An open letter of apology to my LDS friends & neighbors
To all my LDS friends & acquaintances:
The slurs, lies, and general misrepresentations of your faith over the past few years have been disheartening. In both the Republican primaries and in the general election, people across the political spectrum, people who should – and do – know better, have made stupid, hurtful comments about Mormons. And time and time again, you’ve handled it with patience and forgiveness and grace.
I’m sorry because I should have done a better job of standing with you. I’m sorry because I should have been said something sooner. I should have done a better job of privately showing my acquaintances and political allies their fault when they posted anti-Mormon statuses to Facebook and Twitter. I should have spoken up louder when my LDS brothers and sisters were publicly slandered for political gain. The worst part is that on the instances when I did do these things, they worked. And yet I hesitated.
You probably know I have no problem making fun of the silly, ridiculous aspects of religion & religions, especially my own. The special power of humor lies in its ability to disrupt the ingrained prejudices and biases that shape our thoughts. As a result, humor makes us re-learn how we think about the world around us, and I think that’s a crucial part of any kind of theology.
But there’s a difference between humor and the mean-spirited “jokes” that are intended to dehumanize and delegitimize an entire group of people.
I disagree – strongly – with many decisions of the LDS leadership. (Not to mention the US Council of Catholic Bishops, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the IU administration, and the Indianapolis Colts’ coaching staff.) I disagree especially vociferously when I see them make decisions that seem to be based on the same kinds of dehumanizing “reasoning” that has been used to score political points against a Mormon candidate. That disagreement, though, has never affected the respect I have for my Mormon friends and neighbors. And when I see them hurting because of the thoughtlessness of those caught up in political ambition, it should hurt me, too.
Most of all, though, I’m sorry for failing you as a friend. And though I promise to do better, I know I won’t be able to without your help.