moonman239

Should we vote for those government policies that the Church comes out in favor of?

If the Church comes out in favor of a policy, should we vote for it?  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. Should we vote for policies that align with the Church's official stances?

    • Yes
      6
    • No
      2


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The Family proclamation was a call for government officials - and us, as citizens - to uphold the sanctity of marriage and the family.

My question is, if the Church comes out in favor of a certain policy, does the Lord want us to support the policy?

Edited by moonman239

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2 hours ago, moonman239 said:

My question is, if the Church comes out in favor of a certain policy, does the Lord want us to support the policy?

I take it to be a tautology: God's Church is run by his prophets and Apostles. Ergo, if "the Church" says it, it comes from God, or, at least, He doesn't oppose it.

Lehi

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It is an interesting question. Can you clarify exactly how you envision this working out? Are you evisioning "official stances" where the Church says we should vote a certain way (which seem to be rather few and far between), or any public policy that aligns with the official practices of the Church?

Perhaps a historic example -- Prohibition. I wish I was better studied on the history of prohibition in Utah and how the Church lobbied for/against it. Clearly the Church's official position is one of abstinence from alcohol. But, it also seems that, in hindsight, prohibition was not very successful as public policy. As much as the Church preaches and encourages us to abstain from alcohol, would the Church want us to lobby for and support a return to prohibition as public policy?

I suppose my question is -- what are we looking for when we decide, "the Church and/or God wants me to vote for this public policy that aligns with the 'official' teachings of the Church"?

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Guest LiterateParakeet

@MrShorty, really thought provoking post, thanks!  I didn't know that the church was against Prohibition, but I am happy to hear it.  I feel the same way about marijuana.  Of course, I know it is bad for us, I just think that making it illegal has been as ineffective as prohibition.  So, on this issue we don't believe in legislating our moral values.  But that does not appear to extend to abortion or gay marriage.  I think the reason those are different is first abortion takes a life. Gay marriage is unhealthy for children.  (There have been conflicting sociological studies on this, of course.)  On the other hand, alcohol and marijuana abuse can affect children too.  Pardon me while I step aside and debate with myself... 

Edited by LiterateParakeet
typo

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6 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

I didn't know that the church was against Prohibition, but I am happy to hear it.

I am not enough of a historian to really know how the Church felt about prohibition 90 years ago. My impression was that the Church "liked" the idea of prohibition -- this article from the Deseret News notes that Pres. H. J. Grant strongly encouraged Utahns to vote against repeal: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700259759/House-marks-Utahs-role-in-repealing-Prohibition.html?pg=all My observation that the Church now seems "against" prohibition is based exclusively on an absence in my memory of the Church calling for a return to prohibition. The main point being, though, is how is prohibition an example of voting for public policies that are against "official" stances of the Church?

6 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

But that does not appear to extend to abortion or gay marriage.

I think this might be the hardest part of these issues for me -- how much of the Church's official stance on these issues belongs in public policy? As you note, there is a lot of conflict around if and how gay marriage is unhealthy for children. And, as a non-expert in those fields, it is difficult for me to discern which parts of that debate are scientifically sound and which parts are politically/religiously motivated. On questions around abortion, LDS are a little less "conservative" than many pro-life, because the Church's official stance allows for certain 'exceptions'. In these cases, how much of the Church's official stance represents good and workable public policy?

All in all, I think the OP's poll question is an interesting one. I find it difficult to answer Yes or No as the poll question is currently framed (a rather blanket statement with only Yes or No responses), because it seems to me that some of the Church's official stances would make good public policy, and others that do not.

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I think sometimes the point of the church's taking a public position isn't so much that it expects to effect civil change, as that it invites its members to take another step away from problematic social norms.  Exhibit A would be the Church's statement on MX missile deployments--I can't believe that anyone in Salt Lake seriously thought we could influence national defense strategy; it was just the principle of the thing.

That said, I don't think it's so clear cut that Prohibition was a failure.  I'm not comfortable with it from a federalist/libertarian standpoint, but statistically speaking it does seem to correlate with reduced cirrhosis and other alcohol-related illnesses, and I think common sense just says you're going to have less domestic violence, less public intoxication, and fewer DUIs if alcohol isn't readily available.  (If legalizing alcohol won't increase alcohol consumption, then you may as well legalize pretty much everything else from pot to prostitution to assault to embezzlement to murder, because the illegality doesn't act as a deterrent--right?)

