Mormon Senator Harry Reid

One of the so-far-untold stories of the election is that Mormon Senator Harry Reid will almost certainly assume leadership of the Democratic Party in the United States Senate. Senator Tom Daschle appears to be going down in South Dakota, thus providing an opening for Reid. Of course, the Democrats are a minority in the Senate, but they are far from irrelevant. I assume this makes Reid the most powerful Mormon politician in the United States. (Will he be the most powerful Mormon politician ever?) Ironic, in light of the recent dominance of the Republican Party among Mormons, that our most powerful politician is a Democrat.

290 comments for “Mormon Senator Harry Reid

  1. Agreed. Very significant & somewhat sad from a LDS “community” point of view. Most LDS voters in Nevada have a “non” feeling towards Sen. Reid. yet…Sen. Reid, according to many, has done more for the LDS church in DC than Hatch & the rest combined. Will this be the “highest” position of power held by a Latter-day Citizen?

  2. lyle,

    You are quick on the draw. I was revising my post and adding my question about whether Reid would be the most powerful Mormon politician ever when you were posting. I cannot think of another Mormon who has reached this level.

  3. Kevin: i like to think that LDS citizens are fairly informed; or at least ‘mormon’ curious enough to know which politicians are (kinda like the fascination over which movie star is mormon).

    Gordon: thanks. I heard him speak at the most recent BYU-MBA biz/alumni group dinner in DC.
    Also, the non-voting Rep. of Guam (?) gave the prayer (also an LDS Democrat).

  4. Some months back the LA Times reported an apparent conflict of interest — Reid was a sponsor of a bill that would remove a power line easement from the property of friend and powerful Nevada developer Whittemore. Whittemore is also a senior partner of a law firm at which two of Reids sons were employed. The article alleged that Reid’s sons had lobbied Reid on behalf of Whittemore.

    On the flip side, nearly all of the Nevada legislators, GOP & Demos alike, were sponsors of the bill. Reid denied a conflict or that he was acting on behalf of special interests. The incident may have sensitized him to the need to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

    He has a strong record of support for Nevada interests, including opposing a nuclear dump site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, which I applaud.

    I’ll be interested to see what happens.

  5. “…as a Democrat I’m pleased that he’ll demonstrate publically–to those on the left and the right–the compatibility of religious conviction and a mod/left political stance.”

    I’m not displeased. But I have no confidence that the Democrats will learn their lesson from this election, and accept the fact that this is a socially conservative country. And I have even less confidence that Republican Mormons will view Reid as anything other than an aberration, so wrapped up they will be in general conservative triumphalism.

    Yes, I’m grumpy.

  6. Brother Reid is the third Mormon Democrat that Nevada has sent to the Senate. The first was Bekeley Bunker, who died five years ago. Brother Bunker was appointed to the Senate in 1940 to fill the vacancy left by Pittman’s death. Bunker failed at re-election in 1942 and later served one term as Nevada’s Congressman. He was mostly unsuccessful at politics. From 1955 to 1959, he presided the Church’s Deep South Mission.

    Howard Cannon was a powerful politician who served four Senate terms ending in 1982. He was born in St. George, but he doesn’t seem to have been more than nominally involved with the Church. When he died in 2002, services were held in a funeral home, not an LDS chapel. When he was interred at Arlington, though, his nephew, a Mormon bishop, pronounced an eulogy.

    I am not aware of any Mormon Republicans who have been elected by Nevada to federal office. This famed Mormon bias against Democrats is something I never saw in Nevada.

    As someone who spent several Saturdays canvassing for Harry Reid in 1982 when he first made it to Congress, I am happy for his successes. I worry, though, about the strains of leadership on him as he has to be a Democrat first rather than a Nevadan (or Mormon). His re-election in 1998 was extremely close, a 428 vote margin. He won easily yesterday, but in 2010 if he goes for a fifth term, he could suffer the same fate as Senator Daschle.

    Harry Reid won my affection when he was chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Surveillance tapes of mob criminals had one of them bragging about some controlling influence over “Mr. Clean.” Investigation showed it to be an empty boast. That a criminal would bother lying about Reid’s moral character to aggrandize himself signified just how highly regarded that character was.

  7. For those who would like to know more about Harry Reid, here is a good article that High Country News ran six years ago. It even includes a short quote from Leonard Arrington, one of Reid’s professors at Utah State. Perhaps the best line is “We adjusted to Utah better than some thought we should.”

  8. I think it unlikely that Reid will be made Minority Leader. He’s not dynamic enough to be in front of the camera all of the time, and the Minority Leader, more than anything else, is a spokesman. So I doubt the Dems will choose him. I think Joe Biden would be a good choice.

  9. Matt, He certainly isn’t a shoe-in, but he has been minority whip, and I assume developed some loyal followers while in that position. Congressional leaders are not required to be dynamic. See, e.g., Dennis Hastert.

  10. Gordon, I think it’s important that the Senate Minority Leader be good in front of a camera because he is the senior Democrat. With lots of important Republicans in the White House, Senate, and administration, it’s less important that Dennis Hastert have charisma because there are so many alternatives to put on the Sunday morning political shows. I guess I should phrase it this way: If I were a Democratic senator, a compelling presence would be high on my list of necessary traits for minority leader.

  11. I seriously seriously doubt they’ll call on Biden. If Kerry had been elected and given the party a stronger position, perhaps they would, but if Bush remains in the White House the minority is going to need a go-between leader that can reach out to social conservatives and Reid has been very good at that; I personally think Biden is great, but he’s too strident to help the dems broaden their base. Also, Reid would be good at reaching out to moderate republicans who may feel somewhat alienated as the GOP continues its sharp right swerve over the next four years. After all, he was the one who did all the behind-the-scenes work getting Jeffords to defect from the GOP. For a time, Reid was known on the hill as “The Jim-Whisperer.”

  12. Matt: I’d agree with you, except the fact that Reid has an insurance policy; i.e. he donated large sums of money to Senate Democrat Candidates, i.e. he put the cash for the job up front.

  13. “I have to wonder how many Mormons have even heard of Harry Reid?”

    Considering more than half of the membership of the Church lives outside of the United States, I would have to guess that most Mormons have not heard of him.

  14. Interestingly, the AP pegs Chris Dodd as Reid’s most likely opponent for the Minority Leader slot. Dodd is Catholic, but he is married to a Mormon.

    BTW, I know that both Gordon Smith (the Senator not the blogger) and Bob Bennett have been very helpful for the Church in DC. I am more than willing to give Reid pride of place over Hatch (a politician with whom I am not impressed), but it would be a mistake to think that other LDS Senators have not been helpful.

  15. Lyle: The rep from Guam is Madeleine Bordallo, a Roman Catholic. Previously, it was Robert Underwood, whose religion I do not know. Is he the one you refer to?

  16. For some Mormons in Nevada, there is more than a “non-feeling” towards Reid–they consider him a “Jack Mormon” or even apostate. It came as a shock to some of these when they were informed that Reid is an active and diligent member, magnifying his calling as a Gospel Doctrine instructor in his D.C. ward.

  17. Some Mormons in Nevada have something beyond a “non-feeling” for Reid: they consider him a “Jack Mormon” or even apostate. Some of these were quite surprised to learn that Reid is both active and faithful, magnifying his calling of Gospel Doctrine instructor in his D.C. ward.

  18. “they consider him a “Jack Mormonâ€? or even apostate”

    An assumption that arises from political myopia as well as well as grapevine politics. Some assume he can’t be active because he’s a democrat. And his opponents um, don’t go out of their way to correct the notion.

    When I worked on Wayne Owens’s last Quixotian run for senate (v. Bennett), a buddy of mine who was the son of a GOP delegate that year informed me that someone at the Utah republican convention was trying to float the rumor that Owens, a devout member of the church who had served as mission president after his previous term in Congress, had a gay lover in Washington. The rumor, of course, was complete and utter BS, simply designed to draw Owens’s religiosity into question and lend false credence to Utahns’ notion that demo=morally bankrupt.

    Conversely, I’ve also heard some of my demo mormon friends propogate unsubstantiated rumors that Jim Hansen was almost totally jackmormon by the time he retired from congress, that Hatch is a womanizer, etc. etc. blah blah… It’s a trashy ploy either way.

  19. Brother Blake, I suppose Nevada saints who dislike Harry Reid are people you have talked with, and I may be out of touch with my home state; so many newcomers have moved in. When I visit, politics doesn’t come up much, so maybe I have missed Reid’s detractors.

    One factor perhaps worth remembering is that many people don’t like any politician. Two out of five people who could have cast a ballot yesterday chose not to. Also, lacking specific knowledge, it is not a far-fetched assumption that a successful, driven politician is negligent in religious observance. Jewish politicians are common enough, yet Senator Leiberman stands out because he observes his faith. John Kerry had to be very explicit about his Catholic devotion to shake off the assumption that it didn’t matter much to him. Reagan-style religious feeling without any particular practice seems more the norm. We expect a politician who says he prays, but not one who fasts.

  20. Lyle, I think you were referring to the delegate from American Samoa whose last name I cannot spell….

  21. I very much appreciate this post mostly because those of us who are active mormon socially conservative democrats are far and few between. I agree that Senator Reid may be able to demonstrate more publicly how Mormon and Democratic values can be bridged, should he rise as the Minority Leader. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that more of the LDS population doesn’t fall in the conservative Democratic camp.

  22. I can confirm that Reid has LDS detractors in Nevada. There are some strong right tendencies in the church there that would love to see him go. I have heard claims from them that he is inactive, apostate, word of wisdom breaking, etc. Some are more straightforward, and just claim that they don’t agree politically. One conservative friend and church member told me that he was having a very hard time because he hated to vote against a church member, but Richard Ziser (Reid’s opponent this time) had done so much to get Nevada’s marriage amendement passed, and was more in line.

    On the other hand, as has been already pointed out, LDS Democrats in Nevada have a proud history and there are still obvious remnants of that, despite the general drift to the right.

  23. //temporary thread hijack mode on//

    Oh, Jonathan, you HAD to go to the Mormonad poster didn’t you!!!!!

    OK, full disclosure. The two hands coming in from the rear right on that poster are mine. The cynical among you will note that means I started the gossip!

    The secretary to the Church Photography Dept. lived in the ward I grew up in and we ward members were constantly used as models for these sorts of things in the late 70’s/early 80’s. I was in the Ensign, Family Home Evening manuals, and the like.

    True story, nobody told us what that black stuff was made of, they just told us to stick our hands in it for the picture. Then, once all the pictures were taken, the photogarpher suddenly realized that he had no idea how to get the stuff off our hands. He tried turpentine, paint thinner, and some stuff that smelled like oranges, all to no avail. He then went and siphoned some gasoline out of his car and that took most of the gunk off but our skin was still a shade or two darker than it had been when we walked in. It wore off after a few weeks.

    //temporary thread hijack mode off//

    I look forward to Harry Reid as the minority leader and have no doubt as to his credentials as a viable leader, conservative Democrat, and devout Latter-day Saint.

    During Election Night coverage, whenever Harry Reid’s name came up, the pundits invariably mentioned two things: 1) He is likely to be the next Democratic leader of the Senate should Daschle lose (as he did); and 2) Nobody really knows…

  25. Interesting stuff about Reid. I’m fairly politically-minded, and I hadn’t heard much about Reid at all. It will be interesting to see how he fares.

  26. Of course, that latest should have been a SL Tribune story. Fingers moving faster than my brain…as usual.

  27. This idea that Nevada Mormons have a special animosity for Democratic politicians still mystifies me. On a different topic months ago, I recounted that in 1985 three of Clark County’s seven commissioners were Mormon Democrats. One was a Mormon Republican. I also remember James I. Gibson, the state senate majority leader, who died in office in 1988. He served the Church as a stake president and a regional representative. His son, James B. Gibson, is now in his second term as mayor of Henderson, Nevada’s second largest city, and is spoken of as a likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2006.

    So, beyond nasty things you have heard mean people say, what are the actual results? Does anyone know who the Nevada Mormons are currently in elected office?

  28. When I was in the McLean Stake I used to regularlly see Senator Reid at stake meetings (stake conference, etc.), although I was in the Arlington Ward and I believe that he was in the McLean Ward.

  29. //continuing temporary thread hijack//

    Chad, I never knew I had had such a close brush with fame! To think that I once shook those hands in the Mormonad poster…those very hands…

    his hands
    tools of spreading
    black ooze he was dreading
    photographer’s friend
    and he spread black ooze without end
    his hands
    lightning fast buzzing
    on pop culture puzzling
    media tech too
    children waiting to hold more black goo

    may Chad Too’s hands serve his whole life through
    I won’t rest until I too
    have hands that spread black goo
    just like Chad Too.

    //back to facing grim reality//

  30. JG, that was the best thing I’ve read all day. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Now if there were only a mormonad parody of ‘Via Dolorosa’…

  31. I read an article that Senator Reed had written himself a couple of years ago. In it he mentioned being Gospel Doctrine teacher in his ward. He also mentioned that the mostly republican members showed him little support in politics.

  32. Here is an idea for those who run this web site. Make of it what you will. The idea running through this topic that Mormon Democrats have a hard time of it with Church members has come up before. The opinions on this topic of a pro would be interesting. Find a Mormon Democratic politician, and do one of your twelve questions interviews with him.

    One who may have interesting things to say would be Rory Reid, one of Senator Reid’s sons. The younger Reid is in the middle of his first term as a county commissioner in Nevada. He would have the perspective of one working around a large but minority Mormon population. Also, he is a 42-year-old BYU alumnus and lawyer, so may appeal to many of this group. I have no idea if he, or anyone else you may think of, would want to participate, but it seems worth a shot.

  33. As an aside, a respondent to the LDS presenters at the Claremont Conference noted the disproportionally high representation of LDS in government. I was hoping our government take over would remain secret. I also heard Orin Hatch mentioned as a Supreme Court nominee who would be the most likely to be confirmed by some talking head on a cable news show. I don’t know why, but I’ve never had warm fuzzy feelings about Hatch.

  34. Juliann, have you seen Godmakers? That “takeover of the government” was one of the funnier conspiracy theories in it. (I have to admit laughing my tail off on my mission when, at the end, they show all these government buildings we are taking over and end with the Elders knocking at the door with an evil look in their eyes)

    When I was at Los Alamos there was hugely disproportionate Mormon leadership as well. (2 of the top 3 figures at the lab were Mormon and something like 1/2 or 1/3 of the “group leaders” were LDS as well) That caused a lot of resentment among some and conspiracy theories among others. There was actually someone going around New Mexico writing conspiracy theory graffiti on roadsides based along this while I worked at the lab.

  35. As Senate Minority Leader, Reid becomes a plausible presidential candidate. Could such a candidacy break the apparent Republican strangle-hold on the LDS voting block? Die hard Republicans would have to look to Romney to prevent such a catastrophe and keep members safely within the GOP fold. Will 2008 be the Romney vs. Reid election?

  36. David, don’t you think having a Mormon run for President would make getting Evangelical votes difficult? While we have a lot of similarities, the fact is, most Evangelics do not trust Mormons. Personally, I think more so than most religions, Mormonism is pretty much a practical disqualification for the presidency unless one is Vice President for a popular President.

  37. I don’t know if I agree with you, Clark. Mormon’s that I know who have run for office have received the enthusiastic endorsement of evangelicals who are normally frothing at the mouth about how Mormon’s are damned because of their attempts to earn their way into heaven. I happen to know personally of one particularly controversial evangelical (the mere mention of his name makes liberals everywhere convulse with hatred and contempt) who enthusiastically and unequivocally endorsed (technically, all but endorse–he had his tax exempt status to protect) a conservative Mormon candidate for Congress.

    I really meant the suggestion of a Mormon-only presidential election to be tongue in cheek. For starters, I’m not sure how I’d reconcile it with Elder Packer’s statement to the effect that the world will become a progressively worse place.

  38. Ah, Clark, the good old days of “MORMONS RUN LANL” and “LA $$ GO TO SLC.” It added a little entertainment to the drive to Santa Fe.

  39. Quick note on Troll Removal

    A forum troll’s posts have been removed, and much of the ensuing discussion has been removed as well. A number of surprised or angry responses to said troll have been deleted as superfluous; one threadjack remains, the initial post in redacted form. I think I’ve gotten it mostly cleaned up. Apologies if anyone feels I deleted her post in error.

    Need I add that the troll’s IP address has been added to the moderation list?

  40. Too bad. I thought that the troll provided an instructive and timely example of how whispering campaigns work. I was rather fond of the Ultra Secret Communist Decoder and Photon Blast Ring, too. Now posterity will never know the historical context of my first published poetry. Must all great artists be misunderstood?

