Monday, February 25, 2008

More Signs That Utah Gets It

A welcomed piece from the Salt Lake Tribune.
The 47th Congress was a busy bunch of bigots. In March of 1882, they passed the Edmunds Act, a notorious anti-Mormon law that barred polygamists from voting, serving on juries or holding office. This law (along with related statutes) sent hundreds of Mormon men into federal prison and shattered families across Mormon country.

Barely a month later, that same Congress passed another odious law. Called the Chinese Exclusion Act, it was the first major federal immigration law, and it was explicitly designed to keep out the despised Asian immigrants. It set the framework for the draconian approach to immigration that continues to this day.

Both the hateful immigration laws and hateful anti-Mormon laws were challenged in court. The racist Supreme Court of the era upheld both laws in close succession, with telling language that compared Mormons to Asians. Apparently, that was reason enough to allow persecution of both groups.

This tainted history is just one reason why some Latter-day Saints like me are troubled by current immigration laws and proposals. Today's harsh laws and harsher proposals are a direct legacy of the most hateful anti-Mormon legislators of the late 19th century.

Little by little, a more expansive coalition of people are uniting to fight back against the modern day haters. The country is bound to repeat the shameful mistakes of the past as long as groups who were targets in the past, forget that they or their ancestors once wore the shoes of those slated for exploitation and ridicule. Very promising that more public factions of the LDS community are speaking out against the xenophobes.

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