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I would say not necessarily.  If our system of a government was a Theocracy, then I would say yes. I think the right response is to understand the proper role of government.

Take prohibition.  While the proper role of religion and morality is to encourage, teach, exhort individuals to not drink, IMO it is not the proper role of religion to encourage the passage of laws that will deprive another individual of their life, their liberty and their property simply for engaging in an activity that we find immoral that they do not find immoral.

While certainly prohibition on drugs and alcohol can lower the overall consumption rate, it is always the unseen or unintended consequences that must be considered.  Prohibition has brought the massive drug lords and the massive overreach and militarization of police.  I remember whenever I watch Cops, at least 75% of the cases shown are for drugs.  How many people have been put in jail, i.e. deprived of their life, their liberty, their property simply for putting into their own body something that I disagree with.

It is the height of hubris, power and control that to want to force another human being to not put something into their body that they want to put into it.

If one believes the proper role of government is that to teach morality then yes by all means we should vote for those laws that enforce our version of morality.  If we view the proper role of government as a force that deprives others of their life, liberty and property, then we should be very, very careful about advocating for laws that enforce our own morality.

Remember, the Gospel is perfect, the Church is not; this isn't complaining about leaders, it's just stating a fact.  God has given each of us the ability to pray to Him to find out what we should do. If the Church as an organization advocates for a particular law, we should pray about it and determine if we feel the same way. If we do, support it, if not, don't support it.

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22 hours ago, moonman239 said:

The Family proclamation was a call for government officials - and us, as citizens - to uphold the sanctity of marriage and the family.

My question is, if the Church comes out in favor of a certain policy, does the Lord want us to support the policy?

 I have a lot of Catholic friends struggling with this. They might be pro-choice or have a political view against the teaching of their church. It's tough because they want to be loyal  to their church but also have their own political views. 

Remember though-if we use our church to enforce secular laws, what's to say when a Muslim gets in charge they won't do the same and ban pork products? That's not anti-Islamto say that. First religion that came to mind. 

Separation of church and state are very important. 

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On May 22, 2016 at 9:04 PM, MrShorty said:

It is an interesting question. Can you clarify exactly how you envision this working out? Are you evisioning "official stances" where the Church says we should vote a certain way (which seem to be rather few and far between), or any public policy that aligns with the official practices of the Church?

Perhaps a historic example -- Prohibition. I wish I was better studied on the history of prohibition in Utah and how the Church lobbied for/against it. Clearly the Church's official position is one of abstinence from alcohol. But, it also seems that, in hindsight, prohibition was not very successful as public policy. As much as the Church preaches and encourages us to abstain from alcohol, would the Church want us to lobby for and support a return to prohibition as public policy?

I suppose my question is -- what are we looking for when we decide, "the Church and/or God wants me to vote for this public policy that aligns with the 'official' teachings of the Church"?

I'm talking about situations where we haven't explicitly been counseled to vote one way or the other. 

 

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16 hours ago, MrShorty said:

I am not enough of a historian to really know how the Church felt about prohibition 90 years ago. My impression was that the Church "liked" the idea of prohibition -- this article from the Deseret News notes that Pres. H. J. Grant strongly encouraged Utahns to vote against repeal: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700259759/House-marks-Utahs-role-in-repealing-Prohibition.html?pg=all

Oh right, I see now I misread your previous post.  Oops.  Thanks for the link.

Quote

I think this might be the hardest part of these issues for me -- how much of the Church's official stance on these issues belongs in public policy? As you note, there is a lot of conflict around if and how gay marriage is unhealthy for children. And, as a non-expert in those fields, it is difficult for me to discern which parts of that debate are scientifically sound and which parts are politically/religiously motivated.

I don't mean to oversimplify things -- it can be confusing when "the experts" disagree.  But when it is an issue such as this where the Lord has made His position clear it's easier.  He said marriage is between a man and a woman, and that children should have the privilege of being raised by a father and mother.  So I side with the studies that support that POV.  That's not scientific on my part, I know, it's just a way for me to practice faith.

15 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

That said, I don't think it's so clear cut that Prohibition was a failure.  I'm not comfortable with it from a federalist/libertarian standpoint, but statistically speaking it does seem to correlate with reduced cirrhosis and other alcohol-related illnesses, and I think common sense just says you're going to have less domestic violence, less public intoxication, and fewer DUIs if alcohol isn't readily available.  (If legalizing alcohol won't increase alcohol consumption, then you may as well legalize pretty much everything else from pot to prostitution to assault to embezzlement to murder, because the illegality doesn't act as a deterrent--right?)

