Latter-day Saints who failed to support Mr. Trump need to repent?


Anti-Trumpists get what they deserve
Should failure to support Mr. Donald J. Trump’s presidential ambitions be cause for church discipline?  (Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons)


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:


“Trump’s Utah point man calls out voters, Mormons who didn’t back the new prez”


Here are a couple of responses to Mr. Peay’s overreach:


“LDS repent for not voting Trump? That’s not what the apostles say”


“Apologize for grand theft auto but not for voting”


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:


“The Baptist Battle over Russell Moore Really Matters—Here’s Why”


“Why evangelical opposition to Russell Moore is deluded”


Posted from Newport Beach, California




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