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Aug 07 2012

Tellin’ it like it is

I have seen that many people object to the last bit of the comment, that incredulity that half the country is considering voting for a Mormon. That, I think, is a perfectly reasonable dismay. It is not about being unhappy that he is allowed to run for the presidency — I think it is a good thing that the government cannot dictate who is even allowed to run, and it would be a violation of the separation of church and state to suggest that it should — but that’s not what the comment is about. It is that so many will willingly ignore the conflict between reason and religion to the extent that they will make excuses for why you should vote for some guy who believes his laws were handed down on golden plates to a con artist in upstate New York, and who believes it is his destiny to rule a Mormon kingdom on earth, which will be translated into the award of his own planet and harem of willing, fertile concubines.

Let’s cut the crap. I support Romney’s legal right to become the president. I want people to reject his superstitious bullshit and adherence to a dogmatic institution and not vote him into office.

142 comments

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  1. 1
    Glen Davidson

    So the people who objected to a Muslim being elected should be criticized (past blogpost), and yet one shouldn’t vote for a Mormon?

    Consistency is not evident.

    Glen Davidson

  2. 2
    consciousness razor

    If America managed to reach Mars, the Earth would probably be a nicer place to live.

  3. 3
    Glen Davidson

    Minnesota elected a Muslim, Keith Ellison to the US House of Representatives. If he’d made his religion an issue, I’d be unhappy about this (just as I am about any other pious politician), but he didn’t—even though his opposition did—so I’m not perturbed.

    PZ Myers.

    Glen Davidson

  4. 4
    Raryn

    There’s plenty of legitimate reasons one might not vote for Mitt Romney, but this certainly isn’t one. He isn’t make an issue out of his religion (though it certainly influences some of his more nutty positions), and choosing not to vote for him because of it is just as odious as saying one would never vote for an atheist.

  5. 5
    cadrpear

    No, Mr. Dawkins, not voting for Rmoney isn’t a sufficient criterion for rationality.

    But that just strengthens his case, really.

  6. 6
    krubozumo

    Nicely put. Dawkins is not infallible of course, but WRT the application of reason to life, he has a leg up on a lot of folks who seem to think that any old fairy tale, sufficiently deeply believed, is justification for making suicidal decisions.

    In my opinion, The Selfish Gene was a seminal work. That alone puts Dawkins into an elite class. Sure he can get it wrong in other respects. Perfection is a conception.

    This is the kind of thing that will provoke, I hope, essays on why “religion poisons everthing”. We are in a wide ranging war. Civilization against facisct corporatocracy. Science is one of the tools used to maintain dominance and hegemony. That is why education is so important. If only an elite few understand how science works, it can be used as a very effective tool to subjugate the masses.

    I would encourage everyone reading here to look up on wikipedia the white horse prophecy.

    Thanks PZ for a very pointed and topical post.

  7. 7
    eleutheria

    Why is Dawkins saying the guy who believes in Garden of Eden and Noah and Plant Kolob is dangerous and stupid and the guy who professes belief in Garden of Eden and Noah not dangerous, not stupid.

    Attacks on any one mindless religion are pretty stupid. But Dawkins of course knows this. So what’s he up to?

  8. 8
    cadrpear

    @myself #5

    To clarify: there really aren’t that many rational-ish people around, so the fact that such a tiny slice of America is sufficient enough to get robots on other worlds is even more impressive.

    The part about Mormons being unfit for office, OTOH? Fuck that.

  9. 9
    qwints

    Since Professor Dawkins may not be familiar with our system of laws, I refer him to a quote from Article 6 of the US Constitution – “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

    Vote against Romney because of the stupid and destructive policies he wants to enact, not because of his erroneous personal beliefs about things that don’t exist.

  10. 10
    chigau (違う)

    Dawkins strikes again.

  11. 11
    jim1138

    There are crazy religions, then there are bat shit crazy religions.

  12. 12
    raven

    Dawkins left out the best part.

    When Romney dies and gets his own planet, it comes with a herd of goddess wives. The number isn’t known but it is likely far more than 72 virgins.

    He then spends all eternity fucking his brains out. According to Mormon mythology, our god has managed so far to produce 10 or 20 billion children. That is all us humans and the demons as well. We were all spirit children, birthed from goddesses before cycling down to earth. That is a lot of sex but I suppose in an infinite universe, it’s possible.

    I tend to agree with a few other commentators. Romney is a scary meat robot who will probably finish what Bush started, destroying our society for another lost generation. But it isn’t because he is Mormon but because he is a Tea Party hack.

  13. 13
    robro

    Funny! LOL! hahahaha! it is a terribly bizarre country.

  14. 14
    raven

    If Romney gets elected, I’m just going to give up and concentrate on the wine list, the cats, and hobbies.

    Bush cost me a lot. Two friends dead in Iraq. A dead 401(k) plan like tens of millions of others. A floundering economy and a lost generation. Half of all recent college grads since 2006 are either unemployed or underemployed. The Fed Reserve is projecting a recovery by 2018.

    This is a lost generation.

    With Romney, you could make that two lost generations. This is past my projected life span.

    It come down to: you can’t stop 310 million lemmings from running over a cliff.

  15. 15
    raven

    Funny! LOL! hahahaha! it is a terribly bizarre country.

    It’s funny until you remember that we have close to half of the world’s nuclear weapons.

  16. 16
    ChasCPeterson

    “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

    Obviously this has nothing to do with how individual citizens may decide whom to vote for.
    Romney claims to give 10% of his income to this oppressive and officially bigoted religious organization. That’s reason enough to vote for the other guy right there, imo.

  17. 17
    Jem

    I was agreeing until the last bit, I would contemplate voting for a mormon (but not Romney), especially when other candidates hold equally strange beliefs.

  18. 18
    Charly

    I always considered the second “m” in “Mormon” a redundancy (old joke, I know). That being said, while I do agree, that government should be neutral on the religion issue, voters should not. Voters should vote in accordance with candidate’s competency. And the more bizarre and extreme superstitious beliefs the candidate holds, the higher the probability he is completely wacko and unfit for leadership. Therefore I do agree with R. Dawkins, that the fact, that half of US is prepared to vote for candidate adhering to Mormonism. Notice, he does not say a word about how Romney should be disqualified because of being Mormon. He is saying, people shlould not vote for him because he is a Mormon. But It could be said better, the punchline wuld probably be better without it.

  19. 19
    Charly

    “Therefore I do agree with R. Dawkins, that the fact, that half of US is prepared to vote for candidate adhering to Mormonism”

    should continue…

    “tells something about US.”

    Damn.

  20. 20
    coldthinker

    I have to say the wording seemed a bit harsh. Being a Mormon doesn’t make anyone unelectable. But actually believing the insane things a Mormon is supposed to believe should. Anyway, the same goes for a lot of religious beliefs, and he did refer to Young Earth Christians in the same sentence. Still, compared to typical culturally Anglican approach to religion, Mormonism really is a few more steps towards Crazy Town.

  21. 21
    Sili

    Echochamber? What echochamber?

    Actually RMoney’s Mormoneyism seems to be his biggest drawback for the nuttiest half of the country. If he’d been a Christian they’d vote for him in a heartbeat.

  22. 22
    harbo

    Maybe a little bit batshit crazy is like a little bit pregnant.

    We outside the US watch in awe, as the best (curiosity) and the worst (fundamentalism) pour out in parallel. We just keep hoping that the former can keep its head up, and not just for your sake.

    Of course we in Australia, suffer as much lunacy from our elected and wanna-be elected. They are all starting to look like the half uplifted dogs in “UP” who appear rational, until the ball (poll) whips past, then they salivate and charge off in random directions.

    Sigh! Where is the O’Neil colony I was promised?

  23. 23
    lanceleuven

    PZ, why are you giving exposure to your rival for the role of Atheist Pope? Sometimes it almost seems as if you don’t even want the job at all.

  24. 24
    dailydouq

    I have to say the wording seemed a bit harsh. Being a Mormon doesn’t make anyone unelectable. But actually believing the insane things a Mormon is supposed to believe should. Anyway, the same goes for a lot of religious beliefs, and he did refer to Young Earth Christians in the same sentence.

    It’s this part of it that worries me. If I thought Mittwit could separate nutty religion from public policy as effectively as Kennedy did then it might not be so bad. Every president has nominally been religious but most, again at least according to their PR, didn’t base policy on their religion. Sure there was probably an implicit xtian bias, but at least no overt adherence to commandments from some dusty book.

    But it’s also the cognitive dissonance in Mittwit. He’s not stupid, at least Dumbya or Palin stupid, but he can still believe in all this nutty stuff. I can understand that under pressure he might talk the talk, but he definitely seems to walk the walk as well. With his finger on the button will some passage from Pearl of Great Price guide his decision or the rational decision-making (albeit greedy) he learned at Harvard Biz.

    But also a man that clearly has no principles (or like his tax returns chooses to completely hide them) and will bend with whatever expedient decision he must make to satisfy whatever constituency he feels most at that moment is scary. The pure opportunism of the guy and lack of guiding principles makes me think that either he’s a fraud at his religion or perhaps that is the only principles he holds dear. Is the Constitution as important to him as the words of his revelator (I worked for a Mormon dominated company and know that the position in church hierarchy represented an independent and parallel power structure to the corporate hierarchy). Dumbya brought all those graduates from Libery U, who will Mittwit bring?

    So we owe the Constitution its due, not to impose a religious test, but I think it’s fair to ask how religion affects the (wo)man who will be the secular leader.

