Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Dick Cheney, safe in the arms of the Mormons?
I can't begin to describe my disappointment in learning that Dick Cheney will be the commencement speaker at BYU, the Mormon Church's university in Provo, Utah, where almost everyone in my family earned their college degrees. (I grew up in Orem and spent my freshman year there in 1989-90, but transferred to and graduated from the University of Utah.) I can't say I'm surprised — after all, Utah Mormons decided only within the last few months that the war in Iraq isn't going in an entirely desirable direction under the eminently competent and principled leadership of President Bush — but the school really should have turned down this "opportunity."
For one thing, what a disastrous bit of public relations for an increasingly global church to honor the chief architect of American torture, preventive war, and aggressive military nationalism. (I sure hope Cheney's caravan will pass at least a few "Mormons Against Torture" banners while he's in the reddest of states. Dad, you up for it?) For another, why line yourself up with the least popular and most polarizing figure in American life, especially when, frankly, he hasn't lifted a finger for any of the things you seem to really care about? (Some Mormons think Cheney shouldn't have been invited because he hasn't shown much enthusiasm for amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage. He's not conservative enough for some people. But torture, fabricating intelligence, ignoring the separation of powers, yeah, that's okay.)
Happily, some students and faculty are protesting the invitation. One professor told the Salt Lake Tribune: "If BYU seeks to bring a model of abuse of power, greed and political extremism, which seeks to decimate citizens' rights guaranteed by our laws, then Cheney is a perfect choice. But if, on the other hand, the university hopes to offer a model to graduates of love and service to humanity, then better candidates are available." Amen!
Quick: Will seeing Cheney all cozy with the Church's leadership help or hurt Mitt Romney's presidential run?
("Cheney speech at BYU causes outcry," Nathan Johnson, Daily Herald 3.27.07; "Chilly for Cheney at BYU?" Peggy Fletcher Stack, Salt Lake Tribune 3.28.07; "BYU OKs Cheney protest," Rosalie Westenskow, Deseret News 3.29.07; LDS blog reaction: Times and Seasons, By Common Consent)
Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 28 March 2007 at 10:33 PM