“If I see Harry Reid in the temple, I’m going to hit him.”

civil discourse Manners Mountain Meadows Massacre Tolerance Utah Violence

Hey, Mormons: Wilco Tango Foxtrot?

(Comments are now closed at the original post, so please comment below)

Serious kudos to The Millennial Star and John Fowles for taking on this topic in this M* guest post:

Harry Reid fireside canceled because of politics

IMHO, it’s a pitch-perfect response to this outrageous situation, and ought to be re-posted far and wide, at official sites such as the LDS Newsroom Blog as well as on every member’s Facebook page and family blog.

Linkage:

J. Stapley at By Common Consent: Heber J. Grant on politics

Independent American News: Our Victory Over Harry Reid Confirmed!

The Salt Lake Tribune: Rolly: Only Republican testimonies in Vegas?

KUTV Utah 2News: Senator Reid Cancels LDS Appearence

USU Shaft: Senator Harry Reid shunned by fellow Mormons

The Mormon Left: The Unhealthy Mingling of Politics in Mormonism

Daily Kos: If I see Harry Reid in the temple, Im going to hit him.

Extra reading: Enough with the Emails from Mormon McVeigh Wannabes, Famous Dead Mormons: Timothy McVeigh

Extraneous: And the Tea Party circus rolls into Provo, Utah:

Seen and heard:

“In Memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children.” – Captain Moroni

“Anybody here want to be a socialist?”

“If we don’t win, that’s it for human rights on planet Earth.”

Harry Reid, Thomas S. Monson, Dallin H. Oaks, Obama

121 thoughts on ““If I see Harry Reid in the temple, I’m going to hit him.”

  1. Thanks for the response, TT. I agree with you that this event needs to be viewed in the context of the current political climate in the United States.

    However, the right wing rhetoric prevails in Mormonism because it is millenialist and Manichean.

    I know what you mean by “right now” but need to point out that the right wing has been this way for a long time. They were just as hysterical and paranoid about Bill Clinton, the ERA, the civil rights movement, John F. Kennedy, FDR, and the New Deal.

    The reaction and the tactics of the right are really not that new. They are just another manifestation of American anti-intellectualism and the communal need to dominate minorities.

    Those behaviors emerge and submerge regularly in the American experience. It is interesting that the LDS Church regularly sides with fear and traditionalism while other religions, such as the Quakers, for example, regularly side with hope and progress.

    I do think that tells us something about the essence of the Mormon religion.

    I am not particularly surprised that authoritarians rise against a leadership that seems to be “too open minded.” I am not sure if the aggressors were a minority or a majority. We only know that those who threatened violence against their co-religionists prevailed.

  2. TT – I’m not sure we agree on the meaning of “substantive contribution” … you seem to equate the concept with bloviating at length about “context” … Rock on.

    In any case, if I’m reading you right, you’re claiming that this episode reveals *nothing* about Mormonism.

    Just out of curiosity, what does a revealing episode look like on your planet?

  3. Chino,
    I guess we’re done. While I’ve read your stuff for many years now, I still get disappointed when I see you melt.

    Hellmut,
    I appreciate you taking this issue up. You’re a great example of what this blog is when it is at its best.
    I think that there are two issues that we are speaking about. 1) For what reason do many Mormons lean to the right? 2) Are there aspects of this episode that tell us something distinctive about Mormonism?

    As for the first, I certainly agree that a majority of Mormons are right leaning. There may be elements of Mormon culture as it has developed in the past 50 years, especially in the context of the rise of Communism, which are reasons that Mormonism in part has identified with conservatives. As for to what degree millennialism and dualism contribute to this, no doubt they do. I am not sure that they do so uniquely, since in my experience many liberals (of which I am one) often paint the Other is similarly starkly reductionary terms, and even depicct the issues that they care about in apocalyptic terms.
    That said, I think that your linking Mormonism in the broader context of the political right is exactly the point I want to make. To the extent that the right is activated, MOrmons who lean right are activated. That leads us to the second issue, whether there is anything uniquely indicative about Mormonism in this episode since these kinds of protests have been made by plenty of non-Mormons all over the country.

    I do think that we learn something interesting here, which I’ve mentioned already, that is that conservative Mormons actually privilege their politics over their religion. By taking such explicit moves against the Stake, conservative Mormons show they’ll depart from the church when they see it conflict with their political ideology. Does this tell us something about “the essence of the Mormon religion”? I’m not so sure it tell us much more than about how some radical Mormons see the relationship between their religion and their politics, but hardly how official Mormonism or even a majority of Mormons behaves.