  41. Admin —

    Just a note: In the future, it might be better to leave a record of deleted comments in order to preserve the numbering of comments in the thread, as many people (OK, me) use the comment numbers to reference previous comments.

  42. I could support a “pro-choice” politician but not a “pro-choice” mormon politician reguardless of their pollitical affiliation i.e. Mitt Romney (R) Harry Reid (D)

  43. I would like to comment on Gordon’s statement on Sen. Harry Reid’s selection as Senate Minority Leader — Gordon said it’s “Ironic, in light of the recent dominance of the Republican Party among Mormons, that our most powerful politician is a Democrat”.

    Yes, it is ironic the Democratic Party has had such dismal results within the LDS community. We Mormon Democrats do exist, and its time members of the LDS community sort through political propaganda and media overgeneralizations to understand that we may support most of the DNC agenda without foregoing our beliefs.

    Democrats are not devoid of morals and values as suggested in the media. Look at some of the achievements of past Democrats like; Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and JFK. Men that stood apart from the majority in face of tyranny, and had the foresight to promote both progressive and Christian-based ideals.

    We are long overdue for the DNC to recognize the damage of fostering support for fringe social movements, instead it should move closer to promote faith-based Democratic ideals …..

    Yes…. I said faith-based Democratic ideals — they do exist you know!

    As well, we might all learn a lesson by understanding Sen. Reid’s assension to arguably the most powerful position held by any Mormon.

  44. It’s probably worth noting (unless someone has already) that Harry Reid’s elevation to Senate minority leaders comes 104 years after the duly elected senator from Utah, B.H. Roberts, was denied his seat in the US Senate & 100 years after the next duly elected senator from Utah, Reed Smoot, was denied his seat for two years before narrowly being allowed to join the Senate. The Smoot hearings into the loyalty of Mormons & the Mormon Church dragged on longer still.

  45. The party of Lincoln would be mightily surprised to discover that Honest Abe was actually a closet Democrat.

  46. I am glad to see the discussion of Senator Harry Reid. I am delighted to see a mormon democrat in such a prominant position. On a semi-related note, I would like to plug the group called “Mormons for Equality and Social Justice”
    Their mission statement is impressive.

  47. It is interesting that an LDS member would be so high up in the Democratic Party. I think the misperceptions that the Democratic Party is morally bankrupt comes from the perception by many that the far left wing is leading them. I would say that the very fact that Harry Ried is now the senate minority leader should prove that that is not true.

    I hope and pray that he can help lead the party back to the center; the Democratic Party has some good ideas but the fact that the extremist in the party want to push their bad make them a non choice for a great many LDS members.

    This hopefully will change with Brother Reid in a major leadership position.

  48. the Democratic Party has some good ideas but the fact that the extremist in the party want to push their bad make them a non choice for a great many LDS members.

    Funny, but some of us feel exactly this way about the Republican Party. It’s a pity we don’t have another Harry Reid to lead the Republicans back to sanity as well.

  49. A brief Church-political anecdote involving Sen. Reid:

    Six years ago, we were having one of our Islamic Translation Series events in Washington DC, attended by quite a number of diplomats from Muslim countries and by several LDS members of the House and the Senate. Harry Reid was one of them. (He’s attended three such events, I think.)

    Mark Philbrick, the BYU photographer, was also in attendance, and each visiting dignitary was photographed standing with Elder Maxwell of the Twelve, President Bateman of BYU, and — most awesome privilege of all — me. Throughout the evening, Elder Maxwell was vocally very concerned that there be a good photograph of Senator Reid for the Church News. Finally, he explained to me that Harry was in a tight political race (which, in that election, he was). The rest was left unsaid, but it was obvious that Elder Maxwell wanted a picture of Sen. Reid in the Church News so as to help him in his bid for re-election (and perhaps to neutralize the rumor that Sen. Reid was inactive, etc.). A picture did ultimately appear, including (as I recall) Elder Maxwell, the ambassador of either Egypt or Jordan, and Sen. Reid.

    Although politics came up only once in any conversation that I ever had with Elder Maxwell (and even then it was a question of Islam-related foreign policy), I would guess that he tended to the conservative. I know that he was a Republican earlier in his life, working for the previous Utah Senator Bennett in DC. My sense is that he was particularly interested in helping Senator Reid not because of political ideology, but because it is helpful to the Church to have members holding high rank in both American political parties (as well as, where possible, in public office abroad).

    I strongly agree with him on that, despite my own political views (which are seriously conservative, with inclinations toward libertarianism). I certainly wish Senator Reid well.

  50. diogenes says:
    “Funny, but some of us feel exactly this way about the Republican Party. It’s a pity we don’t have another Harry Reid to lead the Republicans back to sanity as well.”

    Oh I agree I my self have had several debates with people who are far right wing so yes it goes both ways. What Having Senator Reid in a high leadership position proves is that the majority, in both parties, is in the center. The extremists make a lot of noise but in the end the real work is done by the moderates in the center that can see that the answer to most problems is not right or left but center.

    By the way we do have a Harry Ried in the Republican Party he just has not reached the same heights yet. He is, I’m proud to say, the senator from my state of Oregon and he is the one who started this whole discussion. Senator Gordon Smith has done many good things and will, I hope, continue to do them for years to come.

  51. “I could support a “pro-choiceâ€? politician but not a “pro-choiceâ€? mormon politician reguardless of their pollitical affiliation i.e. Mitt Romney (R) Harry Reid (D)”

    Actually, Harry Reid has made his opposition of abortion (pro-life, if you will although I think those labels obscure the complexity of the issue) very clear on several occassions, most recently on Meet the Press. See for the transcript. There is no way Reid could be labeled “pro-choice.”

  52. One of the most surreal tid bits of American history is that the aircraft and hollywood billionare movie mogul and recluse Howard Hughes surrounded himself, before his death with seven Mormon lawyers including Senator Bennett.

    Harry Reid, from what I understand is part of the circle of LDS that were in contact and helped Hughes do his buisness back in the 1970’s.

  53. Former LDS Bishop and current US Senator Harry Reid, a practicing Mormon (D – NV) also called President Bush a liar and supported that statement on Sunday, December 5, 2004 with Tim Russert on Meet the Press.

    “President Bush is a liar. He betrayed Nevada and he betrayed the country.”

    My question to you LDS friends, is this anyway for one of your own to disrespect the President of the United States of America? I always thought that LDS members are supposed to honor and respect the country. What’s up with that?

    for a full trascript of Reid and Russert dialog see:

  54. Ed,

    I don’t have much respect for this president. I didn’t know that having respect for the current president (be it Bill Clinton or George W. Bush) is a requirement for salvation in any religion. Do you respect Bill Clinton? Do you think he is a liar?

  55. Ed.: I doubt that there was a politician or business man in Nevada in the 1960s or the 1970s that did not have contact of one kind or another with Hughes…

  56. Here’s more of the context from Meet the Press:

    “MR. RUSSERT: When the president talked about Yucca Mountain and moving the nation’s nuclear waste there, you were very, very, very strong in your words. You said, “President Bush is a liar. He betrayed Nevada and he betrayed the country.”

    “Is that rhetoric appropriate?

    “SEN. REID: I don’t know if that rhetoric is appropriate. That’s how I feel, and that’s how I felt. I think to take that issue, Tim, to take the most poisonous substance known to man, plutonium, and haul 70,000 tons of it across the highways and railways of this country, past schools and churches and people’s businesses is wrong. It’s something that is being forced upon this country by the utilities, and it’s wrong. And we have to stop it. And people may not like what I said, but I said it, and I don’t back off one bit.”

    Seems to me that if he feels the President and his administration is dishonest and immoral about its nuclear waste policy it is not disrespectful to “the country” to say so.

  57. Hi Nate and my LDS Friends,

    I want to convey the love of Christ in all that I say to you.

    Sacred Scripture instructs us in the first Epistle of Peter to; “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)

    I very much believe that we must honor and respect all governing authorites ordained by Almighty God. (Romans 13)

    We are to give honor to whom honor is due said the Apostle Paul. (Romans 13:7)

    One of the grevious sins, mentioned of rebellious men in the Jude 8 is that they “reject authority and speak evil of dignataries.”

    I believe we are to love and respect everyone, honor the authorities ordained by God this includes leaders whom i disagree with including former President Clinton.

    Like the prophet Daniel or the Lord’s servant Joseph, second youngest son of Jacob in the book of Genesis whom Almighty God raised up to sit upon the throne of Egypt, second in command to Pharoah, Daniel and Joesph were virtous men of God whom treated their pagan rulers with the utmost respect and honor.

    If I were still in the armed forces I would gladly die if need be for a president that sent me into battle be he President Bush, Clinton or if MA Gov. Mitt Romney or UT Sen. Hatch was President.

    I would obey in matters of civic obligation to the state and not matters of religion even Joesph Smith if he hypothetically became president in 1844.

    As Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.”

    I believe one of the signs our society is breaking down is a lack of respect of people to their elders, leaders and parents and I believe with believing the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ who died on the cross and rose again from the dead to give us eternal life by faith in His name and repentace of sins, that a resultant effect of obediece to Christ is obeying the law and honoring whom God has placed upon the throne unless he or she directly commands us to violate Scripture. Even then, we must honor the most wicked of Kings like Daniel the Prophet did with Belshassar and Nebucanezzar.

    I hope this did not come across to strongly, I want to manifest a loving spirit and be a good testimony of the Gospel of Christ.

    Sincerely in Jesus Christ,

    We are to fear God and honor the king.

  58. I read on that on “Meet the Press” yesterday, Reid was critical of Clarence Thomas. He said he was an embrassment and that his opinions are poorly written.

  59. Kieth: I would be shocked if Senator Reid actually sat around reading the opinions of Justice Thomas or anyone else. Sounds like PAW talking points to me. I think that Thomas’s opinions are quite lucid and well written. Obviously he takes some controversial jurisprudential positions, e.g. narrow reading of the commerce clause, very limited role for stare discisis in constitutional cases, etc., but these are substantive rather than stylistic objections. His opinions are certainly more lucid than those of Justice O’Connor or even Justice Breyer’s, both of whom have a penchant for balancing tests that leads many an opinion down the road of multi-factored incoherence.

  60. Dear Random John,

    I am not certain if former President Clinton is in the habitual pattern of lying without repentance thus qualifying himself as a liar. I know that in the course of my life, especially in my younger high school days, I told my shares of lies. Does that make me a “liar” per se? I do beleive within the moral improprities with Ms. Lewinsky, former President Clinton communicated a factual inaccuracy in his sworn oath in a court of law. This “lie” caused his subsequent impeachment and besmirched his reputaion nationally as well as got the former Yale Law School Grad and U of Arkansas professor dis-barred from practicing law. Is Bill Clinton, a liar? I hope not. Has he lied yes. Have I lied yes. Many times. That’s why I need Jesus Christ and his death on the cross, to cover me for my many sins, without His forgiveness, I would be condemned to hell as a liar, a blashpemer and transgressor of Almighty God’s righteous law and sovereign will.

    Sincerely in Jesus Christ,

  61. Nate: I was surprised to see Reid’s comments, actually. I’ll have to look and see if I can find transcripts or something for the whole program. I was also interested to see your view of Thomas. As is often the case, the general view held up by the media may be distorted. I think it will be a real fight, though, if Thomas is nominated as Chief Justice.

    What is PAW?

  62. PAW is “People for the American Way,” which is one of the most active leftist interest groups in the confirmation battles. I think that there might be a fight over Thomas if he was nominated to be CJ as well.

    I think that Thomas consistently gets a shabby treatment from the media and the legal intelligensia. Frankly, I think that there is a bit of genteel liberal racism at work here. Affirmative action is sacrosanct, unless we think that it produces a powerful black conservative in which case it must be a means of promoting morons, etc. etc. In addition, the treatment of Thomas by critical race theorists and others of the racially centered left is really quite viscious. The congruity of his voting with Scalia, for example, is taken as evidence of intellectual immaturity, a charge that was never made against Marshall on the basis of the congruity of his voting with Brennan. Yet Thomas is more likely to break ranks with Scalia than Marshall was to break ranks with Brennan. Furthermore, Thomas’s disagreements with Scalia and other members of the court follow rather consistently articulated judicial philosophies, e.g. limited vision of the commerce power, lack of respect for stare discisis in constitutional cases, etc.

    I don’t agree with all of Thomas’s opinions. (I can’t think of a single justice that I always agree with.) But the idea that Thomas is somehow an intellectually sub-par jurist or otherwise embarrassing is simply nonsense.

  63. Ed,

    I appreciate your answer, it was very complete. You certainly define “liar” in some way other than what the context (or the dictionary) indicates is appropriate to make the statement seem like more of an accusation than it comes across as to me. Senator Reid is saying that the President has not followed through with his own statements on the Yucca Mountain facility, which is hugely controversial if you live near it or near the roads and railways the waste will be traveling down. I don’t think he is implying anything about whether the President repents after acts such as this or that it is a regular habit. This certainly isn’t the first time a poitician has said that another politician has misrepresented something, and it seems that Senator Reid regrets his choice of words.

    Which is worse? To call the President on a lie when you honestly believe that he has lied or to sit idly by? Obviously the tone should be appropriate for the situation, but I would guess that the people of Nevada applaud the Senator’s remark. I don’t think that it calls his character into question.

  64. I left a word out of my previous post. The second sentence should begin:
    You can certainly…
    as in “One can certainly”, and a not as an accusation aimed at Ed.

  65. Nate and Keith
    I agree that Thomas is not “intellectually sub-par”, but I think that perception stems from the facts that (1) he reportedly does not ask any questions in oral argument; and (2) he has more of a bureaucratic background than some of the other justices, having been a judge for only two years when he was appointed. Much of the vitriol directed at Thomas is really a result of the fact that he replaced Thurgood Marshall, the hero of the civil rights movement, and has opposed legislation that most blacks support. That, and many people believe Anita Hill.

  66. Greg: From my conversations with former Thomas clerks, his silence during oral argument stems from the fact that he views it mainly as a chance for Justices to show off, get on their pet hobby horses, and needlessly harass innocent lawyers without appreciably increasing the quality of deliberation. As I am sure you are aware from your clerkship, oral argument is a very, very, very, very, very small part of deciding any appellate case. Of course, it is public, so it is what get’s reported, but it is not nearly as judicially important as the average reader of Linda Greenhouse or listener to Nina Totenberger assumes.

    Interestingly, I think that Marshall is the inverse of Thomas in terms of public reputation. I think that ideology led many people to think that Marshall was a much better justice than he actually was. I don’t necessarily have an ideological ax to grind here. I happen to think that William Brennan was probably the best judicial craftsman to sit on the Court since World War II. Compare a typical Brennan dissent with a typical Marshall or Douglas dissent. Marshall and Douglas would have little tantrums and explain to eager law professoriate (the only ones who gave a rat’s ass about Douglas’s dissents) how this was The End of Civilization as We Know It. In contrast, Brennan would provide these masterful and lawyerly road maps, in effect explaining to lower court judges and litigators exactly how the Court’s distasteful holding could be narrowed, circumvented, etc.

  67. Nate:
    I generally agree with you about oral argument (though I saw it affect the outcome of more than one case). I’ve heard the explanation that you’ve heard from Thomas’s clerks, and I’m sure that’s part of it. But he gave a speech a few years ago that went much deeper. He said he did not ask any questions in high school, college, or law school, in part because he valued listening, but also because his first language was, as I recall, some sort of rural hybrid African/English that he was self-conscious about. In any even, none of this says anything about his intelligence, but I think it does contribute to his public perception.

    As for Marshall, I certainly think that his reputation is in no small part a result of his historic accomplishments prior to his appointment to the Court. He was an architect of one of the most brilliant long-term legal campaigns of all time. (And Marshall was right about peremptory challenges, dammit!)

  68. Greg: No question but that Marshall was a great lawyer, although it is worth pointing out that Charles Houston not Marshall was the architect of the NAACP’s legal strategy. My point is not that Marshall lacked great intelligence or significant accomplishments. I just don’t see him as a stellar justice.

  69. Fair enough, Nate. Houston was certainly the grandaddy of the strategy, but Marshall was right alongside him, all the way back to the 1930s.

  70. Hi Random John,

    You bring out some good points. I guess, I would try to use terminology that respects the office of the President and is less polarizing. I am sure if I called one of you fine gentlemen a liar that would probably put up a barrier between you and I. I believer Senator Reid could have used less confrontation language to get his point across that he believes Pres. Bush was dishonest. Man, telling someone they are a “liar” is pretty divisive, especailly for an LDS.

