Following the LDS Church's public reminder (lds.org, 4/19/11) of its principles on how to address the illegal immigration issue, which included an expression of public appreciation for the recent Utah immigration bills, including HB116, as a "responsible attempt" to incorporate the three principles they outline as important, a rather well-known Utah spokesman on immigration issues raised the issue of voting one's conscience on the Facebook group "Repeal HB116."
(To join this Facebook group, go to repeal116.com and click on the Facebook link - if you haven't signed the petition, be sure to do so.)
I think that many people initially reacted to the LDS Church's reminder with some anger and confusion and also disbelief.
A question arose in my mind about how this public reminder of the LDS position would impact the efforts by many to repeal HB116.
The clear statement of this individual of the facebook page of the Repeal HB116 group about voting his conscience reinforced my own thinking.
He was right!
This is a strong point and one that should be reinforced at every turn.
The LDS Church has made comments and outlined different ideas and ideals that, as an organization, they felt should be expressed.
At the same time, the right to vote one's conscience is an ideal that I firmly believe that the LDS church upholds.
Therefore, I submit that the drive to put HB116 to a vote of the citizens of Utah is respecting the important values and principles that are the foundation of our republic.
The movement to put the issue before the voters of our state should advance and provide all voters in Utah the chance to cast a confidential ballot for or against HB116 according to each voter's individual conscience.
In that spirit, can any active LDS member not support the drive to put the issue before the voters?
Can those who oppose the effort to repeal HB116 claim they respect our system and deny such a vote?
I do not think that repealing HB116 as a defective law is contrary to the principles that the LDS Church has outlined on their website.
The confusion which will surely be promoted by certain defenders of HB116 (principally the money-interests who sold it to the legislature and the public) as the debate proceeds can be partially addressed by appealing to this fundamental principle of voting one's conscience.
One wording might be: "I understand you have strong views on this issue, which I do not share, and I respect your right to have your viewpoint. But wouldn't you agree that each citizen of Utah should have the right to vote his or her conscience on this issue?"