Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Romney speech...what smart people are saying

If it’s all about Huckabee’s rise, as some have contended, then by all means go after Huckabee’s substantive record. So say Ross Douthat (with good links) and James Poulos (also with good links). (Douthat also has more here and here.) Romney’s problem in the Republican electorate is with evangelicals (see this Pew report for the details). He can’t persuade them that he’s a Christian, but he can try to persuade them that his Mormonism shouldn’t matter. The question then would be whether his substantive positions, character, and electability are superior to Huckabee’s (leaving aside for a moment the other candidates). This is, of course, where the debate ought to be.

Update: Count Jonah G. in this camp.

Discussions - 7 Comments

but he can try to persuade them that his Mormonism shouldn’t matter.

What is a non-liberal reason why his Mormonism "shouldn't matter" to Christians? Do we really want an emasculated Christianity that thinks a candidate's Faith doesn't matter?

I'm electing a president, not calling a pastor, which isn't to say that I'm actually going to vote for Romney.

That is spoken like a Baptist, not a Reformed believer. Your church has always gotten this closer to right than mine.

It may not be entirely accurate to call Baptist separatism liberal, but it is rather novel in the history of Christianity.

"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." John Jay

Was he wrong? If so why?

If I believe in common grace or, if you will, natural law, in what relevant respect would Romney's Mormonism affect his conduct in office? In saying this, I take it for granted that he's not a theocrat. (And I wouldn't vote for any theocrat, even if his theology was a little closer to mine.)

Stated another way, my general approach to voting is soemthing like "mere theism" or, perhaps more precisely, "mere monotheism" (with a proviso for the few "philosophers" who can be suitably chastened by reflection and experience and who are respectful of religion).

Natural Law is not "common grace."

But why "mere monotheism?" The argument you're making for Romney could easily be made for a polytheist, who says all the right things about how his "private" faith won't affect his public duties.

So you're willing to draw a line, it's just that you made sure that line was drawn with an eye to Romney, making sure that he fell within the pale, instead of outside of it.

Red, that's an interesting quote you found. It's as I said the other day, the founders would have been shocked by the suggestion that Americans couldn't consider the religion and the religiosity of a candidate for high office, especially the Presidency. Just because the Constitution bars such consideration does not mean ordinary voters are similarly estopped.

We've made a fetish of non-judgementalism; we've lost sight of the natural tension that must exist within the notion of tolerance, or it ceases to be tolerance per se, it becomes first mental sloppiness, then raw decadence.

"in what relevant respect would Romney's Mormonism affect his conduct in office?

I have absolutely no concern that it would affect his conduct in office. It certainly didn't when he was running for Senate and being gov. of Mass. My objection is primarily to the assertion that his faith is incidental or irrelevant. And I strongly object to the implication (Hugh Hewitt) that considering his Mormonism equals religious "bigotry."

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