As Christians enter the season of Lent today, I want to stop to pay tribute to a Mormon family that produced a son I have long admired. Jon M. Huntsman Sr. just died. He was the father of Jon Huntsman Jr. (pictured here), current U.S. ambassador to Russia and former governor of Utah. Hunstman Jr. in 2012 ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination.
His 2012 candidacy got buried in an odd field of mostly undistinguished candidates that was exceeded in its collective repulsiveness only by the big gathering of Republicans who ran in 2016 and who, one by one, fell to the least qualified person in that field, Donald J. Trump.
I feel better about American relations with Russia today, despite having Trump as president, knowing that Huntsman is in Moscow for us. He's been frank about something Trump hasn't been -- whether Russia interfered in our 2016 election. He has said there is "no question" that Russia did exactly that. Which, of course, it did. And which it seems to be ready to do in our next elections.
No doubt Huntsman learned that kind of candor from his Mormon family. The tributes to his father at, before and after that father's recent funeral constituted a litany of evidence to moral behavior. I've linked you to The Salt Lake Tribune's story about that funeral on the words "just died" above.
“We reflect on a life no single article, no single speech, no tribute could hope to capture,” Huntsman Jr. said of his father at that service. “He was too beautifully multifaceted for that.”
I am not suggesting that Mormonism always produces smart, impeccably moral people. In fact, its history contains some strange people it's hard to understand, starting with founder Joseph Smith. But my experience with people from both the main Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of its split-off reform movement now known as the Community of Christ is consistent in that I find them honorable, ethical and trustworthy.
And even though I differed a little on a few political matters with Huntsman Jr. when he ran for president in 2012, I can only wish that he -- and not our current president -- occupied the White House today. The chaos of the immoral Trump presidency would be gone. And someone solid with a moral center would be in charge.
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I (HEART) GOD
I like this column by a Catholic writer who suggests that Ash Wednesday (today) is Valentine's Day (also today) for God. And take a look at the combination cross-heart ashes in the illustration. I may ask for that today.
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P.S.: This year's visiting scholar at Village Presbyterian Church will be Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary in New York. She'll speak Friday evening, March 9, and Saturday morning, March 10. Details needed to register are here as well as on this pdf flyer: Download 2018-village-scholar