I think I have it figured out.

Harry Reid must be jealous of Mitt Romney. He wants to be the “face of Mormonism.”

And why not? Harry has a very kind face, abetted in public discourse by his soft-spoken and gentle demeanor. He wants to help people, not categorize them into percentages that begin with the number 47. He wants to do good in the world by, oh, giving people more government largesse.

Doggone it, it’s just not fair, is it Harry? Mean Mitt versus Humble Harry. He gets to be the public example of Mormonism and you languish on the sidelines, no applause within earshot.

Well, there’s a reason your comments about Mitt Romney tarnishing Mormonism brought derisive laughter from fellow members, Brother Reid. Let me explain it to you.

Sing the Right Hymns

At a meeting with church members attending the Democratic National Convention, you asked the group to join with you in singing “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?” A very good hymn, as long as one remembers the second word in the title.

But if you really wanted to advance a better understanding of our religion, you could begin by leading your friends in singing such hymns as “O Say What Is Truth” or “Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses.” And live by them.

In 1974, the United States Congress passed and the President signed the Congressional Budget Act that required Congress to pass a national budget every year. Every year, Harry. Law of the land.

We haven’t had a national budget for three years and you as Senate Majority Leader are the gatekeeper who decides what the Senate votes on.

A budget is the indispensable first step in the economic vision for a nation – a plan, a structure, a mode of achieving goals – without which living within our means becomes increasingly difficult, and the people perish.

You have decided not to obey this very specific law. 

Clear Doctrine

President Spencer W. Kimball put it plainly in the April 1974 General Conference: “Every Latter-day Saint should sustain, honor, and obey the constitutional law of the land in which he lives.” And it is beyond argument that the law requiring a budget from both Senate and House is constitutional.

A Deseret News editorial a few months ago stated: “What we simply cannot abide is the dereliction of duty that thumbs its nose at a budget process required by law and demanded by any measure of financial responsibility.”

And further: “The greatest threat to the long-term security of the United States and the economic well-being of its citizens is the massive debt we are accruing because of the commitments politicians have made without funding them. The first step to fiscal sanity is a coherent budget passed through normal legislative processes.”

Did the editorial writers catch the irony? That a major cause of this dereliction of duty is none other than a fellow member of the Church?

Quoting Justin Hart in a recent Townhall article: “In my opinion, if you’re going to worry about Mormons and politics, start with Harry Reid.”

Who’s Sully Now?

So, Harry, which is more important to you – obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law … or obeying, honoring, and sustaining a law-defiant political agenda?

Do you believe that your lofty position in government grants you a pass – a type of super membership that exempts you from the Twelfth Article of Faith?

How do you think your actions reflect upon our religion? Is your defiance of a duly constituted law of the land the example you want the rest of us to be known by?

On top of that, you claim that Mitt Romney has not paid taxes in ten years, a charge that the IRS would obviously be interested in, if it were true. But you provide no evidence, only hearsay. And no apology.

What parts of the Ninth Commandment and the Twelfth Article of Faith do you find so confusing?  

So, who is sullying his religion here? Is it the member who expresses an opinion or the member who blatantly refuses to obey the law, and who, without evidence, accuses the first member of not paying taxes?

Harry, you may want to revisit your perception of what constitutes tarnishing one’s religion … and who is doing the tarnishing. * * *


Gary Lawrence is a public opinion pollster and author of “How Americans View Mormonism” and “Mormons Believe … What?!”