  71. Hello to all,

    I will just remind what the LDS scriptures say
    Ether 8: verses 24 and 25 mainly which warn us of THE secret combination of the latter days and refer you to all books and prophecies regarding the last days… Also Doctrine and covenants 101 and 134. Our benchmark is the Constitution.
    Pt Benson wrote a very interesting brochure called ‘the constitution a heavenly banner’ A member has written a book about the secret combinations of today.
    Also we must remember generally speaking tha each individual is unique and the only way to judge/assess them righteously is to remember that HF not even Christ and our Heavenly Mother have organized all intelligences and are the ones who know how to judge so we need to ask in order to judge and think as they think. This will make us judges of nations as the true people of God are to be.
    Things are not always black and white.
    It would be too long to make comments but I think of this prophecy which said that the Constitution would be ‘saved’ by the ancient of Israel, that is by us.
    Lets strive to perfect ourselves in our own sphere and help each to do so and let the Lord to the rest and ask Him to indeed help us for He is indeed all powerful. Let’s remember that the worse is unfortunately yet coming and we need to prepare in order to find safety temporal and spiritual. It has been said that the wicked will slay the wicked that we would become stronger and stronger and that the wicked will not dare molest us anymore. Be it so be it so…

  72. Wow, I am very disappointed in Sen. Reid as I’m sure the brethren are as well. He may denounce the barbaric practice of abortion, and even worse late term abortion all he wants. But the fact is he’s speaking out of both sides of his mouth when he goes to the polling booth and votes for John Kerry, a person who voted 6 times against banning these practices. You can’t have it both ways. If you are pro-life, than you vote that way. Because to me, this is more imporant than the war, fiscal issues, or any thing else he may disagree with Bush on.

    Further, ours is a church who teaches and encourages self reliance. This principle is a far cry from what the party Reid now leads endorces. We are encouraged to marry and procreate, Reid’s party punishes us for doing this by immediately putting us in a higher tax bracket.

    Lastly, I believe everything the first presidency endorces is inspired, Sen. Reid disagreed with them on an ammendment to protect the sanctity of marriage. I wouldn’t want to be the person who boldly differs with the mouth piece of the Lord.

    To me, Senator is no more a devout Mormon, than John Kerry is a devout concervative. Not everything in the Gospel is black & white, but two things that are are Homosexuality being abominable, and abortion (murder) even worse. Harry Reid has taken a stand on the wrong side of both. Practice what you preach brother!

  73. I suspect that this is going to be a semi-regular new “feature” at T&S. Wayne, you really should meet M Das; you’d like each other.

  74. M. Das went far beyond thinking that Sen. Reid’s politics were incompatible with Mormonism as he understood it. So stow the comparison.

  75. It’s hard to sink all the way to M Das’s level, and Wayne’s not quite yet there, but charges that Senator Reid “is no more a devout Mormon, than John Kerry is a devout concervative” are way out of line. So, Wayne, unless you’re Senator’s Reid’s Bishop, stow the accusations.

  76. Ed’s reading of Romans 13 to mean that those in power in the government are ordained of God, and that therefore subjection to them is our religious duty deserves a long and careful response.

    I don’t have time for that response now, so I’ll be short and careless.

    There have been altogether too many wicked men, who have done great evil in their positions of power, for me to think that Paul had earthly kings, emperors, dictators, tyrants or presidents in mind when he counseled subject to the powers whom God had ordained. I don’t think that’s what Paul meant, and general statements about being subject to earthly rulers always have to have a caveat–else what would we think of our dear departed founding fathers, who, after all, were not content to remain subject to the powers that were. And, if you want a biblical example, think of the honor and respect paid by Joshua and those he led to the indigenous people in Canaan during the conquest. (“The conquest” should give us a clue.)

    Perhaps Sen. Reid was a bit harsh in his calling Pres. Bush a liar, but when you’re confronted with 70,000 tons of plutonium (is that a real number?) rolling through your neighborhood, you might get a wee bit exercised too.

  77. Adam, MD claimed Reid was inactive. WMcL says he’s not devout. Those two statements sound like kissing cousins to me. Did MD say something even more inflammatory that got redacted before I had a chance to read it? Or do you see WMcL’s opinion as being somehow within the pale of T&S dialogue?

    Whatever, it’s your sandbox and you can pass out the shovels and buckets as you please. Just get ready for more drive-by righteous outrage questioning Reid’s worthiness every time he disagrees with Bush and the Republican agenda.

  78. As the son, nephew, and neighbor of downwinders I applaud Reid for, if anything, erring on the side of suspicion when weighing government’s assurances related to radioactive stuff in the Nevada desert.

    Probably not very diplomatic to call Bush a liar. But I’m less interested in whether it’s polite and more interested in whether it’s true.

  79. I think that Wayne’s characterization of Reid are out of line. There is no doctrine that requires that we be single issue voters. The issue of gay marriage and constitutional amendments is trickier, but it seems to me that (1) disagreement with the FP may be permissible (George Q. Cannon thought so, for example); and, (2) the Church has not yet endorsed any particular amendment, just the idea of an amendment, hence there is no facial inconsistency between the FP statement and opposition to any particular amendment.

  80. I am proud of Sen. Reid for having the guts to call it as he sees it. President Bush and his band of Gadianton robbers need to hear more of that kind of straight talk. There are too many of us in the church who think supporting the president is the same as supporting the Constitution and the Prophet.

  81. Just in case anyone cares about my consistency, I also don’t think Bush and friends merit the term ‘Gadianton robbers.’ I can see where people disagree about him as a president–is he the worst president of all time, or the forty-third best?–I think our secular political categories are entirely adequate for the description.

  82. Harry Reid mention! (not a favorable one) at

    It may be, though, that when Reid disparaged [Clarence] Thomas’s writing ability, he was engaging in “projection,” . . .
    [excerpt from a speech by Reid (and available on his website) follows] . . . This would be a turgid chunk of prose even without the following specific faults:

    The passive construction “was obtained.” (“We obtained . . .” would have been better.)

    The blurring of the useful distinction between insured and ensured.

    The extraneous phrases “Now, I believe that” and “and consistent” (if a step is logical, that means it’s consistent).

    “Reigning in” should be reining in, unless the IRS is a kingdom.

    The needless modifier “potential.” (The idea is to protect taxpayers from abuses; as long as those abuses remain “potential,” no further protection is necessary.)

  83. I don’t feel I need be Mr. Reid’s bishop to determine if he’s devout or not. Something in the scriptures about knowing men by their fruits comes to mind. I do agree we are not encouraged to be single issue voters, with 2 exceptions. Protecting the sanctity of marriage, and the right to life. If we don’t protect these two principles, than what else even matters? And to whoever said the FP didn’t endorse the ammendment needs to do a little more research. Or just read ‘The Proclamation to the Family.’

    This has less to do with not supporting George Bush as it has to do with Mr. Reid looking the other way as his party endorces the violation of the two principles mentioned above. Although I do disagree with him on things such as the war, fiscal view, and just about every other view he has, those are not the reasons I am so passionately disappointed in him. I often wonder how those spirits who didn’t get a chance to life because they were an inconvenience to their mother feel towards those individuals in power who didn’t do everything in their power to stop this murderous practice. When it comes to basic morals, The right to life, and the sanctity of marriage are absolutely black and white, and on Nov. 2nd 2004, Harry Reid voted on the wrong side of both.

    The reason we don’t hear more from the brethren on these issues is because they try to stay out of the political arena and let us make our own decisions, BASED ON THE CORE PRINCIPLES AND STANDARDS DICTATED BY THEM.


  84. I’m sorry, I missed one more black and white issue Mr. Reid differs with the FP on… Gambling. I just don’t get it.


  85. Wayne: The FP has changed its views on gambling fairly often. Rumor has it that one can even work in a casino & have a temple recommend now.

  86. Actually, the problem with calling Bush a liar is that a person needs to rise to a certain level of comprehension in order to know what reality is. And, if you don’t know what reality is, how can you be morally responsible for misrepresenting it?

  87. But – do “any” of us truly “know” what “reality” is?

    (my post-modernism is showing through)

  88. Wayne —

    You said, “I do agree we are not encouraged to be single issue voters, with 2 exceptions. Protecting the sanctity of marriage, and the right to life.”

    This statement makes no sense. If you’re not a single-issue voter, with the exception of some issue, then really you are a single-issue voter (or in this case, a double-issue voter).

  89. Wayne, Mitt Romney also takes pro-choice and mildly pro-gambling positions–do you like him any better than Senator Reid?

  90. But – do “anyâ€? of us truly “knowâ€? what “realityâ€? is?

    I’m afraid under this administration we don’t. This quote, from a Bush administration official, has been circulating around the web:

    The [Bush] aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

    (The original NYT article in which at appeared is too old to link to, but Slate cites it here.)

  91. So, Wayne, the neutrality statement, translated correctly, reads “The Church does not endorse a particular party or candidate, wink wink nudge nudge”?

  92. Wayne,

    There is a difference between the church appearing to endorse a position on a single issue that is up for vote (either through the initiative process or before congress) and saying that the church wants us to be single issue voters when it comes to electing representatives in congress.

    Even the recent statements have been enigmatic enough to not be a cut an dried endorsement of a particular initiative or ammendment.

  93. Ok, so let me make sure I understand what you brethren are telling me. 1. We really don’t know for sure where the church stands on abortion and the sanctity of marriage… or 2. There are some other issues that could override those two when we are deciding who to vote for in the election process. Come on, I challenge anyone to tell me what could contribute more to the decay of our country or world for that matter, than doing away with the sanctity of marriage and the rights of an unborn child to be born. What I meant above was, we shouldn’t be single issue voters when it comes to foreign policy, fiscal matters, social security, etc. But when it comes to MORAL ISSUES, I have no problem being a “single issue voter.”

    Also, I understand you can work in a casino or even a bar and still be worthy of a temple recommend. However to me, this is a far cry from the church advocating either practice in any way whatsoever. There are alot of things you can do and still recieve a recommend. But Mr. Reid has gone to bat for the gaming industry and fought for them much more ferociously than he has the right to life or the sanctity of marriage. And I know you brethren don’t like me assumptions, but here is a pretty safe one to make, Mr. Reid cares more about the rights of the casinos, than he does that of the unborn child.

  94. Wayne,

    In my opinion, you’re way too focused in your approach. It’s amazing how the abortion issue (for both pro-lifers and pro-choicers) can be utterly decisive on its own.

    Is it possible Wayne for someone to have different priorities than yours on the issue of abortion and still be considered likeable or decent?

  95. By the way Wayne, if someone was very pro-choice and entirely based his/her voting decisions and judgments of a person’s character based on that issue, I would ask him/her the same question I’m asking you.

  96. Actually, Wayne, Kristine is one of the sistren. Also, if you think abortion is a black-and-white, cut and dried issue, you haven’t been paying attention to General Conference for the last 15 years or so. Among Democrats, Reid has the reputation for being strongly anti-abortion, so maybe you could cut the man some slack.

    You’re free to disagree with Reid’s positions all you want. A good number of people, here and in many other places, will applaud you. Perhaps, though, you could limit yourself to disagreeing with his politics and political actions, rather than trying to know the hidden desires of his heart.

  97. The Church’s position on abortion is much too nuanced for either the Right to Life party or the Catholic bishops.

    The real question for Wayne and others with his feelings to ask is: “If someone you loved (your wife, your daughter) were to become pregnant as a result of rape, and if she were to determine, after consulation with your bishop and fasting and prayer and confirmation by the Spirit, that the appropriate action was to abort the fetus, would you want the authorities of the state to have the right to step in and block her?” (You can change to “pregnancy resulting from rape” to “pregnancy which presents grave health risks to the mother” or “pregnancy in which the fetus is not likely to survive birth” –with apologies to those who keep their Church Handbook of Instructions at their computer for not getting the language exactly right.)

    That the law permits people to take actions that we disagree with or abhor does not necessarily mean that the alternatives presented are better, or that they would be consistent with Church policies.

  98. The Church’s position on abortion is much too nuanced for either the Right to Life party or the Catholic bishops.

    The real question for Wayne and others with his feelings to ask is: “If someone you loved (your wife, your daughter) were to become pregnant as a result of rape, and if she were to determine, after consulation with your bishop and fasting and prayer and confirmation by the Spirit, that the appropriate action was to abort the fetus, would you want the authorities of the state to have the right to step in and block her?” (You can change to “pregnancy resulting from rape” to “pregnancy which presents grave health risks to the mother” or “pregnancy in which the fetus is not likely to survive birth” –with apologies to those who keep their Church Handbook of Instructions at their computer for not getting the language exactly right.)

    That the law permits people to take actions that we disagree with or abhor does not necessarily mean that the alternatives presented are better, or that they would be consistent with Church policies.

  99. The Church’s position on abortion is much too nuanced for either the Right to Life party or the Catholic bishops.

    The real question for Wayne and others with his feelings to ask is: “If someone you loved (your wife, your daughter) were to become pregnant as a result of rape, and if she were to determine, after consulation with your bishop and fasting and prayer and confirmation by the Spirit, that the appropriate action was to abort the fetus, would you want the authorities of the state to have the right to step in and block her?” (You can change to “pregnancy resulting from rape” to “pregnancy which presents grave health risks to the mother” or “pregnancy in which the fetus is not likely to survive birth” –with apologies to those who keep their Church Handbook of Instructions at their computer for not getting the language exactly right.)

    That the law permits people to take actions that we disagree with or abhor does not necessarily mean that the alternatives presented are better, or that they would be consistent with Church policies.

  100. Sorry about that–I guess I shouldn’t have clicked “Make Comment” two more times, even when it seemed that the thing wasn’t moving.

  101. I challenge anyone to tell me what could contribute more to the decay of our country or world for that matter, than doing away with the sanctity of marriage and the rights of an unborn child to be born.

    I think greed, pride, and growing socioeconomic inequity contribute more to the decay of our country — in no small part because they contribute to broken families and an increased number of abortions.

    Most democrats want to decrease the number of abortions and increase the number of stable families just as much as you do, Wayne.

  102. There are some misrepresentation of the doctrines of the church going on. The church never approves of abortion, unless the mothers life is at risk or the baby has no chance of living through birth. Even more so, at the risk of offending Mark B. I suggest that the Lord would never answer a prayer with “Go ahead and kill the baby.” Even in the case of rape, it’s no more the fault of the defensless baby than it is the baby’s. Adoption is always an option.

  103. Wayne,

    The church does find that elective abortion may be permissable in cases of rape and incest. It seems to me that you are arbitrarily refusing to grant this as part of the church’s official position on the matter.

  104. Wayne,

    I also differ with you in that I think in certain circumstances the Lord very well could approve a woman determining to have an abortion procedure if she is prayerful about it. If a woman has been raped or is a victim of incest, going through all the stages of pregnancy could only heighten the trauma that already exists and that is the reason I think the Lord could approve such a thing.

  105. I’ve known two people in my life who were products of rape, both incredible people. I wish you could hear how thankful they are to their mothers for allowing them to live eventhough it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I can’t help but think it would be more traumatic for a victim of rape to have to live with the guilt for the rest of her life after killing her baby.

    I notice that nobody wants to tackle the issue of gay marriage and Mr. Reid opposition to the constitutional ammendment.

  106. Wayne,

    I also know a woman who died of cancer rather than get treatments that would terminate her pregnancy. I’m sure the child who lived is grateful to her for making that incredibly difficult choice. I certainly admire her for the selfless decision she made.

    Still, the real nobility of these kinds of decisions comes from the fact that these women made a choice for themselves to go through with their pregnancies. They actually had the option to have abortions performed and chose not to take that option. [I’m assuming that the rape victims you are talking about also had that choice.]

    At the very least, women should have a choice to terminate a pregnancy where they did not have the choice of becoming pregnant in the first place. The Church recognizes that right. Why in the world would LDS people want to be more austere and strict than the Church leadership is on this matter? What kind of person is going to wag a shame-on-you finger at a female who has been raped or is the victim of incest, and tell her that she’s wrong for wanting to get an abortion? Not me.

  107. Wayne:

    Re: SSM amendments — we’ve all been down that road here before. Don’t take silence as a sign that commenters here are afraid to tackle the subject.

  108. danithew,
    I’m well aware that the plan of salvation allows for free agency. But does this mean we need to legalize drugs, polygamy, gay marriage, prostitution, or any other abhorrent act just so we can say we are giving people a choice? I find it odd that the same so called “pro-choice” certainly don’t have the “choice” of the unborn at heart. Either it’s murder or it’s not. I feel your view is dodging this issue. Just as there is a difference between “murder” per say and fighting a war in Iraq, or self defense agains a burglar, there could be situations where abortion is necessary (i.e. incest, or situations where the mother’s life is in danger) and therefore should not be outlawed. However, with the strong majority of abortions performed today, abortions are being used as birth control. But I don’t feel your appeal to free agency as a justification for abortion has any merit. Just because we have free agency, doesn’t mean we can make horrible choices and not be held accountable for them. And in my opinion, for those unjustified abortions, unless repented of, the consequences will be of an eternal nature, even if there is no earthly penalties.

