Friday, February 08, 2008

harry reid at byu and other thoughts

In the comments on the previous post, Ave referred to a speech Harry Reid gave at BYU. I found this article about the speech where I think Reid makes some good points, but can't find the entire text. Anyone got it?

Ave mentioned that she heard that Gordon B. Hinckley was a Democrat. I heard that Gordon B. Hinckly, Thomas Monson, and James Faust were all registered and active Democrats, but that could very well be (likely is) one of those Mormon urban legends that spread through the LDS membership like wildfire. When I heard it, I thought yeah, and did you know that the Three Nephites are also registered Democrats?

I had a nice, long response to Fauna's comment but blogger ate it. I thought it might be safer to answer in a post. Fauna says, "As a Catholic who's Church shares many of the same conservative social teachings as yours, I could not vote for a Democrat, unless they were a "Joe Lieberman" type of democrat who was on the more moderate side of these issues and supported the social teachings of my church. I would be interested to learn how this is different for members of the Mormon church?"

Thank you for posting your comment, Fauna. I know that you directed it at Ave, but I hope you don't mind if I jump in. :-) (For those of you who don't know Fauna, I want you to know that she is one of the people I most respect and admire. She has an unnatural amount of wisdom for such a youngster!) I might not be the best one to answer this because my views on abortion are maybe not as conservative as most Mormons. I think that abortion used as birth control is a sin. I don't think it is a sin if the mother is a victim of rape or incest or if her life is in jeopardy. I do not think that Roe v. Wade will ever be overturned and I don't know that I want it to be, at this point. I'm concerned about the repercussions of an abortion ban. I do see that everyone, those who support abortion rights in all cases, those who don't in all cases, and everyone in between, wants there to be fewer abortions. I think we should concentrate on that, and I know that some people in both parties are doing so. I don't think the ideological tug-of-war is helpful. I think people should agree to disagree and move on to working on common goals. I understand that Obama's views on abortion are very liberal and I disagree with him on that. But there is not one candidate that I agree with 100 percent.

I take an increasingly dim view of social conservatism in the Republican party. I think it is often cynically used to draw people into the party who normally wouldn't be there. I do share the concerns of social conservatives who lament the decline of our culture, but I don't believe that our culture can be saved through the Republican party. I think the powerful people of that party care more about protecting big business than they do about protecting the unborn or the traditional family.

Fauna, do you know many Catholics who vote Democrat? I would think there are a fair number.


Anonymous said...

There you go Calandria. If the link doesn't work, just search Harry Reid at and his speech will pull up.


Anonymous said...

You can also read the church's position on abortion on in the alphabetical search engine. I don't think you are far off Calandria.

dave said...

I am certain that President Faust was a Democrat. I had thought the other two were Republicans but am not sure. Suggestive evidence that they are Republicans is that they are not listed on the page I have linked to above.

In Hugh B Brown's memoirs (he was in the first presidency under McKay), he writes this, one of my favorite quotes from him: When he first came to the United States, he wondered "whether I should be a Democrat or a Republican. I spoke to several people about it. President Grant at the time was an ardent Democrat, as was his counselor and cousin, Anthony W. Ivins, and B. H. Roberts. Each of these men told me at different times and separately that if I wanted to belong to a party that represented the common people I should become a Democrat but that if I wanted to be popular and have the adulation of others and be in touch with the wealth of the nation, I should become a Republican."

That's in my second favorite Church book, An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B Brown edited by Edwin Firmage.

dave said...

One more note: I think it's worth noting that overturning Roe v Wade would not lead to an abortion ban. It would return abortion to what it was before, which is a state decision. Abortions would still be legal in New York, California, and many, many other states; but not in several others, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Most of the older church leaders are roughly the age of my grandfather. My grandpa always considered himself a "Truman Democrat". He wasn't of the "modern" democratic persuaion. ;)
Wasn't it Ronald Regan who said, "I didn't leave the Democratic party, the Democratic Party left me."
I'm not history savvy enough to document the evolution of the 2 parties and their platforms. It might be interesting to study out some day and see if there is some flip-flopping going on...

Anonymous said...


LMX said...


Cocoa said...

Please don't get me started on Harry Reid! :D Living in Nevada, we see a lot more of him than the rest of the country does and we are rather sick of him. The only ones who aren't are those living in Vegas or on Indian reservations.

You aid, "I think the powerful people of that party [Republicans] care more about protecting big business than they do about protecting the unborn or the traditional family."

The Republican party has done a lot more than the Democrats to protect the traditional family.After the Senate's vote on the 'Marriage Amendment Act' Senator Reid sent a letter to all the stake presidents in Nevada explaining why he voted against it even after the church's support of it. He wanted it to be read from the pulpit. Only a few stakes in Vegas actually did as he asked.

I wish more people took the time to study the different candidates and their stance on the issues like you have done.

I may be a registered Republican but that doesn't mean I vote straight Republican. I decide which issues are the most important to me and how I feel about them and then see what candidates are in line with my beliefs.

Life ticks on said...

Actually Calandria President Hinckley was talking about supporting Ron Paul who is a Republican. I have some friends who were close with him. So if he was dem he wasnt going to be this voting cycle.

