Christian Nationalism is a political movement, aligned with the Republican party in the US. While this movement is mostly associated with Evangelicals, it also includes other conservative religions: Catholics, Mormons, and some conservative Jewish groups (many Jewish sects are traditionally liberal). The Orange Wave, a podcast about the recent historical rise of the Evangelical political movement, implies that from the get-go Mormons were an integral part of this movement, that it wasn’t just driven by the Evangelicals; as an insider who was growing up during the 70s and 80s, it looks to me as though this movement and its ideas and values have infiltrated Mormonism rather than been created by us, particularly as a result of John Birch Society-loving Pres. Benson, and that the podcasters aren’t clear (or honestly very interested in) how Mormon values differ from Christian National values. Then again, neither are a whole lot of Mormons, including some top level Church leaders.
If you’ve ever been to the Southern US, you’ve seen kudzu. Kudzu is a leafy vine that looks like ivy, and it’s everywhere in the south, looping over electric wires, hanging from poles, blanketing the already green countryside with another layer of greenery. Originally introduced as an ornamental plant, it is native to southeast Asia, and it is an invasive species, swallowing up the Southeast at a rate of 50,000 baseball fields per annum (like that’s a measurement we use). It harms the native ecosystem by blanketing the natural flora, blocking sunlight and nutrients for any plants it covers. What used to be there can no longer thrive once the kudzu starts growing.
Kudzu is extremely bad for the ecosystems that it invades because it smothers other plants and trees under a blanket of leaves, hogging all the sunlight and keeping other species in its shade.
White Christian Nationalism has become kudzu to the Church. It has one underlying tenet, not generally spoken aloud, and this underlying assumption colors everything that goes with it: that government should be in the hands of white, land-owning Christian patriarchal males. The narrative is that the US was founded by them, based on the vision of a Christian nation (but specifically white patriarchal Protestantism), and has since been wrested away by secular liberals, the one true enemy to their vision and goals. This group seeks to return that perceived lost power to that group of people so that they can recapture that vision. Make American (White Evangelical) Christian Again.
The group’s aims include:
- anti-civil rights
- anti-women’s equality
- expansion of “religious freedom”
The movement emerged in the early 1980s with the Moral Majority, then morphed into the Tea Party and is currently the MAGA movement. Prior to that, there was far more mixing of viewpoints within the Democrat and Republican parties. There were pro and anti-abortion people in both groups. There were pro-equal rights people in both groups. There were progressives in both groups, and more fragmentation in the Republican party specifically, with fiscal, social or defense conservatives finding enough in common to band together (similar to how the Democrat party has many fragmented “causes” within it: environmentalism, civil rights, feminism, gay rights, labor, etc.). That has largely ceased to be the case as moderates have been pushed out of the Republican party by the patriarchal Christian views that have taken over. Now is the great day of their power and glory.
As you can tell from looking at the bulleted list of causes (or enemy causes in most cases), these are all things that white patriarchal Christian males may see as a threat to their “right to rule.” Let’s take a quick stab at each of these, what they represent, and how they fit (or don’t) with Mormon values:
- Anti-pluralism. Because Christian Nationalists believe that the nation should be a Christian nation, incursions by other religions, particularly non-Christian faiths, are undesirable. It’s a little like allowing mudbloods into Hogwarts. This is one that’s not a great fit with Mormonism. Most Mormon leaders would like to include non-Christian faiths in our interfaith work and causes, and have respect for various other faiths like Islam and Hinduism. Within the religious right, Evangelicals have dealt dirty with Mormons for decades, taking financial and volunteer contributions with one hand while backhanding us with anti-Mormon rhetoric with the other hand. But we are a very tiny minority in the religious right (particularly when you count only our active members), with an outsize checkbook and seemingly voracious appetite for the shared causes of the religious right.
- Anti-immigration. This one is a terrible fit with the Church which generally departs from the religious right whenever they start locking babies in cages and calling ICE on neighbors (although certainly many Church members haven’t read the tea leaves on this one). The Church has a long history of encouraging immigration among converts to increase intra-faith marriage prospects and to build up the kingdom. We have a high percentage of converts in Mexico and South America, and we’re pretty cool with them coming to the US, although we may encourage them to bloom where planted. Another possible benefit is that missionaries seem to have disproportionate success among immigrants (my source on this is my gut and my own mission experience). The Church generally errs on the side of compassion in this area, or at least “live and let live” in its official statements.