  109. Wayne,

    When I read what you just wrote rather carefully, I’m not sure we entirely disagree. After all, you say: “there could be situations where abortion is necessary (i.e. incest, or situations where the mother’s life is in danger) and therefore should not be outlawed.” If that’s what you believe, then maybe we are on the same page to a certain extent. That’s odd because I thought we were in disagreement on that question. This could have been my mistake. Maybe I need to read what you wrote earlier more carefully.

    This whole time I’ve been tightly focused on the idea that woman who has become pregnant due to incest or rape should have the right to choose an elective abortion. That’s it. It does seems to me that between what I last wrote and the last response I read from you, that there is a major disconnect going on here.

  110. Wayne,

    There is no offense taken here, in part because I am confident as to my understanding of the Church’s position on these matters.

    Your statement that God would never answer a prayer with “Go ahead and kill the baby” seems calculated more to elicit a shocked response than to move the discussion forward. Nonetheless, I can cite several scriptural examples (and I’m sure you’ll concur that these are in fact in the scriptures) where God did in effect say that.

    1. The slaying of the children of the wicked in the flood.
    2. The slaying of the saints in Ammonihah, while Alma and Amulek stood by.
    3. The slaying of Laban by Nephi.

  111. Wayne,

    I addressed the gay marriage issue as it relates to Senator Reid in #115 above. Perhaps you skipped it.

    Also, your argument that abortion is either murder or it is not is a bit simplistic, unless you mean to say that it isn’t murder. You can argue all day about when the spirit enters the body. Here’s a question for you: When did Jesus’s spirit enter his body?

  112. Wow, I am very disappointed in Sen. Reid as I’m sure the brethren are as well. . .

    I don’t feel I need be Mr. Reid’s bishop to determine if he’s devout or not. . .

    I have watched this thread for some time now, and have debated whether to say anything or not. I’ve finally concluded that I need to intervene, because Wayne and several other commentators in this discussion are very far out of line, both morally and factually.

    I have had the opportunity to work rather closely with Senator Reid for a number of years. I know for a fact that he works very closely with the First Presidency, and has received their blessing in his work — and I mean that quite literally, in the sense of laying on hands.

    I doubt that the First Presidency always agrees with all of the Senator’s political positions. I know that they respect his commitment both to the Church and to representing the best interests of those who elected him. I think the Senator expects and even welcomes reasonable political disagreement with the positions he has taken. I also suspect that over the years, the Senator has become accustomed to shrugging off the kind of half-baked judgments and accusations, even from within the Church, that have been posted here.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that we have been commanded not to engage in this kind of personal condemnation. People around here really should know better. Disagree with him if you like — that is the privelege of a free society. But leave judgment to those who are called and qualified to do so.

  113. Regarding Wayne’s post #128 above. You seem to “strongly disagree” with the church’s official position regarding abortion (that it may be permissable in cases of rape and incest, as well as life of the mother and if fetus will not survive). Weren’t you earlier condemning Sen. Reid for supposedly disagreeeing with the church’s policies as a Democrat? The fact is, many on the so-called “right to life” side take a much stricter stand on abortion than the church does. They say that at the moment of conception the fetus is a “life” with equal rights in every way as you and me. From that point of view it is logical to be opposed to abortion under any circumstances. The church does not teach this doctrine, however. The brethren have never spoken to the issue of when life begins and, as has been made clear already, the church’s position on abortion recognizes that in certain circumstances, the needs of the mother outweigh that of the fetus. But we do know that abortion is “like unto murder” or in other words, that it is a very serious matter and not to be taken lightly. We value life and the procreative process highly as Latter-day Saints and thus oppose abortions of convenience. But nowhere in LDS doctrine or in the church’s policies do we see an alliance with anti-abortion groups that would outlaw all abortions.

    Related to all this is the subtext of Wayne’s posts, that the Republican party is somehow the party for Mormons and that the Democratic party is not for believers. Two thoughts on this. First, what do people with this view think of general authorities (not to mention other faithful saints) who are loyal Democrats? In 1998 the church sent Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy to have an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune about the concern in church headquarters of the seemingly one-party church in Utah. Elder Jensen spoke of his affiliation with the Democratic party and how you can be a good member and a good Democrat. What do you make of that Wayne? And second, I have spent a lot of time personally and professionally studying politics and policy and in the 90s switched my party affiliation from Republican to Democrat partly because of my disgust with the Republican party in Utah (I was living there at the time) and also my recognition that the Democratic party was a better fit with the values I hold dear that are eternally connected with my faith. One turning point was a talk at BYU by Larry Echohawk, Law Professor and Democrat. Anyway, my point is that any reasonable person can be in either party based on LDS-based values. I happen to believe the Democratic party is a lot closer to those values, even though my positions are different on some issues than that of the party platform.

    Interestingly, there may come a day when LDS Republicans like Wayne who tend to vote on one or two issues may be faced with some tough votes. The Democratic party is becoming more and more accepting of “pro-life” politicians. Take their leader in the Senate as a prime example! Another rising start and possible presidential candidate, Evan Bayh, is also pro-life (I hate those labels but that is what most go by). In the Republican party, some of the rising stars like Pataki, Powell, Gulliani, and Ah-nold are all pro-choice (and many pro gay marriage). So what if Bayh were to face off against a Pataki, or on the other hand, one of these super conservative Republicans who want to ban abortion altogether (which also is inconsistent with the church’s stand). Now what?

    Sorry for the long post. Wayne’s posts raised some hackles and I had to join the fray. May we all remember that we are brothers and sisters and can disagree and still be friends. Isn’t that great?

  114. Rick M. obviously did not read all my posts. I have stated repeatedly that I accept the fact that there are some desperate situations in which abortion is the only option. But this is by far the exception to the rule. I support a ban on all abortions with the exception of those I mentioned above. I do not support Powell, Gulliani, and “Ah-nold” for the exact reasons you stated.

  115. Thanks Clyde, I wasn’t gaining much ground. Hopefully many of you will take the time to read this article, even if it doesn’t change your mind about Reid it might help you see where I’m coming from.

    Also, for Rick M., believe it or not, I would have no problem voting democrat if the candidate most closely represented my views. As of yet, no dem has even come close and many republicans come atleast pretty close to sharing my moral views and standards. Hence, I’m a republican. I suppose your right that any reasonable person can be in either party, the difference is if a reasonable person were in the democratic party, they would not be able to subscribe to the agenda of the party platform. Again, for me everything goes back to the two most important issues, the sanctity of marriage and the murdering of innocent unborn. I can respectfully disagree on all other issues, but when it comes to these two issues, the respect stops. Because to me they aren’t just “social issues” as many refer to them as. To me, they are of more consequence than any other “issue” out there.

  116. Hopefully many of you will take the time to read this article, even if it doesn’t change your mind about Reid it might help you see where I’m coming from.

    I read the article. The argument seems to me completely brain-dead: make up your own criteria for a label and then triumphantly proclaim that it doesn’t fit someone who you didn’t intend for it to fit when you made the criteria up. Pretty much “Standard” fare, but is that really “where you’re coming from?” Poor you.

  117. diogenes –

    or you could make up your own criteria for a label and then triumphantly proclaim that it fits someone who you intended for it to fit when you made the criteria up – as supporters of Reid seem to be doing.

    It seems to me the article Clyde linked to was more thoughtful than many comments on this issue. But – hey, why read up on an issue if you’ve already made your mind up?

  118. One thing about Senator Reid seems to be that he likes to embellish his reputation as a “fighter”, as shown in the Slate article referenced: “And just this past week in Time, Reid told Joe Klein that he got into a fistfight with his future father-in-law before he eloped with his wife.”
    Most news stories will work this in as a “former amateur boxer”, “fighter”, “champion”, etc. etc.
    Are there any verifiable accounts of any of his “fights”? Who has he actually fought? Where, when, how many rounds…
    Reputation is not the same as reality…

  119. Ivan,

    The Weekly Standard article can only be described as thoughtful if you consider that the process of creating strawmen requires thought. Barnes doesn’t want people to consider Reid in the pro-life camp, so when the standard definition isn’t enough to exclude the Gentleman from Nevada, he creates a stricter definition so he can continue to exclude Reid from camp.

    It’s like the characteristics of a “religious cult” I once read that said the a religion is a cult if they adhere to the law of tithing and claim to have apostles and prophets. There are plenty of “Cults” out there that claim no apostolic authority nor do they require ten-percent of their adherants’ income. The definers knew who they wanted to exclude and created the definition thusly.

    You don’t get credit for slaying the dragons you build yourself.

  120. Chad too –

    it seems to me you’re creating straw men yourself. The Weekly standard article had its weaknesses, but it’s definition of “pro-life” isn’t that controversial or debateable, except among those who want the term to be meaningless.

  121. Oh give me a break. Barnes’ three-prong standard is specifically set-up so that he can exclude Reid.

    I’ve never seen a definition of pro-life that requires open activism, the introduction of legislation on behalf of the unborn (which is destined to be found unconstituional and Barnes knows it), or the weakest one of all, that the self-defined pro-life forces have to consider you an ally in order to be a part of their club.

    The most ludicrous part of all is where Barnes turns to guilt-by-association by saying that because Reid said that Barbara Boxer is like a sister to him, and Boxer is very pro-choice, thus Reid is guilty of not being pro-life. Phooey. I’ve seen pictures of Donny Osmond with Boy George but that doesn’t qualify the Culture Club singer to pass the sacrament this weekend, nor does it make Donny a drag queen.

    I completely understand why a conservative pundit such as Barnes doesn’t want to have to consider Reid to be pro-life (it’s much easier to keep an enemy when you focus on differences rather than similarities) and I’d expect no less from him. To call this article thoughtful is wishful thinking, Ivan. It’s a hatchet job, pure and simple.

  122. I hadn’t seen this thread in a while and decided to visit to read the latest enlightened political commentary. What a disappointment to read only gossip.

    Any other gossipy little-ole-lady comments about the senator? (With apologies for denigrating all the gossipy little-ole-ladies at T & S.)

    Why don’t we engage in a little political realism here? Legalized abortion has been a political fact of life for a generation. There’s nothing Senator Reid, or any congressman, senator or president, can do about it (barring packing the Court.) If you want a political act that will help reduce the incidence of abortion, try directing your efforts toward encouraging adoption, increasing assistance for single mothers with dependent children and many similar measures. Do something that will show real results.

    As for a constitution marriage amendment, if there was EVER a complex local/state issue that should NOT be dealt with at the federal level, let alone be made a matter of constitutional jurisprudence, this is it. You would turn this state issue over to the nine old aristocrats on the US Supreme Court? Of all our political institutions, why would you conservatives put your faith in that one? What a crazy idea. The very same reasons which made the ERA a bad idea, apply here with equal or greater force.

    Of course, what a fine symbol it would make — and we Americans are suckers for fine symbolic political acts, all the more so if it will distract us from the long, slow, hard, work of building a better family, neighborhood, community and society. So you may pine all you like for a marriage amendment as the latest in a long line of fine symbolic acts in our national political theater. But I want none of it.

    And as for the senator’s bona fides, I think he deserves at least the benefit of the doubt.

  123. Chad Too –

    Boy, you’re really ticked off about this. It seems to me there has to be some activity behind any political label. If all pro-life ever meant was “I don’t like abortion” than both Clintons and Condelezza Rice would fall under that – but those three have labelled themselves many times (and called by pundits supossedly in the know) as pro-choice.

    The problem here is binary definitions. Whenever a binary is made (in this case, pro-life and pro-choice) one side gets narrowly defined, and the other broadly. It seems to me, Chad, that you have narrowly defined pro-choice, and thus made “pro-life” be everything else to the right of that definition. The definition in that article (for pro-life) was, IMHO, a bit too narrow, but it was broader than the one media pundits often use.

    Really, I don’t care about this topic all that much. I actually don’t really agree with the article all that much (and I kinda like/respect Reid, though I do think he’s a tad too liberal for my tastes- but I’d vote for him over most of the congresspersons in Utah) – I just thought the WS article was a bit more thoughtful than the caricature of it you keep talking about, that’s all.

  124. Ivan, I don’t think Chad Too is worked up about this. At least, to me he sounds like he’s still using his inside voice. Maybe it helps that I know him in the real world as well. In any case, I’m glad to see that you’re not worked up over this issue, either. Cool heads are a good thing.

    Part of the problem here is guilt by association: this is the never-ending thread, after all, that’s seen all manner of contemptible charges made against Reid: that he’s not an active member, that no faithful Mormon could hold his views, that the apostles couldn’t possibly support him, and that he dishonestly embellishes his reputation. I appreciate the fact that you’re not promoting any of those things. It’s hard to take an article from a partisan source like National Review seriously when it’s introduced in this context.

  125. Jonathan,
    I assume most of those remarks were directed to me. I apologize for speaking for the leaders of the church, that’s not my place. I just can’t figure out ( and this is me speaking) how someone who fights for the rights of casinos harder than he fights for those of the unborn can call himself “pro-life.” I don’t think you could find one politician, no matter how far to the left they are, who will say they enjoy the thought of abortion. As has been noted, that’s not the criteria for pro-life. To me in order to be a pro-lifer, you need to fight against the practice of abortion. What did the Savior say about lip service?
    There is a lot of justification going on in T&S, the fact is these issues are very simple. And I thought the Prophet made his views on gay marriage very clear last night on Larry King. But I’m sure many will find a way to twist his words to accomodate their agenda. It’s wrong! Period! Gay marriage is wrong, and since that’s the case, an ammendment to define marriage can only be a good thing.

  126. Wayne (“the fact is these issues are very simple”)…

    I couldn’t disagree more. These issues are not simple. If the abortion issue is as simple as you state, then I suppose banning any and all abortions (like many conservatives have pushed for, even amending the Constitution to do so) makes sense. But it does not. We have already agreed that there are times when abortion is justified, so to make it illegal is equally wrong. So if some abortions must be allowed, then it isn’t simple at all. At what point does the life of the mother come to play? Do you take one doctor’s recommendation? Two? Three? How about in cases of rape and incest (which the church explicitly makes room for)? This is not simple at all. To boil it down to “you are either pro-life or pro-abortion” grossly distorts this most thornly of moral issues.

    The same could be said for gay-rights. To say “an ammendment to define marriage can only be a good thing” again is looking at this issue with tunnel vision. The church supports the idea of an amendment, but does not endorse any specific proposal for good reason. Again, this is a complicated issue and messing around with the Constitution is serious business. Preserving the sancitity of marriage is the point, but the fact is that there are many, many people who have locked into the gay marriage issue not so much because of marriage but because they hate people who idenitfy themselves as gay. If they were really concerned with marriage, they would be working hard to look into the reasons over half of marriages end in divorce. This is a whole separate topic, but my point is that an amendment and the gay marriage issue is not as black and white as you suggest. Yes, preserving marriage and family is, in a sense, black and white, but when you start talking specific policy issues things get much more complex. This is why I bristle at comments about Sen. Reid or anyone else that imply guilt by association. “You’re party supports gay rights and is pro-choice, thus you too are on the ‘wrong side’ of the issues.” This is simple-minded to the say the least.

  127. There is a lot of justification going on in T&S, the fact is these issues are very simple.

    Yes, well, I suppose that to the simple, all things are simple.

    Even if one accepts that gay marriage is “wrong! period!” — and I hasten to point out that that “period” obscures a great deal that any thoughtful and spiritually mature person would want to take into account — it does not follow that “an amendment to define marriage can only be a good thing,” any more than if one accepts the idea that equality under the law is right! period! then an amendment to guarantee the equality of women can only be a good thing.

    Wayne seems to believe that taking a thoughtful or nuanced position on difficult moral issues is somehow a sign of apostasy or unrighteousness, and that seems to me a very dangerous position to adopt.

  128. Wayne: “Gay marriage is wrong, and since that’s the case, an ammendment to define marriage can only be a good thing.”

    If so, then . . .

    “Adultery is wrong, therefore a constitutional amendment is a good thing.”
    “Dishonoring your parents is wrong, therefore a constitutional amendment is a good thing.”
    “Watching football on Sundays is wrong, therefore a constitutional amendment is a good thing.”
    ‘Killing your pet guppie is wrong, therefore a constitutional amendment is a good thing.”

    Nuff said.

