Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, there were several ward families, including our branch president, my Sunday School teacher, some of our YW leaders, and both of my seminary teachers, who were pretty vocal Democrats. Sitting in their classes and hearing the gospel through their political lens, I developed the idea that Mormons leaned to the left on the political spectrum. There were so many aspects of church doctrine that aligned with their political views: consecration, church welfare, women proselyting, birth control, and our strong (then) stance (as a minority religion) on separating church and state, that the liberal left seemed like a fairly natural fit. Even the church’s admonition of self-reliance aligned nicely with the party that was associated with the environment and sustainable, renewable resources. The most self-reliant people I knew were the Democrats, making their own furniture, breast-feedback when bottle-feeding was more popular, and avoiding the materialism of the “Me Generation” Reagan Republicans.
When I went to BYU, it was the first time I was exposed to a majority-position right-wing version of Mormonism. Neither view seemed exclusively correct to me. The church’s positions aren’t consistent with either the Republican party nor the Democrat party, although plenty of Mormons would disagree with that statement. Within the state of Utah, the church wields enough influence that they can soften the GOP stance on some issues that would send Evangelicals into paroxysms while toeing the party line or even going to a greater extreme on others. In today’s climate at least, church members and Utahns align more closely with the Republican party, and in a heated election like this one, it’s causing all sorts of angst and division in our wards.
As noted, the church exerts enough influence in Utah to adapt some of the standard Republican positions to more closely match its own values within state politics. Likewise, in retrospect, it’s probably more accurate to say that the Democrats I knew were comfortable leaning to the right on the church’s more conservative positions. One of them even supported polygamy in theory!  These are Bernie Sanders supporters who think Hillary is too far to the right; I’m not talking about lukewarm liberals here.
I was recently listening to an interesting Maxwell Institute podcast in which Blair Hodges interviewed Quin Monson, an associate professor of political science at Brigham Young University, and David Campbell from the University of Notre Dame about their book, Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics. The interview talked about some of the history within the church when it comes to politics. A fact many already know is that the Republican party was originally formed to combat two evils: 1) slavery, and 2) polygamy. That’s a platform I can get behind! But of course, in opposing polygamy, they were essentially the original anti-Mormon political party. From the podcast, a brief history of party affiliation in the church:
MONSON: So clearly because of that history when Utah first became a state it was a staunchly democratic state, not surprisingly. Why would Mormons vote for this party that wanted to basically stamp out their religion? But things began to change relatively quickly. And so we went through a period of time through the twentieth century where Mormons as a group were somewhat a split vote. They were kind of bipartisan. So we had the rank-and-file of the church who were primarily democrats. We had lots of church leaders who were Republicans. Of course, a lot of church leaders come out of business and not surprisingly lots of business people end up on the Republican side of the aisle.
So, it really wasn’t until we hit the post-war era that we begin to see the movement sharply into the Republican column among Mormons. And that kind of accelerates once we get into the 70s, the 80s, until we reach the period that we have now where Mormons are predominantly Republican. But it hasn’t always been the case, it didn’t happen all at once, and it didn’t follow the same pattern as it has for other groups.
So, for example, we often speak of Southern Evangelicals shifting to the Republican party. Well, that happened, but not in exactly the same way that it did from Mormons, which suggests that there might be slightly different reasons the Mormons were moving to the Republican party than other groups were.
HODGES: It’s a quick but fascinating part of the book. I mean, you start off with Joseph Smith’s era where Mormons are sort of courting public parties—there’s Whigs, there’s Democrats. Mormons are sort of trying to find where they fit in in terms of what could benefit and protect them politically, so there’s this era of courting parties. Then there’s this exclusion era, Mormons leave the country, they set up their Great Basin Kingdom. There’s a lot of antagonism toward the United States. There’s polygamy, the Republican party is established in part to say “we’re going to abolish the twin relics of barbarism, polygamy, and slavery. Mormons aren’t going to join the party at that point.
And then you talk about this re-involvement, where Mormons begin to re-engage at the turn of the century. And also, the book didn’t talk too much about this but I wanted to get your thoughts on this maybe Quin you can touch on this, the idea that the political parties themselves were shifting as well, right? So B. H. Roberts was a Democrat at the turn of the century but he was opposed to women’s suffrage, right?