- Anti-civil rights. The Church has a long and terrible history with anti-black racism, including opposition to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. With few black Church members, this is something that hasn’t changed in fundamentals, although our rhetoric is better. There have been cosmetic attempts to improve the racism in the Church, but always done in such a way that nobody could accuse us of forgetting that white interests can’t be lost in the process, and we can’t offend our racist members who don’t acknowledge they are racist. The Church’s grounds for opposing civil rights were originally justified by racist doctrines (pre-mortal lack of valiance), and are currently justified by a dislike for protests which feel anarchic and scary. I’ve talked a lot about this in my last few posts, and frankly I can’t bring myself to do it again, so let’s just move along.
- Anti-LGBT. Gay rights were late to the table to be acknowledged and accepted as a societal norm. Even in the 1980s, marriage equality wasn’t even a thought; many gay people were still in the closet because there was no equality or protection under the law. This is one issue that the Church cares a whole lot about and is willing to burn it all down to protect their anti-LGBT views. They are mostly aligned with Evangelicals on this topic and have spent a lot of money and goodwill to pursue an anti-gay agenda. They have recently started to discover that there are in fact gay kids being born to Mormon families, but there is as yet no place for them in our theology and limited space for them in our pews. The recent Honor Code Office kerfuffle could indicate a sea change that is much broader than I would have expected.
- Anti-women’s equality. The Church has a huge stake in this one, declaring as recently as December of last year that the Church’s stance on ERA has not changed in four decades! Evangelicals are far more patriarchal, despite both religions claiming the term, but Mormon sexism certainly isn’t wearing well. Pres. Nelson made changes to the temple ceremony to remove some of the more overt sexism but simultaneously added new sexist language to the sealing ceremony.
- Anti-abortion. This is one where Evangelicals and other religious conservatives have pulled us to the right, but not all the way. Most members are probably unaware that our position on abortion is more moderate than it is conservative or liberal, carving out exceptions for rape, incest, health of the mother, health of the baby, and in the most recent policy language making it clear that it is the mother’s difficult decision (not the decision of her bishop, husband and doctor). Most of the Church’s political bedfellows do not agree to these exceptions, and many also oppose birth control which is not prohibited for Church members.
- Expansion of “religious freedom.” The First Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to choose their own religion without compulsion by the state. That’s what we used to mean by religious freedom. In the late 1970s / early 1980s, one of the tricks party backers used to instill fear in conservative religious groups was the threat that they would lose their tax exempt status. That’s the hook used to seduce us into the Moral Majority, and we’ve been wriggling there ever since; this fear was instilled in all the faiths that joined this newly emerging coalition. At that time and for two and a half decades, religious freedom meant protecting religion from government forcing them to do things they didn’t want to do (e.g. hiring women, avoiding discrimination against gays, or losing tax exempt status for political involvement). In recent years, this concept of “religious freedom” has grown like the proverbial Blob, including extending those protections to businesses whose owners claim religious belief (e.g. Hobby Lobby), to individual employees and business owners who claim religious exemption from job requirements based on belief (Masterpiece Cakeshop, , and to small business owners who wish to claim their businesses are “ministries” because they hang scripture quotes on the wall, so they should have a religious exemption to remain open during the pandemic. In E. Bednar’s recent zoom meeting, he furthered this idea that religions>governments, likening governmental health code requirements preventing Churches from meeting to living under martial law. The tension between church and state has existed pretty much forever, but it’s got a specific libertarian bent within the current religious right, trying to apply the protections previously afforded to organized religions to any individual adherent willing to claim their actions are based on a religious belief.
From what I see, our Church’s political alliances are doing more to change us than we are to change them, and their pull is invariably to the right. But that’s my perspective. Obviously, the majority of Church members I know are totally fine with that, support these same causes (or oppose them, rather), and are thrilled that their views are finally getting some political teeth. Personally, I think it’s making us dumber, more craven, less compassionate, more prosperity-gospel focused, more literal and fundamentalist, more willing to do harm to others, less theologically minded and spiritual, and more secular (involved in political battles). What do you think?
- Do you see the Mormon Church as influenced by the religious right or as influencing it?
- Do you see the Church becoming more differentiated or less differentiated over time?
- Is the Church being taken advantage of by larger groups in this coalition, like when the popular kids make the social wannabe pay for their lunch if they want a seat at the table?
- Do you align with the Church’s views on religious freedom? Why or why not?