Good point.  You know you may have helped me solve another puzzle I have been pondering.  A friend of mine (not a member) argues of the legalization of prostitution for very similar reasons that I might argue against Prohibition.  I've been pondering her argument, and while I can see her point, I just can't agree with her.  Perhaps rather than reconcile my anti-Prohibition stance and her stance on prostitution, I should reconsider my stance on Prohibition.  I hadn't thought of that.  I'll consider that for awhile.

14 hours ago, MormonGator said:

 I have a lot of Catholic friends struggling with this. They might be pro-choice or have a political view against the teaching of their church. It's tough because they want to be loyal  to their church but also have their own political views. 

Remember though-if we use our church to enforce secular laws, what's to say when a Muslim gets in charge they won't do the same and ban pork products? That's not anti-Islamto say that. First religion that came to mind. 

Separation of church and state are very important. 

Hmm,  I'm starting to feel like Tevia from Fiddler on the Roof.  Do you know that one?

First man makes an argument.

Tevia: You make a good point.

Second man takes the opposite position.

Tevia: You make a good point.

Third man:  But Tevia, they disagree.

Tevia: You make a good point.

I feel like a ping pong ball...such is the fate of attempting to be open-minded. :)  That said....you make a good point.  For example, Catholics don't believe in divorce for any reason.  I wouldn't mind, I think, some tightening of divorce laws, but no divorce for any reason?  Nope, I can't support that.  Not at all.  You are right about separation of church and state.  Oy vey! 

14 hours ago, yjacket said:

 I remember whenever I watch Cops, at least 75% of the cases shown are for drugs.  How many people have been put in jail, i.e. deprived of their life, their liberty, their property simply for putting into their own body something that I disagree with.

 Good point.  This is a concern for me as well.  This is a huge problem.  One misstep with drugs and your life can be ruined...you go to jail and afterwards you can't vote because you have a criminal record.  You likely don't have an education unless you got it in jail, so finding a job will be hard.  Finding a job is even harder because you have a "record".  So need a little help getting back on your feet?  Forget it...no food stamps, or assisted living etc for "ex-cons".  

With no money, no job, no assistance to get back on their feet, what do we expect them to do....too often they return to the world of drugs.    

1 hour ago, moonman239 said:

I'm talking about situations where we haven't explicitly been counseled to vote one way or the other. 

This is a good question.  Coming back to Yjacket's argument that the gospel is perfect but the church isn't, what if during the period when Blacks were not allowed to hold the Priesthood that we assumed (wrongly) that that meant that Blacks were somehow inferior (many did and they were wrong!)  So we have to be careful about interpreting things the church has not specifically counseled us on right?

Personally, I don't think there are any easy answers to this question.  

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6 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

 

Hmm,  I'm starting to feel like Tevia from Fiddler on the Roof.  Do you know that one?

 

Oh yes. "If I was a rich man..." 

There are no easy answers to these questions, I totally agree with you. The only easy answers are for the true believers who are already in love with their candidate. 

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10 hours ago, moonman239 said:

I'm talking about situations where we haven't explicitly been counseled to vote one way or the other.

With that clarification, I think my answer would be "definite maybe", which is not an option in the poll. I can see some legislation/public policy decisions where I think I would vote to bring the law more in line with Church policy, but I can also see some cases where I would vote against bringing public policy/legislation in line with Church policy. Some of those decisions would not be easy, and I think it is entirely possible (if not probable) that good church members will find themselves on opposing sides for some of these issues.

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12 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:
On 5/22/2016 at 10:27 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

That said, I don't think it's so clear cut that Prohibition was a failure.  I'm not comfortable with it from a federalist/libertarian standpoint, but statistically speaking it does seem to correlate with reduced cirrhosis and other alcohol-related illnesses, and I think common sense just says you're going to have less domestic violence, less public intoxication, and fewer DUIs if alcohol isn't readily available.  (If legalizing alcohol won't increase alcohol consumption, then you may as well legalize pretty much everything else from pot to prostitution to assault to embezzlement to murder, because the illegality doesn't act as a deterrent--right?)