MONSON: Well, and I would say the part where the most shifting begins to occur is posted World War II where…
HODGES: So it’s after B.H.? It’s later on…
MONSON: I think so. Yeah. I think that’s where we have the most data and we’re well equipped to see the shift. The shift from a more balanced two-party Mormonism early in the 20th century to a heavily Republican Mormonism in the present day began really in the post-World War II era, and there’s this sort of steady uptick that happens from election to election as the percent voting Republican just gradually increases. And I think it’s partially the rhetoric of the parties and partially the rhetoric of church leaders that helps Mormons align with the party.
So as the parties become more distinctive in terms of things like communism, and then you get into the 60s and all of the sexual revolution kind of issues, and then abortion in the 70s, and then families and gay marriage in the 80s and 90s and to the present day. The parties become distinctive on those issues, right, where the political parties didn’t have different platforms on abortion in the 60s, by the 80s they do, right? Where the presidential candidates didn’t have different views on gay marriage in the 80s or even in the 90s or even in the 2000s, they later do, right? And as the parties become more distinctive and the church leaders make more emphasis on those social issues, it pushes and pulls Mormons into their Republican party over time.
HODGES: So when Mormons were initially Democrats way back when, what was it about the Democratic Party that drew Mormons in? Was it mostly because Republicans were so anti-Mormon, or what sort of political ideas in the Democratic party of that era appealed to Mormons?
CAMPBELL: It’s actually important to know that Utah—we take Utah as sort of the bellwether for Mormons at the time—Utah was not unusual and certainly by no means unique in its support, for example in 1896 for William Jennings Bryan who was a Democrat and a populist very much. Remember, Utah was an agrarian state. The Democrats of the time were the party of the farmers. And so, it would make perfect sense that Mormons, this agrarian group, would line up with the largely agrarian party. Now, their animus toward the Republicans was I think kind of a booster shot, [laughs] it kind of amplified that, but even without the Republican anti-Mormon sentiment at the time, I think you still would have likely found most Mormons identifying as voting for Democrats.
HODGES: Okay, good. Yeah. That’s what I’m looking for. So, one of the things that I wanted to talk about as well is this idea about how Mormons sort of have aligned heavily with the Republican party and we’ll talk about that a little bit more in just a moment.
The podcast also talked about the changes in political positions the church has taken over time. Polygamy is one area where the church’s views differed dramatically from 1890 to 1910. Other shifting views over time include: race and civil rights, the role of women, how much we embrace the secular, gay rights and anti-discrimination, and immigration.
Another interesting angle was that Mormons of both political party affiliations report that they don’t hear over politicking at church, unlike many other denominations. You might expect Democrats who are in the minority to be more sensitive to political messages at church, but the research didn’t back that up. Expanding on this:
CAMPBELL: We don’t see big differences between Mormon Democrats and Mormon Republicans in reporting the absence of—And I want to be clear that the question asks about overt politicking. So you’re specifically asked whether or not you’re encouraged to vote for a particular candidate, or whether there are voter guides made available. That kind of stuff which Mormons clearly do not do. But anyone who’s familiar with Mormon culture knows that there’s a lot of politically relevant stuff that is said over the pulpit in Sacrament meeting, by the Gospel Doctrine teacher. It works its way into Sunday school lessons for the youth [laughs], et cetera, et cetera.
It’s just not phrased in terms of, “Brothers and sisters, we need to go out and vote for so-and-so.” It’s phrased in terms of, “Brothers and sisters, we need to remember the importance of self-sufficiency. We need to remember the importance of not incurring debt.” The sort of things that will line up well with positions that politicians will take, even if they aren’t put into overtly political terms. And certainly the emphasis on traditional marriage is very much so. Every time I hear a sermon on that, it’s obviously going to favor the Republicans.
MONSON: And when it is overtly political, it’s explicitly non-partisan. But it still has implications. So just let me give you a brief personal example. Back in the spring, before the political caucus meetings were held in Utah, I was asked in my home stake to speak at a fireside about civility, and civility in politics and elsewhere.
It was overtly political in that sense. I was one of two speakers. I gave a talk about the importance of civility and drew on a bunch of material from Mormon Newsroom and other places that emphasizes that. And what are the political implications of that? Who was the candidate being the most uncivil at the time?
MONSON: I mean it was pretty obvious, right? It was obvious to me what was going on. And who took third place in the Utah Caucuses back in March? It was Donald Trump, right? So you know, I wasn’t asked to give a talk about the incivility of Donald Trump.
