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Romney’s Mormonism for the umpteenth time

In Iowa, sola scriptura doesn’t include the Book of Mormon. Romney’s response:

"I think as people come to know my faith they’ll recognize that the values of my faith are — they very much flow from the Judeo-Christian tradition of this country. I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in the equality of all humankind," Mr. Romney said in an interview with The Washington Times.

Romney ought to say (or continue to say) at least three things. First, the "theological distinctives" of Mormonism will not produce "eccentric behavior" in the Oval Office. (Surely Harry Reid’s eccentricity isn’t caused by his Mormonism.) What will loom largest is the "natural law" or "common grace" that Mormons share with all human beings. Second, when one takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, one means it. The powers of the government are limited, and surely do not extend to the establishment of religion or the abridgement of free exercise. Third, a person of faith acknowledges his dependence upon a Creator, which ought to produce humility and a sense of responsibility, surely good characteristics in a leader.

Discussions - 12 Comments

While I certainly would not be thrilled with a member of the mormon church running the country, I have a couple of other questions for Romney besides his religion. First, where was he when the anti-family activists were taking over Massachusetts? Second, what real evidence in his record do we have of his pro life commitment? Its fine to talk about it, but we have heard talk before (i.e. read my lips). We as conservatives should feel insulted if we are just expected to take his word on this. He should go back to lower politics. When he has actually acted on these supposed convictions, then come and talk to us about being president.

Huckabee takes the lead in Iowa!! Say good-bye to flip-flop Mitt.

What was with #3, and pray tell what exactly is "a person of faith?" That's the type of liberal phrase that gets tossed around of late. Does that phrase encompass muslims? I don't cotton to euphemisms that enable some to glide past topics that are politically incorrect. It's the type of phrase that Mark Steyn skewers in his book "America Alone."

You assure us that Romney's Mormonism won't reflect itself in his public behavior, such concerns you trivialize as a needless anxiety over "eccentric behavior." Well, isn't that special? Selecting a member of a cult to be the LEADER OF THE WESTERN WORLD now has a bar so low that it merely bars "eccentric behavior." Shouldn't there be a concern that the guy selected the leader of the Western World actually reflect one of the two great faiths that shaped and made possible that "Western" world, namely Judaism or Christianity. Wouldn't that stand to reason? Isn't there something jarring in the elevation of a cultist? Simply by virtue of him being a cultist?

Electing a member of a cult ELEVATES that cult, not simply politically, but culturally. It's validation. Aren't voters allowed to ask if they desire to see Mormonism validated in such a fashion?

Scalia made much the same point in his Casey dissent. He said that people think "if abortion is constitutional, ... then how bad can it be....." He notes the muddled logic, but also notes that is an idea afloat. Similarly, we'll see the same with Mormonism. The thinking will go: "Well if a Mormon can win The White House, ... it can't be a cult, ... now can it."

Psychiatrists can define the criteria of cults. Mormonism fits the bill.

During the GOP primary battle, Romney's Mormonism has escaped scathing criticism. It's been glided over, and Romney has done much to stop questions being raised.

But Hillary and her helpers will not be so shy when it comes to divulging the peculiarities and "eccentricities" of Mormonism.

And it's not going to be pleasant trying to defend Romney, when his core creed is being mocked to the heavens.

I've spent time living and working in Provo, Utah, where I grew to respect Mormonism as a culture and many of the individual Mormons I encountered. The religion does a marvelous job, I think, of codifying and "mythologizing" quintessentially American values: self-reliance, corporatism, the nuclear family as basic political unit, and faith in Eternal Progress. I do, however, have a reservation about electing a Mormon president, and it isn't one which I've seen publicly discussed.

Mormonism is the only religion which makes American Exceptionalism an official part of its creed. It puts the Garden of Eden here, it locates Christ's return here. It sets the narrative of the Book of Mormon here, makes the founding of the country into a divinely ordained act, and sets the historical turning point of the "return to the true faith" here. It seems to me reasonable to worry that the first Mormon President would view himself as inheritor of the prophetic mantle and see the projection of American power abroad as a divine mission.

Andy ... interesting point about American Exceptionalism and Mormonism. My question would be whether Romney is the type of person who embraces Mormonism to that degree?

I'm reminded of the Marriott family. They control the hotel chain, and they are Mormons. There was a time when alcohol was not served in any Marriott hotel. Now they do. They apparently found a way to separate faith from business. Set aside what that says about the person's convictions ... my point is that just because one is "Mormon" does not mean they take every point of the religion's doctrine fully to heart.

Well, that's an open question of course. But obedience to authority is a core value of Mormonism, and my guess is, should Romney be elected, the Church President and Hierarchy would exert quite a bit of influence on him.

