Thursday, October 11, 2007

All politics is local

HotAir isn't letting anyone register to comment at the moment, and since I feel the need to respond to some comments on this post, I fear that you, my imaginary readers, must bear the brunt of my venting. You have my most sincere apology.

So, here's the background. This Tuesday, Harry Reid, Democratic Senator from Nevada, and Senate Majority Leader for the last year or so, came to speak at BYU. He spoke about his early life in a small town in Nevada, and how he found religion and joined the Mormon church. He also attempted to answer a question on the minds of many in the audience.

It is not uncommon for members of the Church to ask how I can be a Mormon and a Democrat. faith and political beliefs are deeply intertwined. I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it.

After the speech, he talked with some reporters, and pushed this idea a little further:

Reid also told reporters the Republican Party has been driven by evangelical Christians for 20 years. “They are the most anti-Christian people I can imagine, the people from the Christian far right.”

This quote has managed to make quite a few people mad, which I think is nothing new for Harry Reid. Many people seem to be reading this as an attack on evangelical Christians as opposed to Mormons. I don't read it that way. I read it as an attack on conservative Christians including Mormons.

Remember, Reid is not really in friendly territory at BYU. It's true that he is a Mormon, as are virtually all BYU students. But he is also a liberal Democrat, unlike the great majority of BYU students, who are conservative Republicans. The entire point of his speech was an attempt to justify himself to a skeptical audience, and in doing so he must call their own beliefs into question. When Reid says that he is a Democrat because he is a Mormon, he is telling his Mormon audience that they are wrong to be Republicans, and that they are un-Christian. In other words, people who want to follow Christ's example should feed the poor and avoid war. This is a familiar argument, even among Mormons.

So, if you are an evangelical Christan, and a Republican, and you are mad at Harry Reid, I think you have every right. But please remember that he spoke not as a Mormon attacking other Christians, but as a Christian Democrat attacking Christian Republicans. Many Mormons are just as mad at him as you are, and for pretty much the same reason.

I guess what I am really saying is, don't come complaining to me about some stupid thing Harry Reid said. I didn't vote for him, either.



Kam said...

Very interesting post. Maybe speaking at BYU wasn't the best political move for Reid right now, eh? I like all your links.

the House of Payne said...

Thanks, Kamber.

Alice Wills Gold said...

In the year 2000, I had a talk with my Bishop about whether or not I could convert to become a Democrat and still be temple worthy. Since my Bishop was an "in the closet" Democrat, he decided to confess to me and simultaneously tell me that whatever decision I would make would be o.k. LG convinced me otherwise, and so I believe that it was Al Gore that didn't get my vote. Not that it mattered one bit in Utah anyway.

I liked this entry. It made me want to come back, which is kind of funny, don't you think. Thanks for adding me to your bloggernacle. What is the difference between a Bloggers Ring and Bloggernacle...still don't know. And, believe it or not LG (short for LeGrand Gold) didn't know either. I will add you to my page.

It is good to be in touch.

Alice Wills Gold said...

Clarification (your blog entry made me want to come back to your blog) and (LG doesn't know what a Bloggernacle is)

the House of Payne said...

Sorry I didn't see this earlier. I'm supposed to get an email when someone leaves a comment, but I think they've been stuck in my spam filter.

The Bloggernacle is just a name for all the Mormon blogs. Blog + Mormon tabernacle = Bloggernacle. That's it.