  4. It seems that we all agree now that 1) JMT is wrong.

    I don’t agree. If we look at JMT’s specific claims,

    1) They vote as a bloc for the GOP.
    2) They divide the world into us vs them, black and white, righteous vs evil,
    3) so of course theyre going to think Harry Reid is the Devil Incarnate.
    4) In their narrow, fearful, self-righteous minds,
    5) The only difference between guys like Beck and the majority of Mormons is, Beck is actually saying outloud what Mormons believe, but are too chickenshit to own and articulate
    6) Mormonism is misogynist, racist, homophobic, hawkish, anti-intellectual, elitist, and millenialist.

    1) is obviously true in the sense that a large majority of US Mormons vote GOP, 2) is certainly at least somewhat characteristic of Mormon teaching and thinking, 3) is a hyperbolic expression of a view that can be held without any real social (much less religious) penalties in the church, 4) is characteristic of the kind of people who subscribe to views like 3), 5) is possibly an exaggeration in its use of the word “majority,” and while I wouldn’t say that “Mormonism is” any of the things in 6) except “millennialist” (that’s half the meaning of “latter-day,” after all), I would say that there are definitely strains of each of those characteristics in Mormonism (along with some countervailing strains as well). So no, we don’t “all agree that JMT is wrong.”

  5. Kuri,
    To say that JHM is wrong is to say that this episode tells us something about the majority of Mormons or Mormonism in general, not the veracity of any of the overly broad generalizations (which I also think are wrong in many cases, as do you). The question is not whether any of these thing may be said about some Mormons, and as you concede they certainly can’t be said in such absolutist terms as presented, but whether or not we should be “surprised” that Mormons reacted this way toward Reid. 1) While I’m not sure I’d agree with the loose definition of ‘bloc’ that you agree to here, this is certainly not evidence that Mormons are therefore likely to want to hit Harry Reid in the temple. 2) Sure, but it is characteristic of a lot of social groups. That is how group identity works, but to depict Mormonism or even a majority of Mormons as simply incapable of thinking or acting beyond these categories so that for them violence against Reid is a common, expected option, doesn’t follow. 3) Yes, it’s hyperbolic. The “they” there as I understand it is Mormons, not some Mormons, so it is doubly hyperbolic. Should the church intervene beyond its yearly statement of non-partisanship and recent LDS Newsroom posts calling for a more calm political tone? Maybe. Many liberal members are wary of this though, because it could cut against them too. If the church starts to regulate political though even more actively, it might not go so well so I for one am uncomfortably satisfied with the church not doing more, but I could be convinced otherwise. Again, the idea that many object to Reid’s politics in the church does not suggest that we shouldn’t be surprised by calls of violence. 4) Again, these statements are being made about Mormons in general, and making the claim that the violence threatened against Reid is a result of their Mormonism, not their conservative politics. I think that distinction is important. 5) I agree that Mormonism and even Mormon GOP affiliation doesn’t mean that they think like Beck. 6) I agree completely with you.

  6. Should the church intervene beyond its yearly statement of non-partisanship and recent LDS Newsroom posts calling for a more calm political tone? Maybe. Many liberal members are wary of this though, because it could cut against them too. If the church starts to regulate political though even more actively, it might not go so well so I for one am uncomfortably satisfied with the church not doing more, but I could be convinced otherwise.

    I don’t think the church should “regulate political thought” in any general sense. I think it comes too close to that already. There are plenty of other things it could do, though. It could, for example, reiterate its opposition to violent rhetoric. It could make it clear that threats of violence are “sins” as well as (sometimes) crimes. It could state that people who publicly question another’s “worthiness” because of political differences are placing their own “worthiness” in serious jeopardy.

    …these statements are being made about Mormons in general, and making the claim that the violence threatened against Reid is a result of their Mormonism, not their conservative politics. I think that distinction is important.

    I’m not sure politics and religion can be so clearly separated. Many (American) Mormons are conservative because they are Mormon, and/or Mormon because they are conservative. And the threats and rhetoric were directed in this case at Reid’s “worthiness” to participate in a church function because of his politics. There’s a great deal of religious/political intertwining there.

  7. Kuri,
    I think you’re right that these things could be said again, though they are already part of official LDS statements. As for any specific disciplinary actions in this case, it may be that they are already underway. Who knows, but given that the Stake supported Reid I doubt they’ve taken kindly to this intimidation.

    I agree with you about the interrelation between politics and religion, but I’m
    not sure about the causality you give it. You say that Mormons are conservative because they are Mormon, and that’s exactly te point I’m trying to press. When I say we should distinguish Mormonism and consevstive politics that is not to say that they are not related, but that we should pay attention to the particular ways in which they are related. Mormonism is not reducible to conservatism and deserves to be analyzed more closely than a simplistic assessment such as this. I think it is significant for instance that a traditional Mormon value of respect for churh leaders was abandoned here in favor of poltical judgments. It is not that those judgments don’t have a religious character, but they cannot be explained by simply appealing to that religious character. Something else i suggest is at work here, something outside of Mormonism, namely the broader political climate on the right which is not distinctly Mormon at all.

