A Great New Spot for Maria Cantwell:
For those of us in Seattle, you may have seen this spot for Maria Cantwell already. Read more about this TV ad and Maria Cantwell for Washington on her website.
When a Choice is Placed Before You...
Seeing that we at Mormons for Obama are not without sin, I don't want to be the first to cast a stone at another; (so can somebody else please do it for me, and then I will surreptitiously cast the second stone?) And then there's that thing about a glass house; (is that even biblical?) Well, Buzzfeed caught wind of this and put it out there - (the media is running out of Mormon stories to run): some Romney Mormons have co-opted the "Choose the Right" slogan and slapped it underneath the Romney logo to drum up Mormon fervor for the Mormon candidate. (As if they needed to do that.) Click on this link for the Buzzfeed article.
Clearly, we have riffed the "I'm a Mormon" campaign with our bumper stickers - and so legally, I can't find fault with these people too much, except to ponder, "why didn't we think of making buttons?" Although Buzzfeed does make a good point: Isn't Romney trying to distance himself from the religion discussion, and isn't this unhelpful in that regard?
Well, regardless of their intent, I feel I should respond in this way: instead of being upset because my childhood CTR ring (that would invariably leave a rusty-brown line around my finger not unlike the ring circling the inside of a dirty commode,) has now been connected with a political candidate who just might begin spewing white oil any day now, I have produced my own version of their bumper sticker... and then all associations with happy memories of my youth are washed away. And please, no need to ask! Feel free to use this graphic in all your Romney campaigning this fall:
Why We Love Obamacare, Part 1
Thanks to Rob and Sarah for sharing their video on YouTube and putting this out there!
Mormons for Obama T-Shirts!
The Problem with Citizens United
Does Spending in Elections Influence Outcomes?
You'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who believes that money isn't absolutely crucial to running an effective campaign for political office. It costs money to rent campaign offices, travel, run phone banks, rent speaking venues, print leaflets, film commercials and purchase television ad time, and otherwise publicize a candidate's message or attack his or her opponent. Additionally, spending by outside groups, most commonly in the form of super political action committees (or super PACs) have had a significant effect in elections. There is an abundance of reporting documenting the influence of these super PACs in our recent elections, most notably in the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary. Examples can be found here, here, here, and here.
Nonetheless, in its 5-4 Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court ruled that there can be no restrictions in political expenditures of third party groups. The decision indicated that anyone or any group, including corporations, wealthy individuals, unions, and so forth, can spend unlimited amounts of money in electioneering communication, including political advertisements, robo-calls, and mailers. In theory, these third party groups (super PACs) are forbidden from coordinating directly with any political candidate or campaign. In practice, however, super PACs have become de facto attack arms of individual candidates' campaigns.
Can a candidate without a supporting super PAC succeed in a major election? The latest GOP presidential primary casts serious doubt on the notion that any candidate could be competitive in a presidential primary without the support of a super PAC.
Mormons for Obama Say Kyle Blaine's Article Doesn't Represent Them
Kyle Blaine's abcnews.go.com piece entitled, Mormons for Obama Say Romney Doesn’t Represent Them, gets at least one thing right: we do say that Romney doesn't represent us. Laura put it best when she said, "just like Mitt Romney is not your average American, he’s not your average Mormon, he doesn’t represent every Mormon in America.” In putting this website together, we wanted to demonstrate the diversity of the people, ideas, and opinions within the church, especially in regard to the upcoming election. Our intention is not to get people upset (although you might wonder after seeing the comments posted after our last guest article by Steve Warren.)
However, Kyle missed this when writing his piece; in fact, he may have been looking for something a bit more controversial than what is really embodied in this website. Kyle wrote, "while there may be no written rule within the church demanding political purity within the Mormon community, there is one big issue where the Mormons for Obama split from their church. On the issue of gay marriage, they side with the President, who affirmed his support for its being legal in May of this year."
This website has no official position on gay marriage or Obama's support of it - and we definitely are not splitting from our church. Conversely, we posted four different pieces on the subject in order to demonstrate the wide-range of views among Obama-supporting Mormons. We did this because we received (and continue to receive) genuine queries from our conservative Mormon brothers and sisters about this issue: "So, as a practicing member of the LDS Faith, please tell me how I determine when not to follow the Prophet. Apparently the views of many who are voting for Obama include support for same-sex marriage. Seems that is contrary to what we are taught. I know we have agency; I am just not convinced using it to go against the teachings of the Church is a wise use of such a blessing."
