Saving All

June 19, 2007 at 11:16 am | Posted in America, American politics, Antonin Scalia, Bush Administration, Christianity, conservatives, corruption, Torture, War | 8 Comments

Conservatives these days use the security of our nation and our lives to justify a lowering of their standards and morals. It is their justification for some of the harsher practices we have employed against prisoners we have captured or arrested, regardless of whether they were legally here in America (like Jose Padilla) or found elsewhere (like everyone down in Gitmo). I just quoted Justice Antonin Scalia a Supreme Court Justice and hard-right wing man who said:

“I don’t care about holding people. I really don’t,” Judge Scalia said.

Even if a real terrorist who suffered mistreatment is released because of complaints of abuse, Judge Scalia said, the interruption to the terrorist’s plot would have ensured “in Los Angeles everyone is safe.” During a break from the panel, Judge Scalia specifically mentioned the segment in Season 2 when Jack Bauer finally figures out how to break the die-hard terrorist intent on nuking L.A. The real genius, the judge said, is that this is primarily done with mental leverage. “There’s a great scene where he told a guy that he was going to have his family killed,” Judge Scalia said. “They had it on closed circuit television – and it was all staged. … They really didn’t kill the family.”

Everyone is safe. Saving all. Any Mormon who reads that, who is familiar with his scriptures, should cringe. Who else believed in “saving all,” especially at the cost of certain freedoms?

Let’s read from Moses 4 in the Pearl of Great Price:

1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore fgive me thine honor.
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

So, what exactly is wrong with saving or redeeming all mankind, “that one soul shall not be lost?” The Lord said what is wrong with that two verses later: “because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man.” That’s why. The greatest irony of conservatives and their lowering standards and justifications for torture is that they do it for “safety” and “security” but don’t mind that the cost that arises with it are a drop in “freedoms” and “agency.”

In regards to priorities in this life, the safety of our lives does not actually take precedence over other more important priorities, the top being, agency. People are going to do stupid and evil things. That is their agency. We must do our best to ensure the safety of our nation and our people, but NOT at the cost of the very things we are fighting for. Let me share another scripture from the Book of Mormon. This is found in Alma 14. The situation is that Alma and Amulek, prophets and missionaries of the Lord go to a town called Ammonihah and preach. The ruling people reject them, take Alma and Amulek and bind them. They set them up to observe the following evil, which the ruling people do to those who believed in Alma and Amulek’s words:

8 And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire.
9 And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.
10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

If ever there were a situation where violence or torture would be justified (by today’s conservatives’ standards), surely the ruling people of the town of Ammonihah deserved violence and torture. No? Amulek even asks if they could employ the power of God to save the people from the flames. After all, according to today’s conservatives’ standards, saving lives is of the utmost priority. What does Alma say? He says that the Spirit constrained him, that the innocent must suffer these things “that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.”

How does that apply to our day? First of all, it shows that the protection of life is not the utmost priority of this life. Following God’s laws and principles is of greater priority, even if it comes at the loss of life. (Remember that the greatest sacrifice had to be done; God had to lose His Son in order for the plan of salvation to work).

Would today’s conservatives save Jesus from certain death at the hands of the Jewish ruling class?

The principles we supposedly hold dear to our hearts are actually on the ground, underneath our trampling feet as we scurry on to “save all.” We have most certainly lost our way.

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8 Comments »

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  1. We’ll make a good libertarian out of you yet.

    🙂

  2. haha, Mark.

    Markos Moulitsas (a.k.a. Kos of DailyKos) floated the idea of a fusion between liberalism and libertarianism. There are many principles in libertarian thought of which I do not agree. Libertarians also see Ayn Rand as some sort of goddess (ironic) which I just don’t get. But there are plenty others with which I agree. Conservatives have certainly lost their way with their “war on terror.” I don’t think anyone who has not been caught up by that contagious fever will, or should, touch conservative philosophy for some time, at least until they purge the interlopers out of their midst.

  3. haha, Mark.

    Well, I’m really only half (or less than that) joking.

    There’s really only one difference between Lucifer’s plan and the real Plan o’ Salvation: you just have to leave room for free agency, thereby tossing out any and all coercion. Once we all come to a perfect understanding that God will force no man to heaven (that’s in the hymnbook somewhere), then we can all stop relying on coercing our fellow man to do what we think is right, and start relying on persuasion instead, which is exactly how the Gospel is preached. Teach correct principles, and the people govern themselves.

    Sounds pretty darn libertarian to me.

  4. Only big problem with libertarianism is that they don’t really want anything done to curb the power and influence of the corporation, a far more intrusive institution into the lives of the sole person and family. Take the media corporation for example, and how they have systematically allowed and abetted the war in Iraq to happen.

    Or another example. The drug, Gardasil, for cervical cancer, has some pretty spectacularly persuasive ads (“I’m not going to be next”), to attempt to persuade Americans to drug themselves even more to fix our health problems. How does an individual compete with the power and influence of these very slick and fancy commercials from pharmaceutical corporations?

    These are issues of course off topic, but well, at the heart is the issue of agency. The corporation attempts to take agency away from the individual and make it the corporation’s agency.

  5. Corporations Force you to buy their products?

    Only if you’re a WeakMinded fool….

    Perhaps Corporations are run by Jedis!!!

    No “Corporation” forces anyone to utilize their product, to say they do is incredibly silly.

  6. Once corporations notice that it’s in their best interest to be honest in all their dealings, those that do so will find that they have more customers than the corporations do who are not quite as open with the public.

    Of course there needs to be a balance of power when it comes to corporations. Corporations that do things to hurt consumers need to be exposed for doing so. Monopolistic practices only lead to additional abuses of power. Those who will do the legwork in exposing shady corporate practices need to be protected and encouraged to dig up the truth.

  7. Mark,

    Once corporations notice that it’s in their best interest to be honest in all their dealings, those that do so will find that they have more customers than the corporations do who are not quite as open with the public.

    That’s beautiful idealism, but is unrealistic. Take the tobacco industry, for example. It sure is right and ethical to NOT market their product to children, but that did not stop them from doing so. Take the porn industry. Take the media industry. Without forceful checks and balances on these massive giants, the individual is helpless.

  8. One good book on that subject (albeit a bit dated, though it does point out some of the propaganda for the last Gulf war) is _Coercion: Why we listen to what “they” say_ by Douglas Rushkoff.


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