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The president of Latter-day Saint Charities countered a common criticism of religion today during a presentation she made last week about the need for governments and faiths to work together to provide humanitarian aid.
Sister Sharon Eubank noted the same thing I and perhaps you have seen repeated on social media and elsewhere without context, the charge that churches have contributed to wars and other conflicts.
The best antidote to any ill done in the name of religion is better religion, said Sister Eubank, who also is the first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The solution to extreme Islam is authentic Islam and the best answer to Christian extremism is authentic Christianity, she said. The best works of believers bless communities. Real, authentic faith inspires acts of love and lifting while distorted belief leads to conflict.
“Faith,” she said, “is actually the answer.”
Sister Eubank not only invited listeners to commit more fully to living the two great commandments of loving God and their neighbors, and not only called on government leaders to partner with faith-based charities and religious groups to enhance sustainable development and humanitarian aid.
She also issued a call to journalists.
“I would call on media to balance their reporting to respect the roles that are uniquely played by religion and faith in society and share stories of goodness and humanity and faith in God and cooperation.”
A few days after her remarks, the president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation noted that research and history show how government missteps regarding religion can lead to wars, such as when a government favors one religion.
“... it is not religion itself that leads to violent persecution and conflict, but the level of social and government regulations on religion,” Brian Grim wrote.
“While religion is definitely part of (the Ukraine) war, I would point out that it is not religion in general, but a government’s restrictions on religion and favoritism of religion that are predictors of whether a state will be predisposed to starting a war.”
Following up on my ‘new’ relatives:
A hearty thank you to all who used the “Relatives at RootsTech” tool on the FamilySearch app to see if we are related and sent me notes.
I received emails and Facebook messages from many of you and saw hundreds of alerts pop up on my phone showing that readers had used the link in last week’s newsletter to check out our relationship and the relatives tool.
I hope you had as much fun with the tool as I did. I now have 60,128 living relatives who signed into the tool. I hope you found many of your own living relatives.
Remember, the Relatives at RootsTech tool will be disabled on March 26, so use it while you can.
You can also read how RootsTech smashed its attendance record this year here.
My recent stories
5 questions about the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s latest return to rehearsals, live performances (March 5)
Latter-day Saint Charities put aid in place around Ukraine before the war and will stay till it’s over, leader says (March 5)
Latter-day Saints providing aid as refugee crisis expands (March 3)
About the church
The church is installing solar panels on more meetinghouses in Australia and the South Pacific.
The Church History Library has merged its pioneer and missionary records into a new biographical database you can use.
“The Chosen” creator came to Utah. Here is what some Latter-day Saints and other Christians asked Dallas Jenkins about the popular show.
Two apostles and two women leaders talked about “the blessings of power and protection” provided by temple covenants and family history instruction during RootsTech.
The First Presidency announced groundbreakings for three temples (including the first rendering of the Ephraim Utah Temple) as well as open house and dedication dates for the Cape Verde temple.
Sister Donna Smith Packer, wife of the late President Boyd K. Packer, died at age 94.
Watch a Church News video of Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles honor former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman for his lifetime of service, including on behalf of religious liberty.
The bishop of a ward in Ukraine credits “faith in God” for leading his family to safety (KSL.com).
What I’m reading
Here’s an example of strong journalism that raises questions about public policy. The Washington Post studied 25 of the nation’s largest police and sheriff’s departments and found over 7,600 police officers whose alleged misconduct led to payments to resolve claims of wrongdoing two or more times. Those repeat-offenders cost taxpayers $1.5 billion in settlements compared to $1.7 billion by all other officers in those departments. WaPo found 239 officers whose alleged misconduct each led to 10 or more payouts. The departments of five officers department had made 100 or more payments after complaints. The article does not take sides about any political debates on policing. Instead it examines the issue of settlements from a broad range of perspectives.
If that subject interests you, I recently listened to a story in a podcast about a specific incident of police officer misconduct. It has more perspective in it, but it also raises interesting questions and dives deeply into the backgrounds of the officer, the police chief, the alleged victims and the community fallout. It does all that and provides facts I’d not learned anywhere else very clearly and concisely.
Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is ready for his second year in the NFL. This column by Dick Harmon provides some great perspective on what a whirlwind a rookie season is for a quarterback thrust into starting right away.
My daughter and I drove back to Provo from the West Coast Conference basketball tournament in Las Vegas on Tuesday. We saw unleaded gas prices as high as $4.89 in Las Vegas and $5.07 in St. George, Utah. We filled up at another station in St. George for $4.19. What’s really going on with gas prices? Here’s a piece from Forbes, with historical charts. Here are a couple from The Wall Street Journal, here and here (paywall). And here is a story on the record-setting prices.