MONSON: But the timing of the topic and the event had clear political implications.
The lack of overt politicking is questioned by non-Mormons who can’t imagine that’s true when Mormons tend to vote monolithically. Campbell points out that the lack of politicking means it gets more attention when it happens, such as the church’s anti-gay marriage political actions.
HODGES: To follow up on that, David Campbell, your surveys in the book show that many Mormons do hold conservative views—It comes as no surprise. But these conservative views have a distinctive flavor in the United States, and there are some differences that Mormons hold. They are “peculiar partisans,” is the term you use. So I’m thinking of issues like immigration.
Let’s look at this a little closer. You note that your survey suggests that Mormons don’t just “blindly follow their leadership.” That’s an accusation that’s leveled against them, and it’s part of the reason why Mormon candidates today might face external opposition. But you also show that Mormons are peculiar partisans in that they’re swayable when church leadership speaks out.
CAMPBELL: They are. And the way we test that is to see what happens when Mormons—and so this is a survey of people who identify as Mormons—what happens when they are either told or reminded of church positions, positions the church has taken, that might be construed as politically liberal rather than conservative. So that would include questions about immigration, where the church is actually pretty far to the left—or at least you might say it’s in the center—on an immigration issue. And also the church’s public position on non-discrimination toward gays and lesbians.
And so we tested, well what happens when you give people these statements and ask for their opinions? And sure enough, even the most conservative orthodox Mormons will shift toward the more liberal position when they are reminded, or they are told, that that is the position that the church has taken. So there is evidence, actually, that the Mormons do follow their leaders. But not necessarily always in a conservative direction, which kind of makes it a little more complicated when you talk about the role of the church in American politics. It’s not always on the right. Sometimes it’s in the center, and sometimes you might even argue it’s a little bit on the left.
So to me, that does sound a lot like church members vote as they are told, but it takes a few different forms because they are often not told directly in terms of “we believe X so vote for proposition Y or candidate Z.” It’s usually more subtle than that. Sometimes it’s subtle enough that both liberal and conservative church members feel justified voting differently based on their interpretation of the same gospel-centric instruction. It’s not that church leaders tell members how to vote exactly, but nearly all church members look to church messages to form their opinions.
And sometimes church leaders do intend to influence voters, and they use various formats to get those messages across.
HODGES: There is another interesting thing I quickly want to turn to, that there are different ways the church can speak out on something that seems to have greater or lesser impact. So it depends on how the church talks about something. Talk about that for just really quick.
MONSON: Yeah. It really has to do with how specific they are, right? And so again, my favorite example of this goes back to the 80s with the MX missile because, at the time, we have Spencer W. Kimball as the president of the church. He’s, I think, widely known now and even back then as somebody who was peace-loving and thought about the Cold War in a certain way and so on. You have this MX missile proposal coming from the Reagan White House, to build this missile system in the west desert of Utah and into Nevada where they were going to shuttle these missiles around and hide them in silos and move them around so that the Soviets wouldn’t know where they were and couldn’t destroy all of our missiles at once. And this was seen by Utah political leaders at the time as a big economic boon and something that is sort of consistent with their pro-military, pro-Reagan stance, and also would provide a lot of jobs and so on. And so the political leaders came out in favor of it.
And you see in the limited public opinion data available at the time, Mormons were kind of suspicious of it at first but they kind of got on board with the political leaders. And over time, they became much more favorable to it.
And then I think you see President Kimball and the First Presidency who—I guess what I would assume or sort of infer from what they said publicly—were not in favor of this and were trying to send signals about it. And the most interesting one is a Christmas message in 1980. And then an Easter message from the First Presidency in 1981 where in the midst of a Christmas and Easter message are making references to nuclear weapons and avoiding the nuclear holocaust. I mean, it’s very strange to look back and see that. I think in the context of the time, it may not have seemed so strange. But looking back at those messages, you can see that they’re trying to send some signals. Well, those are very general statements. They didn’t mention the MX missile in the Christmas message.
HODGES: It was like you in fireside on civility. You didn’t address it.
MONSON: Yeah. Exactly. But then you get to May of 1981 and the assumption that they have is “our message isn’t getting through. It’s not working. The public is still in favor that this is going to happen unless we come out and say something specifically.” And so you get this multipage letter that goes into explicit detail about their opposition to the MX missile and why it’s both immoral and bad for Utah in so many ways, right? And again, anecdotally, we don’t have great opinion data contemporaneous with the message coming out. But again, Mormons become heavily opposed and the whole congressional delegation switches their position. And it falls apart and doesn’t happen.