  129. And the justification continues. I stand by my opinion that these are simple issues. I’ve stated multiple occasions when I think abortion is necessary and therefore should not be outlawed. Here’s how simple it is, if it doesn’t fall under one of the categories we’ve already talked about. Rob Briggs, you may have gone a bit overboard. Watching football on Sundays is in no way synonomous with allowing gays the right to adopt children, or requiring companies to include gay partners in health benefits. I’m not seeing the correlation. It goes much further than giving gays a piece of paper saying you are married. You all sound much like Mr. Reid and that explains why you sound the way you do. You all want to have your cake and eat it too. Again, pro life means you FIGHT for the life of the unborn. If you all thought life began at birth than I would understand you views.

  130. Justification? This is a fruitless conversation and this is my last post on it. It has certainly gone beyond commenting on the wonderful fact that the most influential LDS politician in the U.S. is a Democrat. Wayne’s last post (#155) makes clear though that there is no reasonable conversation to be had with him on these issues that to him are “simple.” If we don’t agree with him we are (apparently) justifying sin. But Wayne, even your post alludes to the terrible complexity of these issues. For example, “if it doesn’t fall under one of the categories we’ve already talked about” goes back to the point I made previously…those categories are not cut-and-dried and those decisions are rarely “simple.” And if there are exceptions then we can’t support outlawing abortion. If we outlaw abortion, even with a few exceptions, then who decides whether a case fits the exception or not? Finally, the last comment on Wayne’s post (#155) is perplexing. Are you implying that you know when “life” begins? By life do you mean a human life with all of the rights that go along with that? The Catholics say at conception. In other words, a zygote is a life in the same way that you are a life, thus that zygote has rights to life equal to yours. If that is the case then there can be no exceptions, right? But the LDS doctrine does not define when “life” in this sense begins and does not approach that zero-sum territory in its stance on abortion. Again, the abortion issue is so thorny, so complex, and so beyond the topic of this thread, that I will stuff it for now. But as to the purpose of this thread, Sen. Reid, I for one am excited about him and the position he is in. He is an exceptional public servant, even though I may not agree with him 100% (there are likely no politicians I would agree with 100%). And yes, I think he, and I, and others can be faithful, believing LDS and still appreciate the complexity of the moral issues of the day. This isn’t “justification” it is simply a recognition that these issues go deeper than being “for” or “against.”

  131. Wayne, you seem to be very attached to the term “pro-life.” As I see it, the Church’s position is partially pro-life and partially pro-choice, depending on the circumstances of the pregnancy. The Church at times will concede that a woman should be able to have an elective abortion.

  132. Wow, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I’m not following the majority of you.

  133. I’m glad to see from this thread that everyone is cutting President Bush the same slack that Sen. Reid deserves, i.e. that it’s possible for him to be a good man even if I disagree with his politics. Which I do.

  134. I realize I am coming late to this conversation. Can’t help myself though.

    I am wondering why the fact that the abortion issue is complicated and difficult means that the LDS faith provides no real guidance as to right and wrong is this area, which is what I take to be the thrust of the resposnes to Wayne.

    Is there no position on abortion (I take it that this would be a public policy position, not a moral position) that would run counter to the teachings of the Church?

    If there is such a position, what is it?

    If there is a spectrum of positions that an LDS person could in good conscience take on the issue, then how and why does Senator Reid’s fall in/outside the boundaries?

    I think that whatever one might say about the propriety of the pro-choice position from a doctrinal perspective, it is at least clear that in no or in only some very limited sense is Senator Reid’s position on abortion “representative” of LDS people generally.

    In that sense, I think members such as Wayne are perfectly within their rights to protest the identification of Senator Reid with their faith, and by extension, them, regardless of whether or not a “good Mormon” could believe and advocate the policies he does with respect to the abortion topic.

    Again, I fail to see how the complicated nature of the moral question affects this analysis at all.

  135. “In that sense, I think members such as Wayne are perfectly within their rights to protest the identification of Senator Reid with their faith, and by extension, them, regardless of whether or not a “good Mormonâ€? could believe and advocate the policies he does with respect to the abortion topic.”

    What policies are you talking about? Please, be specific. I think there are too many partisans who automatically take issue with someone because of their party, not the individual’s positions. Please share with us the policies Sen Reid “believes in and advocates” with respect to abortion that are so clearly out of bounds with LDS doctrine. The fact is, the hard-line pro-choice people are not thrilled with Reid at all while Reid himself has consistently stated his opposition to abortion on moral grounds, while recongnizing (as the church) does, that it is complicated and there are exceptions.

  136. Senator Reid identifies himself as pro-life/anti-abortion. He voted the pro-life position on all five matters tracked by Democrats for Life in the prior Congress.

    In a prior Congress, he was one of a couple of democratic Senators who did not join a resolution endorsing Roe v. Wade.

    The thrust of the Weekly Standard article is that Reid is not sufficiently vocal or strident in his opposition to abortion, and that he has friends who are pro-choice, and who are even very pro-choice. The article neglects to mention that President Bush approved the selection of very pro-choice republican speakers at the republican convention. And the President has not ever, to my knowledge, explicitly advocated overturning Roe v. Wade. If he has, he has not done so in a particularly vocal or strident manner.

  137. My point all along has been that there is more to being pro life than just being against abortion. Pres. Bush may have pro choice friends as even I do, but when it comes to fighting for the life of the unborn, he’s always on the front lines and unfortunately, you can’t say that for Mr. Ried. However, he’s been a champion in the fight for the rights of casinos who prey on the weaknesses of it’s patrons. To me his priorities are out of wack. I would remind many that their is a way to be pro life and fight for the life of the unborn while still allowing for the life of the mother to be taken into consideration. How is this complicated? It’s no more complicated than allowing for self defense when somebody’s life is in jeopardy.

  138. Wayne, if President Bush is on the front lines of fighting against abortion, would you care to speculate on the reasons why abortions have *increased* during his tenure as President, where they steadily decreased under the last administration? Is it possible (just maybe) that people can have different ideas about what policies most effectively reduce abortions, while still being committed to the same goal?

  139. Wayne,
    Being “on the front lines” of the abortion issue is a waste of time. Major changes are not going to happen and it is a waste of political captital for most senators to lead a major charge in either direction given that it will probably fail either in congress or in the courts.

  140. Kristine,
    I definitely don’t know where you got your info. In actuality not much has changed when it comes to abortion law or abortions themselves between the Clinton administration and that of the present. Pres. Bush is limited in his ability to change law by the left side of the aisle (for the most part) as well as a few lost republicans. And “random John,” true pro lifers will never give up, we don’t have the right to stop fighting. It’s selfish for those who have already made it out of the womb to not give those that haven’t a voice.

  141. randon john: all the more reason, esp. for a senator, esp. esp. Reid, to support the appointment of conservative judges who will overturn roe v. wade…returning the country back to democracy & allowing states to decide for themselves on this issue; or at a bare minimum, judges that won’t block every little anti-abortion law that is passed that limits abortion within the 2nd & third trimesters (as allowed by Roe).

    to take up Kristine’s challenge about why abortions might be increasing, I’ll quote the editorial she linked to:

    “Two thirds of women who abort say they cannot afford a child”

    And the answer is…selfishness & material desires. You can say democrats fight for pro-life by focusing on economic issues, but increased government spending, whether for health care, minimum wage, (insert liberal economic issue here), doesn’t mean less abortions or a better economy. What it does show us is that women, and the men they can’t rely upon (the 50% reason for women who chose abortion) is that individuals lack personal accountability, are selfish & focused on themselves & their creature comforts rather than building up a family.

  142. And to “piggy-back” on lyle’s comment, the liberals feed right into these trends by providing crutches for the poor. Kristine look up the stats on abortions performed outside of wedlock. The libs punish lower class individuals by taxing them more just for getting married. The libs offer zero incentives for the poor to move up the ladder, probably because they are afraid of losing votes. The answer to reducing abortions is not more hand-outs.

  143. Wayne,

    I guess you are saying that a “true pro-lifer” needs to be a fanatic, and even more importantly, needs to be known as a fanatic so the you can determine that they are in fact a “true” pro-lifer. While you might be a single issue voter we don’t live in a single issue world. R v W isn’t changing substantially anytime soon, reasonable people on both sides of the aisle realize this, and to publically make it your most important issue is a set-up for failure. I would be worried that any politician who campaigns heavily on either side of this issue is playing his/her constituents for fools, trying to pander for votes when it is know that there will be no change.

  144. Call it what you want Random John, fanantic or otherwise, yes pro-life does mean more than just preferring women don’t have abortions. What you are describing is exactly what is wrong with so many politicians democrat and republican alike. They run on issues to get voted in, not neccesarily the values that represent who they really are. Before you, I’d never heard anyone admit it. Many called Joseph Smith, and even the Savior the equivalent to a “fanatic.” I have no problem being a “fanatic” in the fight for life.

  145. Wayne:

    Who then in the Congress do you consider to fit your definition as pro-life? I can’t place even one member of the LDS delegation into your camp based on the stridency you require. Who do you consider to be on your side?

    “…is that individuals lack personal accountability, are selfish & focused on themselves & their creature comforts rather than building up a family.”

    Sounds like a lot of CEOs, CFOs and the like that I know.

  146. I’m ready to fail; there is hope for progress. Failure is always possible.

    Whether poor or a CEO, abortion is wrong. Whether poor or CEO, selfishness/pride are downfalls.

  147. Wayne,

    To follow up on Chad Too’s comment, is it possible to be moderately pro-life (as we perceive Sen. Reid to be) and still be a good senator because of your actions on other issues in your opinion? Does the abortion argument trump all for you? Who are the good senators in your view?

  148. Chad Too,
    So what’s the answer? Just turn a blind eye and pretend it’s not happening? Continue allowing abortion to be used as a form of birth control? Answer this question; Is abortion wrong when adoption is an option. And please don’t come back with the incest,or mother’s life is in danger response because I think we all agree exceptions should be made in these cases. But just because we have an up hill battle ahead of us does not mean we just throw our hands up, give up and compromise. It’s wrong! Isn’t it Chad Too? Abortion as birth control is wrong. Most especially in the 2-3rd trimesters. These are barbaric practices in the strictest definition of the word. Please tell me your point, are you ready to give up, or do you not even think it’s wrong. I wish the pro choicers would have been this weak in their efforts, there would be alot more thankful children alive today.

  149. Random John,
    Absolutely YES! The abortion issue trumps all others. Life is on the line. There is nothing more important. Not even close!!!

  150. Wayne,
    I simply asked who in Congress you see as pro-life based on your definition. I never said abortion was right or wrong, nor have I declared myself firmly in one camp or the other.

    Your participation in this thread has been to castigate Harry Reid as being on the wrong side of the line regarding being pro-life and therefore he should not be considered a devout member of the Church (see post #93). What I’m asking you (and please try to stay on topic here ) is: Are there any LDS members of Congress who can be called pro-life based on the requirements of stridency you hold so dear? If not, then you’ve got a lot of nerve casting aspersions on the gentleman from Nevada without similarly bashing on Hatch, Smith, Bishop, and others.

    I have no problem with your hatred of abortion (except that I think you’ve gone a little bit overboard on this single issue). What I and others have tried to show you is that regardless of how you and I feel about it personally, those who wish to have an abortion have every legal right to do so. You ask if we just throw our hands up. I would suggest that a better strategy is to concentrate on helping people understand that though women have the right to choose, the best choice is to not be sexually active outside the bonds of marriage, to use birth control if they are going to be sexually active anyway, and to consider adoption if she finds herself pregnant with a child she doesn’t want to care for.

    Meekness and love unfeigned, Wayne. Not unrighteous dominion. Forcing people to do what is right (as opposed to giving them the opportunity to choose to do right even though some will choose wrong) has been unrighteous since before the world was. Think about it.

  151. Chad Too,
    One point to consider before you pull out the agency and unrighteous dominion cards is that agency is not in question — the law of the land is in question. Murder is illegal and yet it still happens all the time in the US. People could choose to abort babies whether it was legal or not — the question is should they be able to do so without penal consequences.

    Chad and others have a point about you being a bit over the top with this. “Life is on the line. There is nothing more important. Not even close!!!” (#177) I don’t think you will find scriptural support for such a bombastic statement — it is more a doctrine of men. To God there are much more important things than mortal life (else how do you explain him letting more than 150,000 of his children die recently in Asia?) I recently wrote some comments on why death in itself is not all that important to God here

  152. You are right that murder is illegal and I support that. Interfering with a woman’s right to choose is similarly illegal; that is that the government has no authority to interfere with that choice. Thus, my stance is one that can work within the system without violating the law or the concept of free agency. Dare I pull the “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” card?

  153. Getting back to the topic of Senator Harry Reid –

    while I still kind alike the guy, here’s an article that seems to show he doesn’t do all the research he should: (yeah, it comes from a conservative source – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant)


    When Congress reconvenes tomorrow, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada is set to become the leader of the Senate Democrats. Readers of this column will recall that last month we criticized Reid for calling Justice Clarence Thomas an “embarrassment” and saying Thomas’s opinions are “poorly written,” in contrast with those of the brilliant Antonin Scalia. We noted that Reid hadn’t given an example of a poorly written Thomas opinion . . .
    An alert reader points out that on the Dec. 26 episode of “Inside Politics,” a little-watched CNN show, Reid actually did name such an opinion, at the request of host Ed Henry (we’ve corrected several obvious transcription errors here):

    Henry: When you were asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether or not you could support Justice Thomas to be chief justice you said quote, “I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written.” Could you name one of those opinions that you think is poorly written?

    Reid: Oh sure, that’s easy to do. You take the Hillside Dairy case. In that case you had a dissent written by Scalia and a dissent written by Thomas. There–it’s like looking at an eighth-grade dissertation compared to somebody who just graduated from Harvard.

    Scalia’s is well reasoned. He doesn’t want to turn stare decisis precedent on its head. That’s what Thomas wants to do. So yes, I think he has written a very poor opinion there and he’s written other opinions that are not very good.

    It’s interesting to learn that in Nevada eighth-graders write dissertations; we guess that explains how Harry Reid got to be as erudite as he is. He must immerse himself deeply in legal scholarship to be familiar with a case like Hillside Dairy v. Lyons, which doesn’t exactly rank up there with Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade among famous Supreme court rulings.

    To be honest, we’d never even heard of Hillside Dairy until we read the CNN transcript, so we went and looked it up. It turns out to be a 2003 case about California milk regulation. Here is Thomas’s opinion in full:

    I join Parts I and III of the Court’s opinion and respectfully dissent from Part II, which holds that §144 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, 7 U.S.C. §7254, “does not clearly express an intent to insulate California’s pricing and pooling laws from a Commerce Clause challenge.” Ante, at 6-7. Although I agree that the Court of Appeals erred in its statutory analysis, I nevertheless would affirm its judgment on this claim because “[t]he negative Commerce Clause has no basis in the text of the Constitution, makes little sense, and has proved virtually unworkable in application,” Camps Newfound/Owatonna, Inc. v. Town of Harrison, 520 U.S. 564, 610 (1997) (Thomas, J., dissenting), and, consequently, cannot serve as a basis for striking down a state statute.

    Is that written at an eighth-grade level? We report, you decide.

    What about that Scalia dissent Reid found so impressive that he thought it worthy of a recent Harvard undergrad (rather a backhanded compliment, since Scalia actually graduated from Harvard Law School 45 years ago)? Here it is, quoted also in its entirety: “”

    That’s right, there was no Scalia dissent. Scalia joined the court’s majority opinion, written by Justice John Paul Stevens, as did every other justice except Thomas, and he dissented only from Part II.

    Reid’s substantive criticism of Thomas–if it can be dignified with such a description–turns out to be equally empty. According to Reid, Scalia “doesn’t want to turn stare decisis precedent on its head,” while Thomas does. Presumably this refers to Thomas’s rejection of the court’s “negative Commerce Clause” jurisprudence. In his Hillside Dairy opinion, as we’ve seen, Thomas does not elaborate on this, instead pointing the reader to his lengthy dissent in the earlier Newfound/Owatonna case–a dissent Scalia joined. In other words, Thomas and Scalia both would overturn Supreme Court precedent in this area; the only point of disagreement in Hillside Dairy was whether to address the question in this particular case.

    We suppose Reid will find some staff knucklehead to take the fall for this appallingly shoddy research, but the question remains: Why is the Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate so intent on insulting the intelligence of Clarence Thomas, the only black member of the Supreme Court? reports that “the Congressional Black Caucus has told Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that he crossed the line earlier this month when he called Justice Clarence Thomas ‘an embarrassment to the Supreme Court’ “:

    “We wrote a letter to Sen. Reid cautioning him about his comments,” incoming CBC Chairman Mel Watt, D-N.C., told radio host Steve Malzberg, who was filling in Wednesday on Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show.

