Posts Tagged ‘ Politics ’

State v. Bell and Changes to Marriage

March 5, 2004 | 17 comments

Bob Herbert’s New York Times column cites to an 1872 Tennessee case that upheld a law prohibiting interracial marriage. See State v. Bell, 66 Tenn. 9. The Tennessee Court wrote that: Extending the rule to the width asked for by the defendant, and we might have in Tennessee the father living with his daughter, the son with the mother, the brother with the sister, in lawful wedlock, because they had formed such relations in a State or country where they were not prohibited. The Turk or Mohammedan, with his numerous wives, may establish his harem at the doors of... Read more »

Mormons for Bush, Dean, and ESJ

February 27, 2004 | 11 comments

A while back we discussed the Mormons for Dean blogs (see here, e.g.). These bloggers are moving on, to and other places. What was intriguing about these sites was that one could make donations and volunteer through them. The campaign could know that x dollars and x footsoldiers came from the Saintly ranks. I, for one, got excited by the prospect that my own political involvement might help to strengthen the Church politically. If I was going to volunteer and donate, why not do it through Mormons for Bush? A recent post on Mormons for Equality and Social... Read more »

What Disturbs Me About Dale-Era Boy Scouts of America

February 26, 2004 | 47 comments

I’m sure most readers of this blog have heard of Boy Scouts v. Dale, the case holding that the Boy Scouts had a First Amendment right not to admit homosexuals as Scout leaders. Read more »

Legislative Judgments of Morality

February 12, 2004 | 32 comments

Randy Barnett has an interesting post up at the Volokh Conspiracy, giving a persuasive argument about why legislative judgments of morality are not a particularly good basis for legal punishments or restrictions. Barnett makes the very interesting initial assertion that: “A legislative judgment of ‘immorality’ means nothing more than that a majority of the legislature disapproves of this conduct.” Responding to a critique of this position by Rick Garnett, Barnett then elaborates: Consider the claim that homosexuality is immoral. I strongly disagree. Now what? In a contest between a majority of state legislators and me and those who agree... Read more »

Will Russell Support Bush?

January 29, 2004 | one comment

Our very own Russell Arben Fox, who has endorsed Dick Gephardt on this site, is flirting with not thinking that Bush is the Great Satan. If I may over simplify Russell’s comments in a really gauche way, it seems that since Bush has been coming out in favor of spending lots of money on good stuff, that he seems (in policy terms) to be migrating toward Russell’s preferred position of social conservatism and economic egalatarianism. Of course, Bush isn’t quite there, but Rusell (and my friend David Bernstein) make an interesting point. Read more »

Excommunicating Pro-Choice Catholics

January 29, 2004 | 143 comments

Kaimi has asked whether a faithful Mormon can be politically and publicly pro-choice while remaining true to his conviction that abortion is an offense against God and life. The debate continues (tentative answer emerging from the debate–No, well, Maybe, well, No, but you don’t have to be an enthusiast). Catholics ask the same question. Read more »

From My Cold, Dead Hands?

January 28, 2004 | 12 comments

Some discussion has come up in recent threads over how members are to reconcile church teachings with political beliefs. To date, the political beliefs examined have been largely liberal ideas which are seen by at least some as conflicting with church values. However, the church also takes positions that may be seen as counter to conservative ideas. One recent example is the church’s decision to prohibit members from bringing guns into church, even where the members are licensed concealed-carry permit holder. (See the BYU article about the policy, link via the Pollyanic Steve Evans). What is a strongly pro-Second... Read more »

Is it okay to be a Pro-Choice Mormon?

January 27, 2004 | 77 comments

We’ve had some extended discussions of abortion here in recent threads. One topic has not been discussed in any detail, and it’s one that I find interesting. Are church members required to be pro-life? (That is, opposed to legal availability of abortion). Or may they be pro-choice — (in favor of allowing abortion under the law)? The church has taken a solid position on the morality of abortion itself. The church web site makes clear: “The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in rare cases.” However, this does... Read more »

Poverty and Inequality

January 27, 2004 | 22 comments

Rusell’s post below leads me to post a question that I have been meaning to throw out for some time. When we look at the plight of the poor, what is the evil that we see: poverty or inequality? Read more »

AFA “Poll” and (Dis)Honesty?

January 23, 2004 | 4 comments

A recent episode reinforces my distrust of self-styled “family” and “Christian” political groups: The American Family Association set up a “poll” last month on their web site titled “America’s Poll on Homosexual Marriage.” The “poll” asked people whether they approved or disapproved of gay marriage. The AFA promised that “Results of this poll will be presented to Congress” — presumably as some kind of reflection of nationwide attitudes. (Of course, any attempt to suggest that the results of a self-selected “poll” were representative of the population would have been statistically unsupportable. While a properly conducted, random poll of sufficient... Read more »

New Advertisement Marks Anniversary of Roe v Wade

January 22, 2004 | 113 comments

VISUAL: Color video footage of fetus, 20-25 weeks gestation, in her mother’s womb sucking her thumb. NARRATOR: “Why are some babies aborted? It’s not because her mother was raped. It’s not because her mother’s life or health are in jeopardy. It’s not because her father isn’t supportive. It’s not because she was unplanned. It’s not even because her mother doesn’t want a baby. Then why are these babies aborted?” VISUAL: Screen goes black while “aborted” said. Black screen lasts for 2 seconds. Read more »