 O, that we could take an actual stab at them!
 Give this podcast a listen to hear more.
 You could literally justify anything on that basis, particularly since individual religious adherents interpret their own religions so differently. If you were a dentist, you could say you don’t have to hire women because you believe working women are seductresses of Satan. Where does it end?
I’m curious to see how many feathers this ruffles.
My husband was born and raised Republican. But the Tea Party, a master’s degree and liberal wife have moved him to the left (aka the dark side of the force). It often appears that much of the church leadership and membership has swallowed conservatism whole and are spitting it out over the pulpit.
While I agree that anti-pluralism and anti-immigration don’t match with our “church values” I know plenty (I’m even related to some) in the church who hold those ideas to be (practically) doctrine.
This makes going to church uncomfortable. I love many aspects of the gospel, but given the anti stances above I find the idea of sharing the gospel with friends very difficult because of all the baggage that comes with the church.
I see less differentiation between the church and the religious right. I also do not see all of the attacks on freedom of religion espoused by others.
I just listened to a podcast from the Utah Hospital Assn about the necessity of wearing masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19 and was disgusted by the number of commenters making mask wearing a political issue and jumping on the MAGA bandwagon. I grew up in a rural area of Idaho where the John Birch society was fairly strong and where ETB made frequent speeches. My family was not involved with either one.
Long ago I made the mental distinction between the church as an organization and the relationship I have with the Lord.
Thank you for another illuminating post.
Great post, as usual. As a gay Mormon, something you mentioned in the Anti-LGBT section really struck a deep chord within me:
‘…but there is as yet no place for them in our theology and limited space for them in our pews.’ For those of us LGBT members who have spent a lifetime trying to find a place in the church, this pretty much sums it up. It’s sad, but true. Perhaps someday, but I doubt I will be here to witness it.
LDS leadership has made attempts, even admirable attempts, to keep politics out of church on Sundays. The statement that is read from the pulpit stating that the Church endorses no candidates but encourages members to vote for the candidate of their choice is part of that attempt to be neutral. I suspect that became more of an emphasis after the Ezra Taft Benson era. And there have been studies showing there is more political discussion and rhetoric in liberal churches than in conservative churches.
But conservative political thinking has become so entwined with conservative religious thinking over the last couple of decades that plenty of political rhetoric comes out in LDS sacrament meeting talks and Sunday School lessons. It’s like a fish doesn’t realize its swimming in water. It’s not to the point that members with liberal political views feel alienated, but they do seem to feel out of place. That’s what the Church has been trying to avoid, they just haven’t done a very good job of it.
“Personally, I think it’s making us dumber, more craven, less compassionate, more prosperity-gospel focused, more literal and fundamentalist, more willing to do harm to others, less theologically minded and spiritual, and more secular (involved in political battles).”
I could not agree more. It is causing us to lose the best of who and what we have been. I am mourning this loss and hoping it is not forever gone. Thank you so much for this insightful post.
Dave B “It’s not to the point that members with liberal political views feel alienated, but they do seem to feel out of place”
I do feel alienated. I hear overt jabs against liberal views all the time at church. And I get the side eye when I state something that is doctrinally or scripturally correct but that goes against the conservative narrative. It’s getting harder for me to feel that my values align with those of the institution and those who inhabit its pews.
I was raised as a very conservative Republican and I feel I’m still there in my 50s. But I experienced two changes in my life that have moved me to the left: (1) I was fortunate enough to bring three daughters into this world. Having three daughters in their teens and now early adulthood changes your perspective on things (2) we moved to Utah from back East. It’s one thing to be a Republican in New York or Mass., it’s quite another to see the Republican party in action in the Beehive state.
I used to believe the old narrative that you get more conservative as you get older. The opposite happened to me. I look at the issues you’ve raised (LGBQ, ERA, immigration, abortion, etc.) and they all seem so different to me now than they did as an 80’s teenager. And how does this relate to the Church? Well, when your faith in the leadership of the Church declines for some obvious reasons (exclusion policy, etc.), your adherence to right wing dogma also takes a hit. Especially with those wonderful daughters and Utah politicians reminding you every day.
Do you align with the Church’s views on religious freedom? Why or why not?
No, because I don’t see the church as promoting true religious freedom, but only an empowerment of conservative Christianity masquerading as religious freedom. Did they care about the freedoms of liberal Christian churches to marry two people of the same gender? No. Do they care about the freedoms of peoplefrom undue private religious influence? No.
