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My personal view is that politicizing the Bloggernacle is not a good idea, just like politicizing the Church is not a good idea.

Amen brother. The fewer politics posts and discussions we have in the 'nacle the better. One can get that crap anywhere on the web -- why let it overrun our good thing too?

Maybe someone should start a Mormon politics community (with aggregators and all) so we can keep the stuff separated.

Dave,

I disagree the petition is anti-BYU. I am certainly not anti-BYU. I do agree it is a voice of protest against BYU's acquiescence in Cheney essentially inviting himself to speak at commencement. A more appropriate venue would probably have been a political forum rather than commencement. I do agree the petition is a voice of protest against Mr. Cheney’s policies as well.

I tend to think that labels such as the "Mormon Left" obfuscate more than they enlighten. What is the Mormon Left? I am proud that my religious beliefs have a direct impact on many of my beliefs and values, political and otherwise.

I'm in the process of getting my MBA right now, and I find it interesting that in most of the literature in business "politics" is defined as "telling people what you think they want to hear." It's actually considered a major dysfunction.

GeoffJ: Aw man, and I was planning a big polictical serios for NCT. "Politics on Kolob"

Today's local paper, The Post Register, carried an article by Brock Vergakis, "BYU students peacefully protest Cheney's visit."

As a conservative, reading that made me feel better about the whole deal.

Ditto everything Geoff said.

In my non-blog life, I am a political junky and I argue incessantly about politics, but I can count on one hand the number of political posts I have commented on. Increasingly, it seems like we are being overrun by more and more politics, which I find unfortunate. Obviously a lot of people like it because those posts get tons of comments.

I heartily agree with both Dave and Geoff that the Nacle not be politicized, and as such, I suggest that the MoArch throw M&A off, since it is little more than political ranting and current events.

M&A has those awesome posts on the Missionaries in Ghana, which are some of the best things online...

I am confused. Why would apostates be allowed to protest decisions made within our own Church and our own University. If they do not have a testimony and have left the church, then they should move on and find some other religion or philosophy that supports their worldview. They don't have a right to protest the private decisions of a private institution. Upon what basis does this affect them? None whatsoever. It has no impact on their life, their career, their families or their freedoms.

And before you start giving me that argument that "all viewpoints are equal" and "we should not throw out those that may come back into the gospel", I say hogwash. People are known by their actions and to continually baby them and give credence to their contrary and hurtful views is stupid and a waste of our time. They should just move on.

Michael,

Just to clarify, Grant Palmer is still a member of the Church -- disfellowshipment is a temporary status, generally followed by a return to full fellowship. So it would be incorrect to refer to him as an apostate. As to whether he (or anyone else) is wasting their time by signing the petition or making any other public statement for or against BYU or LDS history or doctrine, I guess it's up to each individual what constitutes a waste of their time.

The petition, as far as I can tell, is open to anyone who wants to go on record as opposing BYU's invitation to VP Cheney to speak at commencement. It is not limited to members of the LDS Church or to BYU students, so there's nothing wrong with anyone who wants to signing it. On the other hand, BYU does, I believe, try to limit participation in the on-campus protests to BYU students.

I thought it was especially over the top for Eric to post about his love for Rush Limbaugh.

Dave, I'll cop to being one of the guilty parties on a couple occasions. I've done a couple political posts on the now-closed Bloggernacle Times and even one at Nine Moons. Poli-Sci was my major at BYU, and I've still got the bug even today. Sometimes the urge to speak out is too much apparently. But it was never all that satisfying for some reason. I also think it tended to distract more than illuminate.

So, I agree wholeheartedly with the call to de-politicize.

But your idea is problematic in practice. I'll just reference a few posts to illustrate:

1. First you have purely political posts that don't even pretend to have any LDS angle to them. I ran one of those at Nine Moons titled "Imperial Trainwreck" that criticized the Bush administration's ineptitude at foreign policy. No religious angle whatsoever. Rusty is running another much less heavy post just chatting about the current primary frontrunners in both parties. Again, no real LDS angle, unless you consider including Mitt Romney as a free-pass.

2. Then you've got political stories with a heavy religious angle to them. I'll use myself as an example again. I ran a post on BT briefly discussing David Kuo's book denouncing the Bush administration (let's face it, these days it's ALL about President Bush) for it's alleged secret contempt of Evangelical supporters and utter failure to implement its Faith-Based Initiative. Highly political and critical of a sitting President, yet also explicitly religious. Cheney at BYU would be another example.

3. Then you've got stories that seem predominantly political, but allege to have a religious angle too. Like Guy Murray's "Impeach Bush" post over at BT, where Guy and others pull out a laundry list of crimes and assert that no self-respecting Latter-day Saint could possibly side with this Presidency in good conscience. Torture usually comes up, as does dishonesty. The "LDS-angle" here seems to be a mere appeal to general notions of morality, but nothing uniquely LDS.

So what kind of discussion is appropriate for the nacle? And how do you tell the difference?