  8. I think it is significant for instance that a traditional Mormon value of respect for churh leaders was abandoned here in favor of poltical judgments.

    I think so too. I even blogged about something like that a few months ago. That’s probably the most interesting point to me (and the one that reflects most poorly on the church imo): why can’t Mormonism “insulate” its members from that kind of behavior (assuming from past statements that that’s indeed a goal of the church)?

    It is not that those judgments dont have a religious character, but they cannot be explained by simply appealing to that religious character. Something else i suggest is at work here, something outside of Mormonism, namely the broader political climate on the right which is not distinctly Mormon at all.

    Obviously, those Mormons are reflecting current manifestations of a long tradition of American right-wing “eliminationistrhetoric. That’s a given. But that leaves the question unanswered: why Mormons? What is it about Mormons that makes so many of them buy into that kind of rhetoric and think that their religion supports them in it? I think that’s what JMT was getting at, and what you seem to be trying to evade.

  9. Why Mormons?
    A. Because Mormons are terrible, stupid people, who hate all that is good in the world. (JMT)
    B. Because Mormons are just like everyone else. (me)

    Had protests against democats in Congress been confined to Mormons, perhaps A would explain it, but they aren’t, so I don’t see Mormonism as a suficient explanation for this kind of reaction.

    Why can’t the church reign it in?
    A. Because Mormonism itself is to blame (JMT)
    B. Because (A) is incoherent, there must be forces stronger than Mormonism as a belief/community alone to account for this break of the taboo on going against authority. (me)

    I think what I’m trying to do is resist what I see as a simplistic assessment of what I see as a rather complicated situation. Personally, I’ve never heard anyone say they’d hit another person in the temple, and unlike JMT I am surprised by that. I also happen to think that this degree of anger, assuming it reflects a real plan of action made by a single person, constitutes an exceptional statement by a Mormon rather than an exemplary one. Can such a state of affairs be explained with recourse to some self-contained formulation of something called ‘Mormonism’? Or do such episodes need to be understood within the broader context of American politics? If this episode doenst fully make sense as a dsipute internal to Mormonism, I’m not seeing how Mormonism is either a sufficient or even a necessary cause for this type of reaction at all.

  10. Let me just make one more quick statement before I sign off this thread:
    why are we looking to see Mormonism as the root cause for this lone persons statment about wanting to hit Reid (distinguishing it from the other kinds of protests like signs and heckles), but not see Mormonism as the root cause of Reid’s actions in getting health care passes? Although Reid has repeatedly said that his religion does influence his political values, why are we suggesting that somehow the conservative ugliness reveals something about Mormonism’s essence and not Reid. It seems that we are using two different theories of the relationship between poltics and religion here, one that says that Mormonism is reducible to and a necessary and sufficient explanation for radical conservatism, and another which says that is irrelevant to liberalism. As kuri and I have both said, the relationship between politics and religion is more complicated than either explanation allows, an I think we owe it to ourselves to bring that level of analysis to bear on uncovering in what ways politics and religion intersect rather than seeing one as reducible to the other.
    Anyway, I really need to get back to work tomorrow so I probably won’t be able to keep up on this thread. I hope I’ve been clear enough by now on what I’m trying to say. Thanks all for the discussion, especially those who live up to the ideals of what a good discussion can be. I appreciate it and hope to have many more with you all. It’s been a pleasure for the most part.

  11. Chino,
    on that we agree completely. :). Thanks for pointing me to it. It was said by a conservative on a conservative LDS blog and hit the mark entirely. I guess Mormon bloggers aren’t as bad as you thought!
    Good night all.

  12. TT,

    You’ve got me confused with someone else. I like plenty of Mormon bloggers. I’ve even been known to help post their stuff from time to time. My complaint has always been that they’re nowhere near bad enough. 😉 And their complaint is usually that I’m nowhere near polite enough. And they’re usually right about that.

  13. Why Mormons?
    B. Because Mormons are just like everyone else. (me)

    Doesn’t work. Not unless every group has as high a percentage of right-wingers and fringe right-wingers as Mormons do.

    Had protests against democats in Congress been confined to Mormons, perhaps A would explain it, but they arent, so I dont see Mormonism as a suficient explanation for this kind of reaction.