This (and abortion) are lightning rod issues for Mormons when it comes to supporting a Democratic candidate for public office. For those who feel strongly about these issues, please read Eric's post to understand how a Mormon can support Obama without standing for gay marriage. Also, read Ruby's post to understand how one person might support gay marriage and also stay true to their Mormon faith. The other two posts discuss the Church's waning political involvement in respect to same-sex marriage after the Prop 8 campaign and the ever-changing positions of both Obama and Romney on gay marriage.
But the important thing to understand here is that for many Mormons for Obama, this is not the central issue that defines our support for the President. And with Mormons holding public office as Democrats and Republicans, this should be clear by now.
Now on to my personal grief with the article -- Kyle quoted me thus:
"One of the blog entries, posted by Joseph Mills, holds up Harry Reid as a good example of a liberal Mormon.
'Just think of Harry Reid – the supreme example of Liberal Mormondom – (I have his action figure on my desk at work) – and tell me if he doesn’t have a glow like a gleaming lighthouse? He fights the good fight, shines like a sunbeam, and literally comes from Searchlight, Nevada,' Joseph writes. 'I know what the Primary Hymn instructs, (Trying to be Like Jesus,) but in case that is too high of a bar for me right now, I’ve decided that at the very least I am trying to be like Harry… and we’ll call it good at that.'"
So is that really the only quotation from me that Kyle could find? I have written a couple dozen posts for this website, and he chose something from one of my satirical posts that suggests that Mormon Democrats must shine like "Edward from Twilight as he's standing shirtless in the sun." Also he didn't preserve any of the meta-links, and that somewhat mutes my whole joke. (Sorry for my whining here, but in interest of my own self-promotion, please read The Gleam in Thine Own Eye to see the full post with meta-links.) Maybe if I'm quoted in another article, I might suggest something from my post, An Oppostion in All Things. I like that post better.
Also, the name of the Church is as follows: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I would expect that a journalist might research this to make certain they are using the correct name of our church in their article. I realize that the name of the Church is long, but the media has the responsibility to use the correct title, even if only in the first reference and then subsequent references are abbreviated after that. Consult the Church's Style Guide for more information on this. (And in case anyone is wondering, Kyle referred to the Church as "The Church of the Latter-Day Saints," omitting Jesus Christ, and capitalizing the D in Latter-day.) While Kyle is not the only one who makes this mistake, I bristle at the frequency of these occurrences and thus can't help but feel that it's sometimes done deliberately. It's almost as if we've become the "Merry X-Mas" card of Church names: Christ is crossed out and forgotten, and the media just mumbles something about Latter-day Saints, Mormons, or Salt Lake City, and then they bumble on impatiently, expecting to find a present under their holiday tree on the 25th of December.
Lastly, we are not just a small group of Seattle-based bloggers, although we did start out that way. Presently, we receive input from across the country - (and Canada) - and have posted comments and articles from contributors in Washington D.C., California, and Utah.
Alas, we are grateful for the press. We spend a lot of time putting this site together because we feel that this is important, and Kyle Blaine's article brought new eyes to this site.
The Book of Mormon Takes a Stand - for Obama
We all know Mitt Romney is the Mormon in this year’s presidential race. Therefore, we ought to be safe in assuming that Book of Mormon teachings more closely align with his views than those of President Obama.
Alas, if we made that assumption, we’d be wrong.
Let’s examine what the book says and where the candidates stand.
When it comes to the Book of Mormon’s central message—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Redeemer of the world—Obama, a member of the United Church of Christ, and Romney, who belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, agree.
On other key topics, however, they part ways.
For example, the book prominently features wars and other conflicts. The subject occupies around 170 of the book’s 531 pages. Prophets often admonish Book of Mormon peoples never to “go up” to war against their enemies. Instead, they must wait until their foes “come down” to their land. In other words, they may fight defensive wars but must never be aggressors. As LDS scholar Hugh Nibley wrote, righteous principles “rendered aggressive warfare impossible and preventive warfare utterly unthinkable.”
In the Iraq War, we saw the United States “go up” to attack a nation that hadn’t attacked us. Supporters of the war deemed it preventive or preemptive. Romney strongly supported the war, favored increased U.S. troop levels as it dragged on and criticized Obama’s decision to end it. Obama, on the other hand, opposed the war from the start. As president, he terminated U.S. troop involvement in December 2011.
The Book of Mormon also declares that righteous nations must treat prisoners of war humanely. In Alma 62:27-29, prisoners not only were freed, they were given land and were welcomed into the society. On another occasion, prisoners were allowed to depart promptly in peace after a bloody battle (Hel. 1:33). Centuries later, however, after both sides had rejected God, they abused and tortured their prisoners (Moroni 9:7-10).
