Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Are Mormons Christian Enough for the Right Wing Chistians?

Yesterday morning's paper tells me that Mitch Romney is going to give a speech in which he tells the Christian Right (aka the Christian wrong) why his Mormonism will not pose any problems for them or the country should he be President. He then will try to do what JFK did when he tried to explain to Southern Baptists why his being Catholic would pose no problems for them or the country. JFK was successful.

I was actually present when JFK submitted himself for questioning by a battery of Baptist preachers thanks to my being friends with someone who had access to passes. It was amazing to see him deal deftly with their concerns. I felt some sympathy with them since I was raised as a Baptist and Catholicism was our main nemesis. My father was a prejudice-free man except for his strong anti-Catholics views. I got over my early indoctrination. In fact, I am not sure I ever bought into it since one of my friends was Catholic and I spent time in their house and knew his family.

I think Romney is making a mistake by giving a speech rather than by doing what JFK did. JFK approached the Baptist ministers at a personal level by allowing them to question him. Indeed the setting was almost intimate since very few people were in attendance. As far as I can tell, Romney will use the Orientation Theater of the Bush Library at Texas A & M for his address. It holds around 148 people. In using a theater, Romney will be putting distance between himself and his audience. If I were him, I would give a brief address and then sit on the edge of the stage and answer any questions members of the audience might have for as long as necessary. That way he makes himself completely vulnerable to them. If he survives, he wins.

There is a nasty irony to the problem Romney faces. It seems he will be trying to say that though the Mormon religion is hierarchical in nature, he believes fully in the separation of church and state and will not be influenced by the views of the leaders of his religion. Interestingly, Kennedy said
"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president -- should he be Catholic -- how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote ... "
The nasty irony is that the Religious Right does not believe in the separation of church and state and its ministers try to influence how members vote. They want the state to pass laws that dictate that there will be no abortions, that homosexuals should not be afforded normal human rights, and other nefarious views. I believe that Romney may once have believed that some abortions were acceptable and that gays should be given the same rights as everyone else. However, he seems to have caved to the Religious Wrong.

I don't really care who the Republicans put up but I am beginning to care about the Democratic choice. Hillary has dug deeply into Obama's past to reveal that Obama has, contrary to his claims, always wanted to be President by citing a paper he wrote in kindergarten claiming that he wanted to be President. This is the sort of mean-spirited, double-dumb mistake that costs people elections. She also allied herself with Bush's hawkish views on Iran and its putative nuclear weapons program. She swallowed Bush's rhetoric whole. Two bad Bush was lying about what Iran was up to. This makes her look like a triple-dumb person.

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Blogger Rita said...

Maybe,it was a good strategy that will work out to Mitt Romney's advantage?
According to what I read, he was seen shaking hands with former President Bush before the speech & James Dobson and Pat Robertson, offered Romney their personal compliments after his speech. One thing he certainly got was a lot of press out of that speech.

9:50 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

I can't have hurt him, handmaiden, but what he needs is for hardcore right wing fundamentalist Christians to find him to be acceptable. For that you would need, I think, to do a bit more than make a speech.

2:42 PM

Blogger Rita said...

hardcore right wing fundamentalist Christians That's getting a little far-out in the right field, don't you think? :) (yes the smiley face is meant to be factious) Personally, I don't think the hardcore is the only audience he's pandering to. But to them, he is making false concessions(?) by that speech. What I mean is; Christians love anyone that 'humbles' themselves. By 'laying it on the line' Mitt gives the impression of some kind of spiritual honesty(whatever that is :)

11:25 PM

Blogger Rita said...

Case in point. "Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people. Americans do not respect believers of convenience. Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world."

In this case religion is being used to interject a type of sincerity. Sincerity, is ALL he has to offer to the far-out right.
The question remains, did they swallowed it?

10:53 AM

Blogger IbaDaiRon said...

I downloaded the speech but still haven't read it; caught a bit of the spin on CNNj, though.

I'm not a "Christian" (or Paulian, as I prefer to call them) so the issue of whether Mormons are "Christians" or not really shouldn't matter to me...but it does. I see their whole cult as even more dishonest than the older religion they're trying to steal legitimacy from.

I'm sure there are Mormons who are good people. In fact, I became pretty good friends with one when I first came to Japan many years ago, but at the time I didn't know (or care) much about their beliefs. But I now have even less respect for them than I do for mainstream "Christians" because the origins of the Mormon cult are more recent and better documented and, frankly, anyone who can believe the tenets of their "church" must be more gullible or brain-damaged than the average American believer. Or more hypocritical?