So many people who are, admitedly, so much smarter than me, can't see that Romney, were he Catholic/So. Baptist/ MO Synod Lutheran/ couldn't get the Repub nomination, let alone be elected President. The man is truly the John Edwards of the Right. A pretty face, but do you really want to wake up the next morning with him?
I've been voting for longer than most of you have probably been alive, and there is noone,Donk or Repub, now running I'd want for President.
My only hope and prayer is John McCain chooses Jeb Bush for VP and then has the grace to die in his first year.

This isn't about whether or not Mormons convene lurid ceremonies in the dead of the night. Nor is this whether or not they have some secret password.

Of such things I don't know, nor care.

The point is that Romney is a member of a cult. And such membership, alone, in a cult, completely distinguished from the ritual and ceremonies of Mormonism, is more than enough to withhold support from him.

If you're in a cult, leave the cult before seeking high office, particularly if you're seeking to the be the leader of the Western world.

Thus I consider a cult member, ANY CULT MEMBER in ANY CULT WHATSOEVER, simply by membership in that cult, to be beyond the pale for the Presidency.

It isn't going to be pretty. That's for sure. But it looks like Huck just might pull the thing off.

Though we should wait to see how much money Huck starts raking in in the next couple of weeks. If large donors start moving away from Romney, towards other candidates, particularly Huck, we'll know that Huck is for real.

It is possible that Mormons are a "cult". Should we define them as such and embrace consistency one would have to withold calling americans gentlemen on the grounds that they are not landed gentry with a coat of arms. As C.S. Lewis points out in mere Christianity, in such a world it would not be an insult to say that someone is not a gentleman. In such a world, that it simultaneously "liberal" the stigma of "cult" would be likewise diminished. When you say "cult" and you mean Mormon, being part of a cult could become a good thing, just as being a gentleman could become a bad thing if it means only landed gentry with a coat of arms. If the nobility of France can disgrace the title gentlemen as they did prior to the revolution, then the Mormons of America can elevate cult. Sir Hammer and Anvil is therefore only making an aristocratic plea in dismissing Mormons from contention on the grounds of being a cult. If americans can use the term gentlemen to mean a person of civility, wisdom and virtue, then they can easily use the term christianity to encompass Mormons. So we are left playing with C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity...Is the church of latter day saints simply another room that branches of from the long hall? Speaking of christianity in terms akin to speaking of gentlemen as bearing coats of arms one may accept Hillary Clinton as Christian, qualms about abortion and homosexual marriage being irrelevant. In such a world Hillary Clinton is christian and Romney is a cultist, but in such a world the second estate is simply the domain of younger nobility.

Can a man who is not landed gentry be a gentleman and if so can Romney not be a christian while Hillary Clinton is a cultist?

To my way of thinking Mormons have nothing to fear from a microscope so long as christians like Hillary Clinton can take up the pro-choice mantle.

I see four possible positions: 1) the purists who say: neither Hillary Clinton nor Romney are Christian.

2) The legal positivists/aristocratic gentleman position: Hillary Clinton is Christian and Romney is a cultist.

3) The "essentialists" Hillary Clinton is a cultist and Romney is Christian. Just because you have a coat of arms and land does not a gentleman make.

4) "the nonjudgementalists" such questions are ultimately for God to Judge and do not belong in the political arena.

This is really why DB and others are wrong to assume that Hillary Clinton could or would make a lot out of Romney being mormon. It is simply not in Hillary Clinton's best interest to stir up an argument that might backfire into exposing the strenght of her credentials. Rather by being silent she could take advantage of the small contingent of natural prejudices against mormons, just as Romney will do so with those who will never vote for a woman because she is woman.

Hillary is about as likely to attack Romney for being Mormon as Romney is to attack Hillary for being a woman.

I think that both Hillary Clinton and Romney belong to the "nonjudgementalist" group of christians, each taking the position that it is up to God to judge who is and who is not a christian.

This particular issue is actually a lot more loaded on the right, liberals and those on the left are by definition a lot more inclined to a sort of nonjudgmentalist attitude. Arguments over who belongs to the real church are bound to cause more problems for orthodox/traditional christians Bapistists/Catholics than they are for Unitarian Universalists.

If Hillary Clinton attacks Romney for being Mormon she doesn't gain those who are disinclined to accept either as Christian, she might cause some of the Romney vote not to vote for him...but she might also alienate a lot of liberal christians into not voting for her...or even towards Romney out of sympathy or inclusion. Hillary Clinton attacking Romney on religion would be almost as big of a mistake as Romney attacking Hillary Clinton for being a woman.

In my opinion Romney is never going to make it, so this discussion is pretty much hypothetical...but if he did his mormonism would become a strength should Hillary decide to attack it.

Hillary would never attack Romney's Mormonism directly. That would be unnecessary and foolish. She'll have plenty of proxies to do the dirty work, while she stays above the fray, "condemning" the attacks, all the while winking.

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