  25. 25
    Alukonis, metal ninja

    Gotta throw in with Glen Davidson here, it’s inconsistent to criticize people who object to someone of one religion being voted in, while supporting a statement that someone else shouldn’t be voted in because of their religion.

    There are a lot of Romney’s beliefs that one should take into account when deciding who to vote for. Like for example his belief that he is better than everyone else and people should just give him the presidency already because come on you guys he REALLY wants it and he spent all this money, and he always gets what he wants, WAH TANTRUM TIME.

    Or like, how he abused his dog.

    Or how he thinks it’s cool to make $10,000 bets like it’s a $10 bet, and then make jokes about how he’s “unemployed too.”

    I could go on here. Some silly belief about getting his own planet after he dies is pretty trivial compared with this stuff.

    And are we to not vote for anyone who has stupid religious beliefs? Then I guess all of us atheists aren’t going to be voting then, huh? The problem isn’t his Mormonism, it’s his being a terrible person with terrible policy ideas that are terrible for everyone, which does include his being anti-science, but it’s not his private beliefs that are the issue, it’s LEGISLATING his private beliefs.

    Dawkins dropped the ball in that last clause, imo.

  26. 26
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    Reading even half the stuff that Lynna posts, contents of a religion ARE a big deal when voting for a candidate. There’s varying levels abhorrent dreck and willingness to want to turn it into federal or state law. Seeing how the Mormons acted during the Prop. 8 debacle in California, I would never vote for one for any level of government.

  27. 27
    Jafafa Hots

    Y’know PZ, if you’re going to make arch enemies out of all the other famous atheists so that you can rule the atheist kingdom unchallenged, you really have to stop giving them all free PR.

    You really just aren’t getting the hang of this evil mastermind business.

  28. 28
    Jafafa Hots

    I think his Mormonism is an issue because he’s supposed to tithe 10% of his income to them, and so far he won’t reveal what that’s 10% of.

  29. 29
    coldthinker

    Since Professor Dawkins may not be familiar with our system of laws, I refer him to a quote from Article 6 of the US Constitution – “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

    Vote against Romney because of the stupid and destructive policies he wants to enact, not because of his erroneous personal beliefs about things that don’t exist.

    It’s a fine Article, clearly intended to protect people from bigotry and demands of adherence to any particular religion, although in most other developed countries it goes without saying. But what if the tenets of a religion were bigoted, rasist, violent or otherwise harmful themselves, as actually is the case?

    There is a difference between being a nominal Mormon, Christian or a Muslim and truly, really, actually believing the things these religions tell you to believe. Some of the tenets of Mormonism falsify real history so grossly, that it is on a par with holocaust denial. Some personal beliefs may not affect the way one does his job, but most of them actually do. This is why I would never vote for any self-admitted religious person (it’s easier in Europe, I know).

  30. 30
    Jafafa Hots

    Actually I’m gonna disagree with Dawkins that the sane and rational part of the US is half. Not even close.

  31. 31
    unclefrogy

    I doubt anyone here is ever going to vote for a Mormon anyway no matter what else is going on so stop with the constitution argument. Sounds like a distinction without a difference.

    uncle frogy

  32. 32
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @12.raven :

    Romney is a scary meat robot who will probably finish what Bush started, destroying our society for another lost generation. But it isn’t because he is Mormon but because he is a Tea Party hack.

    I thought Mittens Rmoney struggled more than expected to get the Republican nomination because he wasn’t a Tea Party hack? I thought the Tea party viewed him as suspectand overly moderate as well as his whole Moron faith non-Christianity?
    Thought the Tea Party favourites were Rick’s Perry & Santorum, Bachmann and even Gingrich instead with Mittens being about last on their list behind only Huntsman?

    Okay Mittens has had to slide oozily towards their side, changing his former acceptence of the reality of HIRGO (Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating) and a few other things to win the base but they – quite right;ly- don’t really like or trust him. (Why would anyone like or trust someone as slippery as Mr Etch-a-sketch indeed?)

    As for him finishing Bush’es work -only if he gets in. I don’t think he will. I reckon Obama will win a second term.

  33. 33
    firstapproximation

    Good reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney

    * His policies would make the country even more into an oligarchy and will divide it further into the have’s and have not’s.
    * He believed the Citizens United ruling was right.
    * He believes corporations are people my friends, or at least more so than flesh and blood illegal immigrants (see below).
    * He doesn’t seem to believe in anthropogenic global warming and opposes the reduction of CO2 emissions.
    * He wants to increase “defense” spending.
    * Ran away from one of his few actual accomplishments with health care reform in Massachusetts and opposed the very similar Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, “Obamacare”).
    * His hostility towards unions.
    * His book was entitled “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness” and is actually a fair description of his foreign policy.
    * He supported the invasion of Iraq.
    * He might start a war with Iran.
    * Has advocated doubling the size of Guantanamo.
    * He supports “enhanced interrogation techniques ” (aka, torture).
    * His hostility toward women’s right to choose.
    * His support of abstinence-only sex education.
    * He opposed the Dream Act that would have provided a path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children.
    * He supported a federal amendment that would have defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
    * He’s an opportunist who will change his position if it works in his favor.

    Note: because of the last item of the list I only considered his most recent “beliefs”, thinking they would give us the best idea of what a President Romney would believe and do. A lot of his reversals have come, of course, between being governor of a liberal state and running for the Republican presidential nomination. So usually the reversals occur over years. However, for anthropogenic global warming he made a statement in June 2011 saying he believed it in and that it meant we should reduce greenhouse gases. Yet in October of that very same year said “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

    Source

    Bad reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney
    * He’s a Mormon.

  34. 34
    firstapproximation

    Actually RMoney’s Mormoneyism seems to be his biggest drawback for the nuttiest half of the country.

    Yeah, that’s the funny part.

  35. 35
    The Dancing Monk

    Am I missing something here. Everyone seems hung on the last phrase of that quote but surely the message is about the massive achievement the US has made in reaching in Mars despite being handicapped by 50% of the population who believe bizarre things, e.g. creationism & Romney’s mormonism

    Surely it’s an attack on the American culture of wilful ignorance than attack on an individual

  36. 36
    firstapproximation

    Everyone seems hung on the last phrase of that quote but surely the message is about the massive achievement the US has made in reaching in Mars despite being handicapped by 50% of the population who believe bizarre things, e.g. creationism & Romney’s mormonism

    We mostly agree with that part. What’s there to discuss?

  37. 37
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @33. firstapproximation :

    Good reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney

    You forgot :

    * Cruelty to animals (his dog – also a sign of lack of empathy / creulty to others generally)

    * His history as a homophobic bully in school.

  38. 38
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    Personally, I wouldn’t vote for any overtly religious individual were I to live in a nation where doing so is possible. There’s no way for me to know which goofy nonsense they do or don’t believe, and what they will or won’t act on. If my two choices were an atheist and a christian with exactly the same policies, I would vote for the atheist just in case the christian actually took the Bible seriously or something.

  39. 39
    Jafafa Hots

    Are we arguing here that the US Constitution was written by perfect people?
    Because the argument that not considering religion in a candidate is wrong simply because the constitution says so is weak. The constitution has said a lot of bad things.

    Separation of church and state is important and the “religious test” thing would be nice if it actually were used as intended instead of completely the opposite, but that doesn’t make voting for a delusional person a virtue.

    If it’s a choice between an atheist and a religious person, or a nominally religious person versus a true believer, you’re a damned fool to not see that it is pertinent to your decision.

    Unlikely to be the deciding factor, but non-delusional or at least less delusional to my mind is something to hope for in a person with so much power.

  40. 40
    eigenperson

    I would vote for a Mormon, but that fact that the person was a Mormon would be a strike against him or her, just like Obama’s evangelical Christianity is a strike against him.

    That has very little to do with why I won’t vote for Romney, though. Make him an atheist, or a Christian, or whatever, and I still wouldn’t vote for him. Even if Romney’s Mormonism is strike one, he’s got about 100 other strikes too.

  41. 41
    Maureen Brian

    So, Quinn Martindale @ 9, if there cannot be a religious test for public office – we knew that already! – why is half the population trying to impose such a test retrospectively?

    Again, why is half the population trying to do something it knows to be illegal with imaginary factlets it just pulled out of its arse?

  42. 42
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Why should anyone vote for a walking, talking Etch-a-Sketch?

  43. 43
    Nick Gotts

    just like Obama’s evangelical Christianity is a strike against him. – eigenperson

    Is Obama’s Christianity correctly described as “evangelical”? That’s a genuine question, I’ve never seen it described that way before.

    More generally, it’s an interesting question whether an old form of religious nonsense such as Christianity is less of a hindrance to rationality than a newer form such as Mormonism. We know there are many Christians who do not regard their scriptures as inerrant or literally true, including some who don’t believe in the virgin birth or the resurrection (and I think Obama may well be one such), but regard Jesus as a moral exemplar, in some nebulous way “inspired” by God. But what could a parallel form of Mormonism look like? What’s the point of it, if one rejects the stuff about finding gold plates, god living on Kolob, and ancient Israelites settling America?

  44. 44
    dianne

    Every president so far has at least ostensibly believed that a man who was killed by crucifixion came back to life 3 days later, that the earth was created in 6 days by a supernatural being, and that the same being flooded the earth one day because he was displeased with humanity…I’m not sure the belief in getting a planet after death is all that strange compared to the “normal” beliefs of US presidents. Not but that making fun of Mormon underwear is fun.

