Friday, April 27, 2007

Where is there room for political dialogue and compromise?

By Adam Ford

Utah County GOP delegate links illegal immigration to Satan

Debora Bulkeley has an interesting article today in the Deseret Morning News about the crazies that constitute a significant portion of the Republican Party in Utah County.
Don Larsen, a district chairman, has submitted a resolution equating illegal immigration to "Satan's plan to destroy the U.S. by stealth invasion" for debate at Saturday's Utah County Republican Party Convention.
I don’t know Don Larsen, but we suspect he was a member of the John Birch Society during the Cold War. He probably believes that Ezra Taft Benson’s elevation to President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints constituted God’s seal of approval on his extreme right-wing political views. Mr. Larson is representative of the wing of the Republican Party (dominant in Utah County) that believes President Eisenhower was a willing tool of the Communists and that Blacks were less valiant in the preexistence. Having lived in Utah County most of my life, I know the type well.
Referring to a plan by the devil for a "New World Order ... as predicted in the Scriptures," the resolution calls for the Utah County Republican Party to support "closing the national borders to illegal immigration to prevent the destruction of the U.S. by stealth invasion."

I am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and spend time every day studying the scriptures. I fancy myself as a better-than-average scripturian. Although I have not attended official Republican scripture study classes (some Utah County ward gospel doctrine classes came close), personal study has not revealed to me the scriptures that predict a New World Order will use illegal immigration to destroy the United States. The term “New World Order” does not register any hits in the new broad search engine at LDS.org. Maybe Mr. Larson’s resolution includes citing scriptures?

I’d guess the supporting authority would be the same cites previously used to warn of the Communist threat. And after the immigration issue is resolved, the scriptures will be twisted to attack the next canard.
In part, the resolution states, "There are ways to destroy a nation other than with bombs or bullets. The mostly quiet and unspectacular invasion of illegal immigrants does not focus the attention of the nation the way open warfare does but is all the more insidious for its stealth and innocuousness."

This is an amazing (and disturbing) proposition: If too many people who speak Spanish, have brown skin, and favor a house color other then the beige stucco blight spreading across the McMansions of the Wasatch Front come to America, they will destroy our nation. And by “destroy our nation,” Mr. Larson means his grand-daughter will be assigned to sit next to a kid named L√≥pez next fall.

As President Gordon B. Hinckley recently said, “Racial strife still lifts its ugly head.” He continued, “even right here among us there is some of this.”
I have recognized and spoken a number of times on the diversity we see in our society. It is all about us, and we must make an effort to accommodate that diversity. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children. Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.
-- “The Need for Greater Kindness,” President Gordon B. Hinckley, April 2006 General Conference, Priesthood Session

When Utah County Republicans rail against illegal immigrants destroying our nation, are they making efforts to accommodate diversity? Are they sufficiently recognizing that those they wish to expel from the peace and prosperity we are blessed with in the United States are also sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven, recipients of His love too?

Or are they placing pocketbook ahead of principle, nationalistic arrogance above the brotherhood of man? Certainly they could be kinder then saying the very presence of a neighbor who didn’t cross the border in accordance with the archaic and Byzantine US immigration laws is the active tool of Satan seeking to destroy our nation.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints allows illegal immigrants to serve as priesthood leaders, they can and do hold temple recommends. One would think that this would give Mormon Utah County Republicans pause before saying such brothers and sisters were tools of Satan. Sadly, one would be wrong.

According to the Book of Mormon, “[The Lord] denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” (2 Ne. 27:33)

In contrast to Nephi’s vision of the welcoming Lord, Mr. Larson and his cohorts believe that the United States should deny those that come, especially the brown ones, and give no mind to the Central American Catholics who are not as blessed by God as we rich American Mormons. This attitude makes me very sad. I think these Utah County Republican Mormons should be more Christ-like.

Apparently they feel that the Lord with his open arms is not a good example for the United States. Instead of a loving embrace, they would greet those wishing to come to America with armed guards on a barbed wall. After all, immigrants might lower wages or increase the costs of education and health care. And the only thing more sacred to the right-wing Utah County Republican then the idea that they are God’s political operatives is their pocketbook. If it might cost them money, it is categorically of the Devil.
"I don't think you'd find very many Republicans to suggest that the devil is involved in the immigration issue," said Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo, who is serving as convention chairman. "I don't think you'll find much support for that sentiment."
I’m not so sure Sen. Bramble is right. John Jacob, who ran a strong primary challenge to Rep. Chris Cannon last fall based on an anti-immigration platform, concluded that Satan was working against him.

And now this resolution. There really does seem to be a significant wing of the Republican Party in Utah County that actually believes logistical and political opposition to their anti-immigration fight is in fact inspired by Satan.
However, Bramble — who in 2005 sponsored a then-controversial measure to replace drivers' licenses of illegal immigrants with driving privilege cards that can't be used as state identification — said the resolution could be brought up.
Deny them identification because, heaven forbid (literally), Republicans wouldn’t want an illegal immigrant to be able to open a bank account or cash a check. Republicans would prefer them to remain completely in the underground financial market.

And remember that Sen. Bramble is being quoted in this article as the moderate voice of reason in the Utah County Republican Party. Maybe this type of pointless cruelty was the inspiration for President Hinckley’s 2006 conference address urging greater kindness towards minorities.
If that happens, Bramble said, it likely would spark a discussion among delegates about how they'd like to see the party handle the issue of immigration.
Walls with armed soldiers, no school for their kids, no health care, mass arrests and deportation—that sums up the right-wing Republican position.