Or are we just sick of all-of-the-above? Should we just give it a rest and move on to whether white shirts should be required for passing the sacrament?

Seth, I'm not suggesting politics should be off-limits for the Bloggernacle. Current events and public policy issues are certainly a mainstay of blog posts, and many of those topics are quite political. With Romney, Reid, and a presidential election coming up, it is almost impossible to avoid political topics.

But one can address current events, public policy issues, and even straight political issues without "politicizing" them. What I find particularly wrongheaded are those who make it clear they can't see how anyone with LDS beliefs could hold political opinions other than their own (whether on the left, the right, or whatever direction one leans politicially). That's when it poisons the discussion. That's my view, anyway.

I dunno dave, I hate politics, and never post on it, and rarely if ever comment on it outside to note that I think it sucks, but it seems that one of the needs that blogs fill is to give an opportunity to banter about this type of stuff in a non-serious setting. People like to be extreme on the blog because there are no consequences for their extremism, or at least less consequences.

It would be much easier to have a less political bloggernacle if BYU weren't inviting a person who is possibly the most divisive political figure possible to speak. Inviting someone to speak at graduation is an honor and an implicit endorsement. It is a political statement. I would expect the membership to react with political statements of their own.

I agree with ARJ. Many people don't seem to realize the distinction between having someone speak on campus and having them speak at graduation.

It would be interesting to see who has been chosen to speak at BYU graduations in the past. My impression is that it is usally a general authority.

The editorial you point to, which was pretty good, by the way, says:

"When faced with a visitor with whom we disagree, instead of opposing the visit, let's engage in a civil dialogue over their ideas and policies."

The difficulty I have with this admonition is that there is no means of engaging in a dialogue. The only person given a platform from which to express his/her position is the invited speaker. There is no forum for dialogue with this person.

So I think protest is a legitimate response, since there is little else the people can do to counteract the person who has been given the microphone. Sure, they can discuss the policies with each other, but they have few other ways of making their opinions known to as wide an audience as the speaker has.

What about editorials or student letters in the campus newspaper? This is not a joke, it is a serious proposal for a forum in which dialogue might occur. That is where Magleby's article appeared, after all.

The BYU Protest is probably a good thing if it helps the world in general and LDS members in particular understand that the LDS Church does sincerely endorse both political diversity and political expression,

I'd agree.

Easiest solution to those who don't want to attend Cheney's graduation address - come up to the Hill where Tommy Monson will address U grads.

Divisive political figure or a prophet? We all know which one Brother Brigham would be attending were he were today ;)

(And in case you were wondering, this is all TIC. I'm reveling in the irony of having Pres. Monson speak at the U and Cheney at the Y.)

Dave,

When you find yourself in the middle of a big crowd of people, and you look around and discover that many of them appear to be intensely focused on a particular agenda, is that not an opportune moment to stop and reflect on whether you really belong in this crowd?

I submit that a number of petitioners who chose to evaluate their footing might have been surprised to realize that their environment bore the strongest resemblance to a certain great and spacious building -- one pointedly remote from the locale of North Temple in Salt Lake City.

Jim,

Accusations of "Great and Spacious Building" are so overused and so misused as to have lost any real meaning or persuasiveness with me.

Unless you can back that statement up credibly, you might as well be sneering about how the BYU protesters' "mothers wear army boots."

You might try a little harder than that.

Cool---now that BYU also represents the Great and Spacious Buildings, I've lived in or near several. (Although, in light of an accusation of New York's buildings fitting the bill, a friend pleasantly pointed out that, as all New Yorkers know, nothing in New York is spacious.)

Will they give him an "honorary degree"? Also, why is the Church newsroom defending this rather than BYU? It seems to me that the Church should let BYU deal with this matter rather than inserting itself more than it needs to here.

I'm all for inviting Cheney to speak at BYU. I am not in favor of honoring him by having him speak at graduation.

ARJ, my understanding (from either a press release or a media story) is that it was actually the First Presidency (in their capacity as members of the Board of Trustees of BYU) who extended the invitation to speak to Vice President Cheney. I assume that is not the standard procedure for inviting a commencement speaker, but was done in respect for his office. He is the Vice President of the United States, after all.

That's funny Dave, I heard that no invitation was extended to Cheney at all, but that it was Cheney who specifically asked BYU if he could speak there.

That's what the news stories are saying.

Dave, just a quick note. When I was in New York City last week, my wife and I checked out Borders, a book store not too far from Ground Zero. I picked up a book front and center that I have not seen yet in the Idaho Falls' Barnes & Noble.

The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 (Doubleday, 2007) by Dinesh D'Souza

It's an interesting contrast to CNN. Take a peek at it sometime.

Dave, have a nice Easter weekend.

Or an uninteresting contrast to reality.

There is indeed a political site for Mormons and they are on the Cheney thing.

www.mormonpolitics.com

Not sure what Cheney thing they're on, although the site sure reads like they're on the Cheney payroll.

Karl Rove must have been offering free tickets to Chuck-o-Rama.

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