Harry Reid: Between A Political Rock and a Religious Hard Place

By | October 6, 2010

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church.  Reid has a political problem that’s about to smack him upside the head on November 2nd.  The problem is that the political positions taken by Reid appear to be at odds with his professed religious beliefs. And this is a problem for Reid because there are approximately 173,639 Mormons in Nevada, comprising about 6.7 of Nevada’s population. What’s more, Mormons tend to be devout voters – and the vast majority of them vote Republican. That 6.7 percent figure is larger than Angle’s percentage lead in the polls. Losing the Mormon vote could be disastrous for Reid. And Mormons have good reason to abandon Reid on November 2nd. After all, Reid isn’t exactly representing the views of those conservative Nevada Mormons.

This article presents both sides of the argument as to Reid’s political vs. religious beliefs – you be the judge as to where you think Reid’s true affection lies.

Official Mormon Church Position on Politics

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints officially maintains a position of neutrality when it comes to politics. Here is the church’s official statement on this subject:

The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.

The Church does not:

  • Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
  • Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
  • Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

The Church does:

  • Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.
  • Expect its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.
  • Request candidates for office not to imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Church.
  • Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.

Reid’s Rock and a Hard Place

However, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does hold doctrinal positions that are diametrically opposed to the political views held by Reid – which puts him in a position of having to choose between his religious beliefs and his political beliefs. Guess which way he goes when the chips are down? Right, politics wins every time with Reid. Let’s examine some of these issues that place Reid between a rock and a hard place.

In his defense, Reid will point to the following official statement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:

Elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated Church position. While the Church may communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their best judgment and with consideration of the constituencies whom they were elected to represent.

Note that the Church says that members of the church who hold political office can make policy choices that are at odds with church doctrine. However, it makes no statement that such held political views transcend official church doctrine. In other words, Reid can hold liberal views on any subject he believes in – but that doesn’t mean the Church is going to change its doctrine to fall into line with the views of Reid. Reid is still on the hook doctrinally for advocating positions that go against the beliefs of the Church. Reid is free to hold opposing viewpoints, but take a guess what would happen, for instance, if he were to stand at the pulpit and give a religious speech in favor of unrestricted abortions? Yup, his Church leaders would be having a private chat with him for his allegedly apostate behavior.

So let’s take a look at some issues on which the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has spoken out and at the corresponding political positions of Reid.

Abortion

Church Position

Human life is a sacred gift from God. Elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God. Church members who submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions may lose their membership in the Church.

Reid’s Position

  • Voted NO on restricting UN funding for population control policies.
  • Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP.
  • Voted NO on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions
  • Voted YES to expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines
  • Rated 50% by the National Right to Life Committee, indicating a mixed record on abortion.
  • Sponsored bill allowing emergency contraction

Analysis

It would appear that Reid is eligible under the rules of his Church for excommunication on the basis that he encourages abortion and has also sought to pay for abortions.

Self-Sufficiency

Church Position

Excerpt from a First Presidency Message published in 1986: Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare by Thomas S. Monson, who is now the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Work is basic to all we do. God’s first direction to Adam in the Garden of Eden as recorded in scripture was to dress the garden and take care of it. After the fall of Adam, God cursed the earth for Adam’s sake saying, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.” (Gen. 3:19.) Today, many have forgotten the value of work. Some falsely believe that the highest goal in life is to achieve a condition in which one no longer needs to work.

Let us hearken to the counsel given by President Stephen L Richards in 1939: “We have always dignified work and reproved idleness. Our books, our sermons, our leaders, including particularly our present President, have glorified industry. The busy hive of the honeybee Deseret—has been our emblem. Work with faith is a cardinal point of our theological doctrine, and our future state—our heaven—is envisioned in terms of eternal progression through constant labor.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1939, p. 65.)

Self-reliance is a product of our work and under-girds all other welfare practices. It is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being. Regarding this principle, President Marion G. Romney has said: “Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation in temporal as well as in spiritual things.” (In Welfare Services Meeting Report, 2 Oct. 1976, p. 13.)

President Spencer W. Kimball further taught concerning self-reliance: “The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second upon his family, and third upon the Church if he is a faithful member thereof.

“No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able, will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else.” (Ensign, Nov. 1977, p. 77.)