    I agree that it’s not a sufficient explanation. I think what we disagree on is whether it’s a necessary explanation in the case of Mormons. You’ve apparently concluded it isn’t; I think it probably is.

    Anyway, thanks for the interesting discussion. I know it’s not always easy being the one person arguing against several others (I’ve definitely been there), and I appreciate the way you’ve kept it civil and made your points.

  14. kuri@55:

    except millennialist (thats half the meaning of latter-day, after all)

    So, Mormons are millenialist because they they believe we’re in the last days (and the world is turning to crap)…and the other half is what? Postmillenial, that it’s their job to usher in an era for Christ, to turn the world into not-crap?

  15. My understanding is that “latter-day” means both “the end times before the Millennium” and “the current era” (i.e., contrasting the saints of “these latter days” with the saints of the “former days” of the Bible). So the “end times” part is the half that carries a “millennialist meaning. The “era” part basically just means “now” or “not olden times.”

    The term “latter-day,” BTW, presents a translation problem in languages like Japanese, where there is no word that carries both nuances. The church in Japan uses a word that means “last days,” i.e., “end times.”

  16. “Latter Days” used to specifically refer to the times immediately before Christ’s Second Coming.

    If the meaning of “current era” has been added, I don’t believe it’s anything like the official mormon definition. Any talk from a GA or quote from a lesson manual pretty much refers to Christ’s coming.

  17. I am not homophobic. I am not afraid of myself nor am I afraid of homosexuals. I do not know of a single organization that is not filled with homosexuals that approves of homosexuals. This does not make them homophobes.

    I readily admit that I am homonauseaic. That means homosexuals make me sick. From what I understand this a genetic problem which means there is really nothing I can do about it. I have no choice. When I get near them or see them on TV I get sick to my stomach.

    I hope that homosexuals will be tolerant of my genetic difficulties concerning their genetic difficulties. Perhaps some day science can develop a cure. Naturally if they cure the genetic difficulties of homosexuality then there will be no need for a cure of homonausea.

  18. Goldarn,

    The term has carried those two nuances from the beginning. Emphasis shifts over time — I think the emphasis on millennialism has actually diminished significantly since I joined the church in 1982 — but the dual meaning has always been there.

  19. Christopher, thanks for dropping by and representing for the crew that got Harry Reid’s fireside canceled. Just in case our readers are confused by your comment, I’m noting that you’re here because I linked to your post over at Independent American News titled “Our Victory Over Harry Reid Confirmed!”

    Some victory. And that comment of yours is something, too.

  20. TT,

    Of course, Mormons are just like everybody else. But as Hannah Arendt pointed out, some people who are like everybody else, are capable of the unspeakable.

    (Let me be clear, these events are not anywhere in the same league like Auschwitz, just so that there is no misunderstanding.)

    The question is rather if there is anything in Mormonism that loads the dice of human nature.

    It seems to me that there is a reason why Quakers are reliably on the side of liberty, inclusion, and progress while Mormons are less concerned about the rights of people other than their own.

    There is a reason that Utah vies with Oklahoma to be the most Republican state in the union. There is a reason why Mormons are concerned about other people’s sexuality. There is a reason why Mormons have many children.

    There is a reason why Mormons are a peculiar people. That does not make us any less human than others. Neither does it mean that there are a lot of gentiles who behave just like us. Nor does it mean that there are many Mormons who behave differently.

    Many Mormon behaviors cluster with substantial variation from other American subgroups. That is because Mormons view the world in a specific way.

  21. Christopher, your comments are homophobic. And no, ignorance and hate are not genetic conditions.

    In a roundabout way, I think Christopher’s actually are. His “nausea” is caused by his inability to deal with his own homosexual desires. And those desires, if not genetic, are certainly innate. But he does have a choice. He can stop fighting his real feelings and admit to himself what he really is: a self-hating gay man. That would be a first step towards inner peace.

  22. Glad you liked it. Harry is a Marxist. I have watched Marxist Mormon Stake Presidents support him for years in Vegas. I was thrilled to show my absolute disgust for that war criminal constitution violating thief. If people got angry about what I did that makes it all the better.

    And I am not afraid of homosexuals.

    A phobia is an intense, unrealistic fear, which can interfere with the ability to socialize, work, or go about everyday life, that is brought on by an object, event or situation.

    Homosexuals do none of those things for me. I do not fear them at all and have no fears about them breaking into my home at dinner and ruining another American family. In fact we had a “couple” over for a party for my daughter’s birthday last week. If ever there was two guys that had homosexual tendencies it was those two. But they still had a choice.

    I honestly have no more interest in gays than in adulterers or Republicans using GOP funds to attend faux lesbian clubs or unwed mothers. If people choose to be immoral then that is their choice. We all pay for our poor choices. To claim it is not a choice is to say I don’t have a choice in refusing to cheat on my wife. I do have a choice. I choose not to be immoral.

