Love Thy Neighbor: Even If They Are A Republican

Last Sunday evening, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a Salt Lake County Democratic Party fundraiser.

balloons

With the exception of a thunderstorm deciding to downpour 15 minutes before the beginning of the event, it was a lovely evening. Once the rain cleared and things dried out, the event was well attended and a success.

The fundraiser was held in a beautiful garden located in an upscale Draper neighborhood. It is the type of neighborhood that you would expect to be both heavily Republican and LDS. I was assigned to work at the reception table at the entry to the event. This was out near the street in easy view of those passing by the home. The front yard was covered with many campaign signs as many of the county-wide and house and senate candidates attended the event. There were signs and balloons proclaiming it as a SL County Dems activity.

Of the several people who worked at the reception table, I was the only active LDS member. The others were either non-LDS or one of them may have been a disaffected or past member, I was unsure. As the evening progressed, we were sitting there enjoying each other’s company and casual discussion, when a pick-up truck came by and blatantly extended a middle fingered salute in our direction, then sped off. I can’t be sure of this individual’s religious affiliation.

Awhile later, a young man stopped his vehicle in front of the house, rolled down his window and yelled “What’s going on?” The group responded that it was a party. “What kind of a party?” shouted the young man. He was informed it was a Democratic Party activity. He then yelled back “bunch of dumb asses.” He then drove a couple of houses down and pulled into the garage. Almost immediately after he pulled into the house, a couple of young men in easily identifiable clothing went up to the house carrying fast offering envelopes. It wasn’t a stretch to conclude this was an LDS family.

I offer this experience not to sit in judgment or criticize. But I want to illustrate how this was perceived by the other individuals, who in turn shared it throughout the party. I said, “Well, that was warm and fuzzy.” And the response from the others was, “Oh, you mean a Mormon Fuzzy.” And, I really didn’t know how to react to that because, in this case, it was accurate.

Living in Utah, and being an LDS Democrat, has its own set of challenges. There are two things here that need our attention. First, on the church side, if we, as LDS members (regardless of political orientation) want to help our non-LDS brothers and sisters examine and embrace the gospel, we can’t continue to respond with hate and ignorance toward those who think, believe or act differently from what we might accept in our lives or homes. We actually have to believe the letter that is read from the First Presidency every election cycle. We also have to believe AND PRACTICE, the message of the 11th Article of Faith. Giving service to the ideas with our lips, but not with our hearts, appears blatantly false and hypocritical to our non-LDS brothers and sisters.

The second challenge is harder for us that our LDS Dems. We must endure the constant badgering, criticism and ridicule that is heaped in our direction from our Republican brothers and sisters in the church. While it may be obvious to us how our beliefs and ideals interface and conform to the gospel. Our Republican brothers and sisters either have conflicting viewpoints or just plain don’t “get it!” We aren’t going to change their minds with well-constructed arguments, clever tactics or cute Facebook cartoons or memes. These might cause some reflective thought. But real change will come as we set the example, model appropriate behavior and follow the Savior’s admonition to love.

The scriptures tell us that love is the basis for all the law and the prophets. If we want to help our Republican brothers and sisters to understand the importance of helping the poor, lifting those in need, providing educational opportunities to all, or respecting those who act, live or believe differently from us, we have to respond to their unpleasantness with love. The Savior’s example to us is love. We know that charity is the “pure love of Christ.” It’s unconditional and it’s real.

So, if some young man tells you that you are a “dumb ass,” don’t respond in kind. Respond with love and remember that the party symbol is a donkey. So perhaps he is paying you a compliment. Just respond with love, a good example and change the world.

Showing 5 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2016-03-29 09:48:01 -0700
    I am middle-of-the -road, neither conservative nor liberal. I am sick and tire of the backbiting going on between and within both parties. The personal attacks, especially within the Republican Party, have nearly “turned me off” politics. I used to be a Democrat, then along came the “controlling tendencies” by the Democrats, trying to tell us what we “can” and “cannot” do. I have seen the Republican Party become more corrupt and closed to individual contributions to its policies. The Democrats are just as bad telling us we MUST “help” the poor. There is no merit in being FORCED to do “good.” The government takes from “the rich” and gives to “the poor.” This is not charity, this is robbery! When the "government decided private entities could no longer give unlimited charity to those in need, it was then required to fill in the gaps created by this new “policy.” New government agencies were created to oversee these new needs, raising the cost of aiding the poor."
  • followed this page 2016-03-29 09:47:57 -0700
  • commented 2015-08-11 09:25:49 -0700
    This is an excellent article. I am very conservative and have struggled with this very concept but from the other side. I would like to state that the goals of conservatives and liberals seam to be the same in most instances but how we get there is where the conflict comes into play. For example: I think that we would all agree that clean water air and an environment are goals of everyone. We would all agree that getting rid of poverty is a worthy goal as well. As far as the anger on the conservative side comes from is that our motives are insulted relentlessly. After the last presidential election you would have thought Mitt Romney was ruthless man who would let people die needlessly and was a tax cheat that never paid a dime in taxes cheating the government out of much needed funds. None of which is true. We watch as the national media continues to lie about conservatives while hiding the truth about democrats. Democrats are never required to apologize for what they say or apologize for what another demarcate says. This creates a frustration that makes it hard to maintain a sense of civility. I want to make it clear that I have never flipped anyone off or called disparaging names to anyone that doesn’t believe like me. I have had many a political discussion with democrats and have stayed civil every time. But it has been my experience that the democrat resorts to name calling and disparages my motives instead of presenting a well constructed argument for their beliefs. I am writing this because I would like a well constructed argument for the democrat position without all off the false rhetoric about us being paranoid, wanting to through grandma off the cliff, hating the environment, education and the poor being used as the democrat position. In reading this blog I see this trend continuing. I understand that politics is a contact sport so I understand the rhetoric. So when some republicans use the same technique maybe just understand they are on defense.
  • commented 2015-04-09 08:45:31 -0700
    Having campaigned in Draper last fall, the behavior of this individual was in no way surprising. A significant number of hypocritical Latter-day Saints there.
  • commented 2015-03-15 05:27:19 -0700
    Excellent article, and very true to life. Our family’s experience as being (almost) the only liberal family in an otherwise highly conservative ward has similarities to what is described here. I don’t think it has always been this way, but over many decades church members have shifted more towards the Republican party than having more of a balance politically … as a result, those of us who are liberal feel like we are required to keep our opinions quiet or face the negative consequences while at church or in a largely Mormon neighborhood. It’s sad that anybody who doesn’t fit into the “box” of Mormonism has to feel uncomfortable in the one place that should feel like home.

Subscribe Share

connect

get updates