OK, I have a question here for you, dear readers. But first, a little background.
California's Supreme Court recently determined that the state's restriction of legal marriage to same-sex couples violated the California Constitution. As a result, social conservatives have sponsored a popular referendum - CA loves those darn things - amending the Constitution to limit legal marriage to only heterosexual unions. The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - pretty much the top LDS brass - asked that a letter supporting the initiative be read at Mormon churches across the state.
So here's the question. Almost no one questions that faith plays a role in politics. What role, then, should religious organizations, such as the LDS First Presidency or the Southern Baptist Convention, play in politics? Should they use their influence to actively advocate for specific policy goals? Should they encourage political activism that articulates with the church's values, and leave it up to individuals to decide what the correct policy choices are? Should they just stay out of politics completely?
(Extra bonus question for the law people: to what extent may a religious group engage in political activism while maintaining its tax-exempt status?)
(Super extra bonus question for the LDS folks: would there be consequences for a church member who openly flouts the First Presidency on this issue?)