While sitting at work today, I overheard a coworker's lamentation that "one of the worst men in America" is a member of the Church. He was referring to Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader. Although I had not been participating in the conversation, I decided to open my mouth. This individual didn't know much about Harry Reid (he didn't even know his name), except that he's a member of the Church and a Democrat, which apparently justified the conclusion that he must be among "the worst men in America."
We had a little debate for a few minutes, until some customers needed help, and the issue was dropped (probably a good thing). The debate wasn't about the merits of Harry Reid, but rather, focused on the more fundamental issue: can you be a Democrat and a good member of the Church?
I think the short and simple answer is "Yes." But it apparently represented some kind of a contradiction in this guy's mind, which made him very hesitant to accept the possibility that a good, temple-going Mormon could at the same time be a Democrat. And this isn't the first time that I've encountered this idea since arriving in Provo.
It would seem that many members of the Church, when contemplating politics, want to find "the only true" political party, to match up with "the only true" religion. For many Mormons, this seems to unquestionably mean the Republican Party. And so it almost becomes a matter of faith and testimony, rather than politics. I know this isn't true of every LDS Republican, but it seems to be the case very frequently.
Any thoughts on this issue?