Thanks, AC. This is great stuff. From my perspective, many Latter-day Saints today are more Republican than they are LDS. And they don’t understand the difference.
“It’s like a fish doesn’t realize its swimming in water.”
This! I don’t hear a ton of overtly political statements at church (other than a few people being glad that God was back in the White House when trump was elected …). It’s more an attitude that “every Mormon thinks this way, I’m just stating the obvious / speaking for the group” that feels so alienating because conservative views are presented as facts not opinions and some common background we Mormons all share.
I’ve observed this before but in the 90’s it felt like the church was in *some* ways progressive—and certainly more progressive than evangelicals and other conservative religions. I don’t believe that’s the case any longer. Whether the church has become more entrenched in right-wing politics, or the rest of the world has moved on leaving us in the dust, or MAGA simply revealed a truth about the church I didn’t see before I don’t know. But it certainly feels different.
I have nothing to add to what you and those before me have said, hwkgrrrl. I just want to thank you for your continuing clear and compassionate thinking and the courage to step out and choose thoughtful, constructive sanity over letting the thinking be done for you..
I feel like you’re skewing the facts to fit a preconceived thesis.
John Birch and ETB predate the rise of the “Moral Majority” by 25 years (1955-65 vs 1980-90), so conflating them is disingenuous. Additionally, this political movement didn’t “infiltrate Mormonism.” These views (anti-abortion, anti-porn, anti-gay marriage, pro-religious freedom, pro-traditional gender roles) have been part of the Gospel since the days of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. To say we were co-opted is simply untrue.
Also untrue is your assumption that the LDS Culture or Gospel is pushing to “Make American (White Evangelical) Christian Again.”
The Moral Majority was for social conservatives
The Tea Party was totally different, driven by fiscal conservatives, libertarians, and small government activists.
The MAGA movement is not moral, nor fiscally conservative, nor libertarian. Quite the opposite! The ONLY thing these movements have in common is that they played foil to the Democratic Party.
On your bullet points:
Christian Nationalists don’t want to ban all other religious. They do want to ensure America remains true to the Christian values upon which it was founded. This concept is essential to the Gospel, and repeated over ad over in the Book of Mormon.
On immigration: The Church acknowledges the importance of strong borders, encourage members to stay in their home countries, and does not condone any form of illegal border crossing/immigration
On LGBT and Gender: This is hill the Church has decided to defend at all costs, because gender is eternal, and gender differences are eternal. As a Church we really need to work at treating everyone as beloved children of God. Yet the doctrine remains steady–and has since the beginning–that marriage between a man and a woman is essential for exaltation, and that gender roles are divinely appointed.
The definition of “Religious Freedom” in the OP is not accurate. The First Amendment actually means that the government cannot favor an individual sect above others. (Unlike nations in Europe where the government deducts donations for the national religion from all paychecks.) Religious freedom has always meant exemption based on belief (see 19th Century polygamy-unsuccessful. Or 20th Century peyote in Native American religious. This is NOT a recent expansion of the term.
As American culture becomes increasingly frayed, it’s natural the Church will seem increasingly out of touch. Eventually, we’ll reach a point “that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. (D&C 45).
Evidently, I’m the only conservative reader at W&T willing to post, or perhaps the only one that hasn’t yet been banned for stating a differing opinion.
“Conservative” does not equal Republican or Libertarian or Trumper or Christian Nationalist or White Supremacist.
The OP may have overstated its bullet points, but it got a lot right. The Other Clark has overstated his bullet points.
The Christian values stated repeatedly in the BoM are limited to repentance, faith in Christ, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Teaching more than that as Christ’s “doctrine” is rather soundly condemned in 3 Nephi 11.
The Church condones some illegal border crossing by calling known “illegal aliens” (I don’t like the term, but don’t have better shorthand for it) on missions, to other callings, etc. Encouraging members outside the US to stay in their home countries rather than gathering to “ion” does not change that.
The “doctrine” of the Proclamation on the Family about gender being eternal has not been the steady “since the beginning.” See the limitations on “doctrine” in the BoM [where the word “exaltation” never appears, Joseph Fielding Smith’s musings about what has been since been called his TK Smoothie doctrine, and some early Mormon leaders’ speculations on spirits being formed from some kind of stuff called intelligence rather than born from celestial parent bodies on a model of mortal, fertile heterosexual congress and its result. It does seem, however, that the doctrine of heterosexual marriage has been consistent since the post-BoM invention/revelation of “exaltation” so maybe something related to “exaltation” rather than “salvation” is eternal as to the future for those resurrected to exaltation, even if it is not eternal as to the past or for everyone.