The vast majority of Americans agree that the border should be controlled. They also believe that law-abiding citizens wishing to come to America should be welcomed. But don’t expect a majority at the Utah County Republican Convention to hold the latter view. Too many Utah County Republicans are stuck in a Cold War mentality. Communism is no longer the boogeyman; immigration has taken its place—in this instance being held up as the evil that will destroy America.

How can any rational discussion about the issue occur when the other side starts out with their testimony that Satan is their opponent and the Holy Scriptures are on their side? Where is there room for political dialogue and compromise?

Unfortunately, accustomed to authoritarian deference ecclesiastically, most residents of Utah County are predisposed to perpetuate a one-party dictatorship where “R” is assumed to mean “righteous.”

As for me and my house, we will follow Pres. James E. Faust:
"I am a liberal in terms of human values and human rights. I believe what is said in the Book of Mormon, that the Lord values all of his children equally—black and white, bond and free, male and female, Jew and Gentile—and that the Lord likewise has compassion for the heathen. As a result, I like to see all people enjoy every advantage, every blessing, every opportunity . . . I also support what has been said by the Brethren—that it is in the interests of the Church to have a two-party system and not to have one party that is exclusively LDS and the other party exclusively non-LDS. Both locally and nationally, the interests of the Church and its members are served when we have two good men or women running on each ticket, and then no matter who is elected, we win."
--James P. Bell, In the Strength of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust, p. 86

14 comments:

Part of the Plan said...

Adam, great post! With regard to "New World Order", that's the title of a book by Pat Robertson, and Mr. Larsen obviously read it, then substituted "Satan" for "Communists/Jews/Freemasons".

Emily said...

Adam,

Great job. Thank you for summing it up so well and putting into words what I have been feeling about this very issue.

I hope that tomorrow, cooler heads will prevail at the Utah County GOP Convention. But does that ever happen in Utah County?

JM Bell said...

Adam, that was a great missive. Good job, good presentation.

I hope you run again.

That One Guy said...

Wow! While I don't equate Satan to any illegal immigrant plan to take over the world, this is CRAZY TALK.

What happened to being subject Kings, Rules, Magistrates, and such.

You apparently advocate a complete open border policy, supported by scriptures from the Book of Mormon and words spoken from 50 E. North Temple.

How about a little separation of church and state? How about a little Rule Of Law here?

The reality is that these people (and by "these people" I mean ALL IMMIGRANTS, no matter the color of their skin) don't come here to integrate into our society. The come here indignantly, illegally, to gain free money and things, sending their illegal monetary gains back to their homeland with the help of financial institutions that help them launder their money.

They take advantage of our broken systems in order to selfishly gain for themselves at the expense of our society.

If you think beige stucco is the blight on the Wasatch Front, you need to visit certain OTHER parts of Salt Lake and surrounding area, and see what is REALLY going on there. Education is in crisis because teachers can't deal with children who can't even speak English, and whose parents can't be bothered to learn to speak it in the home, the health care system is taxed because they can't/won't get insurance, the legal system is burdened by increased crime in these areas. The list of societal problems here is long. Beige stucco is the least of the problems.

Our system for dealing with immigrants is broken and needs to be fixed. While, in principle, I whole-heartedly disagree with the notion of amnesty for those already here, like guest worker programs and such, I suppose it is a mitigating strategy for dealing with a problem that already exists, bigger than is readily dealt with in any sort of humane way.

The toothpaste is already out of the tube, and we have to deal with it.

Open borders and religious rhetoric is not the answer, though.

That One Guy said...

And by the way, I would welcome ANYONE who comes here, legally, with a "loving embrace". No matter the color of their skin.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight- Republicans are wacko, adam ford is a mormon scriptorian (he is the biggest church name dropper in democrat party history, and church history), satan is not bringing illegals to america. Thanks for the pointless post to an obviously crazy old man wh was ranting.

pat conniff said...

What the hell is going on here? How is it that some nit-wit with a Book of Mormon can quote a few scriptures and then feel justified to run his mouth reckless? Mormon leaders that are illegal aliens? Good God. Whats next; a woman in the White House?

You should be ashamed of yourself for running the smack that you have as the facts have been left out. Let me refresh your dope filled memory:

Illegals - bad.
Whites - good (unless Democrats, or poor).
Your wife and kids - not proud of you.

That One Guy said...

The only way for an illegal immigrant to get a temple recommend is to lie when asked to answer the question, "Are you honest in all your dealings with your fellow man."

Anonymous said...

Funny, Republicans can use scripture and it's okay. Democrats do so and they get called names.

Thanks for writing this article Adam. We need more people like you in Utah politics.

Anonymous said...

Pat Conniff, who are you and where the hell did you come from? You are a white loving dark skin hating nincompoop.

Pat Cornflake said...

That's NEOCON Poop to you!

Allie said...

Good post.

Part of the Plan said...

TOG,

How could any Utahn get a temple recommend if that's part of the criteria? Everytime one runs a red light, drives 10 MPH over the speed limit, and cuts me off in traffic...that's being dishonest with his/her fellow man/woman.

Angry White Male said...

Illegall immigrants are to the USA what the Killing Fields were to Cambodia