  45. 45
    AlexanderZ

    I’m sorry, but Mormonism is worse than other stupid beliefs. It’s like if you walk into an asylum and you get to see ten guys that think they’re Napoleon and one guy who thinks he’s the seven-handed amoeba god from Andromeda. Clearly the other ten are much more agreeable and at least somewhat open to reason. Not to mention their positive views on the metric system.
    That’s why it’s unacceptable to be against a mainstream Muslim, Christian or whatever just because of their religion, but is perfectly fine if the said person is from a group that even those people consider crazy.

  46. 46
    Pyra

    So, am I missing something here, or did the person who created this image just assign Hitchens’ quotes to Dawkins? Has Dawkins taken up where Hitchens left off and espoused those phrases? In any case, I’m amazed our pitifully reduced spending on space programs afforded us this accomplishment, too. Regardless of whatever vein of religion our presidents were raised in, the majority of people here belief crazy things. I am also glad that we still carry a small torch for scientific progress.

  47. 47
    richardelguru

    I’m not voting for the bastard because he’s a moron, not because he’s a Mormon.

    (btw I have an ‘Atheists for Obama’ button that gave me great pleasure to wear down here in TX during the last election, I wonder if there’s a market for ‘Mormons for the Moron’ buttons for this one?)

  48. 48
    Nick Gotts

    Every president so far has at least ostensibly believed that a man who was killed by crucifixion came back to life 3 days later, that the earth was created in 6 days by a supernatural being, and that the same being flooded the earth one day because he was displeased with humanity – dianne

    Every President has been a Biblical literalist? Nonsense: IIRC Obama has stated his acceptance of evolution, and for decades before him, this wasn’t even an issue. There is no requirement that a Christian even “ostensibly” take Genesis literally.

    I’m sorry, but Mormonism is worse than other stupid beliefs.

    Dubious. Doctrinally orthodox Christianity has the distinction of being necessarily false, in that it claims Jesus was “wholly God and wholly man” or “true God and true man”, while the properties of “god” and “man” are incompatible.

  49. 49
    lanceleuven

    Pyra, the quote is from Dawkins’ Twitter feed. He has a discussion about it and its reaction on his site at the moment.

  50. 50
    patterson

    I imagine he was just trying to stir the pot, rubbing Romney’s heretical beliefs in the faces of the nutty 50%. Hopefully by provoking a public response by the LDS. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but I doubt Dawkins would release such a provocative statement without a reason.

  51. 51
    Jasper of Maine

    …despite half of America trying to shut down NASA because it’s socialistic and socialism = teh evil

  52. 52
    patterson

    On second thoughts I think I am reading too much into it. Apparently it was released as a couple of tweets, I’m thInking now he was just pissed off. Oh well, we can still hope for a happy ending.

  53. 53
    Pteryxx

    Following up on the quote source – apparently the statement in the image is a paraphrase of statements combined from Dawkins’ Twitter feed, links here:

    https://twitter.com/RichardDawkins/status/232390597963550720

    Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins

    Yes, America STILL manages to reach Mars, despite half the country preparing to elect a man who believes he’ll get a planet when he dies

    https://twitter.com/RichardDawkins/status/232466159226728448

    Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins

    @whataduzor But the private planet is only one of many Mormon beliefs that are barking mad. Any one of them should disqualify a President

    https://twitter.com/RichardDawkins/status/232513551678455808

    Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins

    @LewFerrin @jtLOL @FHDaily It’s not bigoted to state what Mormons believe. Just true. Do you want a President capable of believing nonsense?

    and he’s discussing it here:

    http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/646684-celebrating-curiosity-on-twitt

  54. 54
    Pteryxx

    whoops, thanks to lanceleuvin above for the source.

  55. 55
    cervantes

    Err, why is voting for a Mormon worse than voting for a Christian?

  56. 56
    qwints

    coldthinker:

    “Being a Mormon doesn’t make anyone unelectable. But actually believing the insane things a Mormon is supposed to believe should”

    Well said. People choose to belong to nutty religions for all sorts of reasons, including cultural ones. If it negatively affects his actions, that’s a very good reason to vote against him. It may be a distinction without a meaningful difference, but there is long historical precedence for its importance.

  57. 57
    Jasper of Maine

    cervantes

    Believe it or not, Mormonism does manage to be slightly more insane.

  58. 58
    peterhearn

    If only Dawkins could run for president

  59. 59
    Eric R

    Again, why is half the population trying to do something it knows to be illegal with imaginary factlets it just pulled out of its arse?

    You would be correct if the state or federal government had set a religious requirement as qualification for holding office, as some states have done in the past forbidding atheists to hold office. But that ammendment does not prohibit individual citizens from applying a religious test to candidates that they will vote for.

    The text is quite specific….“no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”….it does not state…..”voters may not take into account the religious belief of a candidate when decideing to vote”….mores the pity, but we are permitted to vote for any whack-a-loon we want for any piss-poor unmitigatedly stupid reason, including their belief that they will become god over another planet when they pass.

  60. 60
    ChasCPeterson

    why is voting for a Mormon worse than voting for a Christian?

    1. Mormons profess belief in all of the crap other Christians do, plus a whole nother book’s worth of utter ridiculous bullshit. Plus various random utterings of “prophets”, the main one a guy from upstate New York named Joe Smith.
    2. Beyond stoopid beliefs, the Mormon Church hierarchy actively supports a variety of socially regressive public-policy efforts. They are much worse in this regard worse than the majority of Christian official denominations.
    3. Mormons are required to donate 10% of their personal income to the Church, which actively supports (among other atrocities) #2.

  61. 61
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I could vote for Mitten’s father George, who was governor of Michigan when I was a kid. Progressive Republican then. Made him well to the left of Obama now. Mittens? Not even for dog-catcher, but maybe for dog-pooperscooper.

  62. 62
    Maureen Brian

    But that’s not what they are doing, is it, Eric?

    It seems to me that there are vast armies of people wandering about – and were wandering about long before Romney became a contender – arguing that his religion* disqualifies President Obama from holding that post.

    * Whether they believe his religion to be Islam or simply the wrong brand of Christianity.

    I realise that some of them are also birthers but not all. It’s a separate argument.

    As for egg-sucking, I’m quite good at it, been doing it for years. No need to teach me, thanks.

  63. 63
    gussnarp

    PZ, did you post this just to prove how much your readers are willing to go against you and Dawkins, the supposed atheist Popes?

    I’m with Glen Davidson, Dawkins had a pretty good quote going right up until that last comma.

    The problem with Romney and religion is not his beliefs, it’s the beliefs of his supporters and how far he’s willing to bend over to give them what they want to elect him.

  64. 64
    Pyra

    Er, sorry folks, I was not clear enough. He’s in my twitter feed. I know the large type quote is his. I was referencing the two quotes affixed to the image of Dawkins in the right, bottom corner.

  65. 65
    brianspence

    If we’re really “telling it like it is”, the Dawkins should be aware that most religious people do not believe the earth is 6,000 years old. I’m as atheistic as they come, but most religious people don’t follow that nonsense. Definitely not half the population of America.

  66. 66
    PZ Myers

    You haven’t been looking at the data, have you?

    Roughly half the American population believes that humans were created by a special act of god within the last 10,000 years. That number has held steady for at least the last 30 years. It’s been shown in poll after poll after poll.

    Atheists should pay attention to reality.

  67. 67
    nschuster

    I Googled “Mormon Scientists” and I found that here are a number of accomplished scientists who happen to be Mormon. SO it seems that being a Mormonism is no impediment to science. I don’t think that Dawkins has anything to worry about.

  68. 68
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I Googled “Mormon Scientists” and I found that here are a number of accomplished scientists who happen to be Mormon. SO it seems that being a Mormonism is no impediment to science. I don’t think that Dawkins has anything to worry about.

    Let’s hear it for Mormon geneticists who refute one of the main claims of the LDS.

  69. 69
    Balstrome

    If one can show a link between the things that Mittens advocates and his religion, then I think Dawkins is correct in his statement.

  70. 70
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    nschuster:

    SO it seems that being a Mormonism is no impediment to science. I don’t think that Dawkins has anything to worry about.

    One does not follow from the other. Nor does the fact that there are mormon scientists show that mormonism is no impediment to science. It just indicates that some mormons adhere more to reality than they do their nominal religious identification.

    Mormonism itself is an impediment to many things, primarily social justice. (SEE their backing of Prop 8 in California for Exhibit A.)

    In any case, Mitt Romney specifically panders to the extreme right, which is decisively anti-science.

  71. 71
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    The problem with Romney and religion is not his beliefs, it’s the beliefs of his supporters and how far he’s willing to bend over to give them what they want to elect him.

    It really does not matter what the Mittbot 3000 believes, he has made it a habit of attacking Obama for positions that he used to hold. What matters is what kinds of anti-intellectualism he will allow to run rampant under his watch.

    Wouldn’t it be fun to see Bobby Jindal advocate for the education system that he has implemented in Louisiana.

  72. 72
    Pteryxx

    Reasoning fail:

    I Googled “Mormon Scientists” and I found that here are a number of accomplished scientists who happen to be Mormon. SO it seems that being a Mormonism is no impediment to science.

    No, the existence of one or more Mormon scientists only shows that being a Mormon is not an ABSOLUTE impediment to being a scientist. To actually justify your conclusion, you’d need to show for a start that Mormons are represented among scientists in the same proportion as they are in the general population, corrected for education, economic class and similar.

    …Besides, if these scientists are all contributing 10% of their incomes to an institution that enacts anti-science policies, they’d better be at least 10% *better* scientists just to offset that.

    <_<

  73. 73
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    …despite half of America trying to shut down NASA because it’s socialistic and socialism = teh evil

    Funny, NASA was set up in order to beat the communist horde in the race to the Moon.

    (Yes, I know that you are snarking.)