An example of going from general to specific in a way that made a difference was repeated most recently on the issue of immigration in Utah, where they were very general in terms of treating each other as children of God and allowing families to stay together and square themselves to the law. And then in the midst of the Utah legislative session, by the end of the session, they’re naming bill numbers in their statements and saying, “Remember what we said a few weeks ago? HB-whatever is consistent with what we said.” And getting very specific. And then getting their way with the legislature as well, right?
HODGES: Yeah. It was interesting to see in the book you talk about this scale, so there’s General Conference talks, Firesides and things like that, versus First Presidency letters versus Newsroom announcements, and all of them sort of have different—Almost like Mormons themselves are like, “Okay. Well, that was just a Newsroom thing.”
CAMPBELL: That’s exactly the way to think of it. So it gives cover to those who might disagree with the church’s position. Oh, that’s just Public Affairs.
MONSON: By the way, I would add that the latest letter that was read over the pulpit in Sacrament meeting about political involvement I think has an effort at validating and elevating Mormon Newsroom’s position, because it’s named by name in the letter, right? “Sometimes we speak out and we do so via Mormon Newsroom on political issues.” So it serves to legitimize that, I think in part in a response to these folks that rationalize that away as something that doesn’t come from the church.
HODGES: Right. The type of letters that are read over the pulpit, it was interesting to see the Newsroom mentioned one of those. Also, more recent letters have talked about principles of the Gospel being found in most political parties, or all political parties having some sort of resonance with the Gospel. So there’s this sense of trying to amplify the church’s voice, but also to find a way to acknowledge some internal church diversity at the same time. It’s a really interesting mix. If we had more time, we could sort of dig into it.
While the interview acknowledged a greater degree of diversity within the church when it comes to party alignment (than say, Evangelicals), there is some expectation that we’ve become so entrenched in culture wars that this will eventually change. Certainly there are many vocal ward members across the church who already think it’s OK to bash Democrats pretty openly based on my own observations in Gospel Doctrine classes.
Campbell outlines 4 distinct periods of history in the church’s social development:
- Separation. The church essentially left the US and separated itself in settling the Utah territory. It became completely isolated, forming a new cultural identity.
- Assimilation. Upon entering statehood and renouncing polygamy (a prerequisite), Mormons began tamping down on their uniqueness and assimilating into American culture. The trajectory was very much like mainline protestantism at this time.
- Engagement. During the correlation era, the church began to make deliberate decisions about what distinct (or peculiar) elements to retain and where to engage with broader society. Some of the “distinctive” elements that were chosen for emphasis included Word of Wisdom (which was previously not strictly adhered to or adopted), having large families, modest clothing, etc.
- Alignment. This is not necessarily what’s happening now, but the authors predict that it’s what the church could be seeking. This would include aligning with a particular political perspective that unfortunately means taking on the cultural baggage of that party affiliation. That action has two other side effects: 1) it will alienate Democrats who will “self-deport” from the church, and 2) it will turn off secular converts while probably also not winning converts among conservatives who are already religiously active in other traditions.
So are we heading into an era in which being Mormon means you must vote Republican or be ostracized? Some doubtless feel we are already there.
CAMPBELL: We don’t think Mormonism is necessarily there yet because the church itself remains above the partisan fray. And as you mentioned, the church does actually make statements about both parties having value and people within the church can support either party. But we could reach that point, and we sort of suggest that that’s one possible future.
HODGES: And there’s clear leaning in that direction, as well.
MONSON: But I would say that there’s push-back too, in the sense of, if you want to go to 2016 and Donald Trump, right? There’s clear pushback in both questions of immigration, and refugees, and civility, and in other ways that make that perfect alignment less likely.
What do you think?
- Is the church tolerant of politically diverse viewpoints?
- Are the church’s positions unique or so aligned with conservative American politics that they can’t be reconciled with liberal views?
- Are the church’s messages deliberately crafted to appeal to the best within both parties or simply a dog whistle for conservatives that liberals and progressives can ignore?
- Do you foresee a future in which political alignment is required to function in the church?
- Or do you think the church will back away from the Republican party in the wake of the 2016 election due to the incivility, anti-immigration and misogyny that have come out during the campaign?
 Surprise, surprise, she was descended from high ranking polygamists.
Why are the vast majority of LDS members republican? Because (1) LDS leadership has become more corporate/republican and (2) members are encouraged to “follow the prophet” in lock step. And, by the way, this is decidedly *not* how Joseph Smith envisioned the LDS church. At all.
(1) LDS church leadership consolidated power, and turned corporate post 1950. This is the era of “When prophet speaks, the thinking has been done.” and leadership encouraged the view that LDS leadership has a direct line to God and speaks for God. As the OP states, corporate leaders tend to be Republican, and this carried over into the LDS church’s increasingly corporate structure. During these decades, “common consent” has gradually been replaced by unilateral decisions coming from LDS church lawyers and the first presidency. In short, the LDS church is now just a large company and is operated like one, and corporate leaders trend toward republican politics.
(2) As part of this power consolidation in recent decades, LDS leadership encouraged centralization and more lockstep thinking on the part of the membership. This is the origin of the nefarious SCMC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strengthening_Church_Members_Committee) and so-called “correlation” of LDS church produced media. On the financial side, church funds used to be collected and allocated locally, whereas, these decades saw a more centralized approach: funds are now sent directly to SLC headquarters and then re-distributed as SLC dictates.
On Sunday, when we came into the Church for meetings, there were two packets of a flyer called “Election Guide” sitting in front the the door. The Bishop picked them up and handed to me and said “What do we do with this.” I took them and threw them in the trash can. I didn’t even look at them. He said, “I guess that answers that question…”
” I said, ” We can’t have that kind of stuff in the Church,”
A lot of comments get made during Church meetings that demonstrate the member’s political persuasions. I have a number of semi-heated discussions with folks over Facebook, mainly because of misinformation that they post. To me, the biggest problem is the lack of research that gets done simply because what they post agrees with their views, even if it is bogus.
The two political parties are not really that far apart in ideology and policy. But, the members of those parties can be very far apart.
“I have a number of semi-heated discussions with folks over Facebook, mainly because of misinformation that they post. To me, the biggest problem is the lack of research that gets done simply because what they post agrees with their views, even if it is bogus.” I wish we could baptize Snopes and then have Snopes be a member of my ward. That would save us a lot of time and headache. Mostly I’ve been unfollowing posts one by one when refuting them has been futile. I’ve only unfriended one so far.
Why is the Church (at least in Utah) mostly Republican and conservative? You can blame J. Reuben Clark. When he was pretty much running the show while Heber J. Grant was old and incapacitated, he called four new Apostles: Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, and Mark E. Petersen. Three staunch conservative bureaucrats and Kimball, who was harder to read and softer on many stances. Benson’s ultra-Right views bent the Church in that direction at the same time that some social issues were contributing to a bit of cultural retrenchment.
But now there are really very few reasons for a Mormon to be a Republican. Look at where the party has gone in the last 20 years. Extreme positions and very non-LDS economic beliefs. Even the anti-global warming rhetoric runs against Mormons’ sense of stewardship for the earth. Some Mormons are still Republican because of the two big social issues: abortion and same-sex marriage. But on almost every other issue the GOP has gone off the deep end. The more reasonable, responsible positions are on the Left. But some Mormons are so entrenched in the Fox News/conservative talk radio mind-set that they are far more Republican than they are Mormon. So they are voting for Donald Trump, a bigoted, racist, misogynist, authoritarian, stridently nationalist candidate who has very accurately been described as a fascist. And those who think the party will get back to its normal irrelevance on most issues are dreaming. A significant majority of Republicans actually agree more with Donald Trump on the issues than with Paul Ryan. This is where the GOP has been heading for twenty years, and it is where a majority of Republicans will continue to travel. The big question is whether the GOP can survive this election. I doubt it, and I think that Mormons ought to be the first to get out of this train wreck of a party before it does significant damage to our country.
It’s certainly time for Mormons to reconsider all the issues and look carefully at Democratic positions. You won’t get everything you want, but you’ll have far less cognitive dissonance in the Democratic Party than you’ll have in today’s (and tomorrow’s) Republican Party.
I am not sure that most LDS are indeed Republican, and the datasets that Monson and Campbell use in their book have huge margins of error around them for the Mormon samples. It is hard to come up with a representative sample of Mormons in New York or North Carolina.
I understand that in the Intermountain West, most LDS are Republican. Of course culture gets mixed up with religion there, in ways that are not always healthy. But outside of that corridor, my experience has been pretty much like your experience in Pennsylvania.
