AZ Central: We are LDS but would never speak for the church. Neither should those stumping for Trump
We wouldn’t pretend to give the impression that we speak for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; we do not.
But as individual church members writing on our own account, we would suggest that the group holding a rally calling itself “Latter-day Saints for Trump” is out of bounds for co-opting the church’s name to give the impression that Donald Trump is supported by the church as an entity.
We feel the need to respond and say that while some may support the president, there are also many who disagree with President Trump for many reasons.
For us, this election is not about parties and tribalism. It is about reclaiming our core values. President Trump is the antithesis of so much the Latter-day Saints community believes. Servant leadership, kindness, honesty, acceptance, family and respect for all are core tenets of who we are and what we stand for.
Policy positions traditionally championed by Republicans are important. Supreme Court appointments are important.
But so are the traditions and institutions that make America what it is:
- A shared dedication to a culture of civility and respect;
- A tradition of loyal opposition where we don’t entertain chants of “lock her up”;
- An imperative to use reason and data from trusted experts when making decisions;
- Supporting a free press who help establish shared facts — not “alternative facts” — and hold those in authority accountable;
- An aspiration to be a melting pot where all are created equal and in which anyone can embrace American values and thrive, versus the blood-and-soil nationalism that other nations suffer from.
Trump exploits our anxieties in the worst way — fanning division, fear and xenophobia. He manipulates America’s problems for his personal benefit rather than inspiring us to solve them. He weakens critical government institutions and routinely imperils our Constitution by placing himself above the law.
In response, we will vote for Joe Biden, or a third party candidate, or leave our ballot blank in protest. None of us can justify voting for Donald Trump because, in our opinions, the harm he does to our civic culture outweighs any policy benefits we might temporarily gain.
For those who share our concerns, please reject another Trump term in favor of rebuilding our party around enduring principles of truth, respect, honor, competency, freedom and concern for our fellow man.
It is time to focus on healing our weakened traditions and institutions and to strengthen liberty through greater solidarity.