Friday, December 30, 2016

Woman Quits Mormon Tabernacle Choir Over Trump Inaugural

A member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir said she had resigned from the famed group over its decision to perform at next month’s inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

Jan Chamberlin posted her resignation letter to choir leaders on her Facebook page Thursday. In it, she writes that by performing at the January 20 inaugural, the 360-member choir will appear to be “endorsing tyranny and fascism.” She says she feels betrayed by the choir’s decision to take part.

The choir is part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Church spokesman Eric Hawkins told The Salt Lake Tribune that participation in the choir and the inaugural performance was voluntary.

Hawkins said last week that the choir’s tradition of presidential performances wasn’t “implied support of party affiliations or politics” but a “demonstration of our support for freedom, civility and the peaceful transition of power.”

Chamberlin’s decision earned praise from one of the most powerful Mormons in the country: Nevada Senator Harry Reid.

The retiring Democrat said Friday in a statement to the Tribune that he admired people like Chamberlin who “reject tyranny and fascism and do what they can to stand up for what is right.”

Reid applauded her for refusing to “be part of the wave of hatred unleashed by Donald Trump.”

“She should not be castigated or repudiated for acting on her sincere beliefs,” Reid said.

Chamberlin, who didn’t respond to Tribune requests for interviews, wrote on Facebook that her decision was a moral one.

“I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler,’ ” she wrote. “And I certainly could never sing for him.”

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