Monthly Archives: March 2017

Heartless in Draper

Over ten years ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was looking to build a Deseret Industries store in the middle of Draper, Utah’s shopping district. In response, the Draper city council, urged by residents, passed a zoning ordinance to keep Deseret Industries out of the area. The council said it didn’t mind if the LDS Church built its thrift store and mentoring program outside of the main flow of its commercial district, just not where other people shop. Of course, that decision made Draper look silly and snobby. More so, it made Draper look hypocritical – Draper’s population is overwhelmingly LDS. read more

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Feel Sorry for Paul Ryan

Not many people envy House Speaker Paul Ryan’s life these days. You might recall that he was begged to take over as Speaker of the House after conservatives were tired of John Boehner. Ryan was very reluctant. He knew the toll that role would take on his family and his own sanity. Yet he accepted. And, even still, amidst all of the Trump era chaos, I don’t think he regrets it. Ryan is a policy wonk. He might hate the politics but he loves the deep dive into fixing problems.

Let me take you into his world for a moment based on my own experience working on Capitol Hill years ago. Given that today is the seventh anniversary of Obamacare, let’s just focus on its repeal and replacement. Again, you might recall that not long ago I predicted Obamacare would NOT be repealed – a prediction I stand by still. So here is why I say that and the heavy lift faced by Speaker Ryan. Let’s piece together all of the forces in play. read more

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To truly defend religious freedom, we should stand down on LGBT issues

Is it possible to defend religious freedom and not oppose LGBT rights? Yes. In fact, standing down on those rights is the only way to effectively defend religious freedom today. Kathy Carlson is right to advocate for a Christian view of the LGBT community. No, her prescriptions are not popular among conservatives or in Utah, and incomplete in crucial ways, but a couple of us have been quietly arguing behind the scenes, considering the spirit of what she advocates.

The irony of my message is not lost on me. As surprising as all of this will sound to fellow conservatives – and as cynical as all of this might sound to the LGBT community coming from me – it is time for those of us who cherish religious freedom to stop, yes stop, opposing gender equality. This is no trade-off, no compromise nor quid pro quo. Neither is it unilateral surrender. It is neutrality and it is wisdom. read more

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Beauty and the Beast: Out of the Closet?

There is a controversy over the new Beauty and the Beast movie. Evidently, Disney wrote a gay character into the script. No, not “gay” as in happy, as in every Disney movie prior to the 1980s. “Gay” as in sexual orientation. Evangelical leader Franklin Graham has called for people of faith to boycott the movie as a show of force for traditional values. But is that a good idea?

If we you born well before 1988, you might remember another movie controversy over The Last Temptation of Christ, a more progressive retelling of the life and death of Jesus Christ. The movie depicted Jesus, played by the creepy Willem Defoe, as more mortal than God. In the movie, Jesus was a sinner, had sex with a prostitute and struggled with his inner demons. It was an awful movie and it would have received very little attention outside of Sundance and other progressive movie festivals if it were not for the effort of the American Family Association to tell people how scandalous it was. read more

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Republican leaders are the impoverished ones

Another interesting article about poverty from American Enterprise Institute scholar Arthur Brooks falls on the heels of Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz lecturing the poor about making choices between cell phones and health insurance. You might recall that Chaffetz said during a CNN interview, “rather than ‘getting that new iPhone that they just love,’ low-income Americans should take the money they would have spent on it and ‘invest it in their own health care.’”

While our worse selves understand what Chaffetz was saying – in that ignorant, discriminatory kind of way – it’s hard to pass on the lack of logic involved. There is no way in hell that an iPhone costs as much as health insurance, especially for low-income, high-risk families. But, more so, it’s his attitude about the poor I find appalling. Acting personally, I only can assume he would be generous with his neighbors. Acting as a politician, all he did was reinforce the idea that he and his affluent neighbors are uncaring and unintelligent. But some of us are neither. read more

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It’s His Character, Stupid!

In 1975, then-amateur boxer Michael Dokes told Sports Illustrated that his hand speed was so fast that you couldn’t catch them on camera. And then the 17 year old proffered this warning to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, “I’m going to get you old man, so you better get out while you can.” Two years later, now pro-boxer Michael Dokes faced off against the aging Champ (Ali was then 35 years old, overweight and on the down side of his career). It was a three-round exhibition fight.

Ali was up to his old tricks – taunting, teasing and cajoling the young opponent – and then, at the moment the Champ could tell how frustrated Dokes became, Ali leaned back on the corner ropes, dropped his hands, planted his feet and dared the challenger to hit him. Dokes threw 21 punches in 10 seconds – and never touched the Champ. You have to see to believe it. read more

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