Context: Britain is in the middle of an election in which the Prime Minister position is up for grabs. It’s a big deal — heady times. I overheard the following conversation between two active, faithful Church members immediately after Elders Quorum last Sunday while visiting a friend’s ward.
Member 1: I’ve read about the Tories’ proposals on education and find them attractive. I’d like to speak with you more about that.
Member 2: Oh yes, they’ve got a great vision on education policy. [longish boring exposition on Tory education policy — sounds kind of like “independent school districts” in Texas]
Member 1: Interesting. But I think Labour has handled the financial crisis correctly. I will probably be voting for Labour.
Member 2: (Incredulous). Labour’s handling of the crisis was rubbish! Vote Tory!
What was noticeably missing:
– Accusations of following Satan or being evil for supporting one set of mundane governmental policies over another
– Accusations of not having a testimony for supporting one set of mundane governmental policies over another
– Accusations of being a “Socialist” (with that word defined as if this were 1968 and the Soviet Slave Empire were still trying to force a godless, rights-abusing communist government and centrally planned economy built on the forced expropriation of personal property and control of the means of production and prices on its own people and the peoples of satellite states, and actively trying to expand the reach of this evil empire abroad) for supporting one set of mundane governmental policies over another
– Accusations of not following “the prophet”, by which Apostle Ezra Taft Benson is apparently meant, for supporting one set of mundane governmental policies over another
– Accusations of either having been on the wrong side in the War in Heaven or of perpetuating the War in Heaven here on Earth by seeing a legitimate use of taxes to pay for socially beneficial legislation, enacted through the legitimate democratic process (i.e. a voluntary choice of the people) that gives all citizens reasonable and appropriate access to health care in a society where modern medicine is otherwise readily available only to those who can afford it
– Accusations of working to destroy our “free agency” (by which the scriptural concept of moral agency is apparently meant, which posits that by the Fall of Adam and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have all become morally free to act rather than to be acted upon and in so doing to choose eternal life through accepting Jesus Christ and living righteously by acting morally in all circumstances or to reject eternal life and experience spiritual death by succumbing to temptations in life and acting immorally [2 Nephi 2:26-27]) for supporting one set of mundane governmental policies over another
– Accusations of making it harder or impossible for us to choose to help the poor voluntarily (i.e., to act morally, see e.g. 2 Nephi 2:26-27) for supporting one set of mundane governmental policies over another (in spite of the fact that any socially beneficial legislation that is implemented in a representative democracy, whether a constitutional republic or parliamentary democracy, is an expression of the citizens of that polity of their voluntary choice to provide for certain needs on an institutionalized, and therefore more reliable, basis through such programs)
– Accusations of stumping to replace worship of a deity with the worship of man based on support of one set of mundane governmental policies over another (thus betraying an intractable misunderstanding of history and of the meaning and benefits, including and especially to Latter-day Saints, of religious pluralism and the separation of Church and State in society)
– Any other unreasonable, irrational, histrionic, outlandish, doctrinally suspect, overly zealous, overbearing, incendiary or otherwise inappropriate accusations or behavior.
This was a good thing. It was a good day that day.
I have heard vigorous argumentation between Tories and Labour at Church and otherwise but it has refreshingly remained on the level of debating the effectiveness, intelligence and/or logic of policies and proposed legislation and has not turned into cosmic, psuedo-religious-theological finger pointing as is almost instantly the case these days in some other countries, such as what I’ve experienced in the United States and understand to be the case in such of the United States’ peers on this particular topic as Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, among others.