Democratic party and LDS faith like oil and water
by Marianne M. Jennings
Arizona Republic, Nov. 28, 2004, V3
Mr. Scott Higginson, confessed Democrat and Mormon, looks down from his lofty perch of inconvenient religiosity, spots an Arizona full of Mormon Republicans, and offers, "Ick!"
Mr. H is offended that folks assume he is Republican and frets, "Why can't more Mormons be Democrats?" Mr. H, political consultant extraordinaire, hasn't quite mastered the art of winning friends and influencing people via op-ed work.
I confess to being one of the knuckle-dragging Republican Mormons that Mr. H disdains. As oafish as I and my fellow cretins might be, we don't subscribe to the Higginson theory that we should be more like the open and tolerant Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), who sojourned to Salt Lake City to understand the Mormon faith.
You don't need a sherpa, Nirvana, or apparently political consulting skills to figure out that the Dem Gov's trek to the mountains was about more than exploring the Family Home Evening program and taking in some Tabernacle Choir ditties.
The Gov sought funding from the Mormon Church for light rail and Mesa's revitalization. Church leaders did not convert the Gov, nor did she win them over entirely to ponying up the dough. The Gov also trekked to England, but I don't think she was converted to abandoning dental check-ups. She was courting more British Air flights to Phoenix.
Mr. Higginson is a perfect Democrat, to wit, "Being a Democrat does not mean I support every aspect of the Democratic Party's national platform. It's the party's platform, not my platform."
In the words of the Church Lady, "Isn't that special?" Spoken like a true focus group junkie. "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." "I don't own SUVs; my family does." "I oppose gay marriage personally, but believe in equal rights." "I oppose the war but support the troops."
I have grown weary of sophisticates like Mr. H. Such Range Rover Republicans, Limousine Liberals and Modern Mormons don't want the heavy lifting that comes with principle's baggage: sacrifice and ridicule. In the words of our prophet, Mr. H, et al.: Stand for something!
Mr. H reeks of the condescension that comes from skilled hoodwinking. Mr. H's candidate, Mr. Kerry, votes in favor of gun control, but dons duck-hunting gear and a rifle if that's what it takes to net Ohio's electoral votes. He waited for the Red Sox to win before donning a Red Sox cap; he carried it in hand until then.
Mr. H claims membership in the Mormon Church even as he embraces a party that howls about choice when Republicans propose just a compromise to ban the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. The judges, activists and members of Congress seeking to expand the definition of marriage to one of "between two persons" are of his party. That view is in direct contravention to the church's "Proclamation on the Family."
His party's NEA has indoctrinated children in public schools with godlessness, banishing prayer and then even the mention of terms such as Christmas and Easter. His party, with its "Great Society," enslaved generations in a welfare system that robbed them of their dignity. Such a welfare system runs contra to church principles of self-sufficiency.
He ignores the superior welfare system of the Mormon Church, which thrives because it employs embarrassing Republican principles of work and private - yea, private - not public, funding.
Mr. Higginson and other Mormon Democrats cannot serve two masters. They will hate the one and love the other. How convenient to enjoy the world's acceptance with the trite, "Life begins at conception, but I believe in a woman's right to choose."
Such intellectual inconsistency dismisses the eternal truths of the church in glib fashion and surrenders the battle as it sentences our children to a lesser and certainly more cruel world.
It is true, as Mr. H notes, that the Mormon Church does not take political positions, and wisely so. It teaches correct principles and relies confidently on its members to govern themselves. We Republican Mormon dolts can support our party AND its platform. Mr. Higginson ignores correct principles and has joined with the Dems' band of merry do-gooders.
And what a band they are. We know men by the company they keep. The party Mr. H aligns himself with is no longer that of Truman or Adlai Stevenson or even Zell Miller. His sterilized picture of idyllic Dems belies the reality of his political kin. Whoopi Goldberg, a fellow Democrat, used language more foul than Howard Stern's at a presidential fund-raiser with no rebuke. His party can boast of having the only president to befoul the Oval Office. One can understand why, as Mr. H notes, Mormon Democrats are reticent. This is not exactly Primary Program material.
Mr. H wants it all: our church, but the world's accolades for sophisication. You Mormon girlie-man! Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. But you can't have it both ways. You are free to choose the Dems, but don't expect us to appease your conscience by joining with you. Absolute truths and eternal principles are not just for Sundays. They matter in life. They matter more in politics.
Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. She is the author of "A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success (and a Very Large Rabbit)."
And this, gentle readers, is why Governor Napolitano is largely wasting her time trying to suck up to Mormon voters in Arizona. Many of them believe, as was taught by the now deceased Mormon Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, that you cannot be a Democrat and a good Mormon. And they are certainly not going to vote for an unmarried female Democrat who is reputed among Mormons, rightly or wrongly, to be of the lesbian persuasion. I don't honestly care one way or the other about the Governor's sexual proclivities, but Mormon voters surely do, and they are distrustful of a woman in her late forties who has never been married. It's all about family!