I've been invited to blog over at The Council of Fifty, a new blog about politics and Mormons (the name was my idea).
The original Council of Fifty was organized by Joseph Smith just prior to his death. The idea was that it would be a sort of political wing of God's Kingdom, while the church was the spiritual wing. The wikipedia article on it is pretty good. Two articles published in BYU Studies in 1980 give a more complete historical treatment. The first, by Michael Quinn, lays out the basic chronology and purposes. The second, by Andrew Ehat, attempts to answer some of the questions that Quinn raised and gets more into the theological background and purposes of the council.
This Council of Fifty is about discussing politics as it relates to Mormonism. My first post is about why the Democrats should be more open to running pro-lifers, especially for the Presidency. Here's a summary of my line of thought:
A less militantly pro-choice Democratic party would diffuse the potency of the abortion card. This would be good for the Democratic party, good for Mormons, and good for the Republican party as well. It would be good for Democrats because they could expand their base. It would be good for Mormons because it could help bring balance to the one-sidedness of political affiliation among Mormons. This in turn may give Republicans more incentive to attract Mormons, or at least to stop tolerating the anti-Mormon rhetoric from the fundamentalist wing of the party.
Of course, this is all speculative. But that’s what makes it fun.
So, really this post comes down to a few observations and a conclusion: (1) the Democrats are trying to ride a wave of populist discontent with the Bush administration and its blunders, (2) populist movements are only successful if they represent what is popular, (3) a hard-line pro-choice stance is out of line with what is popular, and (4) a hard-line pro-choice stance is not crucial to the party’s most important goals and ideals, especially not in presidential politics. Therefore, it makes sense for the party to moderate bit more on the abortion issue.
Read the entire post here. Leave comments about the argument there, comments about other stuff here. I don't want to poach the discussion.