Respecting the President

As I read various comments or blog posts online I see a number of conservatives who refer to our current president as “Barry.” This is used in the same vein as many liberals used “Dubya” or any of their other derogatory names for the previous president (many of which are not going to be posted here). I do not support such informal and derogatory nicknames for the President Obama and I did not support such terms for President Bush. What Pres. Obama gets called is far milder than what Pres. Bush was (and is) called.

Regardless of what you think of a particular president, the office deserves respect. Even if you do not respect the individual, you should respect the office. Pres. Obama should be referred to as Mr. President (when talking to him, should you ever have that honor) or President Obama (or Pres. Barack Obama); he can also be referred to as “The President”. On Twitter I can understand referring to Pres. Obama as BHO (which, while sometimes used to point out his middle name – Hussein – to try to link him with a certain former Iraqi dictator, is preferable to BO). However, that particular abbreviation should only be used on Twitter (or some similarly character-restricted medium) if your tweet is longer than the character limit and that is the best way to reduce the number of characters.

I know many people will disagree with me but I believe that people in important positions deserve respect and should be addressed respectfully regardless of your personal opinion of them. Besides, I find it difficult to take someone seriously when they refer to our president as “Barry.” Here is an example of what I am talking about from a comment on a news story on a major news site. [Not that comments to online news stories are a good representation of the public, at least I certainly hope they are not representative, but they can serve as an illustration of my point].

“[A person] will run against the Barrack Hussein WH — they will sign of the school system to the teacher unions for the future obligation of their pension and health benefits — what that BHO care .. his kids are in a private school!”

That quote is taken completely out of context so it does not make a lot of sense (it does not make a lot of sense in context either). First, the commenter referred to Pres. Obama as “Barrack [sic] Hussein,” which is an obvious appeal to anti-Muslim sentiment (or, at least the logical fallacy of guilt by association [in this case with Saddam Hussein]). Secondly, the commenter referred to Pres. Obama as “BHO”, which is not necessarily disrespectful but neither is it respectful. I know people will quibble with my point but I believe that the office of President of the United States of America is deserving of more respect, regardless of your feeling about a particular president.

We can criticize and make a caricaturization of a president but the office of president should still be respected. Much of this boils down to basic civility, a quality I fear too many in our country lack. A person only weakens an argument by reverting to name-calling or otherwise disrespectful attitudes towards others.

More Anti-Mormon News Bias

Mormon church approves gay rights law – as long as it doesn’t have to follow it.

In the above-linked article, the author bitterly complains that the new law passed in Salt Lake City banning discrimination against homosexuals does not have to be followed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What the author so conveniently ignores is something called the First Amendment that prohibits the federal government (and all “more local” governments) from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The whole amendment is worded as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The first right guaranteed in the First Amendment is specifically given to religions. That is not a coincidence. Religions are protected by the U.S. Constitution – a person’s sexual preference is not.

The author also incorrectly refers to a film ostensibly about Proposition 8 (called 8: The Mormon Proposition) as “the church’s new film” as if the LDS Church produced and made the film. Anyone who believes Proposition 8 was a “Mormon Proposition” is either misled or disingenuous. What the LDS Church did do is encourage its members to support Prop 8 (although no one was forced to vote for it and no one was disciplined by the church if they voted against it) and be active in the political process. Why is a church – again, which is a Constitutionally-protected entity – not allowed to speak up on issues but any number of other, ostensibly secular, institutions can? Why can women’s clubs, school groups, unions, businesses, and other organizations take stands for or against same-sex marriage but religions should just mind their own business? Religions provide a key role in the moral checks and balances of our nation.

The author continues on with dishonest editorializing:

“The LDS Church will always fall back on its lame  ‘bedrock of marriage’ argument to defeat any attempts at furthering gay rights.

Remember folks, these are the same people responsible for reversing the gains the LGBT community so tirelessly worked for in California and Maine, the same people who just a few months ago faced nationwide criticism and spurred “kiss-in” protests because they detained a gay couple for having the gall to express their affection in public, then let their hateful PR spokesperson disastrously handle the situation in the press.”

Firstly, how is defending marriage “lame”? The burden of proof rests with the editorial’s author to demonstrate exactly how the LDS Church’s marriage argument is lame. Or, is it just easier to call people names or call arguments names without actually addressing the issue? Second, I thought a majority of people in California passed Proposition 8, not the LDS Church. LDS Church members are free to donate their time and money as they see fit. The LDS Church also acted completely appropriately in its role in Prop. 8. Third, now the LDS Church is responsible for the vote in Maine? I think some appropriate citations are in order by the article’s author. Fourth, the “public affection” of the two men arrested on church property included groping, making out, and drunkenness. The men were asked to leave the private property and did not. So, do homosexuals somehow belong to a protected class that does not have to follow private property laws? The only PR “problem” came from LGBT groups who misrepresented or misunderstood what happened and tried to create a controversy where no controversy existed.

Gay-rights advocates do themselves no service by writing articles like this one in The Examiner. The LDS Church stood up for gay rights as far as they are morally and doctrinally able to do. Why are some people so bitter at the LDS Church for standing up for marriage and families, which are the very foundation of our society? In the end, the author expresses disgust that the LDS Church did not change its doctrines to support the imaginary “right of same-sex marriage.” The author did not help his argument by continuing to spread misinformation, lies, and hatred about the LDS Church.