In Jeff Jacoby's piece Courage, and the lack of it he describes Carrie Prejean and Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard Law Professor and former US Ambassador to the Vatican, as having "greater respect for honesty than political correctness, and for the obligations of moral witness than for their own personal prestige."
Ms. Glendon "declined to accept the University of Notre Dame's illustrious Laetare Medla, the most distinguished honor in American Catholic life..."
"In a letter to Notre Dame's president, Glendon expressed dismay that the university would bestow a high honor on someone [President Obama] so hostile [unrestricted abortion rights] to such a fundamental Catholic principle, in flat disregard of church guidelines."
Who within our sphere -- that is also not of our faith -- is standing for something'?
How do we best reach out, honor and partner with people like Carrie Prejean and Mary Ann Glendon?
Miss California wanted to be Miss USA, but she had to make a choice.
Amidst cheers, and especially jeers, she said 'I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.'
It cost her the crown, but she stayed true to her conviction.
Elder M. Russell Ballard said, "For the most part, our neighbors not of our faith are good, honorable people—every bit as good and honorable as we strive to be. They care about their families, just like we do. They want to make the world a better place, just like we do."
When was the last time we thanked someone not of our faith for standing up -- for taking the bullet, as it were?
Seven-year-old Joseph Hofheins reacts to eating matzah with horseradish during the bitter herbs part of the Passover ceremony, which also included music and dancing. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)
Latter-day Saints (Mormon or LDS) have long felt a kinship with Jewish brothers and sisters. It’s becoming popular in recent years for Latter-day Saints (LDS) to take their feelings of kinship to a more active level. Some are participating in a Seder in addition to the traditional Easter services and remembrance observed this time of year.
I remember a few years ago a women’s activity at our local unit of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make Seder plates. We spent the evening decorating the plates and learning the traditions of the Seder. I really enjoyed the activity. It gave me a great appreciation for the common heritage Christians and Jews share.
Latter-day Saints in areas of Utah are developing large activities for this special time of year. The following news-story is from Deseret News:
PROVO — It looked like a traditional celebration of the Jewish Passover on Friday evening at the Scenic View Academy, complete with men wearing yamalkas.
But most of the 200 people at this Passover dinner were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“A Seder for Judah and Joseph” was held as a means for attendees to “learn about the Jewish Passover and its rich symbolism from an LDS perspective,” according to the event’s sponsor, the Isaiah Institute.
“One of the things that we’re trying to do is build those bridges so that both Judah, as well as LDS, and others of different faiths, can come together and begin to really understand that they have a common heritage,” said Robert Kay, who co-narrated the program along with Avraham Gileadi.
Having now covered the controversy over the Boston Temple, and Mitt Romney's faith, Michael Paulson, a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter, proffered some interesting insights as the keynote speaker at Utah Valley University's April 2-3 conference titled Mormonism in the Public Mind.
In particular, note his second point which predicts that I would blog about what he's written. Click here to get to the second of three posts.
The film Angels & Demons will be released shortly. The book was riveting, but I don't know that I'll go see the movie.
I have been disgruntled with HBO. Despite protestations, they have aired an episode of 'Big Love' depicting temple rituals which are sacred to me. This has led me to wonder -- have I, in turn, enjoyed books or films that entertained at someone else's expense?
For example, were Evangelicals offended by Guys and Dolls 'Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat'?
Probably not, but I honestly don't know.
The Vatican may ask Catholics to shun Angels and Demons. Race has - happily -- come to be held sacred in our country; religious beliefs should be as well. Meaning, if the Catholics see sacrilege in Angels and Demons, shouldn't I, as a person of faith, also see sacrilege?
Being an 'angel' to the Catholics as they fight the 'demons' is the right thing to do.
It would also be nice if the next time there's a 'Big Love'-type event, and there will be -- if there were someone out there to show Mormons some love.
Did any of you catch Joe Fitzgerald's editorial in the Boston Herald?
He's hard-hitting, but I was grateful.
He saw a people -- my people, my faith - being thrown to the wolves, and he said 'This is not ok."
