Sunday, December 7, 2008

Facebook notes make me see people as they really are

So earlier this week, I read one of those editorials that really bugged me and got me thinking about everything.

Here's the editorial:

County logo is silly

It came to my attention recently that Salt Lake County has changed the official government logo to include the word "diversity" in large letters over the top of the present logo. Good grief. For those of you with a public school education over the last 30 years and parents who may not have taught you what America actually stands for, "diversity" is another code word for "liberal socialism," which should only be allowed to exist on the left coast and the Eastern seaboard where it belongs. Salt Lake County is what it is. Salt Lake County residents need no code word in the government logo to tell them who they are. The logo should be changed back to what it was, a nice-looking county logo. I'm grateful to be living in Tooele County, where the only diversity we have is what grows at the tops of mountains and down in the valleys. Other than that, we're just Americans out there.

Jeff Black


This makes me pause to wonder about several things. Is socialism or liberalism as purely evil as some people would like to claim? Clearly there are some aspects that seem morally questionable but then and again conservatism is the same way. I have elected to become a liberal Mormon, having become more liberal at BYU for several reasons.

I must give some background towards my shift. Recently someone quoted this to me, insinuating that I was a "Godless Liberal."

"This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened. In its mildest form, irreligion will merely be condescending toward those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values . . . . It is always such an easy step from dogmatism to unfair play—especially so when the dogmatists believe themselves to be dealing with primitive people who do not know what is best for them . . . . If we let come into being a secular church which is shorn of traditional and divine values, where shall we go for inspiration in the crises of tomorrow? Can we appeal to the rightness of a specific regulation to sustain us in our hour of need? Will we be able to seek shelter under a First Amendment which by then may have been twisted to favor irreligion? Will we be able to rely for counterforce on value education aided in school systems which are increasingly secularized? And if our governments and schools were to fail us, would we be able to fall back upon and rely upon the institution of the family, when so many secular movements seek to shred it?" (Neal A. Maxwell, “A More Determined Discipleship,” Ensign, Feb 1979, 69–73)

Are all liberals evil? I think this quote is often taken into a context where it is inappropriate. I would like to explain some views and open a dialogue between conservatives and liberals. For one thing, I will have you all know I am not a Godless liberal. Just because I oppose outlawing abortion does not mean I do not support the Q12 or its teachings. I just think ultimately

For one thing, I am opposed to abortion in the sense that elective abortion for social convenience is morally reprehensible but I believe that the legalization of abortion is absolutely critical. I also support the choice of the women. Does that mean that I support her actual decision? No. I also support abortion in cases of rape, incest, or severe deformity (this one is a little trickier). When I came to BYU I had slightly more conservative views, seeing abortion as a "necessary" social evil. But when I came to BYU, I think I realized more and more how certain people that wants to reject abortion want to reject abortion entirely. I feel like this would lead to illicit abortions and actually more heartache for the nation.

I support social programs. But only to a certain extent. God asked us to help the poor and needy and government programs try to do that. They need reforming, yes, but they try to serve a good purpose. That's why I get bothered sometimes when people say Obama is a socialist. I mean, I don't support hardcore socialism, but I will have to see what Obama does to believe that it is socialism. I am not fully supportive of Obama yet, but I am going to give him a chance. My political views are undergoing a shift and so I will have to wait and see. I would self-identify as a democrat.

People should pay taxes. Period. End of story. That is the liberal way.

I believe that my liberal ideals more fully express my beliefs about what it means to be Mormon. In my mind, Mormonism accepts all people, not just the socially "accepted" people. I feel conservatism often excludes groups and closes the dialogue. That's kind of my theme of life- a dialogue. We all need to have a dialogue. I don't think God would have us think exactly the same. That's what scares me. Are we raising a generation blind to the will of heaven? Are we raising a generation that cannot think on its own? I fear that we may be doing that exact thing. We walk by faith yes, but do we walk with blindfolds over our eyes? Do we not ask God to give us true knowledge? Do we walk in a tradition long-established or do we ask questions and question answers?

We MUST come to question answers, anything else is foolishness.

So I guess what I am really praying for is people to THINK more. Be more open. I beg you, don't just accept everything as gospel truth. Study it in your mind. Ask God with an open heart. And he will manifest the truth unto you.

"I want liberty of thinking and believing as I please."- Joseph Smith.

Now go and do it. Don't follow blindly. Please. I beg you.


daine said...

This was lovely, Jaap (why the double a instead of an "ah" or even the "o"? I guess it's a longer vowel sound than I'm used to hearing or saying it). Welcome to an uncomfortable world of religious-liberalism; the religious will always call you Godless and the liberal will think you're dumb for your convictions. welcome to the club.

Seagulljaap said...

Religious liberalism- for all those people who aim not to fit in.