Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, is the most powerful Mormon in American history. But one LDS bishop — the equivalent of a Catholic priest — has been forced to backtrack on recent comments denouncing Reid's faith as inadequate.
According to Mark Paredes, Reid's leadership of the Democratic Party shows that he is “a Mormon who does not take his faith seriously.” Paredes cites Reid's support for same-sex “marriage,” his lobbying for the casino industry, and his support for abortion as reasons to doubt the sincerity of the longtime senator's faith. And, most critically, he cites Reid's leadership in a party that he says explicitly opposes several of the LDS Church's moral teachings.
While the 2012 Republican platform is almost unreadable, at least it does not contain statements that directly contradict LDS teachings. This could be one reason why 11 out of the Mormon Church’s top 15 leaders – and the only ones considered to be prophets by the faithful – are registered Republicans (the other four do not have a declared party affiliation, and none of the four voted in the 2012 Democratic primary in Utah). By way of contrast, the Democratic Party’s official platform contains several statements that oppose LDS teachings on family-centered issues that seem to matter most to our leaders.
Perhaps most controversially, the Los Angeles bishop said that he didn't think Reid should be allowed to enter a Mormon temple — something that only Mormons with prior approval are permitted to do.
Although he put a disclaimer on his post — saying that “although they head congregations, Mormon bishops aren't spokesmen for the LDS Church. All of the opinions expressed in the essays on this blog are my own, and I am responsible for them” — backlash was fierce and fast. The comments section below Paredes' blog post was quickly filled with people opposing his position, or accusing him of violating the political neutrality of the LDS Church.
And, like many Catholic priests who speak critically of liberal politicians, Paredes was quickly brought back into line. “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are, of course, entitled to express their own political opinions,” Church spokesman Dale Jones said in a statement. “However, publishing such views while using a title of a church officer, even if only as a leader of a local congregation as in this case, is entirely inappropriate.”
And by Friday, just two days after his piece went out, Paredes said he could have “more artfully” phrased his critiques and concerns.
I guess it's not just Catholics who get smacked back into line when defending their faith against wayward Democratic politicians.