A Little Less Fear, A Little More Faith

July 23, 2012

Contributors


Post by Hannah Wheelwright -

Brothers and sisters, there is nothing more dangerous than fear. We learn about that in Sunday school all the time. I want to talk with you a little bit about the fear of being open about political opinions. I am not suggesting that anyone is wrong or ignorant for being quiet about their support for President Obama, and I certainly am not giving expert advice on the topic. But I want to point out a few things on the topic of fear of sharing political opinions. Here’s why:

1.  This is America. You are entitled to freely express your political opinions without fear of repercussion from the federal government. Oftentimes in our culture we extend this to mean that you shouldn’t fear repercussions from anyone simply because of your beliefs. This security to state your stances freely is fundamental to our identity as Americans engaging in the political dialogue of this nation.
2. The concept of declaring your beliefs freely is also deeply engrained in Mormonism. From the oft-quoted Romans 1:16 (For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ) to the brave and heroic examples of our pioneer ancestors, we have a strong tradition of actively making our true convictions known, even when to do so puts us at odds with those around us.
3. Even if, after boldly admitting that you support President Obama, someone were to react negatively such to make you regret being open about it- their intolerance is their problem. As Mormons, we are told to surround ourselves with good people. There are plenty of good people who may not share our political beliefs but appreciate civil discourse and sharing opinions with an open mind. If someone you meet is going to give you a hard time about your beliefs purely because they disagree with you, it might be a good time to evaluate if they will be a good influence on your life in the first place.

Granted: there may be people already in your life, such as friends, family, and coworkers, who may be intolerant and unavoidable. How you handle those relationships is of course a personal decision. Additionally, I am not suggesting that we should risk death or any other extreme outcome in exchange for openly supporting President Obama.

What I am advocating for is a little less fear and a little more faith.

I openly admit that I relish the occasional dirty looks from people who are anti-Obama when they see that I support our President. It reminds me that “there must needs be opposition in all things,” and that there is still a lot of work to do to re-elect him.

Every day that goes by when another person finds out that I’m an Obama supporter (it usually becomes known pretty quickly- as I said, I’m extremely open about it) and they get excited to find someone who shares their passion, I am grateful that I put on that Obama shirt or brought my Obama water bottle with me. I cherish the opportunity to connect with like-minded people and to express my deeply held opinion that Barack Obama is the best candidate for President. No amount of insult, derogatory gestures, or rude glances can invalidate that belief. I’m not suggesting that my commitment to Obama is deeper than anyone else’s- simply that I choose to risk negative encounters because I value finding those few people in Provo, Utah who do also support the President, and those positive encounters are worth the risk for me.

If we all stood a little taller, spoke a little more freely in the appropriate settings (i.e. not at church), opened our minds to the possibility that those who we thought previously would brazenly disparage our opinion might not be as churlish as we had imagined- who knows what deeper relationships and more significant connections we might develop.

Conversely- for every opportunity we pass up to share our convictions about supporting our President, we’ll never know which voter we may have reached, directly or indirectly, who might have cast the deciding vote for President Obama.

So perhaps now would be a good time to take a minute; think about how you represent yourself and your beliefs. Heading into the heated and controversial campaign season this fall, we could have a little less fear and a little more faith that the benefits of being open about our support for the President will far outweigh the potential for push-back.

106 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION 2012

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15 Comments on “A Little Less Fear, A Little More Faith”

  1. BDUB Says:

    Thanks for the reminder Hannah.

  2. Peter Harrison Says:

    Great advice! I always enjoy sharing my opinions about President Obama. After a while of talking to someone having them understand you, and even agree with you on some things, is wonderful.

  3. Vern Piso Says:

    It is often said that good minds think alike. You people who support President Obama are welcome to your opinion, but you should all visit other blogs(MSNBC) and read what your fellow Obama supporters are saying about your Church. I say this because the things they say are full of lies and half truths. I KNOW THERE ARE RIGHT WINGERS THAT SAY SIMILAR THINGS so if you reply you to this don’t even go there.

    My point is if the left wingers are willing to posts lies about your church, and when confronted with why it is false, continue to post the lies even though it has been pointed out to them, why would you associate yourself with these liars and support a man who sits by as your religion is viciously lambasted?

