Thursday, October 23, 2008

Proposition 102 is one of many issues

It is always interesting to see how the news media handles current issues. I remember the reporting years ago during the Vietnam War era. The media was caught up in the day to day reporting of bombing raids and battles, along with reporting about the anti-war movements on the home front. Without going into a long analysis, the history books that are now coming out about the War paint a far different picture of what happened than that being presented in the newspapers and on the daily TV newscasts. With this long term perspective, I have learned to view any day-to-day reports on major events with scepticism.

Recently, the Arizona Republic has used the phrase "separation of church and state" in the context of the religious organization's involvement in supporting Proposition 102. Apparently, no one on the Arizona Republic newspaper staff has any background in history, political science or has bothered to read the U.S. Constitution. Separation of church and state involves the issue of government sponsored religions, such as the historical involvement of the Church of England or the Catholic Church in Spain and other predominantly Catholic countries.

Wikipedia has a fair discussion of this topic at:

The Wikipedia article contains a brief statement of the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The article says:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long held to the doctrine of separation of church and state originating in part from the long antagonism local and state governments have had towards their faith. Mormon writings have affirmed "[n]o domination of the state by the church; No church interference with the functions of the state; No state interference with the functions of the church, or with the free exercise of religion; The absolute freedom of the individual from the domination of ecclesiastical authority in political affairs; The equality of all churches before the law. The Church's official Articles of Faith, which outline the basic beliefs of the church, state that: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law".40 41

The two citations are:

40. Clark, James R. (1965). Messages of the First Presidency. Brigham Young University, Department of Educational Leadership & Foundations.
41. Political Neutrality. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (2006).

Participation in the political process by advocating a moral position has absolutely nothing to do with the separation of church and state and references to that principal show the lack of understanding of those quoted and of the media representatives or reporters making the quotes. Claiming that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or any other church, violates the separation of church and state when expressing a position on a moral issue is at best, misleading and at worst propaganda. We have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Let's focus on issues, not on unsupported emotional appeals to principals that have nothing to do with Proposition 102.

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