On Facebook I have joined a group called Washington Mormons For Marriage, which describes itself as
Washington Mormons for Marriage is a resource for LDS members who support marriage equality in Washington
One of the characteristics of this group seems to be the desire to emphasize the social justice aspects of Jesus’ teachings as something that can be aligned at least with the socially liberal views on compassion and acceptance among many members of the Mormon Church. This is particularly true among those of us who have a concern that the Church refrain from those previous involvements in this political issue that probably did more harm than good for both the members and the Church.
Although in LDS communities in this country the division between Democrats and Republicans as well as liberals versus conservatives is seriously skewed to the right, the attitude seems to be more partisan political conservatism as opposed to genuine social conservatism.
I make no pretense of speaking in any official capacity for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. What follows is my own thinking regarding what I consider genuine religious concerns for social justice.
What would Jesus do … really?
The classic logical next question to ask upon hearing the question “What would Jesus Do?” is, “Did the apostolic ancestors do what Jesus did when they burned heretics and falsely labeled women as witches and butchered them?”
They quoted the Bible, justifying torture and murder with Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 13:3-5 and other “inerrant” verses.
Jesus quoted the Hebrew Scriptures but not those two verses and none by which he urged his followers and all believers to judge and condemn another human being. That, simply put, is not Christ-like nor godly.
If that is what is taught, does it make sense that the Divine, having insisted on Divine righteousness in the Sacrifice of his only Son, would be righteously satisfied?
… that with such evil small-minded and narrow judgmentalism all was again well with the flawed world?
Does it not serve to diminish the act of Jesus if, in fact, nothing was learned in his sacrifice except the erroneous assumption that there is a correct way to believe, that God is a nit-picking score-keeper and only in blind literalism may one be a correct Christian?
Is this not borne out in the historical persecutions of Christians against other Christians for a perceived incorrect or heretical view of the “sacred text?
Is it not true that it was the manner in which the correctness of scripture was dispensed that Jesus took exception to in his ministry in speaking against the Jewish priesthood and his willingness to die the torturous death to make his point?
Verse-citers can lick their fingers, flip back and forth and all over the scriptures, but at no point is there any scriptural verification for the notion that Jesus the Christ endorses a signature on a petition, a vote against any one person’s desire to marry or the mangy efforts of self-righteous bigots to be mortal enforcers of a Divine and Willful rejection of all mortals who fall outside the born-again purview.
Nobody wants to see Christ and the sacred hung at the entrance hall of a 3 ring circus. But neither does anyone want to see Christ and the sacred hung at the entrance hall of a poorly-defined orthodoxy where the foundation of a “true faith” is based on the mind, intent and will of all the flawed self-proclaimed Christian spokes- persons?
We all seem to know where we disagree. What we don’t seem to know is whether we can learn from each other and grow from the experience.
Success in the attempt to exhort Christians to sign and vote based on faulty and inflammatory value judgments masquerading as the “Word” risks empowering the prospect for cultural regression to something uglier and far more carnal for the society as a whole then simple bedroom voyeurism.
The response I see for us is exactly what we all are doing here in this moment and for the next few months … meet the Biblical God-talkers head on and challenge what they say and do.
Hold their feet to the fire in every way we can but in such a way as to move politics and religion further apart from each other.