  74. 74
    Paul

    I Googled “Mormon Scientists” and I found that here are a number of accomplished scientists who happen to be Mormon. SO it seems that being a Mormonism is no impediment to science. I don’t think that Dawkins has anything to worry about.

    heddle, is it you?

  75. 75
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it but I doubt Dawkins would release such a provocative statement without a reason.

    Uh-hem! Dear Muslina…

  76. 76
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    heddle, is it you?

    Heh!

  77. 77
    lanceleuven

    Pyra, ah, I see what you mean. To be honest I didn’t even notice those quotes until you pointed them out. They appear a bit like a logo to me, so I wonder if they’re simply trade marks of whoever did the photoshop work? Although I agree it’s misleading to put them next to a quote and image of Dawkins.

  78. 78
    Ing

    Belief and structure wise Mormonism is comparable to Roman Catholovism (to an atheists pov). The thing is that its much easier to be a moderate or lapsed Catholic than mormon. LDS policies the tithing and practices of its flock and uses a lot of social pressure to keep people active. It is hard to be a Easter-Christmas Mormon where most US Catholics are not all that serious about it.

  79. 79
    David Marjanović

    If only Dawkins could run for president

    I don’t think he’d be a good politician, actually.

  80. 80
    David Marjanović

    * Whether they believe his religion to be Islam or simply the wrong brand of Christianity.

    Or the wrong color of Christianity.

    If one can show a link between the things that Mittens advocates and his religion, then I think Dawkins is correct in his statement.

    I can’t find it now, but I recently read an article that shows exactly this. In particular, it shows that several of Rmoney’s flip-flops aren’t actually flip-flops at all, they’re consistent representations of the official Mormoney stances on the issues in question – and those stances tend to be very unfamiliar to outsiders. For instance, the LDS Church is pro-life, but not as you know it; it doesn’t claim that “life” begins at fertilization.

  81. 81
    Q.E.D

    Caveat: The following comes from an ex Mormon website and may be poppycock, I just don’t know enough about Mormonism. Can any of the Mormonism experts shed light on this?

    According to Recovery from Mormonism, Mitt’s beliefs, as a good mormon cleric include duties of secrecy, obedience and doing the church’s bidding, which apparently includes establishing a Mormon theocracy like in Utah.

    The pressing question for Mitt Romney, and for the Mormons who are supporting his candidacy, is: Would Romney consider the Presidency to be something that God had “blessed” him with, and which, pursuant to his secret oath, he should “consecrate” to his church for establishing a theocracy? If he is elected, will he kneel down and thank his God for blessing him with the presidency? And what is he supposed to do, according to his secret oath, with “everything” God has blessed him with? That’s right: he is to use it for the benefit of the Mormon church.

    Americans worried that JFK would take his orders from the Pope. In response he explicitly stated that he would not. I have never heard Romney qualify what his beliefs are and what obedience he owes to the Mormons (NB: for all you Constitutional scholars, I am NOT advocating an unconstitutional test for office, I am advocating information sufficient for a voter to understand how the beliefs of a Presidential candidate would affect his Presidency and relation with his church, if at all)

    Source: Recovery From Mormonism

  82. 82
    RFW

    Here’s the real difficulty with Romney-as-president: he hasn’t done a JFK and said unequivocally that as President he will not take orders from his prophet, seer, and revelator pope; that he will be President of all Americans, not just the ones that vote for him; that the US is a secular republic and government has no business pushing forward any religious doctrine or point of view; that religion has no business trying to push its sectarian views on the populace via government.

    JFK’s famous speech to a bunch of bibble-belters on this subject is (or was) on YouTube and is worth chasing down and viewing.

    The difficulty is seriously compounded because Romney is such a flip-flopping weasel who will say whatever strikes him at the moment as productive of votes. It’s X today and Y tomorrow and Z the day after, leaving intelligent people with the distinct impression that there’s no telling what, if anything, he would do once ensconced in the Oval Office.

    Add to that the fact that he’s totally out of touch with the reality of life for most Americans, the economic pressures, the breakdown in society, the insanity of so many of those crappy little evangelical-fundamentalist churches, that he floats above the mess on a cloud reserved for the 0.01% – and you have a man who is so blind to America’s problems that it’s clear he wouldn’t be able to even begin to resolve them.

    Useless, entitled, over-moneyed jerk!

    Obama isn’t perfect, but he came by whatever wealth he has honestly (primarily royalties from his book) and he’s known what it’s like to be one of the proletariat, to say nothing of the racial nonsense he’s undoubtedly had to put up with throughout his life. I don’t much care for Michelle, but at least she doesn’t write off her hobbies as business expenses.

  83. 83
    Lynna, OM

    The mormon church actually teaches people to lie. They don’t call it lying. They call it “milk before meat,” which is a con-man’s way of saying, “hook them with the acceptable stuff before you tell them about polygamy in the Celestial Kingdom; the importance of absolute obedience; and how, once they are “church broke” mormonism will take all their time, as much of their money as the church can get its hands on, and that the church will carve deep red rivers of thought control in their minds.” http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,345022,345169

    Oh, and be sure that you don’t mention the awful undergarmies to any potential converts.

    One of the worst outcomes of mormonism is that it teaches people to lie to themselves. I think this is the source of Romney’s extraordinary skill when it comes to lying while seeming to be blithely unaware that he is lying. Romney outdoes all previous politicians in his ability and willingness to lie — precisely because he does not know when he is lying. Mormon + politician = dangerous. Link to video about exceptional lying by Romney.

    In order to survive as mormon aristocracy, a mormon missionary, a mormon Bishop, and as a mormon Stake President, Romney’s brain realized that it had to excise/kill its ability to discern truth from lies. This process probably took most of Romney’s lifetime, but was eventually complete.

    Boyd K. Packer Testifies That Getting a Mormon Testimony Requires Repeated Lying to Oneself, Repeated Lying to Others and Repeated Brainwashing for Missionaries to Buy Into the Lie.

    “There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not” “Some things that are true are not very useful.”
    Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect”

  84. 84
    Lynna, OM

    Cross-posted from The Lounge.

    A quote from Adam Gopnik, the journalist who wrote a long article about mormonism for The New Yorker.

    When, in 1978, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned the rule prohibiting blacks from serving as priests, one church leader, Bruce McConkie, explained, “It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978.” You could find, or think you’ve found, a similar logic behind Romney’s blithe amnesia when it comes to the things he used to think and say.

    Link to page 5, where the quote above appears.

    Gopnik goes on to credit class, not creed, for most of Romney’s oddities, but I think he was right to note Romney’s greater-than-your-average-politician’s skill for revisionist history.

  85. 85
    pahoot22

    To all of you saying that you shouldnt vote just based on a persons religion:
    Have you ever wondered why mitt romney refuses to talk about his religion? Well heres one reason: 1 Nephi 12:23 in the book of mormon when talking abot the native americans “… They became a dark, an loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.”

  86. 86
    raven

    Let’s hear it for Mormon geneticists who refute one of the main claims of the LDS.

    There was one in Australia.

    He is no longer a Mormon.

  87. 87
    Q.E.D

    Lynna, OM: you were just the expert in mind in my comment at #81.

    Do you have the time or inclination to explain what if any duty of secrecy and obedience Mitt might owe to the Mormon church if he became President?

  88. 88
    feralboy12

    Keep in mind, not only does Romney seem to believe a bunch of batshit crazy ideas, he is on record stating that “secularism is a religion.”
    Yes, the Constitution says there can be no religious test for any office, but that merely means Romney can’t be disqualified from running. It doesn’t mean I can’t use that information to decide, and when the candidate clearly doesn’t understand the first amendment, my choice is clear.

  89. 89
    Lynna, OM

    @81

    Caveat: The following comes from an ex Mormon website and may be poppycock, I just don’t know enough about Mormonism. Can any of the Mormonism experts shed light on this?

    Oaths taken in mormon temples were modified in April of 1990, but at the time of Romney’s various “endowment ceremonies” and/or “temple sealings” he would have sworn the following, and more:

    [Aaronic Priesthood -- age 12] We will now give unto you the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Before doing this, however, we desire to impress upon your minds the sacred character of the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name sign, and penalty, as well as that of all the other tokens of the Holy Priesthood, with their names, signs, and penalties, which you will receive in the temple this day. They are most sacred, and are guarded by solemn covenants and obligations of secrecy to the effect that under no condition, even at the peril of your life, will you ever divulge them, except at a certain place that will be shown you hereafter. The representation of the execution of the penalties indicates different ways in which life may be taken….

    …This is the sign. The execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the left ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side….

    [from temple sealing for married couples] A couple will now come to the altar. (Witness couple comes to altar as before.) Brethren and sisters, this couple at the altar represent all of you as if at the altar, and you will be under the same obligations as they will be. We are required to give unto you the Law of the Gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon and the Bible; to give unto you also a charge to avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice, and to cause you to receive these by covenant….

    [from The Law of Consecration for married couples] A couple will now come to the alter. (The Witness couple comes forward, and kneels at the altar as before.) We are instructed to give unto you the Law of Consecration as contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants (The Officiator picks up a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants from the altar, and holds it up in view of all patrons.), in connection with the Law of the Gospel and the Law of Sacrifice which you have already received. It is that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents and everything which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.