Good point.  You know you may have helped me solve another puzzle I have been pondering.  A friend of mine (not a member) argues of the legalization of prostitution for very similar reasons that I might argue against Prohibition.  I've been pondering her argument, and while I can see her point, I just can't agree with her.  Perhaps rather than reconcile my anti-Prohibition stance and her stance on prostitution, I should reconsider my stance on Prohibition.  I hadn't thought of that.  I'll consider that for awhile.

One of the oft-ignored downsides of prohibition (including all drugs, whether alcohol, marijuana, heroine, or whatever, and prostitution and other vices) is that of tainted products, an increase in potency, and the heightened risks of disease along with a host of similar issues.

If we look at the USAan Prohibition of Alcohol in the 20~30s, we find that the amount of alcohol increased in each drink, and that methanol was often sold as ethanol, resulting in increased alcoholism in the first case and blindness, deafness, and death in the second. The marijuana on the street today is much more potent than it was 25 years ago.

The reason is the same in each case. It costs a lot to manufacture, package, and transport alcohol/marijuana, and the cost is little increased for more potent product than for the ordinary stuff. The risk of being caught is exactly the same in either case, as well. So, it makes sense to increase profits by delivering a "better" product and charging more for it: costs don't rise much, and revenue increases.

For prostitution, underground requires a lot of stealth and costs to avoid going to jail. So, rather than having "clean" girls, it makes more sense to skip customer (and employee) safety. So disease is higher in places where prostitution is illegal. Nevadan houses are cleaner than the streets of Chicago.

People are going to pay the prices of their vices, ad for every demand, there will be someone willing to supply it. Prohibition may (or may not) increase the cost to the point that some are less willing to feed their appetites, but it will not eliminate the problem. But it takes away the ordinary market place guarantees we enjoy for legal products and services. No drug user can go to the cops to enforce the quality of his heroine. So if the supplier delivers rat poison instead, there is no recourse.

Government screws up everything it touches.

Lehi

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53 minutes ago, LeSellers said:

No drug user can go to the cops to enforce the quality of his heroine. So if the supplier delivers rat poison instead, there is no recourse.

Government screws up everything it touches.

Fair point, but in an unregulated market, a drug user can't go to the cops--or the FDA--or anyone else, to enforce the quality of his heroin either.  The free market sorts it out, by ensuring that those who peddle an inferior product are known and shunned.

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5 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Fair point, but in an unregulated market, a drug user can't go to the cops--or the FDA--or anyone else, to enforce the quality of his heroin either.  The free market sorts it out, by ensuring that those who peddle an inferior product are known and shunned.

While true, it is also the case that the courts can punish directly. Even if we had arbiters to judge, rather than government courts (a better option, anyway), it is not possible under prohibition.

Lehi

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1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

But courts are government, which you already said "screws up everything it touches".  :P

(I'm being facetious, of course.  At least, a little bit.)

 You make a good point though. Very few people want to live in total anarchy-limited government is the ideal. If you want to live is an area without police or the rule of law-look at Egypt or Somalia. Horrible places to live. 

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3 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

But courts are government, which you already said "screws up everything it touches".  :P

Notice I said that it would be better if we had arbiters instead. Government does truly screw up everything it touches.

Lehi

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12 hours ago, MormonGator said:

 You make a good point though. Very few people want to live in total anarchy-limited government is the ideal. If you want to live is an area without police or the rule of law-look at Egypt or Somalia. Horrible places to live. 

The "Don't like government, go to Somalia" ruse is comparing apples and oranges. Both Egypt and Somalia are Muslim countries, and they have laws, just not good ones.

Further, no one is really suggesting dog-eat-dog anarchy: there would be laws, or just one: if someone initiates force against you, and you cannot get voluntary restitution, you can turn to the very small government to make it happen. If that includes "enforcement costs", the perpetrator would be responsible for those, too. The details are too much for a forum like this, but government, when it does its legitimate job, is fine. The problem is, we are not governed by angels, but be men who have all the weaknesses (and perhaps more) than the average guy. And we should never trust them, never.

Lehi

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3 hours ago, LeSellers said:

The "Don't like government, go to Somalia" ruse is comparing apples and oranges. Both Egypt and Somalia are Muslim countries, and they have laws, just not good ones.

 

Since the fall of Mubarak the rule of law-Muslim or not-has largely been ignored.  Somalia is also lawless and not governed by any type of law either. 

And the "anarchy" argument of only "one law" is impractical and won't happen. The best thing to do is elect people who can at least slow the growth of government.   

Edited by MormonGator

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