Discussing Politics and Religion; We Must Judge, Righteously
(A. Neal de Gaston, Ph.D., M.D.)

In the beginning, Americans discussed both politics and religion. Though they did not come to the same conclusions (judgments), people recognized the right and indeed responsibility to discuss these matters. Without discussion, there would not have been the American Revolution, but the patriots were always discussing these matters. It was a free for all in discussing religion that challenged Joseph Smith to wonder which church to choose. Finally, where would the missionaries be today if no one discussed religion?

The fundamental practice of talking politics was behind the right to free speech and a free press...the subjects generally being religion and politics...not talking low material and displays such as porn as some may think today. The latter is protected only to protect the former.

People have gone to war over politics, and not only taxes, boundaries, acts of war, etc. have been the "politics" over which war has been made The lack of freedom of religion often has been the cause of war. Americans are expected to work out their differences in an atmosphere of everybody has a right to his say, a toleration of different beliefs, living by some standard rules respecting rights (including free speech and the right to their own opinions and judgements. Fundamentally to make and voice opinions and judgments between individuals, parties, religions, etc. while living together in harmony as fellow citizens is to be American. Thus it is intolerant and unAmerican to forbid such freedom under the guise of being tolerant (more kind and even holy) than another while even , sometimes pretending or taking offense to stifle free thought and speech.

It is popular in today’s America to be "nonjudgmental" because the "judgmental man" is intolerant and even offensive. But judgment is what "it is all" about…and this seems to go the very core of our beings (created by God).

Now it seems more commonplace to quote "Judge not!" and to be conversant about sports and entertainment business "stars", eschew religion, and do politics on opinions and group loyalties instead of (righteous) principles.

Judging People

The Mormon position on judging is to be found in the Scriptures (though it seems that many and even most go for a more nebulous middle ground if not actually simply going with "Judge not…". Personally, I adhere to the position we must judge and that we must learn proper rules for "judging" so that we may judge correctly, and beyond that, righteously. I shall let the Scriptures speak for this position, with some editorial comments in braces thusly, {...}. We shall begin with the Bible reference commonly used with an antijudgmental (and "holier-than-thou") stance,

Matt 7:
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. [In context these 2 verses do not say to not judge, just that we are accountable for how we judge...and how can we judge without having free speech {and freedom of information} to get us what facts that may be available? So Joseph Smith clarified this in his inspired translation.]
JST Matt. 7: 1,2 Now these are the words which Jesus taught his disciples that they should say unto the people. Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment. [Reads like a commandment, " judge".]
Alma 41: (14-15) 14 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously [not forbidden to judge, but commanded to judge], and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
D&C 10: 37 But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, therefore I say unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter. [and we certainly aren't going to tell the wicked from the righteous from the very beginning if we don't study including free and open dissemination of information and opinions]
D&C 127:2 And as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; and for what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was ordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad.
D&C 137: 9 For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. [Permit me to submit, that among our works will be the judgments which we make about the Scriptures as well as men...and whether we desire the truth in our hearts, or desire some pet rules. Personally I think that we shall be judged "wrong" if we tell anyone it is wrong to judge.]
D&C 98:
4 And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.
5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. [meaning we need to judge laws and men that make them according to compliance with the Constitution]
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil [one must judge whether a particular item/issue/law is more or less].
8 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn [Also see Mosiah on this].
10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold [meaning we need to judge men]; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.
I Cor 6:
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren [or candidates for public office, I comment]?

And when all is over, there will be a JUDGEMENT DAY!