There is something about politicians specifically appealing to the bigots among society that really puts me off!
Yesterday in a speech found here, one political candidate (name omitted to protect the guilty–let’s call him Finn, after the Mark Twain character in the book Tom Sawyer) said, “You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do…. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell ‘em what to do with the pole, that’s what we’d do.” What a “defender of freedom”—except that the flag he refers to is the Confederate battle flag, which some South Carolinians want to use for official functions.
At least twice before, less savory elements of South Carolina, Arkansas and other states used the Confederate battle flag to tell outsiders, in effect, “You can’t tell ME what to do!”—and both times (during the Civil War and at the end of the Jim Crow era) it was because they didn’t want to be told that they couldn’t treat Blacks as subhumans. As author Ayn Rand might put it: There is no such thing as the freedom to enslave!
Unfortunately, this isn’t Finn’s first appeal to less savory elements. Last month, Finn asked a non-LDS interviewer, in a faux-innocent manner, whether Mormons believed that Jesus and Satan are brothers. As much as I would like to think the best of people, I have two reasons for disbelieving this feigned innocence:
1. What would a non-Mormon know about LDS doctrine? If you want to know about LDS doctrine, ask the Latter-day Saints, not somebody from another religion.
2. Finn was keynote speaker at an anti-Mormon convention held in Salt Lake City, headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While he didn’t attack Latter-day Saints directly then, his “innocent question” last month was phrased suspiciously like those of anti-Mormons intent on making their opponents seem ridiculous, bizarre, and/or downright evil.
I am not saying that there is no goodness in Finn, though. On the contrary—any person who professes Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, even if not of my group, will be a better person for it. Indeed, his Christian denomination has many ministries helping the less fortunate, and God will surely bless this effort. (Matthew 25:40: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”) Two months ago, I would have had no problem accepting him as the GOP presidential nominee.
But since Thanksgiving of last year, Finn has campaigned in a way that appealed to the worst elements of our society—often in a very underhanded manner. Thus, I can’t see how either Blacks or Latter-day Saints can support him.
At least I can respect Bill Keller because he is up-front with his stance on Mormons. With Finn I can’t be sure. While he doesn’t say so directly, he does hint at it—in terms quite intelligible to the bigots among us.
There is one thing I’m sure of: I won’t be supporting Finn until I can be sure that I will not be voting in effect to commit suicide. And that won’t happen until I can be certain that his profession of Jesus Christ is not being overridden by his desire to appeal to the worst elements of a good Christian church—and of humanity.