In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the war on terror, U.S. soldiers and our agents have engaged in a variety of abuses and torture of prisoners, including waterboarding. Among the most infamous sites of prisoner abuse has been Guantanamo.
Romney declines to renounce waterboarding, and his aides have said that he does not view it as torture. His support of “enhanced interrogation techniques” has drawn strong criticism from 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Romney also has said, “Some people say we should close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.”
Shortly after taking office, President Obama issued an executive order halting harsh interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. He has sought to close Guantanamo but has faced stiff resistance from Congress.
In terms of military spending, Nibley assures us that when the Nephites were righteous, their “military preparations were defensive—minimal—with God acting as their radar and warning system.” Rather than “minimal” defense spending, Romney wants to restore American power and has pledged to boost the military budget by close to $2 trillion over the next 10 years, adding 100,000 soldiers. (U.S. military spending is by far the world’s largest.) Obama favors significant cuts to the military budget.
Clearly, it is Obama, not Romney, who heeds the counsel of Book of Mormon prophets on war. His actions prove that he regards Christ as the Prince of Peace rather than the Prince of Preemptive War.
Another yardstick measuring the uprightness of Book of Mormon peoples is how they treat the poor.
During the longest peaceful era in Book of Mormon history, the people established economic equality—“they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor” (4 Nephi 1:3). Earlier, a prophet rebuked those who neglected the poor and who allowed great disparities to develop between the haves and the have-nots (Alma 4:11-13). The practice of “oppressing” wage earners was condemned (3 Nephi 24:5).
The Book of Mormon stresses equity. In Mosiah 18:27 we read that those with high incomes should give “more abundantly” and that for those with little, “little should be required” and “to him that had not should be given.” King Benjamin reminds his people that he has only sought to serve them “and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you.” Prophets denounced taxation that enriched the wealthy and those in power while burdening everyone else (Mosiah 11:3-6; Ether 10:5,6).
Romney deserves credit for leadership at Bain Capital that rescued some companies that might otherwise have gone out of business. But his actions widened the gap between the haves and have-nots, with people like himself and others at the top reaping multiple millions in income while many at the bottom lost jobs and saw jobs shipped overseas where it is legal to oppress wage earners by paying them below minimum U.S. wages. Romney favored a minimum-wage hike early in 2012 but then reversed his position. His proposed boost in the military budget would come at the expense of social programs that aid the needy. President Obama has supported hikes in the minimum wage and is often called a socialist for supporting programs that help lower-income and unemployed Americans.
Although both candidates can be viewed as wealthy, Romney’s 2010 tax forms, the latest he has released, show income of $21.7 million, 13 times greater than Obama’s $1.7 million. But Romney paid federal taxes of only 13.9 percent while Obama’s federal tax rate was 26 percent. In order to reduce the gap between the haves and have-nots and help cut the deficit, Obama favors allowing the tax cut for people making more than $250,000 annually to expire. Romney would extend the tax cut for the wealthy, making it easier for high-income Americans to continue paying lower overall rates than those of modest income.
Another prominent Book of Mormon message is to beware of pride while remembering “your own nothingness . . . and humble yourselves, even in the depths of humility” (Mosiah 4:11). Prophets rebuke those who feel they deserve their riches and who claim “every man prospered according to his genius” (Alma 30:17). Part of this pride among the Nephites also manifested itself in feelings of national superiority and boastfulness after military victories.
In his 2010 book “No Apology,” Romney lays out the case for American greatness. He vows to “never again apologize for America.” He has reminded critics of his income that America's capitalistic system allows some to accumulate great wealth (“I’ve been extraordinarily successful”) and that those who are less successful should avoid “the politics of envy.” President Obama has apologized for American mistakes that have offended other countries, such as the burning of a Koran at a U.S. military base. He has stated that no one achieves success alone but instead receives help every step of the way.
On immigration, the Book of Mormon offers a limited “open door” policy. If people are willing to be good citizens, the attitude is “y’all come.” For example, when believers among the Zoramites found themselves expelled from their country, they entered the land of Jershon. The people of Jershon, being righteous, did not say, “You don’t have proper papers, so self-deport yourselves back to where you came from.” Instead, Jershon “did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did nourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance” (Alma 35:9).
Mitt Romney coined the phrase “self-deport” in saying those who lack citizenship papers should leave the country. He has opposed the DREAM Act, which provides a pathway to citizenship for those brought to the United States as children. He also supports making English the country’s official language and has said Arizona and other states should be allowed to enact their own immigration laws. Obama halted deportation of young undocumented immigrants in June 2012 and supports the DREAM Act. He also directed the Justice Department to pursue its successful challenge of Arizona’s “show me your papers” anti-immigration law.
