Friday, July 20, 2012

Yes, There Is A Group Called Mormons For Obama, And No, They Don't All Fit Inside A Phone Booth

The phone booth analogy was the first though that popped into my head when the Salt Lake Tribune's Political Cornflakes blog referred me to an ABC News story about a group called Mormons For Obama. They are a small group of Seattle-based bloggers who decided that Mitt Romney does not represent the average American or average Mormon, and they want to let the public know that he doesn’t even represent every Mormon in America. They've now spread to Provo, UT and Washington, DC. They want to represent the political diversity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and provide a forum for people to share information about what’s going on in the election and how their faith really helps their support of President Obama. The Mormons For Obama blog has no official affiliation with the LDS Church. They also have a Facebook page accessible to the public.

The blog was actually created back in January of this year and the proprietors have sold about 500 “I’m voting for Obama and I’m a Mormon” bumper stickers. One of their political role models in Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), chosen perhaps just as much for his political prominence than for his religion. Although I consider Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) to be a better role model for Mormon Democrats, Sen. Reid is more powerful, being the Senate Majority Leader. Joseph Mills wrote “Just think of Harry Reid – the supreme example of Liberal Mormondom...and tell me if he doesn’t have a glow like a gleaming lighthouse? He fights the good fight, shines like a sunbeam, and literally comes from Searchlight, Nevada. I know what the Primary Hymn instructs, (Trying to be Like Jesus,) but in case that is too high of a bar for me right now, I’ve decided that at the very least I am trying to be like Harry… and we’ll call it good at that.”

This isn't the first time Mormons For Obama received national ink. Back in May 2012, Real Clear Politics published a story about BYU students who are campaigning for Obama. Hannah Wheelwright explained “The fact that I’m a Mormon is why I’m voting for President Obama instead of Mitt Romney. I’m a Democrat because I’m a Mormon. I think there’s so many things in my faith that do promote certain policies in the Democratic Party, and a lot of the reason I support President Obama is his dedication to social programs, equality, and those types of things.” According to an Obama spokesperson, the president’s campaign did not have a formal outreach program to Mormon voters at the time, but was planning to designate a faith-vote coordinator in the future.

The sentiment is that although it would be good to have a Mormon president, they don't feel Mitt Romney is the right Mormon. But it will take some effort to get past Obama's absolute pro-choice position on abortion and his support for gay marriage, both of which conflict with LDS doctrine. For my part, I'll be supporting Mitt Romney unless he picks an incapable running mate, in which case I might have to take a hard look at Merlin Miller of the American Third Position Party (A3P).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to promote official political neutrality in regards to political candidates, saying that it does not attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of the LDS Church. Thus any stake president or bishop who harasses a member merely for supporting Obama outside the Church environment is out of harmony with Church leadership. One can be both a good Mormon and a Democrat.

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