And in my (just a bit older) generation, we had the example of James Faust, who was a Democrat.
I do think that Republican Mormons act more justified in their self-righteous political nastiness. I couldn’t believe some of the things I heard about Pres. Obama at church. But our ward is slowly learning to excel at tolerance during this year’s election. Not that a fair bit of de-friending on Facebook hasn’t gone on.
But I don’t look upon church as a social/political club, so it doesn’t bother me. For my politics, I have served on the board of our local League of Women Voters for some years.
A few interesting articles on the so-called God Gap between the parties. Although we tend to think of the Republican party as religious and Democrats as secular (thanks to pundits), here’s an article that shows that it’s really not what’s happening: “most religious people that are not evangelical Protestants are actually trending Democratic. In recent elections, there are Democratic trends in every major religious tradition except for Evangelical Protestants.” So its just Envangelicals. Why we are trying to be like them is hard to fathom when they treat Mormons like enemies. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/09/04/how-democrats-became-secular-and-republicans-became-religious-its-not-what-you-think/
I like the thoughts of Wally and I know it hit a nerve because I see 3 down votes. Being a long time democrat I have winced over the years when people stand in Church and make these political statements with the obvious assumption that we are all republicans.
Breaking News! Regarding The Hillary Clinton Takeover of the United States by Steve Pieczenik. I believe he’s serious.
“I took them and threw them in the trash can. I didn’t even look at them.”
Although I agree that may be a wise strategy when time is short, FWIW, our state League of Women Voters Education Fund, which is a totally non-partisan group, puts out a publication called a Voter’s Guide, which offers a very helpful analysis of the many ballot initiatives, explaining some of the words and offering ideas of how things might change if passed. These guides are very well respected by folks in all parties. and many newspapers send them out as an insert.
In many parts of the U,SA. churches are a place where people expect to get such information, and if any piles were left at our church it would show acceptance into the mainstream:)
A n uninformed electorate is not a more righteous electorate. Although yes, when I brought a pile of such literature to church, I talked to the agent bishop who agreed they were non-partisan and okay to hand out.
I grew up in Boulder, Colorado in a ward that openly and publicly included all political stripes — from we-only-believe-in-essential-oils-not-doctors conservative to I-bring-my-guitar-to-gospel-doctrine-and-sing-kumbaya liberal. It was fantastic! Granted, most everyone was a little bit of a hippie on either end, so we had that in common. As adults, my siblings and I have all ended up identifying more with the Christian Left than the Christian Right, and I think our formative experiences in that ward have a lot to do with it. My extended family in the Book of Mormon belt, however, are stumping for Trump this year.
What I find most difficult about relating between these two groups are that the Boulder continent of the family were always in the religious minority in our community, and so we were forced to adopt a minority mindset while those on the Wasatch front have not been the minority at school, work, or anywhere else of consequence. Family gatherings, for me, have become fraught with statements like “we had to change wards because our bishop was a Democrat! AND he was open about it on Facebook. How they haven’t released him for it yet is beyond me!” and “well, now that you’re a Democrat it’s only a matter of time before you lose the faith,” and my personal favorite exchange where a family member asked who I was voting for, so I said the candidate’s name and was then told “you shouldn’t say things like that in front of my kids! Don’t you know you’ll lead them astray?”
I got a bit carried away in relating the stories there, but I think the point is that many members in I-15 corridor haven’t had a lot of occasion to be in a minority and are subsequently a little slower to acknowledge that multiple stances can be in harmony with gospel principles. I also think we see this reflected a bit in the relative homogeneity of the Q15 in comparison to the church at large.
Modern-day Liberalism cannot espouse religion; at least not Christianity. I don’t have to belong to political groups such as NRA/Pro-Life etc. to be disdained by Liberals. I just have to say “I try to live my life based on gospel principles” and that alone makes me an enemy to be defeated.
mark gibson – that’s a very strange statement. Although more liberals (31%) than conservatives (6%) are non-religious, the vast majority of liberals (more than two-thirds) ARE religious. African Americans who are very liberal are also among the most religiously committed Christians in the US. Here’s an article in WaPo: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ej-dionne-jr-religion-challenges-left-and-right/2013/08/04/2b2e7a2e-fb7d-11e2-a369-d1954abcb7e3_story.html?hpid=z2&utm_term=.62557de0f221
Honestly, from the debates I’ve seen, Hillary is far more credible on the topic of protecting religious freedom than anything I’ve heard from Trump, and she is known to have a particular respect for Mormons. Now you can say she’s not really liberal (she’s fairly centrist), but she does claim Christian beliefs as does her running mate Tim Kaine, as does Pres. Obama.
