Thursday, April 5, 2007

Cheney and BYU...

My humble two cents...

I have been surprised at the reaction of some BYU students and church members when it was recently announced that Vice President Dick Cheney would be giving a Commencement Address.

Some students and members against the address say that having Cheney give it violates the LDS Church's long standing policy of political nuetrality. Having Cheney speak shows the Church supports his views and policies.

On the flip-side, some supporting the address have pointed the finger at non-supporters declaring that they are challenging Church leaders and apostatizing. Since the First Presidency of the Church must be aware of Cheney speaking, their approval is comparable to modern-day revelation.

The Church released a statement in response to the controversy. In regards to political nuertrality the statement said:

"Whatever the personal views of individual students or other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the invitation is seen by the university's board of trustees as one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure."

Cheney giving a Commencement Address is not an admission or declaration of support for his views or platform, but for his office of Vice President.

The 12th Article of Faith states:

12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

Some may disagree with this approach to government - to obey, honor and sustain. However, this has been the Church's long standing policy alongside of political nuetrailty. Having Cheney give the address is in harmony with political nuetraility and the 12th Article of Faith.
To those who support Cheney speaking I would say it is not wise bind every decision by Church-owned institutions to "Thus saith the Lord." To point the finger of apostasy at those that disagree with the Cheney giving the address shows a misunderstanding of revelation in my opinion.

Did the Lord reveal to President Hinckley that Vice President Dick Cheney should give a Commencement Address at BYU? I doubt it, but the truth is we don't know. And unless someone is privy to a statement by the Church that Cheney being invited to speak was a decision made by the Prophet himself we shouldn't tie this decision to him.
I have been amazed at some comments by Church members saying that those in opposition to Cheney speaking need to be quiet because when the Prophet speaks, we need to listen.

My personal opinion is that having the Vice President speak is an honor. I disagree with many actions and choices made by the Bush Administration. However, to have someone who holds the office of Vice President speak at a Commencement Address is good exposure for the Church and shows its support for the US Government.
Those that have a problem with Dick Cheney don't need this address to protest him. They should have been protesting him long before this announcement, and I am sure they will continue to after it.
I would hate to see those in opposition hold actual rallys and protests during the graduation ceremony itself. To me this attacks free speech, and also damages the signifigance of this special event for those students graduating.


Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

I once asked my dad what he thought of Hillary Clinton. His reponse: "I don't". I try not to spend my time and energy being anti-(anything). The negative attitudes that arise when passions combine to rally against something: this rarely, if ever, is a good thing.
Now, there have been precious few times when the Church has asked the members to take a specific political stance. These stances have targetted issues, though, and not people.
I couldn't see a general authority attending a rally in opposition to anything. Not because they aren't or shouldn't be opposed to numerous things in the world, but because they would probably rather spend that time doing any number of positive things (ie: service, family time, yard work, date with spouse, etc.)
The talk about "sustaining general authorities in this speech decision" versus "not stepping in line with the prophet" is silly. Those that argue either side are both way off the mark (with all due respect).
To each his own, I guess.

Joe Vogel said...

I wonder if it would have been worthwhile to be "anti-slavery," anti-genocide" or "anti-fascism."

Or maybe staying "above the fray" and doing positive things like yard work is sufficient.