach, California