Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Church Policy: Political Neutrality

As aspiring disciples of Jesus Christ, it would do us well to keep in mind the very well known Church public policy on political neutrality. There is inspired wisdom and long experience behind this policy. This policy is summarized in a statement at the LDS.org newsroom:

Political Neutrality.

The Church's mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church's neutrality in matters of party politics applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.

The Church does not:

* Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or
* Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources
to be used for partisan political purposes.
* Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party
they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a
candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints.
* Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

The Church does:

* Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in
their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting
in elections.
* Expect its members to engage in the political process in an
informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the
Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have
differences of opinion in partisan political matters.
* Request candidates for office not to imply that their candidacy
or platforms are endorsed by the Church.
* Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan
way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral
consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.

1 comment:

Jim Cobabe said...

It is obvious that some Church members, in their enthusiasm for a favorite or favored political cause, get carried away and far violate the spirit of restraint and prudence reflected in the general Church policy on political neutrality.

In particular, political enthusiasts often violate the common-sense dictum instructing its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner. Although it is easy to understand why civility is often the first casualty of political engagement, this kind of lapse is no more excusable than would be the willful violation of any of the other policy orders.

Yet we continually see consideration for this ideal neglected and abused, discarded in favor of the easier cheap shots.