One member of the choir has already quit in protest
via Flickr user (cc) Jerry and Pat Donaho
Members of the Church of Latter-day Saints, frequently known as Mormons, have traditionally been one of the most reliable Republican voting blocks in the country. In 2004, 80 percent voted for George W. Bush and 78 percent voted for fellow Mormon, Mitt Romney, in 2012. But given Donald Trump’s lack of religious tolerance and blatant sexism and racism, Trump only earned 61 percent of the Mormon vote in 2016. 21 percent of Mormons opted to vote for conservative Independent Evan McMullin and 28 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton. So when it was announced that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be performing at Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, many Mormons have been uncomfortable with the decision.
Mormon Randall Thacker created a petition at Change.org to urge the choir not to perform in Washington, and it’s just shy of reaching its goal of 25,000 signatures. Thacker says his “heart sank” when he learned the choir would be performing for Trump. “I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The thought of this choir and Mormonism being forever associated with a man who disparages minorities, brags about his sexual control of women, encourages intolerance and traffics in hate speech and bullying, was unacceptable,” Thacker said on the petition. “I immediately knew there were probably thousands of people who felt the same way, so I created the space on Change.org for like-minded Mormons and their friends to share their feelings.”
Thursday, Jan Chamberlin, a member of the 360-piece choir, resigned in protest. Here is an excerpt from the beautifully-written resignation letter she later shared on Facebook:
I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect.
I love you all, and I know the goodness of your hearts, and your desire to go out there and show that we are politically neutral and share good will. That is the image Choir wishes to present and the message they desperately want to send.
I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and facism by singing for this man.
And Choir’s wonderful image and networking will be severely damaged and that many good people throughout this land and throughout the world already do and will continue to feel betrayed. I believe hereafter our message will not be believed by many that have loved us and adored what we have stood for.
I know that I too feel betrayed.
Tyranny is now on our doorstep; it has been sneaking its way into our lives through stealth. Now it will burst into our homes through storm.
I hope that we and many others will work together with greater dilligence and awareness to calmly and bravely work together to defend our freedoms and our rights for our families, our friends, and our fellow citizens. I hope we can throw off the labels and really listen to each other with respect, love, compassion, and a true desire to bring our energies and souls together in solving the difficult problems that lie in our wake….
When I first auditioned and entered Choir, it was to follow deep personal impressions, and to honor my late father, who was among the best of men. Now I must leave Choir for the same reasons. My father ( who was an expert airforce bomber) hated tyranny and was extremely distraught over the holocaust. He and Mom both loved people greatly.
I have deep patriotic feelings for this country and for the freedoms of people everywhere throughout the world. I am troubled by the problems we face which seek to destroy our love for liberty and respect for humanity internationally.
History is repeating itself; the same tactics are being used by Hitler (identify a problem, finding a scapegoat target to blame, and stirring up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear, and gathering the funding). I plead with everyone to go back and read the books we all know on these topics and review the films produced to help us learn from these gargantuan crimes so that we will not allow them to be repeated. Evil people prosper when good people stand by and do nothing.