    Lot’s more detail, including additional orders to avoid loud laughter, here: http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_ceremony.htm

  90. 90
    AlexanderZ

    Lynna, OM is spot on. Mainstream religions may require a certain general belief, but they have a large variety of ideologies to choose from. You believe your holy book only in a metaphorical sense or be as dogmatic as you want and still share the same religion.
    Mormonism, on the other hand, is still basically a cult with very strict boundaries on what you may do and think at any time or place. Their very structure of continuous prophecy require constant suspense of sanity, to a level seen only in the most outlandish varieties of Christianity, Judaism or Islam. They are economically tied in to their sect in a way that the Catholic church could only dream of (and still get their tax exempt status).
    It’s the beta for Scientology. That’s why Romney is unlike any (or most – I don’t know the history of presidential candidates well enough) other candidates, and why his polling numbers are such a dark omen.

  91. 91
    Lynna, OM

    Ann Romney, a mormon convert, reveals what she thinks about her husband. Her explanations are remarkable similar to those I hear from mormons in my community. Destiny, fate, the path God has chosen, saving America etc. One of Romney’s donors from Utah even created a fake non-profit organization named “F8″ to cover his donations.

    “I truly want Mitt to fulfill his destiny, and for that to happen, he’s got to do politics,” Ann told the Los Angeles Times on the eve of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. In his book “Turnaround,” Mitt says he initially resisted the offer to take over the games until Ann changed his mind. “There’s no one else who can do it,” he remembers her saying. Last year, when Mitt entered the presidential race, Ann told Parade, “I felt the country needed him … This is now Mitt’s time.” In a March radio interview, Ann declared, “He’s the only one who can save America.”

    http://www.salon.com/topic/mitt_romney/

  92. 92
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    That so many people here are chiding Dawkins underscores why it’s so necessary for him to say things like this. The cultural deference to religion in the US is so ingrained—even among atheists, as we can see here—it’s pathological. Somebody has got to say things like this, even if they seem overwrought or exaggerated, just to wake USAians the fuck up. Seriously. Wake the fuck up. There are lots of reasons to have qualms about voting for a candidate. Religion is not the only one, but it is one of those reasons. Pretending that it’s high-minded or principled to go on about how you would never stoop to such a bigoted means of assessing a candidate is stupid and dishonest. You damned well should include a candidate’s religion and his apparent adherence to its tenets in your decision.

    If you claim you don’t I don’t believe you and you shouldn’t believe you. Voters have a right and a responsibility to assess ANY philosophical stances a candidate proclaims. Just because it’s stupid for rednecks to vote against Obama because he’s “not Christian” doesn’t make it equally stupid for you to prefer voting for a secular candidate because he’s not a bugfuck nuts Mormon. Seriously—what is it with normally sensible people making this idiotic equivalence?

  93. 93
    Lynna, OM

    More on Ann and Mitt: They got married while quite young, despite both sets of parents advising them to wait.

    Ann and Mitt got married four years to the day after their first date on March 21, when she was 15 and he was 18. Exactly a year later, also March 21, their first son was born….

    On that first date, they saw “The Sound of Music,” an appropriate and instructive cultural 180 from Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” which the Obamas saw on their first date….

    “She put aside what could have been a very interesting career, because she decided, we decided together, that we wanted children and a number of them,” Mitt told Piers Morgan this year. … [Ann withdrew from BYU and moved to Boston for Mitt’s own Harvard Law and Business turn, during which she finished her degree in French at the extension school.]

  94. 94
    Lynna, OM

    Remember the Nuns on a Bus? They are the Catholic Nuns who stood up to bullying from the Vatican for being too “feminist” and for not harping on the Vatican’s anti-contraception and anti-abortion platforms. Oh, yeah, and the nuns were not being anti-gay enough either. The nuns also busted Representative Paul Ryan’s chops for his anti-human budget plan.

    Well now the National Catholic Social Justice Lobby has a good idea for Romney. They want him to take a ride with the Nuns on a Bus.

    NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, is inviting Governor Mitt Romney to spend a day with Catholic Sisters who work every day to meet the needs of struggling families in their communities. Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK’s Executive Director and leader of the “Nuns on the Bus” tour, said that she especially encourages Mr. Romney to work alongside the Sisters as they serve the people. These are the people who will be further harmed by his proposed budget cuts and by the terribly divisive and demeaning political advertisements about welfare.

    The Sisters’ invitation comes after recent false attacks from Mr. Romney that demonstrate his lack of understanding of the struggles families and children face as they work to get out of poverty.

    In a statement, Sister Simone Campbell said, “Recent advertisements and statements from the campaign of Governor Romney demonize families in poverty and reflect woeful ignorance about the challenges faced by tens of millions of American families in these tough economic times. We are all God’s children and equal in God’s eyes. Efforts to divide us by class or score political points at the expense of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters reveal the worst side of our country’s politics.”

  95. 95
    qwints

    It’s fine to vote against a candidate for his actions, policies and beliefs on relevant issues, but identity-based voting has a long and ugly history. I’ve got no reason to believe Lynna is misrepresenting anything in those posts, but I can’t help but be reminded of countless anti-semitic and anti-catholic conspiracy theorists.

    Catholics aren’t to blame for sexual abuse or its cover-up except to the extent that they participated in it. It is a good thing that many people don’t take their religion very seriously except as a cultural identifier. Criticize people based on their individual proposals and actions, not on what you believe a group they belong to teach.

  96. 96
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    You’re either on the bus or off the bus.

    *runs away and hide*

  97. 97
    Lynna, OM

    [Excerpt from a Daily Beast article:

    To put it bluntly, in the public arena, this self-styled business whiz is, well, kind of dumb, probably coldly brilliant as a numbers cruncher but persistently deficient in political IQ. Either he doesn’t listen to his advisers or they’re obtuse themselves, or fearful of speaking bluntly to a candidate who’s full of himself. Being a nearly all-powerful, seldom contradicted CEO is a lousy preparation for a presidential bid, and the attitudes that role can embed and harden would be dangerous in the Oval Office. As John Kennedy said, you need two or three “sons of bitches” around who can tell you when you’re wrong.

    The candidate who is full of himself was made a Priesthood Holder at the age of 12 by the mormon church. After that, technically speaking, even his own mother was supposed to be obedient to him.

  98. 98
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Lynna, you know that a twelve year old boy is closer to god’s image then any grown women could ever be.

  99. 99
    davec

    Quinn (#95) catholics who continue to support a hierarchy that covers up crimes can be blamed for that continued support. I cannot harmonize the “infallibility” of the Pope with either his youthful nazism or hsi grown up participation in what is at least a conspiracy after the fact (if not beforehand) in child rape. Anyone who does, I believe, can be blamed for that. Not just those who participated.

  100. 100
    qwints

    davec (#99), I’m having trouble parsing your comment. Are you saying that: “Anyone who [harmonizes the infallibility of the Pope with his participation in the child abuse scandal/membership in the Hitler youth] can be blamed for [child rape]“? Or just that those who “support” a hierarchy responsible for evil are culpable for that support? If the latter, I would certainly agree with your sentiment. Catholics who defend or excuse rapists and pedophiles should be shamed for their statements. But mere membership in a religion does not automatically entail support for the hierarchy.

    To analogize, should all Americans who maintained their citizenship during the Iraq war be blamed for supporting the war? Or just those who actively endorsed the war? It seems trivially obvious to me that only the latter are to be blame. Similarly, Mitt Romney can and should be held accountable for the things he has said and done (regardless of whether he had a religious motivation) but should not be vilified merely because of his membership in a religion.

  101. 101
    md

    I wonder how many people directly involved in getting the rover to Mars are believers? My gut tells me its less than average vs the country, but larger than Dawkins would have us believe by that statement.

    Which indicates to me that mouthing dogma and tradition just isn’t that big an obstacle to getting on in the science world, and even less a big deal outside of a science career, unless you are a true dyed in the wool fundamentalist. Romney doesnt seem to be one, thank goodness. Nor do most Americans.

  102. 102
    dantelevel9

    If there is no religious test for holding office in the USA, then why does every candidate for President kneel before the cross and go out of his way to say he’s a man of faith? A religious test may not be codified into law, but it’s a de facto reality.

  103. 103
    Lynna, OM

    I’ve got no reason to believe Lynna is misrepresenting anything in those posts, but I can’t help but be reminded of countless anti-semitic and anti-catholic conspiracy theorists.

    Love it when people say they’ve got no reason to believe you are misrepresenting anything right before they link you to all kinds of nutbaggery. It’s a means of introducing the idea that you may be misrepresenting things, and therefore it is reasonable to connect you with conspiracy theorists.

    Yes, I am anti the Catholic church. Yes, I am anti the mormon church. I see more damage than good done by both institutions. Perhaps more importantly, I think those institutions damage their own members. They damage some of my friends. I am not anti the members. I am pro human.

    I don’t know much about fundamentalist Jewish sects, so I’ll not comment on that.

    Part of my point up-thread was to answer questions others had posed. I also wanted to point out that the mormon church likely damaged Mitt Romney, and I provided a few of the many avenues for the delivery of that damage.

    Many religious institutions seem to be anti-human, as in the mormon practice of questioning young teens in Bishop-to-teen interviews about chastity and masturbation. That’s an anti-human practice that can cause long-term damage. This doesn’t make me anti mormon teens or anti the guys who are called to serve as Bishops. It makes me anti the institution that promulgates such practices, and pressures its members into following them. Mormon General Authorities at the top of the hierarchy do need to take some responsibility.

    I understand the sensitivity surrounding questioning the beliefs of large groups of people. There is always the danger of lumping people unfairly into categories that obscure diversity. The difference between individual beliefs and institutional politics can be a fuzzy line.

    No, I’m not afraid mormons are going to take over the world, nor the USA. The subset of mormons who think it is their destiny to save America are the ones I’m worried about. Not because I think they will succeed, but because I am concerned about them as individuals who have been lied to and duped. Same concern I would have for any of my fellow mortals caught up in any scam.