The First Amendment to the US Constitution originally meant only that the national government could not establish a national religion; the original 13 states still could as they had as colonies. “Freedom of Religion” changed significantly in American Jurisprudence over many years as states incorporated their own versions of the First Amendment into their state constitutions and as state and federal courts interpreted the First Amendment and those state provisions. The course of interpretation has not always been consistent, nor has religious freedom “always meant exemption based on belief”. But the change in its meaning (to some) is indeed not a recent expansion of the idea.
Some who think of themselves as conservative because they do not share all the political and economic thinking of the most liberal left are also not in agreement with The Other Clark. It could be that they generally don’t post much on these subjects because they do not choose to join an argument that has no hope of persuading anybody of anything — neither the “liberal/progressive” commenters nor the “conservative” Other Clark’s or because they are not historians or scholars who can quote chapter and verse for their perceptions of differences among the “Moral Majority”, “Tea Party”, MAGA, Republicans, Trumpers, etc.
It seems to me that binary thinking that infects both political arguments and the BoM is almost always wrong. So why did I post this comment? Who knows? If I had a shrink I might ask her. But maybe I just don’t want all “conservatives” tarred with The Other Clark’s misstatements.
The Other Clark: We haven’t banned anyone in a very long time. This post has only been up a few hours. You are doubtless the FIRST, but for sure will not be the only conservative commenter, although most of our readers are less conservative than your comments indicate you are. Just yesterday, my post from last week devolved into a name-calling right/left fight. Apparently you missed that.
“I feel like you’re skewing the facts to fit a preconceived thesis.” I am discussing information from the Orange Wave, a podcast done by the makers of Straight, White, American Jesus. Their thesis is what it is, and coincides quite a bit with my own observations growing up in the Church. I’ve been surprised at how much their descriptions of Evangelicalism coincide with the changes I’ve seen in the Mormon Church.
I recognize that if you viewed the gospel as including these tenets, you would clearly not see us as having been co-opted. These themes have certainly become more prominent in discussion in my lifetime, even if they were not imported from outside sources. From where I’m sitting, the political polarization in the US has had a huge impact on Mormon culture and doctrine, not for the better. Rather than considering our approach to these tricky theological problems, we can just do whatever the political bedfellows are doing!
John Birch was a stream that fed into the Religious Right movement. You are correct that it wasn’t the main river and that it predated it, but within the Mormon Church, it was important and significant that Benson, who later became top dog, was so into it. It was a HUGE concern in the Church when Pres. Kimball died that Pres. Benson, whose political views were so extreme, would come in and push his political agenda and make it inhospitable to those who disagreed with him. In some respects, that happened, although many of these fears were overstated. I do agree that the thing these movements have in common is opposition to Democrats and liberal ideas. That’s really the point. Each movement picked up another group and pitted them against their “common enemy,” liberals. That’s how the right grew.
As to gender roles being divinely appointed, that’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard in my life, and we can trace it back to Pres. Benson’s talk about mothers quitting jobs. Nothing about my biological sex prepared me or suited me to teaching children, caring for the sick, cleaning toilets or cooking food. Conservative men love to think that these things are biological or divinely appointed because it suits you and you’ve bought into the definition of masculinity that you were fed growing up. If it works for you and your wife, by all means, live as you choose! It’s your right! But quit telling everyone else that they have to do the same or they are somehow unnatural.
Christian Nationalists don’t want to ban other religions outright (well, not all of them do), but they do want to dominate the religious scene in the US.
“Zion”! I wonder how to gather to “ion”?! That may be a subject for physicists or chemists. I’m neither.
The evolution toward the Christian right seemed to hit full swing with the death of Apostle Widtsoe in the 1950’s. JFS soon published his silly anti-evolution screed “Man: His Origin and Destiny.” His son-in-law published his “Mormon Doctrine,” In an article in an official Church mag, a BYU staff member alleged that Mormons were biblical literalists. BYU Religion Dep’t tried to cozy up to Evangelicals. The Church became paranoid of SSM and the LGBTQ+ community. Some would say obsessed. Religious freedom became a rallying cry of leaders. For most of the world, however, it looked like it was just a rational for discrimination. Metaphorical characters in the OT continue to be treated like historic figures, adding credence to anti-evolution beliefs.