    Please demand President Obama stop the persecution of the church. It’s all on you.

    • BDUB Says:

      Vern: the majority of the right think we (Mormons) are all going to hell at least the majority of the left don’t believe in hell. When Huckelberry was running last time against Mitt he said some hurtful things about the church (or tacitly allowed hurtful things to be said). Your argument doesn’t make any sense. If Mormons only supported those who liked them there wouldn’t be anyone to support. I just wish we could keep religion out of politics but I doubt that will ever happen.

    • gina Says:

      “I know there are right wingers that say the same thing, so if you reply to this don’t even go there”

      VERN: that makes no sense. Why would you be able to use that argument and then not allow us to use the same argument?

    • Dee Says:

      I am Mormon and a supporter Of our President. I do realize false information is spread about Mormonism and I also no that President Obama has nothing to do with it nor does he tolerate it. I do wish however, that Mitt Romney would stand up to those who claim President Obama is Muslim instead of just smiling at those and other ridiculous com
      ments.

  4. hannahwheelwright Says:

    Vern: I am not aware of President Obama persecuting the Church or being responsible for any such behavior that comes from either party. The First Amendment protects all of our opinions, including the opinions of those who do not believe in the LDS Church. They have as much right to publish their opinions against the Church as we have the right to publish our opinions in favor of the Church. It is not President Obama’s responsibility to ensure that the LDS Church is only ever seen in a positive light.

    • JJbarn Says:

      What about the war on religion? That definitely exists. The Obama administration’s war vs the catholic church on contraception? It’s a joke really, things like racism and sexism are treated sooooo carefully but the longer this administration has been in place the worse the war on religion has become.

    • Vern Piso Says:

      Do you remember(with in a few months) when the Reverend Wright said he was offered a bribe to stop talking during the 2008 campaign? What did Mitt do? He said religion was off limits. Yet weekly we are hit with article after article that tries to put the church in a bad light. What is President Obama saying about these attacks? Nothing. You’re supporting the WRONG candidate.

  5. Kathy Says:

    Hannah, you write such great posts! We had a new Elder over for dinner the other day (hometown: Provo, Utah) who literally freaked out when he saw my spare “Mormons for Obama” bumpersticker tacked to the fridge. He absolutely could NOT believe that a member of the church would not vote for Mitt Romney. So, Hannah, keep fighting! Your bound to change a few minds! (Although I doubt that the deciding vote for President Obama will be cast in Utah.)

  6. Frank Stark Says:

    “Oftentimes in our culture we extend this to mean that you shouldn’t fear repercussions from anyone simply because of your beliefs. This security to state your stances freely is fundamental to our identity as Americans engaging in the political dialogue of this nation.”
    Does this apply to Mr. Cathy, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A? Does this mean that you think Obama’s friend, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, was out of line?

    And by the way, pastors have been accused of hate crimes and been prosecuted for it in Canada and Sweden for preaching that homosexuality is wrong. Could it happen here? Let’s see. If the present regime can beat the Catholic Church into submission, an attempt on our Church will not be far behind. Satan is real, folks, and the Book of Mormon tells clearly how to tell if he is behind a policy. If it leads a person, ever so gently, away from Christ, from following His chosen leaders, first on one small thing, then another, and another, it is not from Heavenly Father.

    BTW, check out this apostle’s comparison of the United Order with Socialism:

    http://emp.byui.edu/WILLIAMSG/talks/mgr_unitedorder.htm

  7. thelogicalmormon Says:

    The most difficult part of being part of a Democracy is not standing up for what you believe in. The hardest part is educating yourself well enough to determine which candidates best represent your viewpoints. Unfortunately, there are some institutions which aim to take advantage of this difficulty and use propaganda to “educate” people contrary to the truth.

    I don’t believe that most registered Republicans truly understand what the national Republican Party *really* stands for. It is too easy to just sit back and let Fox news tell you what to believe; people don’t have the motivation to analyze things themselves. Those of us who have spent time researching and pondering issues have a duty to help undeceive those who “are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.”

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