Last Sunday, a member of my Mormon bishopric stood before the congregation and read a letter from the governing First Presidency encouraging us to take part in the political process even if we are fascists or communists.

The letter didn’t specifically mention those two groups, only that “principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of each of the various political parties.”

I don’t know that much about communists and fascists, but I’m pretty sure they don’t believe the government should regulate the public use of breathable oxygen. There’s a gospel principle I could support in politics.

As for the letter, the church releases a similar announcement before every election. Some believe it’s a waste of time, that Mormons are almost ecclesiastically mandated to be Republican. We’re not, even though a lot of us choose to be.

That’s because saying it is one thing and doing it is another. Our leadership isn’t ecclesiastically mandated to be Caucasian either, but guess what?

Federalist, Whig, Green, Libertarian, Bull Moose — how Mormons vote is up to us as individuals. I’ve never had a bishop or a stake president ask for whom I voted.

Note: I’ve had one or two inquire as to the specifics of the sexual acts practiced in my marriage, but never if I was a Democrat.

If I had to guess, it would be that they already know the answer to the latter would be the same as to the former — “None of your damn business.”

Back to politics. Mormons can belong to any political party we choose as long as it doesn’t advocate the violent overthrow of the government or fistfights in Sunday school. Both will get you arrested.

On a personal note — and not that it’s any of your business — I haven’t voted anywhere close to right of center since the early 1980s. This doesn’t mean that I’m a complete Democrat or Libertarian.

I am, in fact, a solid member of the Species Party. Speciesism holds with the ideals that a monkey or a warthog could do a better job of running the government than any human currently alive.

As a speciesist, I am regularly forced to write in my votes. In the 2016 election, when it came to picking between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I did the only sensible thing possible: I instead wrote in “any large ruminant [cud chewer].”

It didn’t win. More’s the pity, given the news we have to listen to now.

Since humans are but a tiny fraction of all the species on the planet, and yet we have managed to screw up the world more than all the rest combined, it seems only logical that the others get a turn.

Next presidential election, I’m voting for a Labrador retriever. Yes. I’m serious. A black, female one.

I honestly believe that a canine candidate party would have all the principles of the gospel — unswerving loyalty, unbridled love, humility to the point of idiocy, compassion and, judging by the behavior of its nose, a deep concern for the environment.

The Mormon church encourages its members to participate in the upcoming caucuses Tuesday and has ordered all church meetings canceled so as to not interfere with political support.

Take advantage of it — at your closest animal shelter.