    They do make me sick to my stomach. So do child molesters, murderers, thieves, Republicans (especially Orrin Hatch) and Obama. My father and mother had the same problem with such people. So did my grandfathers on both sides. It must be genetic. Right? The way I figure it if gays believe they do not have a choice then it must be an illness to be gay. If it is an illness then it needs to have a cure. After all I have been a heterosexual for as long as I can remember and I have never cheated on my wife even though as a man I certainly have that natural tendency.

    Now if it is a choice then it is not an illness. It may be a bit odd or different but not an illness. So do gays have a choice to have sexual relationships with people of the same sex or not?

    How about polygamy? Is that genetic and they really have no choice? Three ways? Group sex? Pedophilia? Choice or not?

    The day before we got the church drop their unlawful support of Harry Reid I attended the Tea Party in Searchlight, Harry’s home town. You may enjoy my wife’s article called Sarah Does Searchlight where she compares Sarah Palin’s appearance to Debbie Does Dallas. It should be posted on Independent American News tomorrow. She is just finishing it up.

    Amazing that so many Republican men would vote for her because she is “So Hot and I want to do her.” Yes we heard that more than once. I am so glad I did not go to see Princess Sarah.

    Now I have to go and make a choice to have sex or not tonight. You see I have a choice concerning who I have sex with. I don’t have an illness that needs to have a cure. So I ask again. Is it a tendency with a choice to be gay or is it an illness that removes choice and needs a cure?

  23. I thought once I may be gay but I realized it was just the acid. LSD! LDS! My dyslexia has always created problems for me.

    I actually realized I was not gay when I learned to read and there was an odd birthmark on my backside. It says, “Exit only.”

    So sorry to disappoint you. I know you homos want me but I was gifted with the genetic natural tendency to love faces that don’t need to be shaved and with the opposite sex so she could that can have our children.

    But you bosy and girls that find attraction with your own sex certainly have the right to make your own choices. As long as it is a choice and not something that you cannot keep from doing. Then it would be a mental illness and need a cure.

    Gay does not need to be cured does it?

    So please remember to make your own choices and allow people like me to be tolerated by those that do not approve of my choices. If you want to be tolerated you has best grant it to others or you become hypocrites.

    Or are you hypocrites? You appear to be. But then maybe it is genetic and you have no choice?

  24. Mormons are mostly Republicans because they are taught to be slaves and the Republican Party fully supports slavery and Fascism so most Mormons fit right in and feel comfortable.

    Democrats offer Marxism so many Mormons are also Democrats because those Mormons also support slavery. A few Mormons, like the general population can actually think for themselves. They are rare.

    Now on the other hand all Latter-day Saints that are true to their faith reject Fascism and Communism. But then Mormons are not Latter-day Saints because they are too stupid to read the Book of Mormon and learn that they are not to call themselves after a man like Mormon and not after Christ.

    If Down’s Syndrome is genetic why isn’t ignorance? It seems to be very prevalent among the gay population. Perhaps the two are tied together? Have their been any scientific studies that any of you are aware of on this? Or do you just go on faith?

    And as far as hatred goes I save most of mine for Cops.

  25. Well, I guess we allow anyone to comment here. So, Christopher gets to comment. But, IMO, Christopher, you’re an ass.

    And, you’re the type of ass who is pointless to debate as your hatred is so deep-seated that nothing we say can or will change your views. You’re the type of person that, when I think about it, makes me sad to be human. 🙁

  26. Well, I guess we allow anyone to comment here. So, Christopher gets to comment.

    Yeah, it’s hard to know what would be an appropriate policy for commenters like Christopher. The usual rule-of-thumb has been to ask everyone to make a good-faith effort to keep their comments (and criticism) constructive so that we can have a fruitful exchange of ideas.

    In this case, I don’t see how we could expect to have any kind of exchange of ideas with someone who has so totally bought into reciting the hateful talking points (down to repeating these same tired “jokes” like the “exit only” thing). At best — as Chino suggests — this exchange serves as a bit of an “Exhibit A” for our earlier discussion…

  27. Hellmut 75,

    “Many Mormon behaviors cluster with substantial variation from other American subgroups. That is because Mormons view the world in a specific way.”

    This very well may be true, and I have no reason to doubt it. Perhaps I should have been more clear when I said that Mormons were just like everyone else, which I see as a better explanation for this behavior than Mormonism per se. I should have said that conservative Mormons are just like other conservatives. The behavior exhibited here is not in variation at all with what other conservative subgroups are doing, and this particular conservative subgroup of Mormonism is best explained as having something in common with other conservative subgroups than having something as vague as the “essence of Mormonism” as the core explanation.