    Politics complicates the issue because political office comes with the mantle of power. Deciding for oneself just how bugnuts or not bugnuts the candidates are is part of our job as voters.

  104. 104
    eigenperson

    #43 KG:

    Is Obama’s Christianity correctly described as “evangelical”? That’s a genuine question, I’ve never seen it described that way before.

    I think it’s fair to describe it as “evangelical”, though not as “fundamentalist”. Wikipedia has a list of four items that characterize evangelicalism:

    * The need for personal conversion (or being “born again”);
    * A high regard for biblical authority;
    * An emphasis on teachings that proclaim the saving death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ;
    * Actively expressing and sharing the gospel.

    Obama personally tones all these things down. But I think they are all characteristics of his former church, and I think it’s fair to call someone who belonged to an evangelical church for 20 years an evangelical Christian even if he deviates from the doctrines of his church somewhat.

    For example, here is his description of Trinity UCC:

    You needed to come to church precisely because you were of this world, not apart from it; rich, poor, sinner, saved, you needed to embrace Christ precisely because you had sins to wash away — because you were human and needed an ally in your difficult journey, to make the peaks and valleys smooth and render all those crooked paths straight. (from here)

    That sounds like conversionism to me.

  105. 105
    skmarshall

    “Elections are won not by converting the opposition but by getting out your own vote, and Scudder’s organization did just that. According to histories I studied at Boondock, the election of 2012 turned out 63 percent of the registered voters (which in turn was less than half of those eligible to register); the True American party (Nehemiah Scudder) polled 27 percent of the popular vote… which won 81 percent of the Electoral College votes.”
    “In 2016 there was no election.”
    –Robert A. Heinlein, To Sail Beyond the Sunset, 1987

    Heinlein has been right enough times already. let’s not make him right this time?

  106. 106
    qwints

    Lynna, I was sincere when I said I had no reason to doubt your claims. I agree that both the LDS Church and the Catholic Church have done a great deal of harm, both internally and externally, but I am not familiar with LDS beliefs beyond a couple brief conversations I’ve had with Mormon missionaries. Your comments, however, gave me pause.

    Language about the nefarious meaning of religious doctrines (“The mormon church actually teaches people to lie”), over the top metaphors (“the church will carve deep red rivers of thought control in their minds.”) and citations to ‘secret’ doctrine (the reference to the Aaronic priesthood sites) are commonly seen in anti-semitic rants. Why not indict the LDS church with its own words or actions? And, given that groups like NETWORK can be a force for good despite their allegiance to a problematic institution, why attack an individual Mormon for the acts of the LDS Church?

  107. 107
    Pteryxx

    Language about the nefarious meaning of religious doctrines (“The mormon church actually teaches people to lie”), over the top metaphors (“the church will carve deep red rivers of thought control in their minds.”) and citations to ‘secret’ doctrine (the reference to the Aaronic priesthood sites)

    …is backed up with citations, evidence, journalism, and testimonials.

  108. 108
    michael kellymiecielica

    When a person votes they are acting as an agent of the state; as such they need to not subject a candidate to a religious test, as this amounts to de facto discrimination against certain religious viewpoints and/or an endorsement of certain preferred religious viewpoints as matter of state action. This is obviously wrong, illiberal and not secularism. To not vote for a Mormon, only because they are a Mormon is no different and as wrong to not vote for an atheist only for being an atheist. Now Romney’s religion doesn’t exist in a vacuum and his Mormonism underpins some of his public policy positions; to wit, Romney’s opposition to same-sex marriage. The degree in which this is true for any of Romney’s public policy positions is the only way that his Mormonism is relevant to voting decisions. As such, it is legitimate to criticize and take account of Romney’s positions that are derived from his religious faith. It, also, may be legitimate to discuss Romney’s views on race via his Mormonism because of the church’s racist history. Beyond that, I, frankly, don’t see why Romney’s belief in Kolob (if he has one, not all Mormons do) has anything to do with why he would be a bad, or good, president. There are numerous reasons why not voting for Romney is justified, such as his record on civil liberties. (But then again Obama has been a nightmare on those issues as well). I found Dawkins’ statement to be disappointing and problematic.

    Mormonism certainly doesn’t make less sense than orthodox Christianity.

  109. 109
    georgebean

    Since Mormonism is no more preposterous than any other religious creed, I’m no less inclined to vote for a Mormon than I am a Catholic or Presbyterian. And I’d vote for a Mormon before I’d vote for a fundamentalist or Focus on the Family style Bible thumping political activist.

    Romney’s scarier as a presidential contender than he was as a governor because he’s pandering to the Republican Far Right Christian nutters-like most all the Republican hopefuls this round. Republican strategists are now very cynically fusing corporate and mega-wealthy business interests with End Times religious fanaticism because these followers of the FotF, Lou Engle, Dan Barton et al are Useful Idiots…they can bring in locked in voters.

    Give me a Mormon like Mo Udall or Harry Reid over religious nutter theocrats like Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachman or Rick Perry any day.

  110. 110
    Mak, acolyte to Farore

    georgebean:

    And I’d vote for a Mormon before I’d vote for a fundamentalist or Focus on the Family style Bible thumping political activist.

    You know the Mormon church supported and heavily funded Prop 8 campaigns in California and similar amendment campaigns in other states, right?

  111. 111
    nschuster

    Pterayx and Nigel the Bold.

    Reasoning fail:

    “I Googled “Mormon Scientists” and I found that here are a number of accomplished scientists who happen to be Mormon. SO it seems that being a Mormonism is no impediment to science.”

    No, the existence of one or more Mormon scientists only shows that being a Mormon is not an ABSOLUTE impediment to being a scientist. To actually justify your conclusion, you’d need to show for a start that Mormons are represented among scientists in the same proportion as they are in the general population, corrected for education, economic class and similar.

    …Besides, if these scientists are all contributing 10% of their incomes to an institution that enacts anti-science policies, they’d better be at least 10% *better* scientists just to offset that.

    <_<

    How exactly did Dawkins justify his conclusion? Did he show that Mormons are under-represented in the sciences? And can you justify the conclusion that the Mormon church is anti-science? I'm just asking.

  112. 112
    joed

    The Mormon church leaders have quietly sanitised the recognised beliefs of the church. The modern Mormon hasn’t an inkling of the uderlying insanity that created their batshit crazy church. Methinks Mitt is in on the secret.
    Interesting true crime/Mormon History
    Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer

  113. 113
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    You know the Mormon church supported and heavily funded Prop 8 campaigns in California and similar amendment campaigns in other states, right?

    But not all Mormons support those efforts. Tom Udall, for example, gets a 75% rating from the Human Rights Campaign.

  114. 114
    joed

    @110, Mak
    “You know the Mormon church supported and heavily funded Prop 8 campaigns in California and similar amendment campaigns in other states, right?”

    Right you are Mak!
    Also the Morms are one of the 2 main churches supporting BSA(Boy Scouts of America)
    And “homophobia” doesn’t even begin to describe the Morms fear of the queer.

  115. 115
    yoav

    It’s not like there aren’t enough reasons to avoid voting for mittens. I don’t think that him being a mormon should be a deciding factor, him being a moron on the other hand…

  116. 116
    Lynna, OM

    Why not indict the LDS church with its own words or actions?

    I’ve done just that over and over again. You must not have read much of Pharyngula on Science Blogs, nor here on FreeThought Blogs. Do I have to repeat every source in every thread? Do your own research. Prop 8 might be a good place to start on Science Blogs, or look for PZ’s posts on Boyd K. Packer. Or you might look for references to “dark and loathsome.”

    I provided direct quotes from LDS Apostles about the importance of telling only “faith promoting” tales.

    Part of the problem with linking to lds.org sites is that as soon as they see a lot of traffic to, for example, an historical document confirming polyandry they remove it. Ditto for the ease with which one used to be able to find evidence of mormons proxy-baptizing dead Jews — records no longer available.

    http://www.lds.org/manual/aaronic-priesthood-manual-3/lesson-31-choosing-an-eternal-companion?lang=eng Excerpt: “We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” (“Marriage and Divorce,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 144).

    http://www.zionsbest.com/only.html Excerpt: There is a falsehood that some are born with an attraction to their own kind, with nothing they can do about it. They are just “that way” and can only yield to those desires. That is a malicious and destructive lie. While it is a convincing idea to some, it is of the devil. No one is locked into that kind of life. From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits. Boys are to become men –masculine, manly men –ultimately to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined y to become husbands and fathers. No one is predestined to a perverted use of these powers.

    http://www.lds.org/ensign/1988/07/i-have-a-question?lang=eng The official explanation of why the text of the Book of Abraham does not match the text of the papyri from which Joseph Smith purportedly translated.

  117. 117
    'Tis Himself

    I will be voting against Romney because I think he would be a disaster for both the US and world economies.

  118. 118
    joed

    @116 Lynna
    Thanks so much for the links. I have been looking for this sort of info.

  119. 119
    Lynna, OM

    Stewart Udall was instrumental in arranging for some Native American tribes to be ripped off when it came to natural resources on tribal lands. He joined forces with other mormons to push the deals through.