After Widtsoe, Henry Eyring (father, brilliant chemist) tried to fight anti-science sentiments, as did Talmage’s son (geologist). But with little success.
Luckily “Man” died an early death, and the Church is trying to bury “Mormon Doctrine.” In 2013, it tried to disavow the Curse of Cain/Ham. But many Christian-right issues still reside in the Church and its members. Many Church members are still anti-science (anti-evolution, anti-vaxxers, anti-mask, man/woman, anti-gay, etc.). The Trump crowd.
The sad part is that President Eyring has the background to move the Church in the right direction, but chooses to stay in the background and be railroaded by the Pres Oaks/Nelson. This is unfortunate. Maybe Elder Gong will eventually take up the Widtsoe mantel.
Clearly, in my attempts to be concise, I lost clarity. While I believe “America as a land of promise” is a recurring theme in the Book of Mormon, I certainly don’t place it as part of the core “Doctrine of Christ.’ Of course, this may not matter to you if, as Wondering says, the BoM is always wrong.
Angela, I suspect that we actually probably agree on gender roles. I change diapers, help around the house, and my wife works. These things are “Mormon culture” and can and should change and improve to achieve gender equity. When I wrote “gender roles are divinely appointed,” I referred to those things mentioned in the Family Proclamation, like men protect, provide, preside.
I appreciate that we’re able to engage in a vigorous debate of ideas without resorting to personal attacks.
Binary thinking is almost always wrong. Nobody said the BoM is always wrong.
Somebody is even sloppier than I about what he reads and writes.
“The MAGA movement is not moral, nor fiscally conservative, nor libertarian.”
A large number self-identify as libertarian
John W, interesting, but the fact that MAGA folks might self-identify as libertarian (news to me) doesn’t make them libertarian, as least not from a political philosophy point of view. Quite contrary perspectives as far as I understand them.
I have been concerned for some time that the source of the inspiration of the church leadership was the political right, not God?
Ideology seems to be more powerfull than the gospel of Christ, so is difficult to question/change.
Americans should be aware (though whether it changes anything) of how extreme their right wing is. The right wing political party in Australia, legalised gay marriage, and abortion, supports universal healthcare. They claim to be working against climate change, but are not. Our present PM is an evangelical, and there are occasional mentions of religious freedom, that usually result in people realizing that religious schools (for example) already have too many advantages.
Many unquestioning members try to be republicans in australia, which is very extreme, very few converts, and others of us are struggling to see the gospel through the filter of the church.
Thanks for this article that explains the background to the political problem of the church. Do you see any solution, particularly with Oaks next in line?
I have 4 daughters which does affect how you see life, but not if your ideology is too fixed.
All I want (and will fight for) is my (our) personal liberties to be protected and our Bill of Rights ensured; regardless of race, religion, political party, sexual orientation, gender etc. I personally believe that the far Left and the far Right are “two peas in a pod” (although on opposite ends of the spectrum) and are as equally dangerous to our personal freedom and to the Republic. Any organization which attempts to radicalize beliefs to the point of exercising control over others, diminishing freedom of thought and speech, limiting movement and undermining our Bill of Rights (let alone destruction of property and safety) needs to be challenged, condemned and put down. In my perspective, White National Christian Evangelicals (Mormons) are on the fringe; and should be as actively challenged ….at least as much as any far Left organization.
the other Clark: the Church had a position on gay marriage in the Joseph Smith era? That’s news to me.
Elisa, here is the problem. The term libertarian seems to apply to a large swath of political beliefs loosely united by a common desire for increased freedom from government regulations, laws, rules, and decision-making. That the actual Libertarian Party in the US never gets enough votes to carry anyone into political office suggests that the movement is fragmented and that “libertarian” probably means a lot of things. I think a lot of people self-identify libertarian because they don’t feel comfortable self-identifying as conservatives or liberals or as Republicans or Democrats but want to appear as being above the fray. By claiming the philosophy of libertarianism, they can’t be tethered to any power-holding, decision-making body of people and can shape shift when their views are challenged saying, “that isn’t real libertarianism.” The term libertarian only means as much as what those who self-identify as such say it does. And as far as I can tell, the libertarian political ideology is largely incoherent and inconsistent.
Wayfarer 25, You seem to think we will all know what you mean about your person liberties and rights. I am sure you mean something different. The rest seems to be describing the Trump government.
