I’m a Democrat because I’m a Mormon: Liberalism is not immoral

Last year, Kathleen Gurr wrote a groundbreaking article on how she was a Democrat because, not in spite of, being a Mormon. I would like to reiterate that it is not a sin to be a liberal Democrat.

I am deeply chagrined when I hear Mormons incorrectly refer to the liberal left as immoral. From this, I deduce that those who deem liberals to be immoral do not understand politics, or their own religion, or either.

I will focus on the liberal stance in two primary arenas, for which they are often criticized: that of political liberty and of economic welfare. I hope to prove that the liberal stance in these two arenas is more inline with Mormon doctrine than that of conservatives.

Conservatives often claim that they don’t believe in “big politics.” They claim they are the protectors of freedom and liberty. They use this ideology to support free market economies. The irony is that all too frequently they attempt to use the government to violate the liberties of others.

For example, conservatives desire to make abortion, marijuana and same-sex marriage universally illegal. Their reasoning is as follows:

1. Abortion, substance abuse and homosexuality are immoral.

2. Therefore, we should make all of them illegal.

Of course, there is a hidden premise that we should make everything that is immoral illegal.

No one would ever admit espousing this premise because it is obvious the Constitution was created to prevent the government from imposing its moral beliefs upon others.

Section 134, verse 7 of the Doctrine and Covenants reads, “we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men… the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience.”

Not only the Constitution, but LDS scripture, dictates that we cannot use government to impose our beliefs upon others. Yet that is exactly what conservative Mormons seek to do. Perhaps they should read their own scriptures before condemning others.

Moreover, Jesus Christ taught “inasmuch as ye do it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye do it unto me.” Each time we help someone in need, we are only helping our God. He also taught that even when people bring poverty upon themselves, we should help them-if we can. It is clear that according to Christian doctrine, we should help the poor.

The LDS Church does donate a large amount of money in welfare aid. Despite being relatively small, the LDS Church donates millions of dollars to foreign nations in need. The Perpetual Education Fund helps a great deal of returned missionaries in developing nations to go to college. For those in special need, the bishop’s storehouse and general church aid is of great help. It is indeed amazing, given the size of the church, the amount of good that it does.

All these programs have one thing in common-those receiving aid must work to receive such assistance. The church does not simply give handouts to the needy; it is church policy that those on church welfare must work to receive assistance.

I think the church would be more inclined to support opportunity welfare programs, such as those offering needy students Pell Grants and student loans, rather than general assistance welfare, which simply put, are governmental handouts.

Liberals don’t necessarily believe in government handouts, either. If you recall my last column, I believe general assistance welfare programs should be phased out and be replaced by opportunity welfare programs.

I believe in raising the minimum wage, providing free college tuition and increasing governmental small business loans.

I do not believe in government handouts. I don’t think the government needs to give money to anyone who asks for it, but a just government would at least provide a minimum quality of life and opportunity for those willing to work for it.

Conservatives seem to oppose welfare even in this limited sense. Conservatives generally oppose free college tuition and they consistently vote against raising the minimum wage. It appears conservatives don’t want to offer help to anyone, even if those in need work for assistance, if it involves raising taxes.

This, to me, is supremely anti-Christian.

In brief, contrary to conservative rhetoric, there is more to freedom than a free-market economy.

Liberals are not immoral-they are patriots who seek to retain political liberty and desire all human beings to at least have a minimal quality of life.

I am a liberal because of my religious beliefs and not in spite of them.

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