Difficult Issues, Polarization, and the Latter-day Saints

Difficult Issues, Polarization, and the Latter-day Saints April 28, 2021

 

Utah's Capitol Building
The Utah State Capitol Building (Wikimedia Commons pubic domain image)

 

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It’s very possible, unfortunately, that you won’t be able to access the full text of this article in The Economist.  It’s quite good, though, and I think that most of you would find it interesting:

 

Why Utah’s conservatism is better: The Mormon right has not followed white evangelicals’ descent into grievance politics”

 

In this matter, I side unhesitatingly with Utah’s governor, Spencer Cox:

 

“‘The Rundown’: Tucker Carlson rips Spencer Cox”

 

What is described here would definitely be wrong if the state — or the State — were to do it.  But private actors should enjoy a presumption of liberty in a free society and, specifically, under provisions of the Constitution of the United States.  For this reason, I simply don’t understand purported American conservatives who claim a constitutional right to enter stores and businesses without a mask when the store or business has indicated that masks must be worn on its premises.  (I was told of such a case just a few days ago by the head of a major Utah-based corporation; the local manager of one of this company’s branches was finally obliged to summon the police in order to deal with a screaming, protesting woman who was loudly proclaiming her right effectively to trample on the private property rights of others.)  If Walmart or McDonald’s were to announce a policy requiring bow ties and propeller beanies for entry to its stores, it would have a perfect right to do so just as customers would have a perfect right to go elsewhere.)

 

Likewise, I don’t understand why a self-proclaimed conservative should object to the Utah Jazz program discussed in the link above.

 

Personal experience:  When I was first contemplating graduate school, I looked at list after list of available scholarships.  I was qualified for very few of them.  There were fellowships for third-generation female Armenian doctoral students in engineering and stipends for Black students from Compton and scholarships for sons of members of the Rotary Club and funds for gay students of the visual arts — and I was perfectly fine with all of this.  Those who generously set up private scholarships are free to allocate their money in any way they choose to do it — and I had no claim whatsoever on a single cent of their money.

 

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With that in mind, there are still difficult issues ahead:

 

“The Church of Jesus Christ’s Statement on the Equality Act”

 

Deseret News“How religious freedom’s PR crisis affects the Equality Act debate: A recent survey found that 44% of U.S. adults believe their rights are threatened by religious liberty claims”

 

Deseret News“Arizona senator, Latter-day Saint leader join interfaith leaders calling for LGBTQ equality, religious freedom”

 

Deseret News“What’s the biggest threat to religious freedom in America today?  Intolerance, partisan tensions and growing anxiety all create challenges for faith communities, according to religion and policy experts.”

 

Wall Street Journal:  “The Equality Act Is at War With Reality: Every child knows the difference between mom and dad. Congress seeks to outlaw the distinction.”

 

Elder Jack N. Gerard, in The Public Discourse:  “Protect Both Religious Freedom and LGBT Rights: Support the Fairness For All Act, Not the Equality Act”

 

Frank Schubert, in The Public Discourse“The “Fairness For All Act” Is Not Fair, Does Not Benefit All, and Will Not Result in a Settlement of Contentious LGBT Issues”

 

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“Survey: Faith-Based Approaches Supporting Vaccinations Likely to Move Vaccine-Hesitant Americans Toward Acceptance”

 

“Is faith the key to herd immunity? New research shows that faith-based initiatives could boost vaccination rates among not just the religious but all Americans”

 

From the official Church Newsroom:  “COVID-19 Vaccines Administered in Belize: World Immunization Week celebrated in April”

 

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On at least one utterly predictable message board that is largely focused on my unparalleled personal depravity, I was roundly condemned for my recent post on the Derek Chauvin case.  (See “Derek Chauvin and I.”).  I  already knew, of course, that adopting such a course is almost impossible for some folks, and quite undesirable to a few.  Moreover, I’ve long recognized that several of those on that particular board find honesty completely worthless as a weapon against me.  I’m a racist, they said.  Or, for those who weren’t willing to go quite that far, I’m ignorant, complacent, and callous.

 

Nevertheless, fully aware of the inevitable denunciations that will ensue, I share a few links here on the question of black-on-black violence.  My mention of that problem was a particular focus of indignation for the critics of that recent post:

 

“A Grim—and Ignored—Body Count: The problem in the American inner city is not racism but drive-by shootings of blacks by other blacks.”

 

“New Law Will Require Cops To Call LeBron For Permission Before Making An Arrest”

 

“Understanding Violence Among Young African American Males: An Afrocentric Perspective”  (Here, by the way, is the white racist who wrote the article:  Anthony E. O. King)

 

“Plague of Black on Black crime devastates neighborhoods, must be addressed holistically”

 

“The Cops Shoot People of Different Races for the Same Reasons: The media are cherry-picking officer-involved shootings to establish a narrative that runs counter to the facts.”

 

“In Defense of Teenage Knife Fighting: Since when do we need the cops to intervene in the recreational stabbings of our youth?”

 

“Chauvin Defense Witnesses Face Post-Trial Intimidation Campaign: We have reached a dangerous pass if people are to be deterred from testifying on the ‘wrong’ side of politically fraught cases.”

 

“Entire Water Polo Team Drowns Kneeling For National Anthem”

 

Because I leavened the grimness of the major links above with some humor, I’ll also be attacked, of course, for insensitivity and smug white privilege.  As I’ve said, some simply don’t want to forego demagoguery.

 

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Finally, here’s another issue that faces those of us who live in the American West quite acutely:

 

“Water restrictions could come early with 90% of Utah in ‘extreme drought,’ Cox warns: Cox calls Antiquities Act unconstitutional, discusses toxicity of social media”

 

“What is Salt Lake County doing to conserve water amid drought, and how can you help?”

 

 

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