Mormons for Dean

January 20, 2004 | 76 comments

In honor of the Iowa Caucus I did an internet search for Mormons supporting candidates. Here’s what I found: Mormons for Dean, and Mormons for Dean, and yet more Mormons for Dean Mormons for Dean are a pretty visible set of links over on the Dean blog. I didn’t expect a Mormons for Bush, and I didn’t find one. But there were no Mormons for Clark, Kerry, Edwards, Lieberman, Gephardt, Sharpton, Mosely-Braun, or Kucinich. Will we never learn our lesson about monolithic politics. Go and be diverse! No, seriously, what gives? Read more »

“Subject to Kings,” and Myths of Legitimacy

January 9, 2004 | 24 comments

I just finished watching Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V, and was again awed by the speeches, especially the Crispin’s Day speech. Who isn’t? I also noticed the aweful brutality that Shakespeare accepts as a matter of course. Henry, to take one instance, threatens beseiged Harfleur with rape, rapine, and infanticide unless they open their gates. Of course, the medieval Law of War allowed such things for beseiged sites that held out past a certain time with no prospect of a relieving force, but it grates the modern conscience. I also noticed how seriously the play took the idea of hereditary... Read more »

Multi-moral America

January 7, 2004 | 18 comments

I just read a review of Lord Patrick Devlin’s best-selling mega-thriller (I jest) The Enforcement of Morals. I’ve added it to my reading list. Here’s a money quote: “if men and women try to create a society in which there is no fundamental agreement about good and evil they will fail; if having based it upon a common set of core values, they surrender those values, it will disintegrate. For society is not something that can be kept together physically; it is held by the invisible but fragile bonds of common beliefs and values. … A common morality is... Read more »

Mormons and the ACLU – Short Redux

December 16, 2003 | 17 comments

A while ago I posted on my blog, discussing whether a good Mormon can also be a good member of the ACLU. (I concluded that it is possible to be both — see the four-part discussion, 1, 2, 3 and 4; see also links to further discussion here). That multi-post discussion in turn kicked off a lengthy e-mail discussion on the LDS-Law list. Now, a reader of this blog e-mails in with an interesting piece of information: This reader was an ACLU member before baptism. Since joining the church, he reports that in his temple recommend interviews, he is... Read more »

BYU Law School

December 15, 2003 | 24 comments

Since we have been having a discussion about BYU, I thought I would post a little bit about BYU and my particular discipline: law. Although I went to BYU as an undergrad, I didn’t go there for law school. Still, I have friends that did, I know some of the faculty, and I have always been interested in the school. Here are some of my impressions: Read more »

How to Make a Mormon Political Theory

December 10, 2003 | 16 comments

How should Mormons use Mormonism to think about law and politics? My question is not about what the “right” Mormon answer is to this or that issue. Rather, it is about how we go about constructing a Mormon theology of politics. It seems that we have three possible alternatives. Read more »

Against Civic Religion

December 9, 2003 | 43 comments

Some time ago, Russell and Adam challenged me to explain what was wrong with cyrpto-protestant prayers in the public schools. What follows is my response along with some general thoughts on civic religion. Read more »

Church Boundaries and Political Gerrymanders

December 8, 2003 | 7 comments

Greg’s post below on the criteria used in drawing ward boundaries, reminds me of another interesting issue: the use of ward boundaries as a criteria for drawing political boundaries Read more »

The Federal Government as Public Nuisance

December 7, 2003 | 4 comments

I think that most Mormons are aware of that during the last half of the nineteenth century relations between the Church and the federal government were often chilly at best. Most Mormons, however, are unaware of the some the creative legal tactics employed by their nineteenth-century coreligionists. Read more »

What if Davis v Locke arose in Utah?

December 3, 2003 | 3 comments

As I read Dahlia Lithwick’s coverage of the Davis v Locke oral argument, I wondered what approach the court and press would have taken had the case originated in Utah. Dahlia writes: bothered by the fact that Davey had his scholarship revoked simply because he’d declared a double major in pastoral ministries and business administration. According to Kennedy, Davey could have just declared the business major, taken theology courses, and kept his funding. Kennedy asks, over and over, “What is the state interest in denying him funding simply because he declared a double major?” Finally Ruth... Read more »

The Church and Politics

December 2, 2003 | no comments

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The Utah Domination Clause

December 2, 2003 | 2 comments

Under the Utah Constitution, “here shall be no union of Church and State, nor shall any church dominate the State or interfere with its functions.” The interesting part of this is the Domination and Interference Clauses. What might they mean? Read more »

Should Mormons consider the “Christian Right” as friends?

November 24, 2003 | 10 comments

It seems to me that church members are becoming enamored of the political groups which are often identified “Christian Right” — politically powerful, vocally conservative groups like the Family Research Council, American Family Association, and Focus on the Family. I receive many e-mail messages from family members, forwarding petitions or other communiques from such groups. Matt Evans, of our blog and other blogs’ fame, has written about positive experiences he has had in communicating with one such group. I can certainly see why Mormons are drawn to these groups. Such organizations are well-organized and able to wield political power.... Read more »


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