    …At the center of the story is John S. Boyden, a Salt Lake City lawyer and devout Mormon. His involvement with Indians and their land goes back to 1946, when the Indian Claims Commission Act was passed. The new commission gave large amounts of cash to relocated Indians whose land had been peddled away to mining companies. Boyden made a bundle representing Indian claims in the southwest U.S. He was also on the payroll of Peabody Coal.
    In the 1950s, during the Cold War-era surge of mineral development and the pro-nuclear “atoms for peace” movement, the Department of the Interior chose Boyden to settle claims for the Navajo-Hopi lands in Arizona. Boyden formed a Hopi Tribal Council that consisted of several First Mesa Hopi who had been converted to Mormonism, based on an election in which about 10 percent of the Hopis on the reservation voted. The newly elected Tribal Council then hired Boyden as their lawyer.
                Meanwhile, at the Navajo reservation, a privately hired lawyer named Norman Littell was representing the Navajos before the Indian Claims Commission. Boyden had applied for this job in 1946 at the behest of the Department of the Interior, but the Navajos rejected him. Before Littell, the Navajos were the largest but poorest tribe in the U.S. Littell’s reforms, including the implementation of competitive bidding for minerals, made the Navajos the richest U.S. tribe….
                When Stewart Udall, the brother of Arizona Congressman Morris Udall, became the secretary of the interior during the Johnson administration, the department increased its efforts to oust Littell. Claiming that the tribal councils were extensions of the federal government, Udall, as federal supreme authority, tried to fire Littell….
                 The coal strip-mining on the Hopi reservation is primarily the work of Boyden client Peabody Coal…
                  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City is continuing its efforts to convert the Hopi tribe to Mormonism. The Hopi Tribal Council has remained entirely Mormon since it was formed in the 1950s. (Boyden is Mormon, and so are the principals of his PR firm, Evans and Associates.)…

    http://www.angelfire.com/music2/greggwager/landgrab.html

    Old news, but illustrative of how some mormons work together behind the scenes. There are current stories about water rights and real estate deals that I could add.

  120. 120
    Mak, acolyte to Farore

    But not all Mormons support those efforts.

    No shit. But saying “I’d vote for a Mormon before I’d vote for a fundamentalist or Focus on the Family style Bible thumping political activist,” as though Mormons can’t be either of those, misses the mark a bit.

    Any mormon that isn’t anti-gay is acting directly against the actions and wants of their church, and yet they’re still tied to and support this active, powerful, and dangerous anti-gay church. For some reason.

  121. 121
    Eric R

    But that’s not what they are doing, is it, Eric?

    It seems to me that there are vast armies of people wandering about – and were wandering about long before Romney became a contender – arguing that his religion* disqualifies President Obama from holding that post.

    * Whether they believe his religion to be Islam or simply the wrong brand of Christianity.

    It seems the same to me as well, but an army of tea baggers “claiming” that his religion disqualifies him is irrelevant, because that article means the government cannot set a religious test as a qualification.

    I know of no law that prohibits individuals from taking a candidates religion into account. I certainly look at the religious affiliation of candidates before I vote, more often than not it doesnt matter much. But when you start to see candidates for office like Sarah Palin, Santorum and thier ilk it becomes a major issue for me.

    Even if they were the most competant, intelligent and erudite candidates available I wouldnt vote for either based entirely upon their wacky religious beliefs.

  122. 122
    qwints

    But when you start to see candidates for office like Sarah Palin, Santorum and thier ilk it becomes a major issue for me.

    Even if they were the most competant, intelligent and erudite candidates available I wouldnt vote for either based entirely upon their wacky religious beliefs.

    Rick Santorum and Stephen Colbert are both catholic. It’s not membership in a religious that should affect your vote, it’s what a politicians intended policies are.

  123. 123
    Marcus Ranum

    I hold any candidate’s religion against them, since it means that they’re not reality-based. And the nuttier their religion, the more I’d hold it against them because it means (to me) that they’re farther from reality. I’d still subject any candidate’s stated beliefs to close scrutiny on the general principle that it’s hard to survive in politics without being an expert liar and dissembler to begin with.

  124. 124
    Lynna, OM

    Mitt Romney is hanging out with Lt. General Jerry Boykin, the guy who said Islam “should not be protected under the First Amendment.” Boykin was so extreme that George W. Bush slapped him down. http://www.salon.com/2012/08/08/jerry_boykin_romneys_anti_muslim_general/

    … Two other members of the group that met with Romney, social conservative activists Gary Bauer and James Dobson, signed on to a letter to House Speaker John Boehner praising Bachmann’s “good judgment, undeniable courage, and great patriotism” for “bravely demanding answers” about potential Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S. government. Boykin, Right Wing Watch notes, signed on to a separate letter expressing “strong support for congressional efforts to illuminate and address the danger posed by influence operations mounted by the Muslim Brotherhood against government agencies.”

    Boykin’s rhetoric goes beyond the careful position most activists tend to stake out — condemn Islamists, but praise “peaceful, pro-America” Muslims. Boykin, on the other hand, goes right after the religion itself, saying Islam “should not be protected under the First Amendment.” He’s declared that there should be “no mosques in America” because “a mosque is an embassy for Islam and they recognize only a global caliphate.”

    Now there are some real conspiracy theories for you. It’s so difficult to tell what Romney really thinks, (and we have multiple examples of his self-contradiction), that the people with whom he chooses to align himself may tell us more about how he would govern.

  125. 125
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    McC2lhu:

    Reading even half the stuff that Lynna posts, contents of a religion ARE a big deal when voting for a candidate. There’s varying levels abhorrent dreck and willingness to want to turn it into federal or state law.

    ^ This. Also what Chas says at #60, and Lynna in all her comments. I have to wonder what planet people are living on that they think that all believers running for office in the U.S. are equidistant from reality.

    It’d be nice if both parties were running slates full of atheists and agnostics (who weren’t GOP or lolbertarian assholes), but it’d also be nice if someone anonymously dropped a million bucks into my bank account. I have no problem voting for a progressive xtian who respects separation of church and state, especially if they’ve got a good record to run on.

    Shplane, you’d vote for someone like Penn Jillette over a liberal xtian? How delightful. For you, at least; not so much for people who’d suffer from Jillette’s anti-government agenda.

    Nschuster, one can have scientific training yet still repudiate scientific facts. There are cranks out there with degrees in sciences from accredited and respected universities. This is especially true when the person has expertise in topic A but makes stupid assertions about topic B.

    Quinn Martindale, antisemitic and anti-Catholic propaganda was heavily racist in its subtext. Mormons are, at least in the U.S., pretty damned whitebread. Also, as Pteryxx says, anti-Mormon rhetoric is backed up by reality, in spades.

    And, yes, actually, I do criticize Catholics who remain with the church and especially if they still tithe to it, because they are supporting a disgusting organization. That would include Stephen Colbert, despite him being an overall asset to the country. The “cultural identification” canard is part and parcel of the deference to religion that Josh is talking about upthread.

    Michael Kellymiecielica:

    To not vote for a Mormon, only because they are a Mormon is no different and as wrong to not vote for an atheist only for being an atheist.

    Theists are privileged in society; atheists are not. Mormons promote a massively regressive political agenda; atheists, as a whole, do not. Try again.

    What a Maroon, how many Tom Udalls are there in Mormonism, compared with the number of progressive xtians out there?

  126. 126
    rwgate

    I’ll believe religion shouldn’t be considered when the first avowed atheist is sworn in as President of the United States.

    Mitt Romney is more than just an adherent in his church; he’s a Bishop. JFK was not a priest and he practically had to disavow his religion in order to be elected. Romney’s religious affiliations and views are important, speaking to the man, just as revealing his tax returns are important. The degree to which he believes in the doctrines of the Mormon Church (nicely linked by Lynna), and I believe he is deeply committed, the more important his association is to all of us.

    Here is one major problem. md@101 says that Romney doesn’t seem to be a dyed in the wool fundamentalist, but how can we tell? This is a man who is secretive to the extreme. Question his Mormon faith and he and all his minions will descend upon you like the locusts in Egypt. Same thing with his taxes. Or his policies. Or his offshore accounts. Or his dancing horse. Prying anything out of him is nearly impossible, and everything is taken as a personal attack.

    I won’t vote for a Mormon (even if I weren’t a progressive liberal atheist) because it is a cult, with all the secrecy and secret rituals that outsiders aren’t allowed to know. That’s not who I want as President of the US.

  127. 127
    craigmcgillivary

    Doesn’t the other guy have crazy religious beliefs too? Mitt Romney is clearly the greater of two evils, but its not really hard to imagine voting for a Mormon. If I were in Nevada in 2010 for instance, I would probably have voted for Harry Reid a Mormon over his crazy Republican opponent.

  128. 128
    Lynna, OM

    Quinn Martindale, antisemitic and anti-Catholic propaganda was heavily racist in its subtext. Mormons are, at least in the U.S., pretty damned whitebread. Also, as Pteryxx says, anti-Mormon rhetoric is backed up by reality, in spades.

    I’ll quibble with the term “anti-mormon rhetoric.” Most of reality is anti-mormon. Any current DNA study that involves Native American and Asian populations is anti-mormon. Astrophysics is anti-mormon. Most copies of mormon literature published before 1950 would now be considered anti-mormon. The polygamous history of mormons that settled in Mexico is anti-mormon in that it includes marriages sealed after the proclamation that was supposed to end mormon polygamy.

    There is a subset of anti-mormon rhetoric that is off-the-wall, stupid, and inaccurate. That’s the kind of stuff that Baptists and other evangelicals used to put out in huge quantities. They still do some of that. It’s pretty much easily recognizable and easily dismissed.

    The problem arises when mormons call everything not officially approved by LDS Inc. “anti-mormon,” and that’s how they dismiss it as wrong, prompted by Satan, persecuting mormons, etc.
    But the official stuff is revisionist history, correlated and sanitized. The LDS Church has created an untrustworthy archive of official documents. They delete and change “official” documents available on the web.