Kennedy turned out to be a fine example of a Catholic in office...with his purported mob connections and womanizing. But then I hear that Mormons have no vices, so at least we won't have to worry about such things if he's elected. And having a hypocrite in the Oval Office won't represent any change from the current administration.

Ah well, we know that the Marching Morons want a theocracy and will probably get one eventually. I just hope I don't live to see it. ;)

10:11 AM

Blogger Rita said...

I see their whole cult as even more dishonest than the older religion they're trying to steal legitimacy from. Yes, "so called" religious principles cannot hold up under the scrutiny of evolution( or higher conscientiousness, or philosophy) , but they march on anyway because they get the floor. It's a bully pulpit.
I'm leaning toward the theory that the dishonesty part comes from the factor of religious politics that steals principles. Nietzsche didn't talk about Mormonism because it wasn't a factor in his time, but he understood the concepts of religion. The Nazi's perverted his philosophical principles to their ends. Mitt Romney & the political religious right is also stealing or perverting very humanist principles. Just as the Christian religion stole what was philosophically relevant from the Jews.

1:00 PM

Blogger Ripple said...

If only you understood evolution. Believe me, I have no doubt that you people evolved from monkeys.

11:51 PM

Blogger CR Petersen said...

When I hear people talk about evolution in this context, I wonder how many of them have read the last few pages of “Origin of the Species.” There is no contradiction in truth. Pure religion and pure science will come together and are not nearly as far apart as some would believe. As for the question if Mormons are Christians, you are welcome to read my thoughts on the subject at: http://whatswrongwithmormons.blogspot.com/

9:24 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I'm currently reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I would recommend it to anybody. There are a few holes in logic, particularly in his rebuttal of Dualism (e.g. Zoroastrianism), but overall the book is very insightful and gives a very reasonable picture of what it means to be a Christian.

One point he raises is separation of church and state. He gives a couple of practical reasons why this is a good thing. One is that we wouldn't ask politicians how to be right with God, so we shouldn't ask preachers how to run the state. Another is that we wouldn't want Muslims to tell us how to live, since they would outlaw eating pork (well, the example he used was actually that they would outlaw alcohol). A third reason, wholly Christian in origin and merely practical (and quite in opposition to Muslim ideas), is that religion should be a choice--if it's forced on you, then what good does it do you, in God's eyes?

To Ibadairon: another, unrelated point that Lewis raises is regarding all the people who say Jesus was a good guy but deny his Godhood. If LG was to punch you in the face, and I came along and told him, "I forgive you," with all the implications that I am the one who's actually harmed, what does that make me? And then, I go on to claim that I'm God. Lewis makes the point that based on these two things alone, Jesus must be either God or a raving lunatic. You have to pick one.

3:41 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:42 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Sorry, I meant that it was NOT "merely practical."

3:51 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

I had a very bright student working on a Ph.D. who was a Mormon. Once on a car trip to a conference with him and others, he and I got into a discussion of "Where is God." I was gobsmacked to discover that there is an answer to that question other than "everywhere." It seems that that night it was possible for him to have a specific location, like Baltimore.

Religious people believe all sorts of supernatural views. I toy with them when I read fantasy and scifi books. I don't think I am dealing with a reality of any sort. They do. Fortunately, all humans are capbable of cognitive compartmentalization. So, a Mafia don can order someone murdered and then go home and kiss his wife and children. I am hoping that religious people that believe in crazy stuff have them neatly compartmentalized. Too many don't -- the Islamic terrorists, for instance.

8:48 AM

Blogger Rita said...

cognitive compartmentalization That's the key I think. I have read CS Lewis, also. & I even think he is sincere. I always give Christians (& everyone else) the benefit of doubt when it comes to sincerity. This is why I am a secular humanist...it always comes down to being human. All you you have to do is believe in the sincerity of mankind.

11:12 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

But that's the rub, handmaiden. Humans are liars, cheats, killers, etc. Does it matter that they lie sincerely? IMO, humans are no damn good.

8:02 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

LG, that last sentence is, in a way, a very Christian point of view. I'm not sure how one can "lie sincerely," though. If you're sincere, it's not a lie; perhaps it's instead an honest mistake.

11:41 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Maybe its humanistic and honest. By "lie sincerely" I mean "lie with a straight face".

8:14 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I'm afraid I still don't quite understand what you mean, but that's OK.

9:21 AM


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