Monday, October 19, 2009

100th Post Extravaganza

The fact that this is our 100th post says more about our stubbornness here at the Mormon Left than about the inherent quality of our writing and thinking or the number of people reading this blog.

It started out almost exactly a year ago as a way to explain that, yes, a person can be politically liberal and a good Mormon. I think we sussed that out pretty effectively and have now moved on to mostly writing about current events through the points of view of Mormon liberals. We've also made it clear that the purpose of this blog not to criticize or reinterpret doctrines, it is just a way to discuss secular politics from an angle that hasn't historically gotten a lot of publicity.

We've got some excellent readers who check in often and make really interesting and insightful comments. We thank everyone that comes and reads and comments. We welcome comments from all over the political spectrum and have had some great discussions over the past year.

I thought I would take this opportunity, then, to go over the thesis once again. Modern political liberalism and church doctrine are not mutually exclusive. There is plenty of room within the doctrines and teachings of the church for people of all political persuasions as long as they affirm the right of the individual to freedom of choice, including the freedom to practice religion.

The word "liberal," of course is pretty loaded (just like the word "conservative") and can mean a lot of different things to different people. I think Shawn O. made the definitive statement for this blog, however, when he wrote:
I value individual freedom more than about anything else, and so I am a liberal. I favor the freedom of action with respect to matters of personal belief or expression, and so I am liberal. I encourage progress, representation, tolerance, generosity, and freedom to act upon the dictates of my own conscience, and so based on both connotation and denotation, I am liberal.
Liberal is more than just Democrat, in fact sometimes they are at odds altogether. It is not always about government control or regulation of markets and systems. The focus is not on abortion or gay rights. "Liberal" is about progress, questioning the way we do things, looking for ways to improve, focusing on the rights and freedoms of all individuals, fostering tolerance and dialogue.

I feel this is a good fit with my religion, for me. I feel like believers should be constantly questioning the ever-shifting winds of societies, challenging individuals and groups to improve human conditions and relationships instead of holding on dearly to the secularist ideas of the past. We should embrace progress in technology and science and understanding to reach out to the least fortunate and powerful among us to lift them up and give them real opportunities in life.

Sometimes that means giving power to the government as the entity with the most potential to reach everyone. Sometimes that means trusting in individuals to do what's right on their own. It always means tolerance, respect, generosity, and selflessness. It means giving up what may be best for Me, for what is best for Us.

There have been no shortage of prominent Mormon liberals and statements by church leaders that both conservatives and liberals are welcome and encouraged in the church. But that doesn't mean that there are not issues where a liberal has to take a non-liberal stance in order to conform with the teachings of the church (abortion, for instance). The same can be said for conservatives, though (torture and war, for instance). We stated before and we will state it again, if you accept and agree with 100% of the views of a political party chances are you are not thinking critically. You are likely just following along blindly without examining the rhetoric.

So once again we state unequivocally that a person can be a strong liberal and a strong Mormon. We have loved working through these tough issues over the past year and hope to continue doing so. Feel free to tell your friends and, if you are new to the blog, to browse through our older posts which cover a wide variety of subjects. Thanks again for reading and contributing.


Lincoln Cannon said...

"We should embrace progress in technology and science and understanding to reach out to the least fortunate and powerful among us to lift them up and give them real opportunities in life."


grayfox said...

Congrats on reaching 100 and here's to 100 more.

Josh said...

Um...I suppose congratulations are in order. I want credit for allowing you all to bash the dumb redneck though. I'm sure that has kept some folks, like grayfox, around.

Jacob S. said...

We love having a token dumb redneck around. Thanks for playing the role. Now, about nuking the Middle East . . .

grayfox said...

The health care "debate" brought me here initially when I saw Mormon friends of mine staunchly defending private insurance companies and I wondered if there were any LDS out there who saw the wisdom of a single payer system and mostly stick around for that issue, it's the big thing rattling around in my head these days.

Andrew said...

Happy 100th post! Although life is currently not compatible with heavy blogging, I'm glad to help out around here with a bit of vitrol and perhaps a few facts every now and again. And, it's nice to see people who are proudly liberal and members of the Church. I know there are lots of us out there, but hearing that voice and having discussions with like-minded people helps me keep my bearings.