Last Sunday morning, I was just starting to feel comfortable with the presidential election, having carefully completed my “lesser of two evils” analysis to make my decision about which of the two leading Skull and Bones members I wanted for President. And then during sacrament meeting, the bishop got up and read the Church’s political neutrality statement. It said something about not endorsing any party or candidate – sure, I was OK with that – and THEN came the catch: it said we were under a “special obligation” to seek out and uphold “leaders who will act with integrity and are ‘wise,’ ‘good,’ and ‘honest.'”
NOOOOO! How can they call that “political neutrality”? And where on earth am I going to find politicians who meet such standards??
I’m back to drawing board, folks. Is there a check box on the ballot for “none of the above”? Or is there some third party candidate that the Church has endorsed — uh, I mean who meets the standards of our neutrality statement?
That experience recalls a difficult moment for me back when I was a bishop. At a time of major publicity about scandals involving a certain politician, having to read that statement over the pulpit without smiling, smirking, or chuckling (especially the parts about integrity and honesty) was truly difficult, though I hope nobody knew that (I tried to hide my biases then). I managed to keep a straight face, but it was hard to think of the statement as being very “neutral,” given my biases.