    At the same time, I’ve tried to make the case that this sort of reductionary thinking that sees religion as a priori to political actions, and political actions as reducible to religion is a pretty weak methodological assumption about either human religious or political behavior, not least because it fails to account for someone like Reid.

  28. TT — Just because religion doesn’t always (or necessarily usually) affect people’s politics, that doesn’t mean it’s a priori “reductionist” to point to a specific example where a religious organization may be influencing its members’ politics. Maybe it’s not the “essence of Mormonism”, but are you claiming that Mormon connection with the far right is some sort of random coincidence?

    Ultimately, in this case, it’s the Mormons’ own behavior that is reflecting badly on Mormonism — and not just a tiny handful of flukes — and not lies invented by “antis”. If you try to make it some sort of taboo to ask the question “Is there a connection with Mormonism? If so, what?” — you merely make it more difficult to address problems within the LDS community.

  29. A safe bet?

    There’s a lot more going on here than either you or Rolly knows or is reporting. Apparently former Henderson mayor, Democrat, and LDS Area Seventy Jim Gibson was organizing the firesides as a re-election campaign prop for Sen. Reid. Using your official church capacity for partisan activities is a big no-no and Gibson crossed that line. I would bet the cancellation of the firesides has a lot more to do with that than it does any protesters.

  30. The promotion of Reid by Area Seventy Gibson, a long time Reid supporter, was the main reason I got involved in the first place. He and Stake President Tate (also a Democrat) used Ward lists to promote a Harry Reid meet and greet 12 years ago that I picketed. Stake Presidents are not allowed to use Ward Lists for politics.

    President Tate denied me a Temple Recommend because I did not and do not file Income Tax returns. 32 years now. I was denied one even though I have signed letters from the IRS that I am not required to file a return. I simply moved to another Stake and had no more problems with temple recommends.

    President Tate also supported brand new convert Dario Herrera for office. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dario_Herrera

    He was committing adultery and was also taking bribes from a Strip Club owner and was nailed by the FBI in G-Sting. He joined the Church at the request of Harry Reid.

    I do not support the use of church buildings for political candidates to campaign. This fireside was nothing more than a political meet and greet and I would have protested it no matter the candidate or the party.

    And if you don’t want all the old tired Gay jokes then don’t use the old tired jokes about me being a closet homo or a self hating fag. Eye for an eye works fine for me.

    Show respect for my sexual preference and I will show you the same respect.

    No one has told me if it is a choice or not to have homosexual relations yet? Why?

  31. Speaking of political Religions like Mormonism here is one Harry fully supports:

    World renowned economist John Maynard Keynes in his 1925 A Short View of Russia as edited down for ESSAYS IN PERSUASION (Harcourt Brace, 1932), clearly defines why Communism (Leninism) is, without question, not only a religion but an alternative to Christian capitalism. (Bold emphasis added, italic emphasis in the original.)

    Chapter IV, Page 297
    I. A Short View of Russia
    (i) What is the Communist Faith

    Leninism is a combination of two things which Europeans have kept for some centuries in different compartment of the soulreligion and business. We are shocked because the religion is new, and contemptuous because the business. We are shocked because the religion is new, and contemptuous because the business, being subordinated to the religion instead of the other way around, is highly inefficient.

    Like other new religions, Leninism derives its power not from the multitude but from a small minority of enthusiastic converts, whose zeal and intolerance make each one the equal in strength of a hundred indifferentists. Like other new religions, it is led by those who can combine the new spirit, perhaps sincerely, with seeing a good deal more than their followers, (p. 298) politicians with at least an average dose of political cynicism, who can smile as well as frown, volatile experimentalists, released by religion from truth and mercy but not blinded to facts and expediency, and open therefore to the charge (superficial and useless though it is where politicians, lay or ecclesiastical, are concerned) of hypocrisy. Like other new religions, it seems to take the colour and gaiety and freedom out of everyday life and to offer a drab substitute on the square wooden faces of its devotees. Like other new religions, it persecutes without justice or pity those that actively resist it. Like other new religions, it is unscrupulous. Like other new religions, it is filled with missionary ardour and oecumenical ambitions. But to say that Leninism is the faith of a persecuting and propagating minority of fanatics led by hypocrites is, after all, to say no more nor less than that it is a religion and not merely a party, and Lenin a Mahomet, not a Bismark. If we want to frighten ourselves in our capitalist easy-chairs, we can picture the Communists of Russia as though the early Christians led by Attila were using the equipment of the Holy Inquisition and the Jesuit missions to enforce the literal economics of the New Testament; but when we want to comfort ourselves in the same chairs, can we hopefully repeat that these economics are fortunately so contrary to human nature that they cannot finance either missionaries or armies and will surely end in defeat?

