Despite this mythical notion we have in the United States about a separation of church and state, “The Church” has always had a place in politics.
Everyone was afraid the Pope would run the White House when JFK ran for president.
Nobody wanted the president/prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to have the ear of the president when Mitt Romney ran.
Although there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there are those that say President Obama is unfit for the highest office in the land because he is a Muslim (spoiler alert: he’s not. But it wouldn’t be a big deal if he was).
I’ve always taken this fascination and repulsion of religion with a grain of salt. Of course, we would be interested. For many of us, our faith and religion define who we are on the most intimate levels and we want to know who is leading us.
But I’ve also viewed this repulsion with some level of confusion. After all, we all know people who are of different faiths than we are and we are friends with those people. Even in the smallest of neighborhoods, religious differences abound.
As a person who was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed Mormons because of our belief in the Book of Mormon as Another Testament of Jesus Christ), I have been extremely disappointed when I see those who are members of this church persecute those of a different faith. While I do not practice the religion, well, religiously, it is still part of who I am. My ancestors still suffered deeply for their faith, being driven from place to place. Seeing their hard work burned down time and again. Seeing their leaders be tarred and feathered. Losing children, possessions, and relationships in the perusal of something that was desperately important to them. Members of this church are still historically very close to the first members of the faith (certainly more so than Catholicism or Lutheranism) and for many of us the call “Come, come ye saints” is very strong.
It is members of this religion who were ultimately driven to the most undesirable location in the West – Utah. It was there, through hard work, that they made the desert “bloom as the rose.” It was in this place, where the mobs did not attack, that they built something beautiful.
So now, when I see those who raised me (not all though, hi Mom and Dad!) I am so sad to see many who advocate turning away those in need, those who are looking for a better way, those who are different from us.
Election day is coming upon us, only 6 days to go. I urge you, when you go to the polls, vote for the side of love. Vote for those who are committed to working together for a better world. We all deserve it.