Protesting the Sabbath

Rep. Giffords office and other politicians have had death threats

With the largest legislation that has passed in the recent many years I feel I need to speak on what I saw here in the nation’s capital this past Sunday. I had the opportunity to go down to the National Mall and the Capitol after watching the North Eastern Regional church conference broadcast in the visitor’s center of the Washington D.C. Temple. A group of ten of us interns went down to look at the three massive rallies that were happening down there, the key one being the health care rally by the conservatives. It was almost like getting excited to go to a state fair or something. I was shocked and amazed at what I personally experienced. But, I was not surprised at what was happening.

I knew what was coming. That’s why before I left I knew I wanted to keep my emotions in check so that I wouldn’t be spiritually affected by the debate that we were walking into.

Let’s hear about what it was like. In the Washington Post there was an article describing the debate and the days leading up to it. Dana Milbank said this about that day, “As lawmakers debated their way to a vote on the legislation, dozens of GOP lawmakers walked from the chamber, crossed the Speaker’s Lobby, stepped out onto the members-only House balcony — and proceeded to incite an unruly crowd.” I was there when they came out on the balcony and the legislators started smiling, waving, chanting, and holding up signs of their own. ““That’s kind of fun,” Rep. Fallin said cheerfully after a turn at riling the crowd with signs saying “No” in red letters.” Sure, that’s all the legislators think, but how far will a crowd go to get their message across?

I have to side with words from Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed in the New York Times titled, “An Absence of Class” from March 22, “A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson’s disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: “If you’re looking for a handout, you’re in the wrong end of town.”

“In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.”

DESPITE the incredibly unpolitical manner in which the rally was handled, my question is this: Is a political rally worthy of the Sabbath? Is keeping up on the politics of the nation in such a manner befitting of the Lord’s Day? Is March Madness games on TV befitting?

Ex. 20:8-11, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:”

I think we can see a warning from the Lord here, Mosiah 13:13, “And again: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate me;” We cannot bow down ourselves and serve the god of politics, of public fervor, nor of compassionless mob crassness, whether that crassness is on the south side of the Capitol or in our own living rooms as we watch the news. We ESPECIALLY cannot bow down to that worldly god on the Sabbath.

This is not religion. This is not anything I will join in on the Sabbath. My religion calls me to keep the Sabbath Day holy. To give the day to the Lord. To be a Christian (not just on the Sabbath, at that, but ESPECIALLY on the Sabbath).

Bible Dictionary, under “Sabbath”: The importance of a sacred day for man to rest from his temporal labors, contemplate the word of the Lord, and assemble for public worship is a major item in a person’s spiritual development. Furthermore, decay in the national religious life always follows any tendency toward carelessness in the matter of Sabbath observance (HELLO!?! Does ANYBODY see what this says about the Sabbath?! That goes for politics, too!!). The existence of a weekly holy day is a most important safeguard (Not going to be much of a safeguard if we don’t actually put limits on ourselves and believe in them!); it leaves a constant reminder to the individual of his need for spiritual sustenance and his duty before God, and serves as a witness to the world that there is such a thing as revealed religion (Unless there is something really important going on in the world like political rallies or important sports games; then the revealed religion takes a back seat to convenience and hobbies).

I remember a certain time of the semester from last year. I had a terribly busy weekend and knew I had a Japanese presentation due in class, Monday morning. I kept busy, though, and come Saturday night I knew that I was going to have to do it on the Sabbath (breaking a rule of not doing any homework on Sunday that I had made from when my Brother-in-law testified to me my freshman year of the blessings that come from keeping that day special). It came Sunday evening when all the day’s activities had ended and I got out everything I needed to do the presentation and laid them out in front of me. And then I just stared at them for an hour. Finally I resolved to listen to my feelings and I put them all away. I knew the Lord didn’t want me working on it then. So I decided to wait until midnight and then it technically wouldn’t be Sunday. At midnight I got them all out again and stared at them for another twenty minutes. Sure, it was Monday morning, but in all religious reality the day I celebrate as the Sabbath had not ended. And the Lord didn’t want me to work on it. So I put all my faith forward that the Lord would somehow help me early in the morning to finish the presentation. I got up at 6 A.M. the next morning, got to work, and what happened? EVERYTHING I needed to finish my presentation on time was found INCREDIBLY fast on the internet. Like, I had looked over the past week, but couldn’t find a single stinkin’ thing! And here within five minutes I found EVERYTHING I needed. The amazing thing was that I actually said to myself, “I can’t see how the Lord would be able to help me finish this if I wait until Monday morning.” I had no faith in that matter of the Lord’s abilities. But, He did not want me to do my homework on Sunday. AT ALL.

If He is willing to go to such great lengths and blessings to ensure I do not do a simple Japanese presentation on the Lord’s day then SURELY He does not want us to dive into activities that detract from the holiness of the day. SURELY He does not want us to forget that the Sabbath is a day that should be devoted to remembering God and the Savior THROUGHOUT the day and to activities that help us reflect, rest, and remember what the Savior did for us in Gethsemane. That’s my testimony of the Sabbath. And I’ll rally for that! I’ll gladly rally for the Lord’s blessings that will come as we keep the day consecrated to Him, instead of to the gods of the world.

D&C 59: 9-10, 13, “And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High [. . .] And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.”

Romans 14:6, “He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it […]


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お久しぶりだよな(It’s been a while!)

Arlington Cemetery

  • Witness a political rally? Check.
  • Go bowling at the White House? Check.
  • Get in trouble with the Secret Service? Check.
  • Meet Senator Bennett and Rep. Matheson? Check.
  • Eat lunch at the Mall, looking  at the Washington Monument? Check.
  • See more Picasso, Monet, DaVinci, Raphael, O’Keefe, Sargant? Check.
  • Watch lectures from Yale on Game Theory? Check.
  • Walk through  a news report from Venezuela? Check.
  • See an infamous “Diplomat” car? Check.
  • Watch BYU break their 7-year first-round curse by beating Florida in double overtime? CHECK!!! WOOHOO!!
  • Only have two more full weeks at my internship . . . Check.

Man, this is all coming to an end REAL fast here! Here are some random things I’ve thought of over the past few weeks:

Sometimes we need to realign our guiding posts. And this is a great, refreshing way to remember how we are to live!

I want to write a post about true politics. I’ve been working on my opinion on the way people view politics over this semester in D.C. I think at the end of all this I am going to try and write my views out. Not on party idealogies, but on how I see people have lost the idea of politics.

Something I realized today is that BYU needs to have more classes on ethics. Or at least put ethics more into their curriculum. I don’t know if that type of class is only for MBA students, but it is an important aspect of any adult in the world. And I don’t think we can equate morals with ethics. They are completely different. Morals are what guide on how you treat yourself in the world, ethics are how you treat and respect other people. So things can be immoral but ethical. I wonder if some lessons in ethics would help solve Utah’s problem of being the highest committer of mortgage fraud and other like crimes.