I wish people would think about the consequences of their ideologies like libeterian. To me it means a distrust of government to provide services, and that private enterprise is always better.
So you will oppose universal healthcare on principle, and not listen if you are shown that it is better and cheaper. Would that not make sense? It affects so much else in America. Like access to beaches for the public v those wealthy enough to buy beachside land.
There are so many ideological things that don’t seem to make sense if examined. You are just so restricted by these ideologies. You talk about freedom/liberty but then restrict yourselves with rediculous ideology like libeterianism.
The consequence is that US is one of the wealthiest countries but your income is so inequitably distributed, and so you also have highest levels of poverty, and imprisonment. (Unfettered Free enterprise)
Without these counter productive culture you could be much closer to the top of the happiness index presently 18th. https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurabegleybloom/2020/03/20/ranked-20-happiest-countries-2020/#5f17fa397850
Which means more Zion like, and individually happier. Not possible because of ideology like libertarianism. Sad.
I assume also that you would vote for Trump because he only intervenes to help the rich.
josh h- They did. Their views were informed by Biblical passage such as Lev 20:13 and Rom 1:26-27. Quinn has published quite a bit of material on 19th century Mormon policy on the subject
It seems to me that “libertarian” is a term that is awfully hard to pin down indeed. When employed by Christian Nationalists, it seems to mean “freedom from doing what I don’t want to do” which really means “being able to thwart any social programs proposed by the left.” The latest episode of The Orange Wave (can’t recommend this podcast enough, BTW) talks about the rise of libertarian thought in the religious right when they were able to claim they were in the majority, but that in recent years (particularly when Obama was elected) when they saw that they might be in the minority, they quit talking about the will of the people to dismantle programs that cost money being heeded, and started a love affair with authoritarian regimes like Russia that are also friendly to White Supremacists and conservative religious views run by the state.
Tribes & tribalism, alive & well 2020. Far from antidote, The 1 True Church has become … yet another tribe! – or, more accurately, several competing tribes. Here’s hoping that between the Human Genome Project and BRAIN Initiative we learn enough about human behavior and interaction to build something vastly more healthy & positive than thIs mad merry-go-round. When all else fails, trust the scientific method.
I find the whole thing a bit strange that the LDS Church is buddying up the religious right/evangelical Christians. I’m not that old, but I clearly remember when evangelicals considered us sworn enemies. When I was growing up, the ones in our community were sponsoring local showings of The Godmakers and giving presentations about how to protect yourself against Mormon proselytism. We weren’t Christians in their eyes. Now they want to be friends with us because our public anti-LGBTQ message aligns with theirs? No thanks.
I feel like the Church is the one getting pushed around by the right-wing evangelical movements now. Now more than ever, Church members are under the influence of Fox News, Utah still went hard for Trump, moderate politicians like Bob Bennet got pushed out in favor of Tea Party blowhards like Mike Lee, and liberal Church members are being punished or alienated. Meanwhile, right-leaning extremists like the Bundys and Jon McNaughton (Painter of Tripe™) are still members in good standing, as far as I know. Being co-opted by the religious right is not worth the costs.
Jack—Yes, exactly my same experience and thoughts.
Geoff – Aus: I simply want our Bill of Rights to be protected and guaranteed; and the rights of individuals (as outlined in The Constitution) to not be diminished. Beyond that, I’m quite liberal as relating to social causes and equality across the spectrum. I freely admit my discomfort and incredulity at some people being threatened by – or wanting to destroy – these foundational “contracts” with the citizens of the United States. In my opinion, if we (collectively) allow these protections to be diminished, changed or done away with….I think everything else (including many popular social causes) will go to hell pretty fast. While I acknowledge your beliefs, personally I want nothing to do with Democratic Socialism….or in some developing cases across the US…outright Marxism. I’m not declaring you either one…or anything; for I do not know you. I’m simply expressing my own beliefs.
(For whatever it’s worth – probably not very much – I do not support Government Owned/Universal Healthcare. I’ve spent my entire professional career in Hospital Administration and Strategic Healthcare Planning – and yes, I think it would be catastrophic to turn this monumental part of our economy over to government bureaucrats. Just my opinion)
“ I think it would be catastrophic to turn this monumental part of our economy over to government bureaucrats”
Preferable in a catastrophic pandemic, a stressed and uncertain economy and outrageous income disparity, to leave the healthcare for a large swath of the population and, by extension, potential contagion of the general population to the vagaries of uncaring fate?