Perhaps you are only counting people as religious if they are religious conservatives. Even so, 13% of Democrats are–believe it or not–religious conservatives. Now obviously that’s lower than the 56% of Republicans who are, but that’s by virtue of their political views more than their religious commitment level.
I’ve often said that people view their religion through their political lens and not the other way around, and once again, that seems to be the case.
It only takes one or two vocal people and a few people nodding their heads in agreement to make someone feel unwelcome. That is why I think the church, particularly in the Mormon Corridor, is somewhat hostile to liberals. Officially, the church doesn’t take sides, but in practice I have to listen to quite a bit of anti-liberalism every Sunday. It usually comes from the same 3-4 people (maybe 1-2 in each class), and is accompanied by a lot of general agreement.
It isn’t what I would call conservatism, which would be things like promoting environmental conservation, protection of individual liberties, or limited government. Usually it is usually more about anti-gay-rights, anti-media, anti-judicial-activism. The general consensus is everything was better in the good ol’ days, but it will keep gettting worse until the elders of Israel save the constitution.
In that environment, I have struggled to say anything. I really would like to challenge some of the conventional wisdom, but I haven’t figured out a way to do it. Officially there is plenty of room for liberal positions in the church, but in practice it is hard to fit in.
To Mark Gibson’s comment, I can see how he could feel that way. Like I said, it only takes a few people to make someone feel rejected or ostracized. I have not seen liberals act the way Mark describes, but I have seen the equivalent behavior from conservatives.
You’ll notice I said “espouse” religion. Many Liberals (and Conservatives) give lip service to their religious convictions with a sly wink. They are C&E Christians (campaigns & elections).
Mark Gibson: I’ll paraphrase Pres. Hinckley (I think that’s who it was) on that comment of yours. He said “I can’t tell just from looking in someone’s eye who’s a believer and who is not.”
Hawkgrrrl: of course not. I go by what people say. Hillary probably would’ve included church-goers in her “basket of deplorables” if there wasn’t a risk of political fallout.
Mark Gibson: I don’t think that’s true at all, or if so, it’s completely inconsistent with her memoirs. She sees religion, Mormonism in particular, as a social program and a positive to society.
Hillary Clinton is a devout Methodist.
It is not unusual for conservatives to call into question a liberal’s religiosity. Throughout his campaign and presidency there are those who continue to claim Obama is a (closeted) Muslim.
The same questions have followed Hillary. I would ask those who question Hillary’s religiosity to provide sources and evidence .
An article that says otherwise:
It was pretty obvious to me that Hillary is a mainstream protestant. If she had been another religion or none, it would have been mentioned frequently. Instead, her religion and most of her religious statements during the campaign were almost never played on TV. She either, 1) rarely speaks of all but the most general religious themes, or 2) gets her religious themes whitewashed by the mostly pro-Hillary press that is covering her.
In either case, Christianity is low on the perceived motivation of the Hillary campaign.
On the flip side, candidate Trump was blasted and scrutinized for several religious statements and his sometimes rocky relationship with religious conservatives. His general religious beliefs or lack thereof became quite well known. Most voters who cared about religion knew what Trump believed and what policies he advocated. His statements and policies opposing Islamic terrorists made him seem like a righteous crusader to many conservative religious folk.
The Donald worships one God: The Donald.
Is the church tolerant of politically diverse viewpoints? That depends on what you mean by “the church”. If you mean the church’s highest leadership, then I think yes. I’m sure a majority of general authorities are Republicans, but I know for a fact that some are Democrats. (I have a woman in my ward who is a secretary to one of the apostles, and she knows which are Democrats, given that she is also a Democrat.) But, if by “the church” you mean local leaders and lay members, then I would say not — at least not in Utah. I get a lot of shocked, appalled responses when people learn I’m a Democrat. There seems to be a perception among most Utah Mormons that I know that all Democrats are evil, promiscuous pot-smokers who sit around having abortions out of boredom. I’m sure it’s a function of not knowing enough Democrats — just as all forms of bigotry are a function of ignorance. But, tolerant is certainly not how I would describe them.