  32. I’m gonna copy-and-paste the reply I left over at the Trib:

    It’s interesting to hear this local POV on the nature of Reid’s fireside, but it strikes me as little more than a plausible-sounding negative characterization of an event that could more simply be described as an opportunity to hear a prominent LDS member in good standing speak to fellow Mormons about his faith. If we accept the premise of ElForesto’s characterization, wouldn’t that lead to banning all Mormon politicians from ever speaking in their churches? Would the local candidate running for school board also need to keep quiet rather than stand and bear testimony in F&T meeting? In other words, my sense is that this is still all about members who disagree with Reid’s politics looking for any justification to cast Harry as something other than a full-fledged Mormon who has as much right to act like a Mormon as any other LDS member. What’s next? Characterizing Osmond firesides as ploys to prop up record sales? C’mon. Bearing testimony is not a “partisan activity.” Members of the Mormon church are surely grown-up enough that they can handle hearing a testimony from a fellow believer without feeling the need to align their tastes in music or politics with whoever happens to be speaking.

  33. The plot thickens!

    Chino — I agree that this is interesting and relevant information, and I also agree with your take on it @91.

    Also, regarding the earlier discussion with TT: Check out this great post at Mormon Matters. It discusses the actual stats on LDS political demographics, and then offers ideas on why it’s a problem and what to do about it. This is the sort of thing I was talking about earlier, so TT you’re off the hook since MM is on the job. 😉

  34. Also, I know we agreed to send Christopher’s comments to the spam filter, but @89 actually contains new, relevant information which shouldn’t be suppressed.

    That said, I have three things to say to Christopher:

    1. If @88 is a reference to the discussion of whether your comments should be moderated or deleted: Free speech does not require any private individuals to publish your words and give you a platform. If I were to try to shut down your blog or prevent other blogs from publishing you, then you could legitimately say that that would be an attack on your free speech. If we say “here on our blog we have guidelines for the comments that we allow to be posted” — that has nothing whatsoever to do with the right of free speech.

    The stupid meme that “criticism = attack on free speech” is one of my biggest pet peeves.

    I would hope I wouldn’t have to explain this to a guy who picketed to (successfully) keep someone else from giving a public address.

    On the other hand, if your comment @88 was a reference to your own actions towards Reid’s free speech, you might be able to make a legitimate case.

    2. I really don’t think there’s anything to be gained by attempting to discuss the question “Is homosexuality a choice?” with you.

    3. It’s true that some of the Communist regimes of the early 20th century exploited religious-type fervor to the point of essentially acting as alternate religions. Your attempt to equate Reid and Obama with Lenin is where your reasoning takes a short trip through some alternate reality. I realize all of the chain emails in the far-right feedback loop are saying “Obama’s a socialist!” but in reality universe he’s not.

  35. And if you dont want all the old tired Gay jokes then dont use the old tired jokes about me being a closet homo or a self hating fag.

    I wasn’t joking. I really do think you’re gay.

  36. Several candidates for the Independent American Party including myself were not allowed to bear our testimonies in F and T meeting while we were running for office. One candidate was even removed for a teaching position while running for office.

    But even that is not the same as have a “Fireside” while a person is running for office. Having a Fireside is a direct promoting of that individual.

    No candidate for public office, especially during an election year, should be the keynote speaker at a Fireside UNLESS every candidate for the same office is given an equal opportunity to be the keynote speaker at a Stake promoted Fireside.

    In that case I would call it nothing more than a community service. But that is not what was going to happen in this case.

    What happened in this case is that an Area Seventy that has long supported Harry Reid pressured Stake Presidents (not just one) to hold Firesides where Harry Reid could speak. That is not equal treatment of candidates and is a blatant attempt to promote Gibson’s good friend that is in serious threat of being removed from office.

    I for one would much rather see Harry Reid re-eleted than have a Republican elected. I simply do not support Republican Fascism/Corporatism and find Harry’s support of Marxism far less destructive of liberty although still totally evil.

  37. And I was not joking when I said homosexuals make me sick to my stomach and that I do not fear them at all. A little Pepto and I can handle the sick stomach, I get around queers, just fine.

  38. I did not picket successfully to stop a “public” address. I never picketed to stop any public address. I have no idea where you got such information. The Stake Leadership declined to have a Fireside. No pickets were ever used. And a Church Fireside is no more public than this forum. And you do indeed have the right to silence me here but if you do you have STILL limited free speech.

    I am not opposed to Harry speaking at a Mormon Church if all other candidates for that office are also allowed to speak at the same or a similar Church sponsored forum. I would not even oppose him speaking in an non-election year. I oppose such obvious Church censorship of opposing views and so I did what I could to stop such censorship of the other candidates none of which I have endorsed. I was successful in stopping that obvious censorship without picketing.

    No one ever wants to discuss the “Homosexual acts are a choice” because they are either a choice or an illness and the Gay agenda will not confront that issue. I never expected anyone to discuss it. Silence is ALWAYS the response as are the blatant attacks upon my sexual choices. I have been in politics for 45 years. I have seen it all.

    I have also changed my position of homosexuals over the years. One change I had was that I now fully support the licensing of gay marriages while at the same time I totally oppose all marriage licenses for anyone. But if there are marriage license then let the government enslaves the Gay community in the same manner they do the heterosexual community. Equal treatment for all. I do not care what you folks do in your homes and believe that the government should get out of the marriage business all together. Marriage is a religious act and I support the separation of the State from Religion. The government can break into my home and destroy my liberty. I have no concerns that Gay will do so. The government is far more dangerous than the Gay community and I want them to have far less power.

    I also oppose all forms of Socialism and Fascism. If you keep you hands off my wallet I will keep my hands of your sexual choices done in the privacy of your homes.

    In the reality universe when the government takes from me to give it to others it is Socialism or Fascism. I really am not very affected directly by such government theft since I do not have a Socialist Security number and do not pay income taxes nor file their voluntary forms and returns and have not done so for 32 years. You see I have the right to practice my religion and that includes the right to eschew Socialism and all false and Satanic isms.

    Message from the First Presidency: Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to false ideologies such as socialism and communism. The official Church position on communism remains unchanged since it was first promulgated in 1936: “We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.”

    The voices I hear are persuasive, seductive, fascinating, and confusing. Speaking across the earth, they are part of a mighty battle that is being waged for the minds of men. They are aimed at persuasion in political philosophy. There are voices of democracy competing with voices of communism, and each is winning converts according to the discernment and the judgment of listeners. The stakes are high, the weapons are sophisticated, the methods are clever. President Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 407

    The reality is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that Socialism, Fascism and Communism are Satan’s counterfeit religions and a threat of all liberty.

    President Marion G. Romney, in the First Presidency Message in the September 1979 Ensign, wrote: Communism is Satans counterfeit for the gospel plan, and it is an avowed enemy of the God of the land. Communism is the greatest anti-Christ power in the world today and therefore the greatest menace not only to our peace but to our preservation as a free people. By the extent to which we tolerate it, accommodate ourselves to it, permit ourselves to be encircled by its tentacles and drawn to it, to that extent we forfeit the protection of the God of this land (p. 5).

    I have the right to practice my faith without government interference.

    No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between Church and State. Reynolds v. United States, supra, 98 U.S. at page 164, 25 L.Ed. 244. Everson v. Board of Ed. of Ewing Tp. 330 U.S. 1, *15-16, 67 S.Ct. 504,**511 – 512 (U.S. 1947)

    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act gives me even more protections from the Federal Government when it attempts to impose its established civic religion of Marxism with Socialist Security, Income taxes and things like Obamacare. I simply use every legal protection afforded to me to keep my property from the government.

  39. I did not picket successfully to stop a public address. I never picketed to stop any public address. I have no idea where you got such information.

    I misread your comment — I thought you said something about picketing.

    My point is that — coming from a guy who successfully intimidated an organization into rescinding an invitation to speak — it’s pretty rich that you’d claim it’s an attack on your free speech if some individuals debate whether your comments fit the guidelines of this blog.

    And you do indeed have the right to silence me here but if you do you have STILL limited free speech.

    When using the term “free speech,” the connotation is the right to free speech as guaranteed by the Constitution. If you think that the principle of free speech somehow requires MSP to host your comments on our server — then, sorry, no — you don’t have an effin clue what “free speech” is.

    No one ever wants to discuss the Homosexual acts are a choice because they are either a choice or an illness

    Also wrong. It is neither a choice nor an illness, it is a harmless natural variation.

    In the reality universe when the government takes from me to give it to others it is Socialism or Fascism. I really am not very affected directly by such government theft since I do not have a Socialist Security number and do not pay income taxes nor file their voluntary forms and returns and have not done so for 32 years.

    Are you living off the land, not dependent in any way on human society for your survival?

  40. And I was not joking when I said homosexuals make me sick to my stomach and that I do not fear them at all. A little Pepto and I can handle the sick stomach, I get around queers, just fine.

    Oh, I believe you. That’s one of the reasons I think you’re gay. Straight guys just don’t care that much.

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