I find this problematic…but should I?

E-mail received today: 

Bishop ***** and I both endorse an effort of the ******* Catholic Church to bring  to light religious freedoms being encroached upon by our government,  and encourage all Latter Day Saints to participate in an open invitation to all Christian congregations to attend an Interdenominational prayer service for religious liberty on Saturday June 16th @ 7:00 PM at **********.

 Let’s support our Christian Brothers in something we can agree on! 

Note (added after publishing):  Some have (I can now see, understandably) assumed that this e-mail was sent by the Bishop’s wife.  However, it was actually sent by a bishop who is just referring to a neighboring ward’s bishop who is in agreement.  So, there was no “pulling rank” from a wife going on or anything strange like that.

18 thoughts on “I find this problematic…but should I?

  1. 1

    Other than, of course, the use of the phrase “Christian Brothers” to mean “all the righteous dudes and, oh yeah, ladies too.”

  2. 2

    Divorced from context, this seems fine, if a little misguided. In light of the very obvious context that even the least-informed Latter-day Saint is surely aware of re: the Catholic church, this seems really stupid.

  3. 3

    Wow, we’ve come a long way since the Great and Abominable Whore of All the Earth, haven’t we? McConkie must be turning in his grave.

    Every time I hear Christians talk about threats to religious liberty I want to ask how much of that liberty they think Muslims should have. Because I don’t believe for a second that they want it applied equally.

  4. 4

    Yes it’s problematic because we actually don’t agree with our “Christian brothers” on this. Almost every single Mormon couple of my generation I know has used birth control at one point or another with church leaders saying that the decision is none of their business. That makes our birth control policy hugely divergent from the Catholic leadership’s, although remarkably similar to the 98% of Catholic congregants who use birth control anyway.

  5. 5

    Definitely problematic. There ARE places in the world where Christians are being abused, repressed, and have no religious liberty. THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. I’m really sick of hearing the whining and complaining that comes from “Christians” in this country–if our laws aren’t Judeo-Christian, they will never be happy. It distracts from the real injustices that go on, the real loss of religious freedom. So yeah, I find that email obnoxious and ignorant at best.

  6. 6

    I think my hesitation stems from a more generalized place (not from the specific issue of bc or abortions, per se, though I agree that these are all good points).

    I’m more concerned about the assumption that a bishop can (1) assume homogeneity of opinion on something political like this and (2) that it’s okay to have bishops (just local-level folks) use words like “endorse”. It’s getting too church-state-in-bed-together for me.


  7. 7

    I call double foul.
    1) Referring to her husband as “Bishop” implies that a Bishop’s ecclesiastical authority applies in this situation. It doesn’t.
    2) Using Church email rosters for political purposes – particularly ones protesting government administrations – is pretty solidly in the “Prohibited” category.

    When I lived in California, the bishopric often announced that we’d been invited to participate in interfaith prayer services – but he was simply passing on an invitation without endorsement. And while I know they prayed for government leaders a few times, there wasn’t any political innuendo about agendas or platforms.

  8. 8

    If a bishop wants to personally endorse a political position, I have no problem with that, as long as he doesn’t use church resources (including e-mail lists) to do so. But it needs to be clear that he’s expressing a personal opinion.

    And while I agree with the political position that the Catholic church has taken re contraception funding (even though I generally support Obamacare), I think it’s presumptuous to assume that all LDS would think likewise.

  9. 9

    what does the Book of Mormon teach us about how if there is no punishment, there is no crime? As long as churches are NOT punished for violating the tax exempt status, they will continue to abuse it as if it didn’t exist.

  10. 10

    Megdellin– If it matters, the e-mail was written by the bishop himself. The other bishop he refers to is the bishop of the ward that shares the chapel with our ward.

  11. 11

    Working with catholics doesn’t bug me at all. But any assumptions that all mormons are feeling “encroached upon” by the government- that bugs me a lot. I think Eric hit the nail on the head.

  12. 12

    Coupla issues here. I’d never send an email like this. I think it’s a personal decision and I’d have to say something. I’d probably send an email back saying something like “my husband (the district varsity leader) and I may or may not agree, but will exercise our right to make personal and private decisions in this regard.”

    If it were a friend, I might kid her about the reference to her husband. It’s heavy-handed. But, I don’t have any friends like that.

    All THAT being said, I’ve defended the Catholic Church lately. I might not agree with their doctrine, but the minute the government steps into telling religion what to do, Houston, I have a problem.

  13. 13

    I think it would be totally awesome if it was just an interdenominational prayer service.

    But, one with a political motive behind it is troubling. Ugh.

  14. 14

    There are lots of good reasons to be involved with other religions.

    Spending time hearing why permitting same-sex marriage and covering contraception are the first steps on the road to religious persecution isn’t one of them, as far as I’m concerned. Especially since I have yet to see any arguments that are based on reality (not just slippery-slope fallacies and appeals to emotion).

    And having an ecclesiastical leader use his (or someone else’s) religious mantle of authority to endorse political causes is not a good idea at any time.

    But since it only deals with Christian Brothers, perhaps we sisters needn’t worry our pretty little heads over it after all.

  15. 15

    This would annoy me, but then again- there’s a lot of issues members of the church create that tend to annoy me. I’ve gotten in the habit of shrugging them off and moving on with my life.

    I think the ability to ignore the stupidity of man mixed with priesthood authority came as serving as a sister missionary, listening to a bunch of clueless 19 year old boys tell me what a successful mission looked like.

  16. 16
  17. 17

    This is why I worry about us getting into bed with Catholics and far-right Evangelicals on the “religious freedom” issue: http://www.salon.com/2012/06/09/embracing_the_fringe/

    The fact is, Mormons have a quite progressive view on contraception and a moderate one on abortion. We are worried about “religious freedom” primarily because of gay marriage. Allowing our voice to be lumped in with the lunatic fringe of the American religious right damages our credibility and makes us pawns of people who will go right back to thinking Mormons are Public Enemy #1 when it becomes convenient for them (Southern primaries this year, anyone??).

  18. 18

    i call priestcraft. strong word i know, and i’m sure it’s not intentional on this guy’s part. but he’s nevertheless using his religious authority for a political cause not endorsed by the church. he’s gone rogue, and he’s dragging the gullible with him. not cool.

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