Some Points on Sex, Religion, and Politics

 

Mr. Steve Bannon, bigot
Steve Bannon in the Oval Office, January 2017 (Wikimedia Commons public domain)

 

The execrable Steve Bannon does not appear to be a warm friend of the Latter-day Saints, and I suspect that neither Roy Moore nor his supporters in Alabama would rank among our most enthusiastic fans, either:

 

“Bannon rails against Romney in Alabama speech: ‘You hid behind your religion’ to avoid Vietnam”

 

“Steve Bannon Attacks Mitt Romney for Missionary Service: ‘You Hid Behind Your Religion'”

 

You might also find these items of interest:

 

“Mormons and blacks had a common enemy: the Ku Klux Klan.”

 

“Ku Klux Klan – Utah Education Network”

 

Latter-day Saints who think that Steve Bannon and his movement are congenial to Mormons should perhaps re-think that assumption.

 

In case I haven’t been clear enough — somebody the other day actually accused me of being a Roy Moore supporter — let me make myself unmistakably clear now:  I regard the rise of Steve Bannon and Roy Moore as an unalloyed disaster for the Republican Party (to which I belonged from the age of eighteen until the night in 2016 when Donald Trump accepted its presidential nomination), for the American conservative movement (to which I still very much belong), and for the future of civility in American political discourse, which I don’t consider an unimportant matter.

 

(On the last topic, see this piece, by David French:  “Charity in an Angry Time: Erick Erickson’s new book reflects on the decline of civility in American politics.”)

 

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Here’s a relevant reflection — with biblical allusions — from Nancy French, David French’s wife, who once served with him as co-director of “Evangelicals for Mitt”:

 

“A Lesson from This Cultural Tsunami”

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This is also worth a look, although it expresses a very unfashionable view:

 

“Porn Is the Missing Piece in the Louis C.K. Story”

 

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Additionally, while we’re talking about sexual misbehavior, here’s an extraordinary essay published in a non-LDS venue but by (presumably) Latter-day Saint authors that goes far, far deeper than this or that congressional seat.  I recommend it very highly:

 

“The New Math of ‘Consensual Nonmonogamy’”

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And this piece, by one of my very favorite social and political commentators (though I sometimes disagree with him), is very much worth a read:

 

“Cruelty and Sexual Harassment”

 

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No one man, however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history. A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to his sexual desires; and if he is unchecked by custom, morals, or laws, he may ruin his life before he matures sufficiently to understand that sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group.

Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), pp. 35–36

 

***

 

Finally, here’s an important editorial that merits careful attention:

 

“I Will Gladly Believe in God If You’ll Just Show Me Evidence His Opinions are Identical to Mine”

 

 

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