Monday, June 04, 2012

Can I ask a question of religion? No.

Andrew Sullivan (at @sullydish on Twitter) can write interesting pieces. Sometimes it is for the reasons that Sullivan means. Sometimes it is something else entirely. This is true for when he writes on politics and when he writes on religion, and definitely when they overlap.

So recently Andrew Sullivan wrote on this question:

Is Mormonism Different Than Other Religions?

If you have seen some of my other posts, you will know that is a question I am interested and would like to see properly examined.

So what does Sullivan do? To start, he points to a later article coming out to address whether Mormons and the LDS act properly or not. Eh, it's a post from a writer, you can expect that to happen.

But it's where he goes from there that is so interesting.
"Mormonism, in other words, should not be tackled differently than any other faith; but neither can it be completely exempted from examination in this election."
Wow, that is such an interesting view. The first half, is so on point. Mormonism should be treated just the same as other religions. Every religion is weird. Every religion has secrets. Every religion has it's little traditions. So the fact these are facets of Mormonism is not, in and of itself, a good issue.

But that second half. It should be treated like other faiths, but it can't be COMPLETELY exempt from examination... Does that mean the other religions are exempt? If Newt was the candidate, would we not be allowed to talk about the Pope and Cardinal Dolan? If Santorum was the guy, would we be sanctioned for talking Evangelicalism? As I recall, "the black church" got some scrutiny. Was it like Mormonism? 

And this is the presumed starting point for so many of the faithful.
"Of course, we don't have to talk about my faith. That's different, I'm different. It would be offensive. Why would you ask or invade that area of a person's life? How dare you!"
Sacred. It's a human construct. We can choose to respect. We can choose to keep some respectful distance. And, we can choose to pay no attention at all to the topic. But when we debate and dance with religion, we don't have to worry about keeping space for the Holy Ghost. Rather we can get up close and, barring blasphemy law, speak our minds. And, no one should be above this.

As a matter of your personal life, you can believe what you like, without harm to others. Religion, in and of itself, has no immunity and is up for scrutiny, debate, and criticism. And in politics, their is a blend  of the two points, as it is your life, but it is also a public concept with real world impact.

So let's amend, and truncate, Sullivan's line:
"Mormonism should not be tackled differently than any other faith; and like all other faiths, it is not exempted from examination ..."

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