With Mitt Romney’s positions so often contrary to the Book of Mormon, what shall we say to Mormons who support him? Perhaps a one-word answer is best. It’s a word that repeatedly pops up in the Book of Mormon: Repent!
A Little Less Fear, A Little More Faith
Brothers and sisters, there is nothing more dangerous than fear. We learn about that in Sunday school all the time. I want to talk with you a little bit about the fear of being open about political opinions. I am not suggesting that anyone is wrong or ignorant for being quiet about their support for President Obama, and I certainly am not giving expert advice on the topic. But I want to point out a few things on the topic of fear of sharing political opinions. Here’s why:
1. This is America. You are entitled to freely express your political opinions without fear of repercussion from the federal government. Oftentimes in our culture we extend this to mean that you shouldn’t fear repercussions from anyone simply because of your beliefs. This security to state your stances freely is fundamental to our identity as Americans engaging in the political dialogue of this nation.
2. The concept of declaring your beliefs freely is also deeply engrained in Mormonism. From the oft-quoted Romans 1:16 (For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ) to the brave and heroic examples of our pioneer ancestors, we have a strong tradition of actively making our true convictions known, even when to do so puts us at odds with those around us.
3. Even if, after boldly admitting that you support President Obama, someone were to react negatively such to make you regret being open about it- their intolerance is their problem. As Mormons, we are told to surround ourselves with good people. There are plenty of good people who may not share our political beliefs but appreciate civil discourse and sharing opinions with an open mind. If someone you meet is going to give you a hard time about your beliefs purely because they disagree with you, it might be a good time to evaluate if they will be a good influence on your life in the first place.
Granted: there may be people already in your life, such as friends, family, and coworkers, who may be intolerant and unavoidable. How you handle those relationships is of course a personal decision. Additionally, I am not suggesting that we should risk death or any other extreme outcome in exchange for openly supporting President Obama.
What I am advocating for is a little less fear and a little more faith.
I openly admit that I relish the occasional dirty looks from people who are anti-Obama when they see that I support our President. It reminds me that "there must needs be opposition in all things," and that there is still a lot of work to do to re-elect him.
Every day that goes by when another person finds out that I’m an Obama supporter (it usually becomes known pretty quickly- as I said, I’m extremely open about it) and they get excited to find someone who shares their passion, I am grateful that I put on that Obama shirt or brought my Obama water bottle with me. I cherish the opportunity to connect with like-minded people and to express my deeply held opinion that Barack Obama is the best candidate for President. No amount of insult, derogatory gestures, or rude glances can invalidate that belief. I'm not suggesting that my commitment to Obama is deeper than anyone else's- simply that I choose to risk negative encounters because I value finding those few people in Provo, Utah who do also support the President, and those positive encounters are worth the risk for me.
If we all stood a little taller, spoke a little more freely in the appropriate settings (i.e. not at church), opened our minds to the possibility that those who we thought previously would brazenly disparage our opinion might not be as churlish as we had imagined- who knows what deeper relationships and more significant connections we might develop.
Conversely- for every opportunity we pass up to share our convictions about supporting our President, we’ll never know which voter we may have reached, directly or indirectly, who might have cast the deciding vote for President Obama.
So perhaps now would be a good time to take a minute; think about how you represent yourself and your beliefs. Heading into the heated and controversial campaign season this fall, we could have a little less fear and a little more faith that the benefits of being open about our support for the President will far outweigh the potential for push-back.
106 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION 2012
Mormons for Obama on ABC
A little about us: as stated in Blaine's article, we are not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nor the 2012 Obama Presidential Campaign. However, we are Mormons, and we are for President Barack Obama. We created this website in order to represent the unique perspective of Mormons who are voting for Obama. We are all active and believing Latter-day Saints in Seattle WA, Provo UT, and Washington DC. We are not necessarily Republicans or Democrats, and we are not anti-Mitt Romney, but we are united behind President Obama as he seeks his second term. For more information on the idea behind this site, read our first post here. Also, if you are a Mormon who supports Obama and have something to say, we are looking for submissions - so submit here! Thank you for visiting!
Tripping: an article from Yahoo.com
A friend sent me the link with his own heading: "I'm still voting for Obama." But honestly, I haven't thought much about what a "Mormon presidency" might mean to me, since I am fairly confident of a win for the President come November. But apparently many Mormons have been pondering this question - would it be good for the Church? How would the Church change under another four years of this level of scrutiny? So I have started pondering what it would mean to me if a Mormon (Romney in this case) was elected president in 2012. Well, to steal a line from the same friend who sent me this article: mostly I'd be sad that Obama didn't win.