Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Salt Lake Tribune Poll Shows 62 Percent Of Respondents Don't Want The LDS Church To Call Illegal Immigrants To Serve Missions

During the recent controversy over the arrest and detention of Jose Calzadillas, an LDS missionary who was serving in the Cincinnati area, a number of stories were written about the practice by LDS Church authorities of calling people to serve missions without regard to their immigration status. This means that illegal immigrants can be and have been called to serve missions, although in the case of Elder Calzadillas, he did have a valid passport, but had allowed his visa to expire during his mission.

And the Salt Lake Tribune decided to ascertain public opinion by running a poll which asked readers if they agreed with the practice of calling illegal immigrants on missions. The poll, which is included in this Tribune story, shows that out of 2,146 respondents at this point, 62.2 percent say No, 27.2 percent say Yes, and 10.6 percent had No Opinion. This ratio has held pretty constant throughout the life of the poll. It's been removed from the main News page but is still included with the story link provided above, so you can still vote on it.

Church leaders continue to avoid taking any stance on Federal immigration law, pursuing a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy similar in concept to the U.S. military's policy on gays. "The church does not have an official position on immigration policy, but encourages compassion in dealing with the complexities of immigration issues," said spokesman Michael Purdy earlier. "The blessings of the church are available to anyone who qualifies for membership and accepts the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The church will continue to focus on the spiritual well-being of its members while complying with the law. Immigration status is an issue left to each individual and the corresponding government authorities."

The LDS Church leadership generally does not make policy decisions based upon secular poll results. However, the results of this poll can provide them some valuable supplemental information on how to better address and implement whatever decision they make. If two-thirds of LDS members in the U.S. disagree on calling illegals to serve missions, and much of that disagreement is based upon the 12th Article of Faith, then this tells Church leaders that they must do a better job de-conflicting the two issues and communicating the value of the policy more persuasively and succinctly. Perhaps it should be the subject of an address at the next General Conference in October 2009.

This issue continues to trigger contentious debate on the Bloggernacle. Earlier the issue was discussed on Milennial Star, and now another contentious debate on a related subject is taking place on Juvenile Instructor. As usual, open borders advocates are ducking the central issue, instead attempting to characterize their opponents as xenophobic and even borderline racists, while those who oppose illegal immigration give measured and reasoned responses. Those on the left have a much greater tendency to evade logical discussion and engage in hysterical and juvenile name-calling than those on the right, and this tendency also exists within the ranks of Latter-day Saints as well. Not only does this not promote respect, but actually sows dissension and division. It should be beneath our dignity as Latter-day Saints to engage in hysteric name-calling and intellectual bullying. If we intend to call ourselves by Christ's name, then we incur the obligation to behave exactly as He would, to the best of our ability.

No comments: