Mormons and the Beltway
Here’s a long CNN article on the growing Mormon influence in the Beltway. Pretty much an all-purpose article on the intersection of Mormon and politics from the time of Joseph Smith to now.
Heres a section that seems interesting to discuss:
Mormon experts say the churchs support for a relatively strict separation of church and state is born of the U.S. governments refusal to help Mormons in the face of early persecution.
And after being accused of setting up a rival government around the turn of the last century, the church is loath to be seen giving marching orders to LDS politicians.
The church did, however, play a leading role in passing Prop 8, Californias gay marriage ban, in 2008. Church officials called it a moral cause, not a political one.
Plenty of critics disagree. But neither Mormon bishops nor church officials are known to lead the kind of church-based legislative lobbying efforts that Catholic bishops or evangelical leaders do.
I would argue that since the 1980s, when Mormons started entering the government en masse — that while the lobbying isnt born from the LDS hierarchy — its still church-based given how Mormon culture functions. The top tiers of LDS hierarchy are considered directly connected to God. Basically, the hierarchy doesnt have to give orders because
The members will go to the hierarchy instead. This other article talks about Romneys frequent travels to Salt Lake when in Massachusetts, making sure he was still in good standing with the Church after having to talk about such things as equality for gays in order to get elected.
From the latter article:
Gordon Hinckley, the president and prophet with decades of ties to the Romney family (he and Mitts father, George, went to high school together), reportedly found the frequency and dithering, as Scott put it, a little tiresome.