I'd encourage you to read the whole piece, and as you read, ask yourself two questions:
1) Will I send him a quick e-mail to say thank you -- though I can't find an e-mail address. If you find one, let me know. Otherwise, pay the thank-you forward!
2) The next time I see someone not being treated fairly because of their race, religion, ethnicity (one that is different than my own) -- will I figuratively stand up and say 'This is not ok!", even if it's not popular to do so?
Here's an excerpt:
In post-award interviews, Black decided to amplify his condemnation
of a faith whose tenets he rejects, explaining how his adoring mother
was so different from others in her crowd: “I mean, this is a Mormon
woman who should not be accepting or loving . . .”
In other words, most Mormon mothers would rather feed their young to
the wolves than watch them stray from the teachings of their church.
Even by Hollywood’s standards, Black’s self-indulgence was
unconscionable, denigrating an entire faith to justify his own
repudiation of it.
Black’s mother sounds like many Jewish mothers, Catholic mothers,
evangelical mothers, Mormon mothers, who, even when their hearts are
breaking, have a love that’s unconditional, realizing acceptance does
not mean approval.
If you have any interest in better engaging with others about matters of faith, watch this video of 20 year-old Rachel Esplin being grilled by veteran Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn.
Ms. Esplin is so unflappable, conversational, articulate, and heartfelt, it is easy to forget that were one of us to be asked the questions that Ms. Quinn asked -- we would be hard pressed to do even half as well.
Here's what I learned.
It is ok for us to talk openly, matter-of-factly, about what we believe.
In doing so, we can make friends, build bridges, forge alliances.
As Richard Bushman so aptly wrote -- we (meaning Mormons,
Christians - and the devoutly religious generally) are in an era where
we need to make friends.
What if each of us were to think through the question -- how can I engage with another person on a topic about which we strongly disagree -- and do so civilly?
I'm a neophyte in these matters, but I'd like to learn.
Down with bad behavior
January 30, 2009
With apologies to Mark Twain, civility is
just like the weather. Everyone talks about it, but no one ever does anything
about it. Meanwhile, rolling clouds of thunderous insults and disrespectful
behavior seem to be invading everywhere from the Internet to the halls of the
That may be because no one knows exactly what
to do. When folks apparently aren't taught proper behavior in the home, it's
hard to give them a remedial course.
But that hasn't stopped local attorney John
Kesler, who strongly believes Americans can exercise free-speech rights and
advocate passionately for their core convictions without getting in the faces
of their neighbors or showing disrespect. Kesler heads a nonprofit group called
the Salt Lake Center for Engaging Community. He has won the support of some
influential Utahns, such as Supreme Court Chief Justice Christine Durham, Gov.
Jon Huntsman Jr. and Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker, among others.
We hope he can get all state lawmakers to
sign on soon, as well. In recent years, committee chairmen have routinely excluded
public comment from hearings on bills or have allowed people to shout down
others who are advocating one position or another. Sometimes lawmakers violate
their own rules of procedure or simply make up their own on the spot.
But boorish behavior is by no means confined
to Capitol Hill. It can be found in many city council chambers and in the
anonymous posts left on virtually any newspaper or blog site. Anonymity is no
cover for bad behavior. It still reflects on a person's character and ought to
gnaw on his or her conscience.
Kesler's group has a set of ground rules for
respectful behavior. Mainly, these have to do with recognizing the rights of
others and their dignity as human beings. Specifically, they call for people to
avoid "intimidation, ridicule, personal attacks, mean spiritedness,
reprisals against those who disagree..."
The things your mother probably taught you,
in other words. And if she didn't, the things you now need to learn.
Kesler deserves support in his efforts. He
would like to present demonstration projects to groups in order to teach them
how to put these rules into practice. That's a good idea, but what a shame that
Americans have to be taught such things.
And what a shame it would be if state
lawmakers don't pass a joint resolution supporting these principles.
Know Your Neighbor (KYN), a niche blog geared to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons), is the starting point for a conversation about how we reach out, whether around the world or across the street.