President Thomas S. Monson

President Thomas S. Monson

Reid’s Position

Reid has presided over the largest expansion of the welfare state ever seen in the history of The United States of America. Reid championed ObamaCare through Congress and voted for nearly $ 1 Trillion in stimulus spending – which will have the effect of making our children and grandchildren unable to be self-reliant. Reid seeks to expand entitlements at every opportunity – making people reliant on the government for their sustenance, thereby removing from them the opportunity to work to support themselves and instead placing them on a public dole.

Personal Liberty and Freedom of Choice

Church Position

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Excerpt from a talk given January 31, 2006 at Brigham Young University by Elder D. Todd Christofferson Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

In years past we generally used the term free agency. That is not incorrect. More recently we have taken note that free agency does not appear in the scriptures. They talk of our being “free to choose” and “free to act” for ourselves (2 Nephi 2:27; 10:23; see also Helaman 14:30) and of our obligation to do many things of our own “free will” (D&C 58:27). But the word agency appears either by itself or with the modifier moral: “That every man may act in doctrine and principle … according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment” (D&C 101:78; emphasis added). When we use the term moral agency, we are appropriately emphasizing the accountability that is an essential part of the divine gift of agency. We are moral beings and agents unto ourselves, free to choose but also responsible for our choices.

…The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency” (Moses 7:32).

Reid’s Position

The position of Harry Reid echoes that of the Democratic Party in general and Barack Hussein Obama in particular. Reid supports a vast expansion of government in order to enable the central planning and control long envisioned by the political left. Reid supports Obama’s appointments of “Czars” who have been appointed to take free will away from the people and replace that free will with federal degrees in all facets of life – all without Congressional oversight or approval.

Civil Discourse in Politics

Church Position

The Church expects “its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner…”

Reid’s Position

  • “My staff tells me not to say this, but I’m going to say it anyway.  In the summer you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol, especially Christian conservatives. It’s true, they stink like hell.” – Harry Reid
Harry Reid gives an opponent the finger
Senator Harry Reid, in earlier times, displaying his typical civility in political discourse.
  • Reading in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sherman Frederick writes: “There are about 250,000 Hispanic voters in Nevada, about 50,000 of which register Republican. No telling how many Hispanic voters — Republican and Democrat — vote for the individual candidate and not a straight party ticket, like most Americans do. For Harry Reid to say that all Hispanics should then vote only for Democrats like himself is like calling a good cross section of Hispanic Nevadans little short of stupid.
    And lest we forget, polls show that Nevada voters (which include that Hispanic electorate) are on the verge of overwhelmingly voting into office the state’s first Hispanic governor, Brian Sandoval. A dreaded Republican. What is that — stupid squared?”
  • Reid said that Obama could be a successful presidential candidate because he is “light skinned” and that he speaks with “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=255708117314

Civil discourse isn’t exactly Reid’s strong suit. Seems he doesn’t give much weight to the advice of his own church leaders.

Conclusion

Reid is appears to consistently be at odds with the doctrines of his own religion. This places him in the awkward position of having to refute allegations of hypocrisy. Which he is? Is he an orthodox Mormon who devoutly practices the teachings of his church? Or he is dedicated to the liberal, leftist, socialist, communist policies of the Democratic Party? There doesn’t appear to be much grey area in this matter. And it doesn’t appear that a devout Mormon can hold to both positions simultaneously. The church positions speak for themselves and appear to be closely aligned with the beliefs of the vast majority of conservatives and self-professed members of the Tea Party. Perhaps this is what gives Reid his dour countenance – he can’t reconcile his public socialist policy planks with the teachings of his own religion.

Which is it Harry? Do you support the theology and doctrines of your faith, or do you support the progressive policies of the Democratic Party?

As for the rest of us, we get to judge Reid via an easy parameter – “By their works ye shall know them.”

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3 thoughts on “Harry Reid: Between A Political Rock and a Religious Hard Place

  1. Jesse Holland

    The media has forced your choices – why? Pick the better of two bad possibilities – why? In order to have effective representation, you must truly have a representative that voices the will of the State and the people above their personal convictions, opinions or party demands. I, Jesse Holland, am offering that opportunity; to represent your will and voice! That is the legal requirement of a Senator. I am easily found online and encourage you to vote responsibly. Please give our State and Country a chance with legal representation. I will serve the Will of the State and the citizens therein. You are rightfully the owner of your government. Picking and choosing ideas based upon big money, special interests and party weight must stop.

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