    “I think all of us ought to focus more on substance and less on stereotypes and caricatures,” Watt said.

    When Trent Lott crossed the line two years ago, Republicans, after some hesitation, did the right thing and ousted him as their leader. If the Democrats retain Reid, it will tell us something about the party’s commitment to racial equality.

  154. I wish to reiterate the point of some earlier posts that it is inappropriate to castigate Senator Reid based on his perceived stance on abortion. Sanctity of marriage and gambling have also been mentioned as possible reasons why the general membership of the Church might not accept Mr. Reid as one of their own. Because the abortion question has dominated the posts thus far, this is where I will focus.

    The Senator’s stance may not measure up to some pro-life standards, but it isn’t fully aligned with pro-choice dogma either. I have not seen any evidence that the Senator’s voting record diverges from the official position of the Church on abortion, but it was mentioned that he has split with the pro-choice lobby at least 5 times. It was suggested that because he voted for John Kerry (or perhaps by simple virtue of the fact that he is Democrat) that this is evidence enough to convict him of being not merely pro-choice, but anti-First Presidency, but there is no warrant for the guilt-by-association argument. Regardless of the details of his stance, to characterize the Senator as being less than devout or worthy based on the abortion litmus test is faulty logic. The confusion stems from conflating a secular policy with theology.

    Abortion in the Church is a very serious matter. Even in the special cases of rape, incest, of life of the mother/fetus, an elective abortion is handled very carefully and carries with it possible penalties under Church disclipline. However, this approach is not based on LDS-specific theology, but on an interpretation of ethics based upon a much broader foundation. The practices implemented in the Church are in harmony with the doctrine, but do not define the doctrine.

    Indeed, LDS theology would be more likely to permit a position much closer to pro-choice than is generally found among the LDS population. Contrary to other theologies, we do not believe that an aborted baby is automatically consigned to eternal hell because it was not baptised. We know that no son or daughter of God, born or unborn, will be denied any blessing or opportunity based on the length of his/her mortal probation.

    Mormons find it easy to identify certain values to support the pro-life side of the abortion equation as being congruent with their worldview. However, this is coincidentally because pro-life values and LDS lifestyle are both more easily aligned with generally conservative rather than liberal ideology (though not exclusively so). It is possible to find some pro-choice values that correspond to LDS teachings as well. The ethical issues in the secular domain, not LDS doctrine, are what inform the official position of the Church on abortion.

    Thus, while it would be unusual to be enthusiastically pro-choice and Mormon, it would not be inconsistent with LDS theology. It would be possible to vote against the pro-life agenda, or vocally support Roe v. Wade, and still hold a Temple recommend. It is possible to be an OB/GYN who performs abortions, and be a member is good standing. None of these things are incongruent with any First Presidency’s statements that I am aware of.

    But, Harry Reid hasn’t even done these things. His stance seems to clearly fall well within the boundaries of Church teachings and policy on abortion, and there does not seem to be any reason to question his faith or worthiness.

  155. Geoff,
    I feel your assumptions of that God is not interested in the preserving of human life is way out of line. While it’s true that life on earth is but a glimpse in the grand consideration of eternity, it is a crucial glimpse. It’s so important that the judgement of our choices here determine our eternal destiny. Yes God has allowed for nature to run it’s course which has killed millions over through out history. To that I say our thoughts are not His thoughts, nor are our ways His ways. And yes He allows us our free agency, even when the price is innocent human life. Even so, only God himself can righteously take human life into His own hands.

    Looking beyond spiritual reasoning (because that hasn’t seemed to work for me here) I will join with the pro-choicers in their desire to protect human rights; just as soon as they inlude the rights of the most innocent, vulnerable fetus. I don’t understand why murder only applies to those who have much more ability to defend themselves.

  156. I wonder if pro-life also implies anti-capital punishment? It’s curious to me that the stereotypical pro-choicer is anti-capital, and the pro-lifer is pro-capital.

    Obviously, I can see the distinction between a convicted murderer and an innocent fetus. However, given the number of false convictions on death row, the relative proportion of guilt/innocence of death-row inmates is called into question. And so, given the tiniest possiblity that a particular felon may be innocent of the unpardonable crime, is it justice to murder him/her.

    If the decision to take life as punishment, compensation, or deterrent for murder can be justified, why can’t a decision to abort a pregnancy in certain circumstances be justified? If capital punishment is not state-sanctioned murder, then why is a medical procedure considered doctor-sanctioned murder?

    I know that there are distinctions between capital punishment and abortion, and the questions I raise are rhetorical only. I’m really just questioning the inflammatory use of the word “murder” to describe abortion.

  157. Don’t get me wrong, Wayne. I firmly believe God is against abortion. I was simply responding to your overzealous statement, “There is nothing more important. Not even close!!!â€? This is an incorrect doctrine. The “life of the soul” is infinitely more important than mortal life.

    Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the asoul, and for the life of the soul.
    D&C 101: 37

  158. Ok, well when I say nothing is more important, I’m referring to issues to take into consideration when entering the voting booth. I recognize the life of the soul is eternal while our mortal bodies aren’t.

  159. Since this topic is about “Mormon Senator Harry Reid” I assume that it is not strictly about his stance on abortion, but about all of his political activities, and how they relate to ‘Mormon’ standards.

    In 2001, the Senator drove thru Senate Bill 990, which allocated $600 Million per year for 5 years for “land acquisition
    with no protection against condemnation, and grant money to leftwing environmental and animal rights organizations”

    It was approved with no debate, amendments and no recorded vote.


    Seems like this demonstrates the Senators approach to Representative government, and his Respect for private property.

  160. Clyde,

    I can’t claim any expertise on this particular bill, but:

    (1) The Congressional record shows that it was sent to committee, refered back to the Senate, approved unanimously, sent to the House, approved unanimously there. See .

    No one opposed it — not Reid or anyone else, in either house. That sounds like normal bill approval to me, which is exactly in accord with our ideas of Representative government.

    (2) I’m not aware of the scriptures that explain why Mormons should be so up in arms about private property. If anything, church history is very much about how we should resist the evils of private property.

  161. Ivan, I gather that you’re in a doctoral program at U Texas in, I think, English. I’ve been impressed by the students I’ve met who have come out of that school, so pardon me for holding you to a higher standard. I don’t think the thought and compositional skill in that long, long excerpt is the kind of writing you’d want to associate yourself with, even if you agree with its politics. The Volokh citation is sufficient, as far as it goes. I still find the charge of doing sloppy research pretty underwhelming.

    I assume you’re a perceptive reader, or else you wouldn’t be where you are now. So I suspect it wasn’t lost on you that the opinionjournal piece took Reid’s disdain for Thomas–a widely-shared view among Democrats and liberals, and one based purely on his legal views–and turned it into a baseless charge of racism. Even if you love Thomas and can’t stand Reid, you have to recognize the accusation of racism as ugly and dishonest. Why quote it at length? Why applaud the demolition of Harry Reid? Even if you’d vote against him 100% of the time, his ruin would only hurt the church.

    What I really don’t get is why some people are so vehemently opposed to Reid. Ivan, you say you aren’t, so you might not have an explanation. Wayne, maybe? Somebody, help me out here. What is it about “Mormon Senator Harry Reid” that’s so upsetting?

    I try to project my reactions to “Mormon Senator Orrin Hatch,” and I’m not getting anywhere. I often disagree with Hatch’s politics and his role in the judicial confirmation process, and I wish he wouldn’t introduce the occasional bit of cringe-inducing legislation, but I don’t question the fact that we both belong to the same church and hold all the most important beliefs in common. I want him to have the respect of his Senate colleagues and everyone else, if for no other reason than that I want the church to enjoy a good reputation. I would be upset if someone accused him of racism, if for no other reason than that I know that some of it will stick to me and every other member of the church.

    So why doesn’t it work the other way around? Is giving priority to my religious identity at the expense of my political affiliation something that only Democratic Mormons are expected to do? I don’t expect to agree with everything Reid does–I’ve already come across one issue (accounting for stock options, not that it will ever affect me personally) where I don’t. Wayne, why didn’t you greet Reid’s election as minority leader with something like “Hallelujah! Reid may not be as pro-life as I would like him to be, but since he’s more anti-abortion than those leftwing cupcakes want him to be, maybe there will be a possibility for some common-sense bipartisan compromise legislation!” Why the shock that a good Mormon should be the top Senate Democrat? Is there some kind of religious-political entanglement between the GOP and Mormonism such that Reid’s existence threatens to induce a spiritual crisis? Something else? What? I just don’t get it.

  162. That’s exactly it Jonathan. Mr. Reid is not known as the new Senate Minority Leader from Nevada. He’s known as the new “Mormon” Senate Minority Leader from Nevada. And whether it’s right or wrong, many people’s opinions of the church are based on the only Mormon they know of, Harry Reid. This is the case with all of us, we are all excpected to live according to the principles of the Gospel. I recognize you don’t have to be a member of the GOP to be an upstanding member of the church. My Grandmother leans left on pretty much every issue out there. Although I couldn’t disagree with her more on all these issues, I would never call into question her morals. The reason being because she respects human life and the sanctity of marriage. She didn’t vote for Kerry for that reason.
    My issue with Reid is that I feel he misrepresents the church. How many times have the GAs stood in conference to counsel us on the dangers of gambling. Nevertheless, Reid has fought for the rights of casinos more than any other politician in recent history. Nobody sees a problem with this. If Reid was weak, and not a good fighter, I might be able to see why he’s weak on the battle against Roe, but we’ve seen him be a warrior for those issues that are good for his back pocket. He’s been an abortion issue dodger rather than taking the bull by the horns as he did for the Nevada Gaming Commission. In thus doing so he gives the church a black eye in the minds of many. I’ve never pulled the race card in regards to Reid’s opposition of the Judge Thomas. However, he is way out of line in his comments about Thomas, he had nothing to back it up.

  163. Guys,

    A lot of people think that Thomas is a lightweight on the court. Granted, this view can be critiqued, and Thomas certainly has his supporters. But, in my observation, it’s a widely held view among many legal academics that Thomas is an intellectual lightweight.

    Reid is repeating what he’s hears elsewhere. That’s not such a crime — politicians do it all the time. No one has the time to master dozens of complex issues, so they go by what their staff tells them. They get things wrong from time to time, such as Scalia’s lack of an opinion in the cited case.

  164. Jonathan –

    I have no particualr love for James Taranto at best of the Web –

    I just like posting any opinion pieces I find about Harry Reid here.

    Besides, methinks you ar too focused on Mr. Taranto’s lesser (and I admit overhyped and likely baseless) charge of racism and not on his main point – Reid didn’t double check his facts.

    I was just hoping the conversation might actually go back to the topic.

    (and Kaimi – it was more than just Scalia’a lack of an opinion – Reid completely misrepresented what opinions were there).

  165. Jonathan –

    also I think you’re unfairly maligning the Best of the Web guy. Best of the Web is, if you don’t read it for the quality of the arguments (I get the idea Mr. Taranto dashes his daily article out in a matter of minutes with little revision), a very informative resource for news not highlighted in other places – as well as odd headlines and bizarre mixed metaphors used by commentators (I love the “Metaphor Alert” feature).

    What I think Mr. Taranto is doing by leveling charges of racism at Reid is do what liberals generally do to conservatives – any time a racial minority is criticized, accusse the critic of racism. He’s likely trying to turn the tables, so to speak. A bit of a juvenile impulse, but understandable.

    I also would take the left’s criticisms of Clarence Thomas more seriously if they would stop repeating the “Thomas always votes with Scalia” charge. This charge has been demonstrated to be clearly untrue enough times that I would have thought intelligent people would stop repeating it – but it is still part of the “conventional wisdom.” So, until the left stops making that claim, I have a hard time taking their other criticisms seriously.

  166. Wayne, the fact is that Mr. Reid’s positions on abortion appear to be closer to the actual position of the Church than yours. Moreover, there are *lots* of Mormon politicians, like Mitt Romney, who are less than staunchly opposed to gambling. Here’s a fun hypothetical for you: imagine Reid gets the Democratic nomination in 2008. The Republican nomination goes to Mitt Romney–also Mormon, on the record as pro-choice, and wishy-washy on gambling. Who would you vote for? Or would you just sit the election out to demonstrate your ideological purity?

  167. Kristine –

    I think a Reid v. Romney match-up in 2008 would be great! I’d love to see how the anti-mormon segment of the evangelical right would react.

  168. A Mormon vs. Mormon presidential election certainly could be interesting. Nevermind the evangelical right … I’d be interested to see how the Mormon population would respond to a matchup like that.

    I doubt either would be the final candidate choice for either party.

  169. Kaimi: and “many” folks thinking racism was ok made it so in the pre civil rights days? Recently, Former Rep. Chisholm died. She called herself “unbossed.” Well, given the heft that any analysis of Thomas’ position shows, it seems far more likely that the “many” you cite are dissing Thomas not as a lightweight, but because he is “unbossed.” A spade is a spade; and Thomas bashing is nothing more than or less than racism coupled with ideological disagreement.

  170. This article from Newsweek (sorry Nate) raised many of the same concerns about Thomas that Reid did at about the same time. (sorry I don’t know how to make it prettier, admins: feel free.) The most interesting part for me was that the observation that Thomas is weak on stare decisis originated with Justice Scalia.

    Scary, though, is Thomas’ position regarding freedom of religion as quoted in article. I went to read his concurrence in the Elk Grove case ( and its true: Thomas doesn’t believe that states should be bound by the First Amendment. If I’m overreacting tell me, but wouldn’t that mean that, in theory, there would be nothing stopping my state legislature from setting up Southern Baptist as a state religion, perhaps at the exclusion of all others?

    Oh, and Ivan. Please, please, please never take at face value anything Rep. Mel Watt says about race. He sits enthroned in a district specifically gerrymandered to always have an African-American majority (see and is the king of pandering to that base. He raises the race card so often he might as well have it surgically attached to the end of his fingers. He’s so slimy that even this confirmed Democrat declines to vote for him.

  171. Wayne – “Ok, well when I say nothing is more important, I’m referring to issues to take into consideration when entering the voting booth. I recognize the life of the soul is eternal while our mortal bodies aren’t.” (post 188 and a point Wayne has been stressing all along).

    So abortion, because it is about life and death according to you is THE most important issue when going to the voting booth. What about national security and war? That is certainly about life and death, in fact, it is about the life or death of people already on this earth. What about policies concerning poverty? How about humanitarian aid? How about crime, or gun deaths (around 30,000 a year in the U.S.). How about health coverage? How about medical research to search for cures to terminal diseases? How about environmental protection such as air and water quality? These all seem like issues that are life or death. And yet somehow to you abortion trumps them all. I agree with others in this post that this is somewhat extremist and ultimately limiting when measuring up a politician. It is precisely because I see that there are many important moral issues, not just abortion and gay marriage, that I look for how candidates come down on all of these issues and pick the best. I have found that in most cases these candidates are like Sen. Reid, moderate and usually in the Democratic party (but not always).

  172. Chad Too –

    I am puzzled? The mention of Mel Watt seems to come out of nowhere – I did not endorse nor agree with him – I posted a link to a site that quotes him near the end of an article. That’s about it. I find it odd you attack something not even central to an argument I may or may not be making.

  173. No attack, my friend. Just friendly advice to take anything where Mel Watt accuses someone of racism with a grain of salt. He accuses everyone of racism.

  174. Rick M,
    All those issues are important, very important. But none of them include legalized murder (unless you consider war murder.) None of them.

    I don’t know how quite to answer your question. As with any election sometimes you have to just choose the lesser of two evils. And before you get huffy-puffy, I am not calling either of these men evil. What I mean is you just have to do the best with what you have even if neither candidate perfectly represents your views. I still don’t get your point.

  175. Wayne, my point was to try to get you to acknowledge that worthy, active Mormons in either political party could take different positions on abortion than you have. By naming a prominent Mormon Republican whose views differ from yours, I was hoping to see if you would distinguish between moderately pro-life and moderately pro-choice and really vote based on the issue rather than party affiliation. If you are really a one-issue voter, you would presumably have to side with Reid, who is pro-life, though not enough for you. Or, you could acknowledge that you are not a single-issue voter and side with Romney, who is pro-choice, but whose views might be closer to yours on other issues.

  176. Chad 2: Scary or not, that was the practice as originally understood by the Founders. Several of the states had state-sponsored religion. The Doctrine of Incorporation (i.e. applying the Bill of Rights to the states) is not universally admired or accepted.

