Wednesday, March 15, 2006

LDS letter gives hope to Democrats that the LDS Church may be Willing to Endorse Both Parties .... Don't be so Sure!

DesNews and other local and state news agencies have noted a letter that the LDS church does not endorse any candidate or party, as proof that Mormon church feels that Mormonism can be compatible with liberalism. However the optimism may be a little overstated. First, this letter is read every year over pulpits to LDS members who have often been accused of ostracizing those with liberal views. Second, there is a major tax law issue involved in this that better explains the Church's reason for issuing the letter.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Under Internal Revenue Code such an organization would and could lose tax exempt status if they are caught openly endorsing parties or campaigns. So the letter is more of a disclaimer rather than an endorsement of both parties platforms. By disclaiming any endorsements of a party or candidates the church is kept safe from possible accusations that the church is engaging in politics. This matter is one that the IRS watches very diligently and accusations are investigated regularly. If there was so much as a campaign poster seen on church property there would be consequences.

I have never heard leaders push candidates from the pulpit, however many Dem or liberal views (gay marriage, abortion, etc..) are expressly opposed by church doctrine. As a whole, (this may be my own ideological views) the church is far more supportive of the Republican-conservative agenda. For Dems or Republicans to be cheered by this as some kind of endorsement is a little naive. Look at official church statements regarding social issues overall to judge the church's politics which must be kept openly neutral.


Stephen Owens said...

I will take the liberty of changing two key words in one of your sentences: "On some vital (moral) issues I find the [Republican] Party has gone so far to the [right] that that party overall is unsupportable." Who pickets General Conference? The pro-choicers? No, it's the pro-lifers who are unhappy with the Church's position on abortion.

I am very comfortable with my membership in both the Church and the Democratic Party. Both try to help the powerless over the powerful.

pramahaphil said...

Maybe we're misunderstanding each other. First off I have no problem with someone being a Mormon and a Democrat - how you reconcile Democratic party views with your religious beliefs on social issues is your business. Personally my religious beliefs lead me to the other party -- no biggie. I love the Democratic party of the past, I think the party as an organization has lost its way since Kennedy but the Dem. party has some (I must say diminshing)good views.

However I must ask where are you going to conference? As far as I've noticed the picketers at Conference aren't protesting pro life or pro choice, they are protesting (as far as I have noticed) Mormon's because they believe Mormonism is a Satanic cult.