Friday, December 07, 2007

Distasteful? Maybe. Unconstitutional? Not Really.

Concerning Mitt Romney's speech on religion Jason Steck writes the following in a post entitled Religious Bigotry Lives:

Mormons are subjected to a double-whammy. At the same time that they are opposed by anti-Mormons who deem them a “non-Christian” “cult”, they are barred by anti-Christians who hate them because of their Christian religious beliefs. There exists, in effect, not one but two unconstitutional religious tests barring Romney and every other one of the millions of American Mormons from ever aspiring to the Presidency. That these two tests contradict each other in every way merely adds insult to injury.

I repeat here what I wrote there in the comments.

During the World Wars it was said that "Loose Lips Sinks Ships." Nowadays I think that idea should be revived as "Loose Terminology Sinks Ideas." The notion that since the government is not allowed to use religious tests as a prerequisite for holding political office then individual voters are not allowed to be uncomfortable with candidates who hold religious beliefs they find odd or downright weird is simple nonsense. We do not say that since the government cannot censor publications they dislike then any individual who chooses not to allow a copy of The Turner Diaries in their collection is guilty of censorship. The Constitution is a document that regulates the running of the mechanism of government, it is not a source of personal ethics. You may personally feel that voters shouldn’t ever take religious background into account, but that is nothing but the expression of your personal preference.

I myself would find it difficult to vote for a practitioner of voodoo, or a scientologist, or a believer in the divinity of Jim Jones, or someone who believes completely in astrology, therefore I cannot say that there is something inherently wrong with those people who are distrustful of Mormonism. Now, I may argue that their fears are exaggerated or completely misplaced, their ignorance too great to make any knowledgeable decision on the matter, etc., but that is an entirely different argument than the one made here.


Anonymous said...

What Romney did with his so-called “religion speech” the other day was try to get ahead of the curve. And he’s actually been quite successful. Mostly due to the fact that he pays image agencies millions to feed the media the angle that his campaign wants to present.

In doing so, they’ve done a marvelous job blowing smoke. And they’ve angled it so that “conventional Christians” are made to seem like bigots for not accepting that Romney is a “real Christian.”

This is a beautiful deflection. But what is it a deflection from? It’s a deflection from Mormon doctrine, which says that THEY are the only true Christians! Joe Smith taught that all Christianity as presented thus far has been wrong. He rewrote whole sections of the Bible, and introduced an entirely different doctrine. And filled in the details with a story of how Jews escaped to the New World in 580 BC. And began to create warring kingdoms in America. God then cursed the “bad” group of Jews by giving them dark skin, and they are the American Indians.

Yes my friends, you heard that right! Mormons believe that American Indians are “cursed Jews.” Literally not one single piece of archeological evidence has ever surfaced that any of the kingdoms ever existed. Not a single stone from a single building. Nothing.

But Mormonism teaches that this is the REAL Christianity! Mormons refer to all non-Mormons as “gentiles,” and consider them spiritual heathens.

So it’s actually Romney that must answer whether HE thinks Huckabee is a “real Christian,” not the other way around.

But Romney’s multi-million dollar PR machine has turned the whole thing on it’s ear.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

I guess what annoys me about the whole thing is the implication that there is only one ethical way to evaluate a candidates. As if your personal preferences must be screened and deemed "appropriate".

The effect is clear. Opinion pieces like this one basically charge Huckabee as a bigot because evangelical voters are more comfortable with him than the other candidates, especially Romney. Basically, if you don't support Romney you are guilty as a bigot until proven otherwise.

Such an "argument" really deserves a terse two word response. The first is "Fuck" and the second is "off."