The last couple of days I've seen two different topics popping up on blogs and new sites: reviews of Hunger Games (both the book and movie) and the topic of religion and politics.
I have been asked by many friends, acquaintances, and even family members if I've read that series of books. They know I'm a reader and probably figured since they liked it, I would like it too. After reading a brief synopsis of the books after they came out and reviews by other readers, I decided against reading the books. Since I haven't read the books, I really have no interest in seeing the movie either. Mostly, I'm just not interested in reading books where the setting is a dystopian society. I really can't stand books or movies that are about the end of the world, or post-apocalyptic societies or dystopian societies. I find them, as a whole, to be disturbing. I don't like coming away feeling uneasy, which is how I'm left feeling after viewing or reading such a work.
Then I stumbled onto some blogs that railed on Hunger Games as being something not worthy of reading or watching, as Latter-day Saints. The 13th Article of Faith states that "if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." These bloggers were talking about how Hunger Games, both the books and the movie, did not fall into this classification. Not having read the books, I couldn't say for sure whether they did or didn't, but reading what content was in the books, I could see how people would make those judgments. Then people were commenting that Harry Potter was equally dark and violent and equating that to something that is not worthy for us to read or view. But then that brings to question most entertainment generally. I felt Harry Potter contained pretty strong Christian symbolism and the classic literary theme of good versus evil as well as following some of the classic archetypal characters you find in good literature. Having not read Hunger Games, I can't say whether Suzanne Collins utilized those classic literary tools in her writing or not.
I still have no desire to read the series or see the movie. I am just not interested in plots that take place in such a dismal setting.
With politics and religion, many bloggers have been harsh on LDS people for supporting a certain candidate. They feel that those of us who support him do because he is Mormon. I feel that upstanding moral character is of great importance in a strong leader. Those who say that moral character isn't important are mistaken, in my opinion. A leader's way of thinking is formed by his moral grounding (or lack thereof) and often that relays back to the tenets of his faith. If that person is truly living, as best as they can, by those beliefs, they often possess stronger moral character than someone who picks and chooses which tenets of their faith to live by and only live by the ones they like. Most religions teach that sex should only be practiced within the bonds of marriage, that how we treat others is of great importance, that there is sanctity in the creation of life, that there is a great Creator or Supreme Being who is over all. There are certain leaders we've seen in the last several years who profess to follow a faith but then they do not stay true to the tenets of that faith. That, to me, shows a lack of moral character. If a man (or woman) cannot hold true to the beliefs they claim drive them, what else are they deceitful about? That is why I believe that what shapes a person is of vital importance to understand them. If they claim to be Christian but have no issues with things like gay marriage or abortion or living with a partner outside of marriage, and so forth, I don't believe that they understand what their religion teaches, or they choose not to follow all of their religion. If they are like that with something so influential of character as their religious roots, how will they be in other areas of their life? Where is their integrity?
So whether or not I vote for a candidate because he's Mormon shouldn't matter. The fact is that his Mormon faith shaped him to be a man of upstanding moral character, at least compared with many of his opponents (not all--some were equally moral, just with different parts of their platforms I didn't feel were sound). If a man's Muslim faith, or Jewish faith, or Evangelical Christian faith did the same and he remained a person of integrity, I think I would feel the same way.
Integrity, moral character, those are things I look for in a good leader. Our current president I feel is lacking greatly in those qualities. He might be a fine orator and even a well-intentioned person, but he lacks qualities of character I think are necessary to be a good leader.