If there's anything I enjoy, it's coopting Mormon discourse and using it for my own ends. Especially rewarding is turning heated rhetoric on old white guys who have deployed it as a weapon against any who defy them. Which is why I so enjoyed sending the letter below to Senator Orrin Hatch:
Dear Senator Hatch:
As the descendant of Saints who survived the Haun's Mill Massacre, marched in the Mormon Battalion, and arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young, I know what sort of society God expects his followers to establish: One in which "there is no poor among you" (Deut 15:4) and those who have plenty "impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants" (Mosiah 4:26). Indeed, the Book of Mormon states that "if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need--I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith" (Alma 34:28.).
The message is clear: God commands those who have more to sacrifice to support those who have less. In God's kingdom, taxing the rich to pay for health care for the poor is completely appropriate. In fact, refusing to care for the poor in our society is a sin God will punish.
The most basic duty of those who love God is to care for the poor, the sick, and the needy. Thus there is absolutely no excuse for a Christian to oppose a public option on health care. Refusal to do so can be explained only by a hardness of heart or a dedication to secret signs and combinations conducted in DC and Wall Street conference rooms, in which the interests of the rich and powerful are protected, and the plight of the poor ignored.
Especially important is health care for children. Jesus made it very clear that all societies have a special obligation to protect children, the most vulnerable above us: "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones" (Luke 17:2). Therefore it is vital that SCHIP not only be protected, but expanded.
You violate your sacred duties as an American, a senator, a Christian and a Mormon if you do not support vigorously and energetically public health care. Demonstrate your righteousness, Senator, and vote as God would have you vote.
Very truly yours,
My other senator, Bob Bennett, actually supports health care reform--he is co-sponsor of The Healthy Americans Act, which "guarantees quality, affordable, portable health coverage for every American, cutting health costs by more than $1.48 trillion over the next decade." Unfortunately he opposes a public option in health care. So since he has a watered-down approach to health care reform, I sent him a watered-down version of my letter:
While I am glad that you are actively involved in health care reform, I am sickened that you refuse to support a public option. There is absolutely no excuse for a Christian to oppose a public option on health care, period, but it is especially hypocritical and ironic that a Christian oppose public healthcare for Americans under 65 when we have a public option--Medicare--for those over 65. We will not offer meaningful support to the sick and needy if we do not have a public option.
I expect to see you amend your position to reflect more completely the position God would have you take.
Feel free to copy whole paragraphs of the letters verbatim if it suits you, and send to any LDS legislators who represent you.