  177. Ivan, sorry if I misread the intent of your long, long excerpt. I understand a link and a summary as an indication that Reid has been mentioned somewhere, while I understood your long, long excerpt as an indication that you wanted to support the views expressed therein, since you could have summarized it or just cut it off, but didn’t. The long, long excerpt had the unfortunate effect of introducing a baseless charge of racism into this discussion, while adequately supporting what I find a rather trivial charge of sloppy research. You’ll note that the baseless charge of racism has already met with applause above. Keeping track of Reid’s media appearance is interesting, but I’m less excited to see him accused of racism, as that’s hardly a throwaway line, but rather one of the most incendiary accusations one can make today. Quick hint: citing someone else’s accusation without making your own standpoint on it clear can come across as passive-aggressive. Please, tell us exactly where you agree and disagree.

    Rick, don’t let issues obscure the, uh, issue here. If Wayne believes that life begins at conception, and that abortion is like murder, and that that issue trumps all others–I disagree, but many reasonable people whose opinions I respect will agree with him. It’s his right to hold those views and to seek to persuade others. What’s still a mystery to me is his allergic reaction to Reid as a member of the same church body.

    Wayne, is it just a matter of being embarrassed in front of your conservative friends? If so, it may be just a matter of getting sufficient practice. If you were a liberal Democrat Mormon, you would have long experience defending Hatch’s principled stands to your liberal friends while trying to overlook the moves that make him look like a complete tool of the Republican party. With time and an open mind, you might find something to admire about Reid, even while continuing to vote against him and oppose most of his policies.

    You keep coming back to the abortion issue as the single overriding issue, and then someone points out that Reid is anti-abortion, and then you say he isn’t sufficiently anti-abortion, and someone else points out that the church also has a somewhat nuanced stance on this issue, and you say that abortion is murder, or bring up gambling–it feeds a certain suspicion that abortion isn’t the real issue with your allergic reaction to Reid.

    It doesn’t have to be like this. You could just acknowledge that you can’t stand Reid’s politics, but that he seems to be a faithful member in good standing who’s trying to do the best job he can. Can you imagine Reid, just as he is now, as a faithful, worthy fellow member of the church? I hope so.

  178. I probably shouldn’t have posted such a long excerpt – bad judgement on my part.

    live and learn.

  179. (Wayne, #205, response to #202) “All those issues are important, very important. But none of them include legalized murder (unless you consider war murder.) None of them.”

    That is the real issue here (you’re right Jonathon). If you believe abortion is legalized murder than okay, you can rank it higher than some of the issues I mentioned (although innocent people die in wars, die of malnutritrion, etc.) But there is a huge inconsistency in your view. If abortion is murder, then how can you make exceptions at all? Murder is okay if rape or incest is involved? Murder is okay is the life of the mother is threatened? Murder is okay when the fetus will not survive past childbirth? If you are going to call it murder, then it is uniformally wrong, right? That seems an untenable position to me and I’d love to know how you or any who considers abortion equivalent to murder can make any exceptions. And I agree with Jonathon, you can disagree with one’s political positions without attacking the person’s character. I think Bush is downright wacky on many policy fronts but don’t stoop to calling him insincere or evil or what have you.

  180. Sorry, a clarification. I think many of Bush’s policies are wacky…didn’t want to sound like I was name calling because that is not how I meant it. Disagree with policies without personal attacks…that is the point.

  181. Rick M.
    To me murder has to do with intent or motive. As I’ve said before, if the mother’s life is at risk I think it’s the equivalent to self defense when someone enters your home to kill you. As far as rape goes, I still don’t see how that justifies killing the fetus. Again, there is always adoption.

    Listen, my point isn’t that Reid is the most evil politician in Washington. If you look at my first posting, my point was that I’m disappointed that Reid is representing the church (whether he means to or not) and his fight for the rights of casinos has been much more active than his fight for the right for life. I don’t find this representative of what the values of the gospel are.

  182. Wayne, I’m going to ask one last time: how do you justify taking a position contrary to the church’s official one about what is justified in cases of rape that results in pregnancy?

  183. Kristine,
    What is permitted is not therefore mandatory or even approved. Remember Christ’s comment when he was asked why Moses permitted divorce.

  184. You still haven’t answered my question, Wayne. Are their any members of the LDS delegation to Congress (representing the Church whether they mean to or not) that meet the yardstick of pro-life you are holding Reid up against?

  185. Adam, if I’m reading Wayne correctly, he is arguing that it should not be permitted, and that Latter-day Saints are obligated to fight to make it legally impermissible.

  186. First, let me be clear that I am not hear to defend or “justify” abortion. I recognize it for the horrific procedure that it is. I recognize that in the vast majority of cases one cannot morally support abortion over other options. However, I think we should think carefully about Wayne’s position, which is representative of the hard-core “pro-life” position and ask ourselves if it is consistent with our own beliefs and moreover LDS doctrine.

    Wayne (214): “To me murder has to do with intent or motive. As I’ve said before, if the mother’s life is at risk I think it’s the equivalent to self defense when someone enters your home to kill you. As far as rape goes, I still don’t see how that justifies killing the fetus. Again, there is always adoption.”

    So women who for whatever reason elect to have an abortion have murderous intentions? I doubt you mean that, but you did say it. So in sticking to abortion is murder you justify the procedure if continuing the pregnancy risks the life of the mother. Thus the “murder” is self defense. So where do you draw the line in life of the mother? If a 12 year old becomes pregnant and given her psychological state a pregnancy and birth would scar her for life, is that enough for you? Or what if that 12 year old were raped? What if it was incest? These are horrible scenarios but they do happen. I just read about pedophiles preying on children left orphans in South Asia. Its a sick world and these situations happen. If abortion is murder then ther could hardly be any acceptions. Take another scenario. A fetus has a horrible defect and will not survive past birth. Aborting that pregnancy would be murder would it not? It would be like killing someone with a terminal disease, right? But this (unfortunately) happens and it is a terrible trial for the mother but in most cases ending the pregnancy is the right choice. Have you ever heard of an ectopic pregnancy? I personally know women who have had to suffer one of these. They have to have a procedure called a D&C that (according to your definition) is murder. The fetus is often still alive when it is done but cannot possible survive.

    I guess the other thing that bothers me so much about this abortion is murder view is that you seem to equate it with LDS theology which is just plain wrong. There is no doctrine equating abortion with murder. It is terribly serious, yes. It can be called “like unto murder”, yes. But it is not murder. There is a huge difference. To call it murder means that we know 100% that the being in the womb is a living soul. We know a soul is body+spirit. We don’t know when the spirit enters the body. Some assume, and it seems logical, that it might be at the stage called “the quickening.” But we don’t know 100%. Because it might be a living soul at some point in the pregnancy, and because our doctrine places the highest value on the life-creating process, abortions of convenience are viewed as a grevious sin. But not all are. Sorry for the lack of references but you can go and do the homework. The point is that LDS theology does not support the abortion is murder position, a position that people have used to justify bombing clinics (the self-defense argument again…the baby has no one to protect it, thus murdering the doctor to protect the baby is justified). Equating abortion with murder is dangerous and extreme and ethically problematic. The more moderate view that LDS doctrine would support is that the sacredness of the life-creating process means that abortions are only morally acceptable under extreme circumstances, which yes, could involve a woman being raped choosing to end the possible pregnancy or pregnancy as soon as possible, or a victim of incest being spared the trauma of the result of that act, or a ectopic pregancies, etc. This is a much more consistent position I think.

    Finally (sorry such a long post), the starting point of all this was Sen Reid not being pro-life enough for some people. (Just being Democrat is enough for some people not to like him). An early post made this point and I’ll repeat it. There are different views on how to limit or reduce abortions. I would submit that the vast majority of the U.S., including politicians, would like to reduce the amount of abortions. Republicans want to do this by banning them, even reversing Roe v. Wade (which Reid openly opposes by the way). Democrats tend to say that we need to reduce unwanted pregnancies. Help poor single women get out of situations that lead to unwanted pregnancies. Educate people about family planning. Make adoptions easier and more affordable. Etc. Etc. I would feel a lot better about conservative’s wanting to ban abortion if I saw them doing anything to help reduce unwanted pregnancies. But this would involve poverty issues and other forms of social support that are too “big government for them” (wait a minute, isn’t a federal ban on abortions big government?)….The statistics about abortions are true by the way, less under Clinton than under Bush I and II and Reagan. We could go on. I would encourage you to look at other countries, like Germany, have done with the abortion issue. They support women much more so that abortions are more rare; yet it is not illegal. This is why we should move beyond pro-choice/pro-life and look at the factors that lead women to have abortions and work on those. If conservatives really wanted to stop abortions it seems they would do this, but they don’t. They simply want to ban it and turn their heads to the root problems.

  187. Rick M,
    I hear the same arguments from pro-choicers every time. “Well, what about this situation, or that situation? etc. etc.” As you admit Rick these situations are BY FAR the rarety. Abortions of convenience our weigh these special circumstance abortions by a land slide. Their are so many laws on the books that leave room for special circumstances. I don’t claim to have all the answers. By I stand by my view that standing by and allowing women to rob babies (they chose to create) to live is immoral and needs to be changed. And yes those women who do kill for convenience, I do accuse them of having murderous intentions. Sure maybe not as grevious as others, nonetheless they are having zero respect or regard for life.

    As far as your solution to reduce abortions by allowing more handouts, it hasn’t worked yet and it never will. The reason being is gives the poor a reason to stay poor. It gives them no incentive or motivation to strive for a better life. I have no problem helping our people who are willing to help themselves. I personally have known people who were afraid to look for a job or even get married because that’s when the government shuts them off. I suggest the gov. adopts the welfare policies of the church and insist that individuals prove they are making an honest effort. This is a far cry from the status -quo.

  188. Rick M., Comment #212:

    Think of it this way. If Wayne McLaws were against murder but willing to tolerate an exception for people who killed in self-defense (i.e., to save their own lives) would you think he was inconsistent?

  189. I regret that this is becoming more a debate than a dialogue.
    Debates emphasize difference and work to polarize people and so I am not very fond of that style of discourse. Wayne, I would think we agree on more than we disagree. While I have major issues with your equating abortion with murder (I have enumerated the reasons) I think we both agree that abortions of convenience (which are like 95% of the cases) are morally wrong and thus public policy should encourage a better choice. The big difference is in equating it with murder, which seems to me does not make room for exceptions other than life of the mother. You never responded to my question of how you fit that with LDS policy and doctrine. You also never responded to the concern I raised about why those who want to ban all abortions seem uninterested in addressing the root problems. Rather, in Hannity/Limbaugh debate style you raise red herrings (pro-choice, government handouts, etc.). that is why I don’t see this conversation as productive.

    This all started with a claim that Sen Reid was somehow not a faithful member because he was not as vigorously pro-life as you think he should be. I have tried to ask questions regarding the logic you use to arrive at that conclusion and still have not seen answers. Rather, this has turned into some kind of fruitless debate.

    And Adam, yes, Wayne is consistent but never addressed the implications of that consistency that I asked about (that is it cannot make room for rape or incest and that it is the reasoning used by those who justify violence against those who perform abortions).

  190. Rick M,
    You are right, this dialogue is not productive, we are just going in circles. I enjoyed your comment that “public policy should encourage a better choice.” Although I do think it should do more than just “encourage” a better choice.
    I’m sorry you take offense to my equating abortions of convenience to murder but to me that’s the only word that fits. Anyhow i think Reid would disagree with you that “public policy whould have anything to do with “a woman’s right to choose.” That’s my issue with him.

  191. p.s.
    please don’t put me in the group who justify violence against those who perform abortions. I don’t know where that came from!

  192. Re: 27
    I know that this is off-topic, and I really have nothing to contribute to an LDS discussion, but I wanted to highlight this comment:
    Also, lacking specific knowledge, it is not a far-fetched assumption that a successful, driven politician is negligent in religious observance. Jewish politicians are common enough, yet Senator Leiberman stands out because he observes his faith.

    As a Jew I found this comment somewhat condescending. There are several different denominations of Judaism, which take different attitudes toward what is required of Judaism. So the implication that other Jewish politicians do not observe their faith because (if male) they do not wear yarmulkes or do not keep Shomer Shabbas is unwarranted. They may belong to a denomination that does not require these of its members. Other Jewish politicians may keep up with their religious observances by regularly attending Reform or Reconstructionist or certain Conservative synagogues, without being as visible as Lieberman–I don’t think it would be proper to say that they do not observe their faith.

    (I should say that I do not attend synagogue regularly; if you wish to describe me as negligent in my observance go ahead! :-) But when I do attend I favor Reconstructionist congregations.)

  193. I see this thread is pretty much dead, but I kept wondering as I read through it today if Wayne McLaws has adopted any children who were the result of a rape. If so, wonderful, and you have my respect for it. If not, ‘practice what you preach, brother!’ (#93)

    It seems to me that his strident position stems from his belief that these spirits aren’t able to gain bodies (see #106). No one else challenged him on that… it is not my interpretation of LDS doctrine.

  194. Claire,
    No offense but both of your points are ridiculous! Are you suggesting that only those who have adopted products of rape can be oppose to aborting in lue of adoption. If so, you got me, there is not much I can say to such an odd argument.

    Also, I’m not ignorant enough to think that the souls that are aborted will be punished to the extent of not being able to progress. But are you suggesting that this logic excuses any and all abortions, those of convenience or otherwise. I would guess that even your fellow pro-choicers might scoff at this justification.

  195. Wayne, loosely translated, it means: “it’s not nice to call people’s ideas ridiculous, and doing so without actually making an argument to back it up makes you look silly. Also, your second paragraph consists entirely of unfounded assumptions and rhetorical excess.”

    Also, to the initiated, CHUPABRACA signals that a thread has lived far beyond its productive (or bearable!) lifespan, and everyone should refrain from feeding the trolls masquerading as Energizer bunnies.

  196. Kristine,
    stow your biases. Wayne’s response is a lot more respectable than the comment he’s responding to.

  197. Ah, Adam, you’re too quick for me–I was going to suggest that claire’s requirement for standing in the argument was far too stringent.

  198. I have to say I’m surprised by the strong reaction to my (I felt rather innocent) observations/ideas. I was merely contemplating the source of Wayne McLaws rather extreme (in my opinion) position, and wondered if had done himself what he was so strenuously advocates. I figured that if he were the parent of a child who would have otherwise been aborted, that would make him feel strongly than the average (? apparently there aren’t any) ‘pro-lifer’ might. If he hasn’t, then I was referring him to his own advice.

    I’m not sure what Wayne McLaws means in his second paragraph at all. I was merely speculating further on the stridency of opinion on this topic by referring to one of his original posts and suggesting that idea might explain it.

    PS to Mr. McLaws: I’ve never considered myself pro-choice. Which is not to say I’ve ever considered myself pro-life either.

  199. Well, Kristine HH, you’ve been so dashed reasonable lately that I have to jump quick to get my licks in. Next time I’ll count to ten, though.

  200. claire, Wayne’s views are extreme, and, as you’ve surely noticed from reading the thread, they’re not particularly susceptible to reasoned argument, contrary evidence, or even official church pronouncements. We’re all tired of arguing with him, which is not to say that you shouldn’t have a go of it if you want to, but even those of us inclined to agree with you are unlikely to mount a vigorous campaign. Sorry!

  201. Wayne,
    you’ve foght the good fight. Anyone who’s ready to be convinced is convinced already. I don’t think there’s anything to be added. Let your seeds germinate for a while.

  202. Wait a second. Is it chupabraca or chupacabra? I thought I finally nailed it down. Someone (I believe it was Steve) corrected me on this — but only after I had erred for a long long time.

    Either way, I’d like to thank Kristine for stepping in and providing a very credible and insightful translation of the term. And it was fun to read too! (Much better than I could have done)

  203. Adam,
    Thanks, but I don’t intend to stop the fight. Maybe on this thread, but not in the world. I guess what makes me different than other contributors here is that this isn’t just another political issue for me. It blows my mind that many in society consider the sanctity of marriage and legalized abortion as simply “social issues.” I don’t understand it, and it’s so hard to argue with people who (a) don’t even see the unborn as legitamate human beings or (b) don’t have any interest in respecting their right to life. But yet the rights of the one who selfishly created the unwanted child (in 99% of cases) are worth fighting for. Frustrating to say the least!

  204. Danithew,

    Kris speaks German, not Spanish. “Chupabraca” may mean something in German, but in our setting “Chupabraca” is confined to how one pronounces Han Solo’s sidekick when one’s mouth is full.

    Chupacabra is pretty straightforward: Chupar (suck) cabra (goat). It’s the goat-sucker. It’s a Mexican mythical monster creature, I believe somewhat similar to the vampire in European mythology — a monster that comes out at night, and you can tell it’s around because it’s killing the livestock (sucking the goats).

