Meet the new bigotry, same as the old bigotry

This is a guest post by Michael Towns.

In 1971, seminal English rock band The Who released a classic entitled “Won’t Get Fooled Again” which includes these words: “Meet the new boss….same as the old boss!” For decades, it’s been interpreted in a political context. Nixon was viewed as not that different as Johnson – both escalated military actions in Vietnam and thus the “new boss” was the same as the “old boss.”

There is a troubling aspect to contemporary social discourse. It goes something like this: you don’t agree with the social, political, or religious beliefs of a person or a group of people, yet instead of meeting those beliefs from a position of mutual respect in the marketplace of ideas, you label the person or group using a catch-all epithet designed to so marginalize your opponent that the labeling party essentially can claim a victory before the battle has even started. The labeling party views this result as perfectly condign to the crime of talking about certain topics. Meet the New Bigotry. It’s the same as the Old Bigotry.

In a way I can see the logic of such a tactic. By anathematizing the “other”, you can insulate yourself from having to wrestle with your political or social conceits. By marginalizing those who believe differently than you, you can supposedly remain perched upon your moral tower while ensconced in your blissful echo chamber. It frees you from having to engage in the rough and tumble of debate. But let me be perfectly blunt about it: doing so makes the person a complete anti-intellectual coward.
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The LDS Church Responds to Criticism and Details Efforts to Reach Out to Women

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The Millennial Star has received the following letter from the Public Affairs department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints entitled “Context Missing From Discussion About Women”.

The letter, written by Michael Otterson, Managing Director of Public Affairs, responds to recent criticisms from bloggers and explains and clarifies the Church’s efforts to reach out to LDS women and to listen to their ideas and concerns. It also clarifies the role of Public Affairs and their supervision by the highest authorities of the church.

Letter: Context Missing From Discussion About Women (PDF Document)

Text of the letter follows:


Context missing from discussion about women

Comments on various blogs over recent months about what Church leaders
should or should not think and do about women’s roles in The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints prompt me to provide some context from an insider
perspective that may be helpful.

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The Problems with Moral Equivalence – A Response to Geoff B.’s Perspective on Ukraine

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[This is a guest post by Morgan Deane who is a military historian that teaches history for BYU-Idaho. He is an Mphil/PhD student at Kings College London and writes at http://mormonwar.blogspot.com and http://www.arsenalofvenice.com. He has written a book titled, "Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon", which will be released shortly. His guest post is in response to Geoff B.'s recent post: Perspective on Ukraine]

Every time the U.S. might take potential military action there are a variety of people who argue that these tyrants and dictators are little different from the U.S. This article in particular caught my eye, since it contained so many of the common moral equivalence errors. Despite the legitimate mistakes made in American foreign policy, America is a different and better country than Russia and our foreign policy is morally superior to that of Putin’s. The quotes are from this article from Geoff B.

The United States is currently occupying Afghanistan

Occupy is a loaded term with a negative connotation. We have troops there, but the most frequent criticism about Obama is that we are leaving too soon. We just left Iraq and the leverage we had there, so I’m amazed at how consistently America is attacked over “occupations” when we seem to be heading towards the exits like scolded gorillas. Continue reading

LDS Immigration Policy an Issue in Arizona Senate Race, or “The Case Against Russell Pearce”

The following guest post comes from Brent Ellsworth, an Arizona attorney, and author of  “The Case Against Russell Pearce.”

Mitt Romney is not the only LDS candidate receiving national media attention this election cycle.

Russell Pearce is also on the media “watch” list.  Pearce is one of two LDS candidates for an open state senate seat in the Arizona primary on August 28.  His opponent is Bob Worsley, founder of SkyMall, who is seeking his first elected office.

Pearce was the moving force behind the passage in 2010 of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the first state law to enact “enforcement only” provisions to address the problem of undocumented immigrants at the state level.  The stated objective of such legislation is to make life so unbearable for undocumented immigrants that they will voluntarily leave and return to their countries of origin.  “Attrition through enforcement.”  Pearce also attracted national attention when in November 2011, while President of the Arizona State Senate, he was removed from office in a humiliating and controversial recall election.

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Guest Post: The Church Got the Plan of Salvation Wrong

The following guest post comes from Tex Benson.

I have lived in the south-eastern United States my entire life including my mission which was in Houston Texas. God bless Texas. Currently I am in my fourth year of school studying Civil Engineering and Military Science (Army ROTC). At church I serve as the Stake Young Single Adult Representative, which I hate, and I teach Elders Quorum once a month(ish), which I love.

Ok, not the whole Church, just the Mission Department and the Church Education System. I wanted an edgy title.

I realized this while I was on my mission but wasn’t really sure how to address it and the reason I am ranting about it now is because I am ashamed of myself. Recently I attended a Young Single Adult fireside and honestly this one was quite good, however it hit on a pet peeve of mine. Towards the end the Bishop who was teaching asked for a volunteer to come up and draw the Plan of Salvation on the board with the rest of the group assisting them on what to put in. Before the young man drew the Pre-Earth Life I knew what would happen, but I let it go to see if someone said something. I had enough confidence in this bishop to think that if no one else pointed out the problem he would at the end. Sadly, my faith was in vain. The typical Sunday school Plan of Salvation was put on the board complete with Outer Darkness, the War in Heaven, and the Veil. The only time Christ was mentioned as part of the plan was when a woman said “put an A by the Earth for the Atonement”. Sadly she was shouted down by an argument about the Veil of Forgetfulness and her A was never drawn. I had a difficult decision to make, do I call out a Bishop and everyone else or do I stay silent? I chose to stay silent.

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