Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Church, Immigration, Baptism, and Child Murder

I heard about a recent mass murder in Arizona and assumed it was just some crazy random anti-immigrant psycho.  Four people murdered (including a young child), and one suicide.

I was partly right.

What I didn't realize was that the murderer, a guy named J.T. Ready, was someone I'd already heard about.

I closely followed Arizona's extreme anti-immigration laws.  The creator of the laws, Russell Pearce, was fortunately voted out last election.  He's LDS, but his stance on immigration is the exact opposite of the LDS church.

A few newspaper articles have pointed out in the past that Pearce was politically and religiously affiliated with J.T. Ready.  Ready had been affiliated with neo-Nazis, so anti-immigration stuff was right up his ally.  Pearce, of course, distanced himself from Ready due to the neo-Nazi stuff once the media found out about it, despite the fact that the two had almost identical stances on immigration.

But it seems that Ready and Pearce had been fairly close--both politically, and religiously.  Ready was baptized a member of the church and was eventually ordained an Elder by Pearce.

Now Ready went and murdered four people before killing himself.

My point isn't that Pearce needs to be careful in who he associates with--Pearce is already a scumbag, and I could care less who he associates with.  (I apologize if my language here is a bit strong, but I really don't like this guy.  He gives Republicans, and, more importantly, the LDS Church a bad name, and there is no politician I like less).

My point is that perhaps the Church should be a little more selective in who it baptizes and ordains to Elder.

Of course no one could foresee the path Ready would take.  No one knew he would gun down innocents.  But they did know he was an extremist when it came to politics--that he was fervently anti-immigrant.  That should have at least set off warning signals, and someone should've looked into his history a bit before his baptism and ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood.  His views of white supremacy should have been discovered beforehand, and they should have prevented him from becoming a member of the church.

It wouldn't have prevented this tragedy, this senseless killing, but it would have kept the church's name away from this monster.

Perhaps it's time for baptism requirements that keep out the monsters like J.T. Ready.


Jenni said...

I dunno, it's an awkward thing. People can change and repent, baptism is supposed to be an opportunity for a fresh start. I think there is something to be said for having some straight talk with people about the church's official stance (on something like race or immigration)...but then again, not even all the church's official stances are good ones (taking LGBT issues or ERA as examples). It's a tragedy, and yes it's a PR tragedy too, and it *does* make me sad to see a real jerk correlated with the church. But then again, the church is a lot bigger than one person. And I think most people can tell that.

Tim said...

Thanks for the comment.

All I'm saying is that they should have done a little bit of background work, discovered the neo-Nazi ties, and then asked him about them. If he's truly repented, fine. But if he still holds extremist views that are at odds with the gospel, tell him he has to repent first.