Official Statement from Mormon Women for Ethical Government on the Coronavirus Pandemic

official statement Mar 13, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp relief the degree to which we are all interconnected. We prayerfully plead that we meet this knowledge not with selfishness or indifference, but instead with a renewed determination to work together to mitigate exposure and suffering. This effort must be made both by governments and individuals. 

We can all act in ways that preserve both human life [1] and the cohesion of local and global communities. We must responsibly follow the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, which direct governments and institutional leaders to provide clear information, actively monitor events to mitigate spread, and implement measures to protect health systems and provide care. Failure to do so could cause irreparable harm.

For these measures to succeed, governments must maintain the trust of the governed by being honest and transparent [2]. Leaders must privilege the knowledge of scientific and medical specialists, allowing them to speak directly to the public and grounding official messaging in fact. Transparency will lead to stability. Citizens will be better able to understand the disease and work together to slow its spread if they act from clear and universal knowledge.

Transparency and honesty also require elected and appointed officials and government employees to put the interest of the public before their own individual interests [3]. Decisions must be made based on facts and not on chances for election. Human life must not be sacrificed to conflicts of interest or the failure to properly staff critical institutions.

Perhaps most importantly, both governments and individuals are accountable [4] to our sisters and our brothers locally, nationally, and globally. Government action will only succeed if it is followed with a competent and compassionate citizen response. As WHO has stated, “We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity. Every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the healthcare system, the workplace or the transport system." Research-based guidelines for individual and family responses to the outbreak are available on the WHO and CDC websites.

We call for all governments — whether local, state, or national — to act swiftly and responsibly in a manner that engenders trust and protects the most vulnerable among us, and we encourage every individual to embrace this opportunity to act lovingly and responsibly in defense of the well-being of others. Paradoxically, it is only then that we can be assured of our own safety in this crisis. 

[1] Principle 2 of MWEG Principles of Ethical Government (PEG)
[2] Principle 1(b) of MWEG PEG
[3] Principle 1(c) of MWEG PEG
[4] Principle 3 of MWEG PEG

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Mormon Women for Ethical Government (MWEG) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring women of faith to be ambassadors of peace who transcend partisanship and courageously advocate for ethical government. MWEG is not affiliated with or endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We do, however, fully sustain the leaders and doctrines of the Church.

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