Saturday, September 02, 2006

Senator Bennett Uses 'Scorched Earth' Divisive Rhetoric

I always thought that Senator Bennett was more thoughtful than what his inflammatory rhetoric exhibited when he said that Utah Democrats are the "anti-Mormon party." Senator Bennett has just blatantly attacked thousands of his constituents and fellow Mormons. As an active LDS member and federal candidate from the Democratic Party, I cannot let this absurd statement go unrefuted. I have met thousands of Utah Democrats--Mormon and those of other belief systems--and I have never heard an anti-Mormon sentiment. In fact, the people that adhere to non-LDS belief systems have shown me nothing but respect, support and a high regard for the LDS people.

As a returned missionary that has defended my LDS faith among many right-wing Republican and anti-Mormon people in western Michigan, I find his statement hurtful and lacking in serious thought. At BYU Law School I was trained by serious thinking LDS Democrats who taught me to take a more dynamic approach to considering American politics and trends in constitutional history.

The LDS faith has a longtime tradition of supporting principles of checks and balances and separation of powers, which are tantamount to our American constitutional tradition--which can only be achieved with at least a two-party system. Senator Bennett's comments are a hasty generalization and extreme. If anything, his remarks are pushing moderates away from his camp. I am disappointed by his politicization of religion. Senator Bennett owes an apology to the thousands of faithful LDS Democrats for his insensitive remarks.

In President's Hinckley's book Standing for Something, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the following about the fading civility in our world,

"We simply must work unitedly to remove from our hearts and to drive from our
society all elements of hatred, bigotry, racism, and other divisive actions and
words that limit a person's ability to progress, learn, and be fully accepted.
Snide remarks or racial slurs, hateful epithets, malicious gossip, and mean and vicious rumor mongering have no place among us."

It is time to elect leaders that are going to work to solve the serious issues confronting Utahns. Those politicians who want to wedge our community with divisive and hateful rhetoric should be called home. This rhetoric does not fix our schools, our transportation problems, our health care crisis or keep America safer. Let us unite as a community and work for a better future.

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