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RELIGION IN POLITICS?

A friend sent me this video, seemingly about the role of religion in society, and for some reason it sounded vaguely creepy and made me feel ill at ease …  

Then it hit me …

This is the type of video that “nudges” people to accept religion as a part of political life; and for individuals to be “obedient” to the laws of the land and the leadership that makes those laws. Without every mentioning that we are living in dangerous times when those making those laws are corrupt and self-serving. And, when many of those laws do not pass Constitutional muster – and yet we are expected to obey them blindly.

I found it to be intellectually dishonest to tangentially mention the subject of “Marxism,” because the apparent assumption is that many Marxists would not obey the law unless their obedience is compelled and enforced by the “police.”

The supposition that without religious training of youngsters and others, you cannot have enough police to cover the population. Again, falsely assuming that people, left to their own initiative, would deliberately make bad choices and not follow existing laws.

Yes, Judeo-Christian religion has provided a sound moral underpinning for generations of Americans. But what can you say when you see the Church promoting “obedience” to the law and see some of its highest officials ignoring the law of the land to protect its leadership and clergy from what is a criminal act in almost every society on the earth?

Perhaps we should worry more about what we are being “obedient” to …

Cluster of Concerns Vie for Top U.S. Problem in 2014 -- Poor government leadership was top problem in 2014; Economy ranked a close second – Gallup Organization

In 2014, four issues generated enough public concern over enough months for at least 10% of Americans, on average, to identify each of them as the nation's most important problem. Complaints about government leadership -- including President Barack Obama, the Republicans in Congress and general political conflict -- led the list, at 18%. This was closely followed by mentions of the economy in general (17%), unemployment or jobs (15%) and healthcare (10%). <Source>

For those that do not know Christensen and his theory of “disruptive innovation” …

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The Clayton Christensen Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the world through disruptive innovation. Founded on the theories of Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen, the Institute offers a unique framework for understanding many of society’s most pressing problems. Our mission is ambitious but clear: work to shape and elevate the conversation surrounding these issues through rigorous research and public outreach. With an initial focus on education and health care, the Christensen Institute is redefining the way policymakers, community leaders, and innovators address the problems of our day by distilling and promoting the transformational power of disruptive innovation. The Christensen Institute is based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. <Source>

Creative disruption -- which presents a paradox …

Much of politics is based on a quid pro quo transaction between politicians and the special interests; politicians receiving campaign funding and voter support in return for supporting the desires of the special interests above the wants, needs, or even the existing laws, of “We the People.” So in essence, people are being asked to be “obedient” to a system that has become increasingly self-serving and corrupt. With many of the laws, especially those that favor unions, being repressive and holding back innovative progress to maintain a labor-intensive status quo.

Beliefs …

Christensen, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), belongs to a church that is tightly-controlled and dedicated to teaching and practicing moral behavior. According to a different friend, Christensen is the second most famous business writer in the LDS movement; after Stephen R. Covey of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” fame. Also, according to my friend, Christensen became a “Mission President” after becoming famous and has made a number of similarly-themed videos as part of his Mormon outreach activities. The Mormons, after all, are famous for their proselytizing missions during an individual’s younger days. An excellent idea to teach self-reliance and promote exposure to other people and cultures. 

    In Christensen's own words …

“Why do I choose to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an organized religion, rather than attempt as an individual to live a good life? It is because the church helps me understand and practice the essence of Christianity. The mechanism by which the organization achieves this is to have no professional clergy.

We don’t hire ministers or priests to teach and care for us. This forces us to teach and care for each other – and in my view, this is the core of Christian living as Christ taught it.

I actually have come to feel badly for my friends who belong to faiths in which professional clergy are employed – because they don’t know how much joy they miss when they “outsource” the teaching and care of the members of their church to specially trained professionals.”  Read more

Again, I find this leadership issue somewhat paradoxical, because you need to be “examined” by a church official to obtain the “Temple Recommend Card” that allows you to enter the Mormon Temple.

As the discussion says, only the most worthy members of the church may enter the temple. Whether or not you quality as worthy to attend is a decision made by you, your bishop and your stake president. The bishop and stake president each give you an interview where they ask a series of questions. If they feel you are worthy they will sign a "temple recommend", a credit card sized card that gives you permission to enter the temple for one year, at which point the card expires. After the recommend expires you must return to the bishop and stake president for another set of interviews to get the recommend renewed. Here are the questions you can expect to be asked:

Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?   Read more

It appears that morality was not always moral for all …

From 1849 to 1978, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) had a policy against ordaining black men to the priesthood, and forbidding black men and women from taking part in ceremonies in LDS temples. Associated with this policy were various statements by church leaders tying the policy to their view of scripture, and opining that black men and women had inherited the curse of Ham. In 1978, the church's First Presidency declared in a statement known as "Official Declaration 2" that the ban had been lifted as a result of a revelation from God.Read more

And, then there is politics …

One of the most divisive, corrupt, and self-serving politicians in the Senate is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Mormon, who has done more to damage the United States with his slavish devotion to the Marxist policies of President Barack Obama and his cadre of progressive socialist democrats. The man who has bottled-up the majority of the legislation submitted by the House of Representatives and kept it from being brought to the floor for a vote. The man who has used procedural tricks to allow ideological chameleons to enter government service. And, the man who used a Senate “trick” to allow the passage of Obamacare without a final House of representatives vote.

And, let us not forget Senator Orrin Hatch, a Mormon, who has done everything in his power to protect the big studios and content distributors – to the extent of criminalizing the breaking of an electronic wrapper around material that is in the public domain, extending the copyright protections far in excess of the original intent of the law, and using the federal government to serve as the investigator and prosecutor over what should be a civil, rather than criminal, matter.

The point being, it is the individual’s moral compass – and to a lesser extent exposure to religion – that appears to matter.

Bottom line …

Ask yourself why this well-produced, professional-quality video was made? Why it uses the referential authority of the well-respected Harvard Business School and a non-threatening academic environment? What are they selling? What is the call to action take-away?

  • Is religion really necessary in government to minimize the number of police required to enforce the laws passed by politicians?
  • And, in these troubled times, when is civil disobedience an obligation of people with a human rights or political grievance?

I have little or no doubt in my mind that Professor Christensen is doing what he believes is the right thing. But, to suggest that religion should be a part of political life, or used to make us more “obedient” without questioning the moral and legal underpinning of the code of conduct (laws), is just as dangerous as supporting a dictatorship.

I believe that your parents and peers should be the best teachers of morality, with churches and schools in a secondary position. That is not to say that there shouldn’t be trusted guidance from people of quality that you respect.

But, I am not a big fan of organized religion because I believe that a person instinctively knows what is right and wrong and many organized religions are first about power, money, and control, and then deal with morality of daily living.

Churches have been known to be wrong, to do terrible things, and to cooperate with evil to further their own existence. Therefore, I would urge you to examine your own beliefs and do the right thing, at the right time, and be respecting of all people who do not pose an existential threat to your way of life.

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


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