ML said...

I'm surprised at the curiosity on President Hinckley's, or any other Church leader's, political party. Considering the amount of discussion it has generated, if I were them I would keep that a very closely guarded secret!
I believe it's only been since 1950 or so that the Church has become more and more aligned with the Republican Party. Prior to that it was strongly Democrat.

Fauna said...

Thanks for another interesting post calandria, and also for your kind words. :)

You asked if I know many Catholics who vote Democrat and I do; many are active Democrats who vote for pro-abortion candidates. In fact there are even groups such as "Catholics for Choice" who are for upholding Roe v. Wade. BUT the "Catholics" who understand the Church life-affirming teachings and yet choose to support these pro-abortion positions are not in good standing with the Church.

The Catholic Church has very clear teachings about abortion and other life-issues, and it is considered a sin to vote for a politician who supports legislation that is against the Churches social teaching. The Church does not tell it's members to "vote Republican" of "vote Democrat", rather, it calls upon it's members as responsible citizens as well as Catholics to learn about each candidate and to vote for those whose positions support family values, civil liberties, and life - at every stage of development. In this day in age, it is much more likely that the candidates who support the Church positions are Republicans, but it was not always so (hence the reason that many elderly Catholics - and I suspect Mormons - tend to be Democrats).

50 years ago, the Democratic party was a different party than it is today. It was the party of FDR, JFK, and a young Ronald Reagan! Hey, I would be a Democrat today if it was still the party that offered hope through supporting the working-class family, being a champion of civil rights, and by in general "looking out for the little guy." Unfortunately that is no longer the case for most Democrat politicians whose voting records reflect the change in direction that the party has taken. One of the previous comments mentioned a Ronald Reagan quote "I didn't leave the Democratic party; the Democratic party left me." I now of many, many former Democrats who reflect Reagan's sentiment.

I want to make it clear that I am not saying that every Republican politician exemplifies family values. I am a conservative more than I am a Republican. There are sleazy and hypocritical Republicans (case in point: Larry Craig). There are also sleazy and hypocritical Democrats. But that's not the point - if you separate the personal from their actions - the legislation they do or do not promote - it seems pretty clear that the average Republican is much more likely to support life-affirming, pro-family legislation than the average Democrat.

By the way, I believe Dave is right when he states that repealing Roe v Wade would not make abortion illegal in our Country; it would instead leave it in the hands of each individual state to decide. Which just makes sense... I mean, would you rather have 12 un-elected Supreme Court justices deciding such an important issue for the entire Country, or would you like to be involved in the decision for your state by electing a state congress, senate,and governor who's views reflect your own? Regardless of how you feel about the abortion issue, states rights makes sense! (In my humble opinion) :)

ave said...

One thing that really strikes me is that Americans tend to be so emotional about voting, like social change should be legistlated and enforced for all. Lee has pointed out before the difference between European politics and American. Religion, personal lives, and ethics do not effect a persons vote in Europe so much. I wonder why we care so much here? Is it our Puritan roots? At this point I think that the most important thing for social change isn't what government can do, but rather what we can do as individuals to show that we actually care and have morals. Standing up for decent literature in schools instead of ignoring the crap kids "have" to read, fighting pornography, and teaching our children to love God and be respectful active citizens. Too often Christians hide themselves away and ignore the world, their kids become social lepers and aren't prepared for life. I see it all the time here.

Auntie Lee said...

So true ml. The reason we have private voting is to protect our freedom of choice and speech.
If we know how someone votes it takes away their freedom.
One thing the LDS church stands for is freedom of choice. I think we can all agree with that so the question of party choice is really irrelevant anyway.
The LDS church is a world church. Democratic and Republican parties are only in the U.S.

I completely agree with lmx. He is a wise man.

Calandria said...

"BUT the "Catholics" who understand the Church life-affirming teachings and yet choose to support these pro-abortion positions are not in good standing with the Church."

Fauna, I'd forgotten about this. I remember it now from four years ago when Kerry was running. As far as I know, our church does not discipline or disfellowship people who vote for candidates who support abortion or other social programs that are contrary to the Church's teachings.

Becky, thanks for the link. I read the speech and I liked some of it, other parts not so much. I thought it was interesting that an article about the speech pointed out that Harry Reid's children had all married in the temple and gone on missions. Like people would assume differently because he's a Democrat!

Life ticks on, that is interesting about President Hinckley thinking about Ron Paul.

Cocoa, it is so strange that Reid wrote a letter that he wanted read over the pulpit at church. Weird.

Dave, thanks for the link and the Hugh B. Brown quote.

ML, I didn't realize that the Church was strongly Democrat before the 1950s. I think that it's funny that people care about the political persuasion of the Church leaders, but I don't find it surprising.

Ave, I think that one reason religion does not influence voter decision so much in Europe is because religion does not influence most Europeans in any way.

Auntie Lee, that is a good point that most of the membership of our church do not even live in the U.S., so Republican v. Democrat means nothing to them.

Lmx, favorite nephew, welcome to my blog! Drop by any time and share your words of wisdom! Auntie loves you!!