Politics Explained: Mormons Ignore Romney as One of Them

In the last 6 months, as the election has been heating up, I’ve done a bit of travelling. I have been on the East and West Coasts of the US and up and down Eastern Europe. In my travels, I often wear BYU gear and when people see that they assume that I am a Latter-day Saint (LDS) (AKA Mormon). Their assumptions are good. But then another assumption is immediately made. “Oh, you’re Mormon…So you’re a Romney fan.” I shouldn’t be surprised by that statement because I get it a lot, but I’m always taken aback. I feel that my integrity as a politically involved member of society is in question when people make that assumption. I don’t want people to think that my political opinions are based primarily on a candidate’s religion. So I usually retort with, “Yes, I’m a Romney fan…but not because I’m a Mormon.”

Politics Explained: Mitt Romney speaks at Mormon University - BYU

Romney speaks at BYU commencement

Recently, I’ve engaged in some self-reflection. Why do I get so defensive when people accuse me of basing my political beliefs on my religious ties, and should I be? I think I get so defensive because I feel that me admitting that I like Romney because he’s LDS, would justify people not liking him for the same reason.

True as that may be, there is a fine line here. Was it wrong for African-Americans to be excited about Barack Obama becoming the very first African-American president? Was it wrong for Greek Americans to be excited about Mike Dukakis being the first Greek Orthodox nominee for president? What about Catholics and JFK? Now, can Latter-day Saints be excited about Mitt Romney as one of their own having a legitimate chance of victory? My answer is, yes.

Latter-day Saints, from both parties, should feel able to be excited about Mitt Romney as a Mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not always been even tolerated in the United States. In 1838, Governor Boggs in Missouri issued Executive Order 44 – commonly known as the Mormon Extermination Order. The Governor issued an order allowing citizens to drive Latter-day Saints from the state and kill any who resisted… Kill any who resisted…. That was not the only time Mormons were driven from their homes. Now, just under two-hundred years later, a member of that church that was forced from the country into the barren wasteland that became vibrant Salt Lake Valley is now competing for the highest office in the land. It’s a great moment for Latter-day Saints and should be celebrated.

Politics Explained: Mormons forced from America

Mormons Pioneers Forced West

Will Latter-day Saints vote for Romney knowing nothing more than the fact that he is LDS? I would hope not, just like I would hope that African-Americans would not vote for Obama just knowing that he is African-American. But can either of these groups be justified in citing their cultural ties as a reason for voting? Should society turn a blind eye to a candidate’s religious, cultural, and ethnic background? My answer to that is “no”.

My religion has made me who I am. From my religious upbringing, I have learned how I should treat other people and define my own priorities. My perspective on life’s problems would be vastly different if I was not raised LDS and served an LDS mission to Ukraine. To turn a blind eye to that would be to turn a blind eye to my character. To turn a blind eye to a candidate’s character is to turn a blind eye to how they are going to act in the Office of the Presidency.

Politics Explain: Mormons excited about Mitt Romney

Mormons Excited For Mitt

So Mormons, be excited about Mitt Romney. Don’t be ashamed of what you share a common set of religious beliefs. African-Americans, do the same. Look to the candidates’ character to understand how they will do their job, but understand that we are voting for the President of the United States, not the President of the student body. This is not a popularity contest; too much is at stake.

I would like to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment on, and be sure to LIKE, this blog’s Facebook page. You can find it by clicking here. You can also follow me on Twitter (@PPLvI ) by clicking here.

Contraception and the Constitution

Some quick thoughts on the issue of government subsidized contraception.

First off, how ridiculous is it that we are even having this debate! I mean seriously, how bloated has our government become that we are actually arguing about this. The government has no business subsidizing something like birth control as a contraceptive, period.

There are a couple of arguments floating around about this issue that I feel are confusing the public.

The most ridiculous of them being that people are claiming that Republicans believe contraception is a bad thing and we should deny women access to it. False. Even Rick Santorum – who personally doesn’t believe it is right to use contraception ever –  doesn’t feel that it is right to deny access of this medication to women. That’s the first thing.

The reason this is even an issue is because Obama is undermining religious liberties in order to push his own social agenda. Obama likes to give people stuff using other people’s money. I don’t blame him, it’s smart politics. People like you if you give them stuff. As part of Obama’s Health care plan, commonly known as Obamacare, all insurance providers would be required by law to include contraception as a part of that insurance coverage. This means that every institution in America would be forced to offer its employees insurance with contraception coverage. This includes religious organizations. The use of contraception is against the moral code of the Catholic Church, to just name the biggest player in this debate. Under this law, the Catholic Church would be forced to pay for insurance policies that provided contraception. This would be like forcing Muslims to take everyone out for pork chops or Mormons to buy people beer. It is simply ridiculous and it is a direct attack on religious liberties.

Proponents of the government subsidized contraception say, “Wait a minute bud, this isn’t about sex, it’s about health! Major diseases can be treated and prevented because of birth control pills.” To them I say, “GOOD!” No one out there is saying that nothing good can come of birth control pills. Even the Catholic Church recognizes the medicinal value of birth control pills and has said that they would allow the use of birth control pills for the explicit purpose of curing these various diseases, just not for their more popular purpose of controlling birth. They feel that that is God’s responsibility, and if that’s what they believe,  let them believe!

What we really need to do is get government out of the way of health insurance. If health insurance providers want to include birth control as part of their coverage, let them. If people want to purchase a health insurance plan that includes coverage of contraceptives, let them. But if people want to opt out, that should be just as much their right.

I would challenge anyone to find a spot in the Constitution where it talks about how people have a right to contraceptives. I understand the desire to want to help the less fortunate. But there already is a system set up for that. There are plenty of Non-profit health clinics who would be glad to give people all of the contraceptives that they wanted. And if we really feel that at the end of the day the government needs to be involved, then at least do it in a manner that does not infringe upon the religious beliefs of others.