  205. Kaimi,

    I am guessing that I started the mis-typing of chupabraca. I was writing it that way for a long time and then someone corrected me. So Kristine has the right to sic a real chupacabra on me for that one. It does help when I parse the words as you did. I don’t think I’ll forget it now.

  206. ….just to switch back to Senator Reid for a moment….

    Does anyone know any of the details of his boxing career?
    Can anybody NAME someone that he has actually boxed?
    How many actual boxing matches did he have?

    Orrin Hatch had 11 fights in the ring:,1249,510037850,00.html

    By contrast, details of Senator Reids boxing career seem be be non-existent; the following is what i can find out:

    According to an article posted Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2004 in Slate, “Reid told Joe Klein that he got into a fistfight with his future father-in-law”

    According to an obituary in the Las Vegas Sun Dec. 14, 2001, Leon Hardison sparred as a teen-ager with the likes of Harry Reid:

    Harry Reid was 3 years, 2 months older than Leon Hardison, based on the obituary published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
    (Reid 18/19 vs Hardison 15/16 ???).

    The RJ coverage of Senator Reid has been more factual, while the LV Sun is a lot more favorable to the Senator.
    The LV Sun publisher Hank Greenspan was a rabid democrat. His long-time editor had been former Nevada Governor Mike O’Callaghan; his lieutenant governor was Harry Reid.

    It seems that all references to Reid’s career are from him.

  207. Hank Greenspun was rapid, but he was registered as a Republican. That didn’t stop him from siding with Democrats he liked and attacking Republicans he thought had it coming. His party affiliation seemed like a minor aspect of his politics.

  208. Actually, it starts off being about a guy who works for Mr. Reid, but the article winds up being more about our distinguished senator than his disorderly staffer.

    Actually, no, it really doesn’t.

  209. Jeremy –

    my mistake – I only read the first bit, some in the middelm and the last bit, and the last three paragraphs are all about Mr. Reid, as were the three paragraphs near the middle that I read.

    My mistake for skimming.

    But you could have been nicer about pointing out my mistake. ;)

  210. Why should anyone be surprised by this. What’s the saying “dirty water flows from the top.” Sounds applicable here. I’m also not surprised Reid is distancing himself from the situation. Probably a good move!

  211. Ivan,
    Sorry–I was being quick, not curt. My inadvertant repitition of “actually” made it look snippier than I meant.


    Why should anyone be surprised by this. What’s the saying “dirty water flows from the top.” Sounds applicable here.

    And why not even moreso, then, in the 9/11 hearings, the Abu Ghraib hearings, the Gonzales and Rice hearings, which concerned much graver sins and grosser negligence, and which somehow all left the folks at “the top” unsullied?

    A staffer gets fined $25 for holding up a sign in a crowd, on his day off, and that constitutes “dirty water” attributable to Reid?

  212. Jeremy,
    I actually agree to a certain extent concerning the Abu Ghraib situation. There was some serious lack of communication between our leaders and those disgusting individuals at Abu Ghraib. As to the Gonzales/Rice hearings I’m not sure of what you are to referring to. Are you referring to the proposterous accusations made by liberals such as Barbara Boxer, John Kerry, and Kennedy (among others.) In that case I agree that in those cases the “top” of the dem. party is indeed sullied. Whatever happened to the comments made by the libs in the wake of the election that went something like this; “We are obviously disappointed in the results, however this is a time to get unified as a country and get things done.” Not off to a good start I must say!

  213. Are you referring to the proposterous accusations made by liberals such as Barbara Boxer, John Kerry, and Kennedy (among others.)

    Huh? While it might have been a bit obnoxious of Boxer to have documents put in the record, she wasn’t making up the stuff she was putting into the record. Please recall that Bush initially opposed the formation of the 9/11 commission altogether, initially tried to prevent Rice from being forced to testify, initially refused to testify, and finally did so only with Cheney present and without testifying under oath or on record. The admin has said things that clearly weren’t true–be it dishonesty or negligence or ignorance; it would be further negligence to not ask for a transparent accounting of those mistakes.

    Whatever happened to the comments made by the libs in the wake of the election that went something like this; “We are obviously disappointed in the results, however this is a time to get unified as a country and get things done.”

    That’s a cheap shot, isn’t it? Do whatever you want because you’re in power and anytime someone disagrees cry divisiveness? It would be a sorry day indeed for democracy when legislators took acquiescence as their prime civic duty.

  214. I waited to respond until I heard the libs response to today’s election in Iraq. They never cease to amaze me! Negative, negative, negative, negative. The fact is they can’t afford for our efforts in Iraq to be succesful. It’s not good for their political careers, and after all that’s what matters most. For example; this morning on Meet the Press John Kerry was full of “buts!”… “Yeah elections are good… but we’ll see how Bush does this or that.” or “Yeah the world is a better place with Iraq on the road to democracy… but we are worse off because of it.” Understandably the libs just can’t take good news if it’s brought about by conservative efforts. It’s disgusting to say the least, and yes unfortunately one of our own (Reid) is right in the middle of it. A sad state of affairs!

  215. “Right in the middle of it?” Has Reid made a statement about the elections in Iraq? If so, I’d be interested in reading it. If not, it’s not fair to attribute to him sentiments he has not expressed.

    As for the others, they can’t be blamed for trying to make sure that our shared admiration for the bravery of Iraqi poll-goers doesn’t immunize the administration from just criticism. The voters themselves should get all the credit they deserve.

  216. Wayne, would it be too much to ask you to use respectful terms for people who disagree with your political views? ‘Libs’ is insulting. If you’re going to spend eternity in the celestial kingdom with Harry Reid and/or many of his fellow travelers, you’d better start practicing now.

  217. Jonathan,
    This is the first time I’ve heard the term “liberal” is insulting. Where does the label come from after all? Doesn’t it stem from democrats who take pride in supporting LIBERAL welfare handouts and other government subsidies? I know Democrats aren’t fond of the term “handouts” but I can’t think of any other name for it. Nonetheless I apologize for offending you and hope you’ll give me a left offensive term for those on the far left.

  218. Wayne,

    these days they prefer the term progressives.

    Incidentally, I think Jonathan was objecting to the flippant tone associated with shortening liberals to “libs”, which implies the same kind of disrespect and condescension that shortening Japanese to “Japs” might imply.

  219. Wayne,

    Perhaps we can stipulate — you can refer to liberals as libs, and they’ll refer to conservatives as cons.



  220. I’m happy to be called “liberal.” It’s a great word, going back to the Latin for “free.” I don’t like to be called a “lib,” however. The first is a more or less accurate description of my political ideals, while the other sounds derisive.

  221. Thank you Kelly, that is a great example of Reid’s continuing negativity. Let’s take one example. Rather than speaking of the strides Saddam’s capture makes towards lessening the tyranny and terrorism throughout the middle east (or the world for that matter), he focuses on the non capture of Osama. Saying that Pres. Bush has but the fight against terror “on the back burner.” That’s an out right lie! Atleast Bush has Osama on the run which is more than we can say for Reid’s buddy, Clinton who passed up the opportunity to capture, or much less kill Osama. But of course the left never talks about that. So now we have Osama on the run and Saddam behind bars and Bush hasn’t done enough? But it all makes sense when you consider Reid’s alterior motives. Just like his cohorts, Reid is full of criticism and completely lacks any answers himself. I challenge any of you to tell me any ideas Reid has brought forth for a more effective fight against terror. The fact is a successful war on terror led by Bush is very detrimental to the left’s future elections, sad but undeniable!


    The Deseret News had an article up yesterday about LDS Democrats in congress. It seems like it belongs in this thread.

    Wayne, I fail to see how you can credit Bush with having Osama “on the run” and then contrast that with Clinton. Clinton actively tried to assasinate Osama. What did Bush do prior to 9-11? I am unaware of any Bush attempts to kill him before 9-11. I do know that they spotted him with a drone AFTER 9-11 and they didn’t go in and kill him. I am still trying to figure out what having Saddam behind bars has to do with terrorism in the US. I hope that the middle east is more stable in the long term because of our invasion of Iraq, but in the meantime it seems that we have given a lot of people justification in their minds to become terrorists.

  223. No, Wayne, I don’t get your point, and I never have. That’s OK; my getting your point won’t help you or me in any significant way. Getting your own blog is a good idea. You could explain exactly what you think at the length you want, and you could be the last word on what constitutes acceptable discourse on your site.

  224. It would be interesting to know, Wayne, just how much “running” old “on the run” Osama has been doing lately. My guess is that he’s holed up in the villa of some warlord up on the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier, chuckling about people who think that he’s on the run.

    And, quit picking on those backwoods part-time soldiers that got out of line at Abu Ghraib. If the President and Rummy hadn’t sent out a clear message that detainees would not be considered enemy combatants under the Geneva Conventions; if the President hadn’t made this whole “war on terror” a fight between good and evil; if the interrogators and commanders hadn’t encouraged/directed/commanded the guards to “soften up” the prisoners (who were not entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions after all, and who were representatives of the evil that the US, the good in this fight, is trying to stamp out); and if “one of our own,” Jay Bybee, hadn’t written that finely argued, well-footnoted, double-spaced 10 pt. Courier-typed memo explaining just what kinds of inhumanity could be practiced upon those evil ones without it constituting torture; if none of these things had happened, then perhaps those part time poorly trained, badly educated non-worldly-wise soldiers in Abu Ghraib would not have done what they did.

    Don’t push the blame downhill onto them. Yeah, they should have known better–but if the whole of their command chain, up the their (not my) Commander in Chief, was signalling that it was all right, it must have been awful hard to decide that it was wrong.

  225. Mark: You obviously don’t seem to understand what it means to be a soldier & your privilege to disobey an unlawful order. Also, just because one is a soldier doesn’t mean the light of Chris goes out…there is still a conscience, despite conspiracy theories about the ‘signals’ of those higher up the chain of command.

    re: threads that don’t die. Mayhap because there is a continuing interest in the subject of Sen. Reid & his brand of public service in relation to his private faith?

  226. lyle,

    Do we have any stories of soldiers refusing orders to mistreat prisoners in Iraq? I am unaware of any. The soldiers in these situations are caught between a rock and a hard place. Either way they might get in big trouble.

  227. Lyle,

    I’m sorry that my lack of understanding was so obvious. I’ll try to hide it in future comments.

  228. random John- You wrote “I fail to see how you can credit Bush with having Osama “on the run” and then contrast that with Clinton. Clinton actively tried to assasinate Osama.”

    I will try and find the source, but you are aware, are you not, that Clinton actually could have had Osama handed to him on the preverbial platter, but chose not to take the offering, right?

    Bush, on the other hand, was in office 9 short months prior to 9/11, whereas Clinton had 8 years to get it right, and did nothing. During Bush’s first term, we suffered a significant tragedy with the Twin Towers, but virtually every attempt since then to attack American interests has been thwarted. On the other hand, there were many successful attempts during the Clinton watch.

    Whether Osama is on the run or holed up somewhere in the mountains of Afganistan, he has been made virtually impotent, which is my book is a pretty darn close second to dead.

  229. Wayne, Ask the M* people if you can guest blog there! Perhaps a monthly column on who is REALLY pro-life (in your book) and who only claims to be! More seriously, this doesn’t seem to be going anywhere despite the sound and fury.

    Kelly, I would be interested in any info you have on the subject. After the embassy bombings Clinton attempted to kill Osama by ordering a Tomahawk strike on the camp he was in. What attempts did Bush make to go after Osama prior to 9-11? Nine months isn’t eight years, but if Osama was being offered up, what did Bush do about it? Again, it seems clear that he was focused on Iraq as the problem rather than terrorists. After 9-11 when we knew where he was we didn’t kill him. That is pathetic.

  230. Random John,
    So what are you saying? Do you not have an opinion about when pro-life ends and pro-choice begins? Or are you saying that begins my opinion may differ with yours it’s completely without merit?

    Also, Clinton himself admitted he was offered Osama and justified not taking him by saying he had not yet directly committed a crime against the U.S. Is this really the first you’ve heard of this?

  231. Random: Yes, there were several soldiers who did refuse to participate in the conduct. These soldiers who refused to participate are the same soldiers that testified against those that were charged & complained about the conduct in the first place.

  232. Did Senator Reid tell a big wopper on TV last night in the Democrat’s response to the state ofthe union message?

    The senator told a story about a visit to his home town, Search Light Nevada. A ten year old boy came up to him with a skate board under his arm while he was having breakfast at the “Nugget Restraunt. The boy told the senator that he wanted to be just like him when he grew up.

    Isn’t the Nugget restraunt really the Nugget Casino?

    What would a ten year old boy be doing in a Casino?

    Are there any sidewalks in Search Light Nevada for a ten year old to go Skateboarding or was the kid skateboarding on I-95?

    Is this story a figment of Senator Reid’s immagination or did he invent the story to make a point?

    Can we trust Senator Reid if he tells stories on National TV that are not true?

  233. Lyle

    For that he gets an A+ in my book. But why does he have to make up stories that cant possible be true? Is that wrong and should he come clean and make an appology?


  234. James: The name is actually “The Nugget Casion and Restaurant.” From my limited knowledge of Vegas, it is quite common to have a business which is part gambling, part non…i.e. a grocery store might have a slot parlor, but…no kids would be allowed there; bu they wouldn’t restrict access to the grocery store.

    So…it seems fairly likely that Sen. Reid & the little boy were in the Restaurant. The Senator did mention that he was there eating with friends.

    Whether or not their are sidewalks…who knows? Doesn’t seem improbable to me…but even if there weren’t any…big deal. So he made a modern day parable. I’d prefer he said so if it wasn’t a factual event, but…no harm, no foul.

  235. The restaurant isn’t in Vegas, it’s in Searchlight just as the Senator said. It’s on HIGHWAY 95 (I-95 runs between Maine and Miami) and in small remote towns like Searchlight that makes it the main drag. Yes, there are sidewalks. Public works like curb, gutter, and sidewalk are very well funded in Nevada thanks to the tourism industry.

    And it’s very common in rural Nevada for one part of a building to be the restaurant and another part to be the casino. It wouldn’t be uncommon at all for a 10-year-old boy to be in the restaurant portion of the building.

    Picture at

    And THAT took me all of 30 google-seconds to find. Surely you could have invested that much effort before calling Brother Reid a bald-faced liar, James?

  236. Even if James was right, that story was the least of Reid’s problems in his response to the state of the union. He and Pallosi (sp?) are leading their party down a dangerous road! They are saying exactly what our enemies want to here. Wouldn’t announcing an exit plan for Iraq help to motivate the enemy and give them the impression that they can just wait it out?

    Here’s the problem with their approach. For argument’s sake, lets say that the war was a mistake. Let’s say Bush had a personal vendetta agains Hussein, Cheney was after oil, and Rice and Powell were just their puppets. The fact is the current situation is the current situation. The bad guys are out there and want to hamper the progress we are making to make Iraq a democracy. So what good does bashing the administration and insisting they can do no good? We have to unite and make the mission work since it’s too late to go back and threaten Saddam for eternity as the left obviously would have preferred. Defining an exit plan does nothing but give the enemy something to wait out. Everytime Reid opens his mouth he inspired the bad guys.

  237. The format of this web site makes it quite easy to ignore topics one isn’t interested in. Why is it bothersome to some that a few continue to have little comments to make about Mormon Senator Harry Reid?

    As a former 10-year-old Nevadan, I will confirm my own presence in many casinos when I was a boy, including the Nugget in Searchlight. The Nugget really was more of a restaurant than a casino. Based on my own experience, the most likely reasons for the boy with the skateboard to have been in the Nugget would be to get something to eat and to play arcade video games and pinball.

  238. Wayne,

    I suppose you are free to define for yourself who is and isn’t pro-life. Similarly, members of other religions are free to say that Mormons aren’t Christian. While I am bothered by this sort of self-appointed authority, that isn’t really what irks me about your position. The real problem is that I see your position as counter productive, assuming that it has any impact at all. Rather than graciously accept the senators contributions to the cause, limited as they may be, you instead decide to attack him. I guess we are going to agree to disagree on the width of the spectrum that is pro-life, and on who gets to draw these borders.

  239. Exactly Random John, everybody has an opinion about what pro-life is. I never claimed that my opinion is the be all end all.

  240. John Mansfield — nicely said. I was embarassed for the poster who jumped in with complete ignorance of what it is like to live in Nevada, though it does highlight the ease with which we transpose our assumptions into insisting that others are telling lies.

    As for “just how much “running” old “on the run” Osama has been doing lately” — he is in final stage failure and on home dialysis. Think about it.

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