Countries with national healthcare systems, comprehensive records, effective tracing and a more communitarian outlook on society are faring far better than even Americans with secure health benefits.
Wayfarer 25. As you are in healthcare you may already be aware of what I am going to say and have dismissed it. But
I live in Australia. Our universal healthcare costs $4708/person/year. Compared to US $9892.
Is life expectancy a measure of how effective the healthcare is? Aus 83.94 US 79.11
You might expect that if you pay twice as much you would get a better outcome not almost 5 years less life expectancy.
This is achieved because a universal system not only covers everyone, but also collects data which can be used to fix problems. Bowell cancer is a problem in the elderley. At 50,60,70,and 80, we recieve in the mail a poo test. You can to send back a sample and it will be tested. At 70 I got a letter saying my test was positive, and I would be contacted by my local hospital. Within a month of returning the sample I had a colonoscopy. I have since had 2 follow ups 6 months apart. None of this cost me anything.
Our system has coped better with the virus, because there is no one worried about whether they can afford a test or treatment. No charge for either. Our leadership was better too.
We hold our Medicare system in high esteem. It sounds as though, if you were in Australia you might work for Medicare. Would you be less conscientious, than at present? We can go to any GP we want. No one limits that.
In Australia universal healthcare does not have a political element. It is supported by both sides of politics, because it is the most economical and effective way to deliver healthcare.
So it costs half as much, produces better results, and is appreciated by those who use it, Why would you oppose such a system for America?
Totally agree. Do you realise how much better?
I live in Queensland, a state with a population of 5 million (Utah has 3 million) we have not had a new case for more than a week, we have 2 active cases, 1 in hospital, and a total of 6 deaths. We are still testing 10,000 a day. We are well on the way to opening up, but our state border is still closed until 10th July. Our international border is closed except to returning Australians, who are put in hotels for 2 weeks quarantine, at government expense.
Compare that to any US state
As you say universal healthcare, and community spirit, and better leadership. We have had our national broadcaster showing things like this https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7kfFmwEgJPs
I’ve lived in British Columbia in Canada at various times and for extended periods. I don’t know how much I’ve gone into that here before but, basically, my family has used their healthcare system for a variety of needs. Besides very ordinary response to illness and preventative care, I was also a part of an emergency community response to a highly contagious illness. My husband had emergency cardiac care on a number of occasions. My son had routine vaccinations as part of his elementary and middle school program. And, on one occasion, an American visiting friend had emergency care for a heart attack. I am saying I am well acquainted with the Canadian version of national health. And I’m a fan.
It may be no frills compared with American standards of patient handling but it’s efficient, effective and, most specifically, caring and responsive. We all know there are priorities that can be inconvenient on individual bases, but care is provided when and as necessary. The best evidence of this is the results. Canadians live longer. They are healthier and their general wellbeing is significantly better. This is most evident in the lives of their elderly citizens who are active and engaged and who pursue their daily lives with a vibrance that’s missing in the US outside LDS communities. On the other end of the spectrum, birth stats for Canadians are also better than the US.
We are also at a moment when we can make clear, if unflattering, direct comparison to the effectiveness of the two healthcare systems. C-19 struck in North America at about the same time and in the same manner — 2 strains appearing, one on the East Coast and a different one on the West. In response, however, there was significant difference. First, Canadians are far more communitarian in nature. Americans, far more individualistic. Second, Canadians have a comprehensive national healthcare system. Third, their healthcare system is supported by a comprehensive public health consciousness which is ready to be implemented on a dime. In their C-19 response, that meant contact tracing from the very onset of the pandemic..
The results are clear. The US has 30% more deaths per capita and almost 50% more infections per capita. Canadians are already beginning to resume a normal life while we are still struggling with a second surge in infections.
Americans continue their delusions with “best health care in the world” and priority for American citizens at our own peril. There’s no question it would take an enormous act of will and economic reorganization to accomplish a new focus on delivery of healthcare to all Americans but the consequence of avoiding it has never been more clear.
“It may be no frills compared with American standards of patient handling but it’s efficient, effective and, most specifically, caring and responsive. ”
Re the above. I wish I had made the point that I was referring to interface and standards of hospitality NOT delivery of good medical care.
I’ve long thought our cozying up to the evangelicals/”Religious Right” will prove to be a Faustian bargain.