    Some historical documents, like Helen Mar Kimball’s diary, cannot be found on lds.org even though it covers an important episode in Joseph Smith’s history. http://wivesofjosephsmith.org/26-HelenMarKimball.htm Excerpt below:

    “Without any preliminaries [my Father] asked me if I would believe him if he told me that it was right for married men to take other wives…The first impulse was anger…my sensibilities were painfully touched. I felt such a sense of personal injury and displeasure; for to mention such a thing to me I thought altogether unworthy of my father, and as quick as he spoke, I replied to him, short and emphatically, ‘No I wouldn’t!’…This was the first time that I ever openly manifested anger towards him…Then he commenced talking seriously and reasoned and explained the principle, and why it was again to be established upon the earth. [This] had a similar effect to a sudden shock of a small earthquake.”

    Then father “asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph…[and] left me to reflect upon it for the next twenty-four hours…I was sceptical-one minute believed, then doubted. I thought of the love and tenderness that he felt for his only daughter, and I knew that he would not cast her off, and this was the only convincing proof that I had of its being right. I knew that he loved me too well to teach me anything that was not strictly pure, virtuous and exalting in its tendencies; and no one else could have influenced me at that time or brought me to accept of a doctrine so utterly repugnant and so contrary to all of our former ideas and traditions.”

    Unknown to Helen Mar, Heber and Joseph had already discussed the prospect of Helen Mar becoming one of Joseph’s wives. Heber now sought her agreement. Helen recalls, “Having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet Joseph, he offered me to him; this I afterwards learned from the Prophet’s own mouth. My father had but one Ewe Lamb, but willingly laid her upon the alter”

    I am suspicious of those who classify non-LDS sources as “anti-mormon.” There’s nothing anti-mormon about research that includes original sources, even if those sources contradict present-day mormon doctrine.

  129. 129
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Lynna, fair enough.

  130. 130
    maxdevlin

    Why Mormonism is worse than mainstream monotheism:

    Joseph Smith was a fraud and a con artist, demonstrably, just before founding his “religion”.

    St. Paul has been dead too long to know for sure if he was a fraud and a con artist just before he founded his religion.

  131. 131
    Jafafa Hots

    When a person votes they are acting as an agent of the state; as such they need to not subject a candidate to a religious test,

    Since people create their representative government and therefore are agents of the state, nobody can censor blog comments.

    Or, maybe both arguments are bullshit.

  132. 132
    skeptifem

    I got in a huge fight with my mom about romney. She didn’t know his fucking platform but she wanted to vote for him because of all this bullshit she heard about the current president. It isn’t like she thinks mormonism is awesome or anything either, I would wager most people who are voting for him think mormonism is totally stupid or a cult. They just hate president obama.

    I think RD and all of us know the answer as to why people would vote for this guy: good old american racism.

  133. 133
    skeptifem

    Why Mormonism is worse than mainstream monotheism:

    Joseph Smith was a fraud and a con artist, demonstrably, just before founding his “religion”.

    St. Paul has been dead too long to know for sure if he was a fraud and a con artist just before he founded his religion.

    also toss in countless claims made by mormons about scientific or historical facts that can’t be brushed of as being metaphors. The book of mormon is intended to be a history of people in the americas and makes claims that have been totally debunked. There are fantastic claims about the solar system, about native americans, and about race in general.

    There are modern day claims from LDS leaders that are fucking ridiculous too, like that god would never make anyone who wasn’t totally male or female. That gem was from the last general conference, if I recall correctly.

  134. 134
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Mak, Ms. Daisey Cutter,

    I think we’re pretty much on the same page. I’m certainly not going to defend the Mormon church, and any Mormon who wants my vote is going to have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. I just don’t agree with this sort of categorical statement:

    I won’t vote for a Mormon (even if I weren’t a progressive liberal atheist) because it is a cult, with all the secrecy and secret rituals that outsiders aren’t allowed to know.

    Put another way, if it came down to Tome Udall vs. pretty much any Republican, I’d vote for Udall.

  135. 135
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    Arrgh, sorry for the misspelling, Ms. Daisy Cutter.

  136. 136
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Most of reality is anti-mormon. Any current DNA study that involves Native American and Asian populations is anti-mormon.

    Lynna,

    I have a friend who went on an ancestry site and is now convinced that his ancestors were in the US very early on. This…information seems to have come from a Mormon woman. Are Mormons active on these sites (forgive me if I’ve missed previous discussions)?

  137. 137
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Pretty much every candidate I have ever seen on a ballot is a theist.

    Meh.

    There are reasons not associated with theological belief sufficient to imply that Romney would be dangerous if elected..

  138. 138
    Lynna, OM

    I have a friend who went on an ancestry site and is now convinced that his ancestors were in the US very early on. This…information seems to have come from a Mormon woman. Are Mormons active on these sites…

    It’s an understatement to say mormons are active on these sites. They run most of them.

    Mormons usually get nothing but praise for maintaining and making available to the public mass quantities of genealogy data. Yes, they do a lot, but I wouldn’t trust the quality of the work. Any group of people on the lookout for “proof” of Jews who sailed to the shores of the future USA in something resembling a giant sardine can are not to be trusted.

    Then there’s the problem of having mormons not trained as genealogists searching for ancestors so that they can necrodunk them (proxy baptism in the temple). Link for quote below.

    I am a genealogist. For years I saw people do sloppy “research”, and copy names from books just so they could do as many names as possible, and brag about it. Researchers are disgusted at people who do this.

    Be careful about accepting info from others – in my experience, many amatuer family history researchers are sloppy and post a lot of bad informatino.Link.

    ancestry.com is not an official LDS Church site, but is based in Utah, run by mostly mormons and has ties to the church. It is run in a slightly shady way. Most of the money is made via automatic subscriptions and renewals. If you sign up for a free trial and don’t cancel, you will be automatically charged for a yearly subscription. If you do cancel, a representative will call you to talk you out of canceling.

    I’ve also heard from people who worked in the mormon Family History Center that some of the workers would trust the Holy Ghost to guide them when they were entering data from old paper sources. In other words, faded or difficult-to-read handwriting just required an appeal to Holy Spirit to decide the matter. This is second hand info, and I have no way to confirm it.

  139. 139
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    I get the distinct impression that some people are showing up and pulling the PC expected response from their nether-regions and haven’t the slightest clue why Dawkins’ comment was very relevant and spot on.

    Typically one can argue that basing your vote on the group the candidate belongs to isn’t being fair. This is not a typical situation. First, read Josh’s comment on false equivalence. Then read Lynna’s comments. She isn’t manufacturing anything or presenting weak hearsay evidence. It’s from the LDS manuals and members of the church that are forwarding the info to her that they receive from the church’s chief magic undie wearers. This is a lesson in comparative religion. One can expect moderates in certain other religions. The odds dwindle rapidly for Mormons because they are literally in a daily indoctrination program that is full of hypocrisy, willful lies, anti-reality, anti-science, anti-black, anti-gay, anti-aboriginal, anti-women, anti-critical thinking bullshit. For sure there’s other philosophies that have nutbag beliefs, but saying they are all the same is absolutely untrue. Other religions don’t send kids in magic underwear to your door and around the world to expound the prophecies of someone who was a known scam artist, for instance.

  140. 140
    michael kellymiecielica

    @Ms. Daisy Cutter.

    You said:

    “Theists are privileged in society; atheists are not. Mormons promote a massively regressive political agenda; atheists, as a whole, do not. Try again.”

    I’m afraid you over looked a key word in my statement because I fail to see how this statement is germane to the points I made. The word ‘only’ is the operative word in my statement, and position. I used that qualifier because religious identity, in and of itself, is irrelevant to the voting question. Religious identity only matters insofar as it motivates the public policy positions of a person. I took pains to note that Mormonism can motivate reprehensible positions, and is relevant in that way. Nonetheless, if you refuse to vote for someone only because they are Mormon, I think this is wrong. I think it’s wrong regardless of the religious/non-religious identity under discussion, because like I said as a citizen voting you are acting as an agent of the state. And the state should be neutral on religious questions.

    To make my point clearer, let’s us stipulate that there is a Mormon politician that has perfectly agreement with you on all matters political. (I don’t know what you politics are because I rarely comment on this site, please fill in the necessary details yourself) Would you vote for them? I certainly would vote for a Mormon (or a Hindu, or Muslim, or a atheist, or a pantheist) if there was either perfect agreement or a reasonable high level agreement between them and myself. I think this is obviously the correct attitude to take.

    Now you very well find my scenario above unlikely in practical reality because of the dynamics of the Mormon church. That’s fine, because you are therefore not voting for a Mormon because they are Mormon but because they support a “regressive political agenda.” If all Mormon politicians take political positions you find to be wrong, so be it. I tend to find politicians that wear their religious beliefs on their sleeve to take a slew of positions I have problems with. It’s the “regressive political agenda” that is the problem, not that a person identifies as Mormon.

    I found Dawkins statement to be problematic precisely because I think it stereotypes and pigeonholes all Mormons as acting one way. How would you react if Dawkins statement was said by Byran Fisher as:

    Yet America manages to be among the most charitable nations on earth, despite the half the population is planning on voting for an atheist?

  141. 141
    tkreacher

    michael kellymiecielica,

    Yet America manages to be among the most charitable nations on earth, despite the half the population is planning on voting for an atheist?

    I would just add it to my mental store of “Reasons Why Bryan Fisher is an idiot.”

    Because, there is no demonstrable link between atheism and lack of charitable impulse. In fact, the two most prolific philanthropists on the planet are Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who I think are both atheists.

    “Atheist” carries no ideological belief system outside of not believing in an invisible wizard.

    This is not so for being a Mormon.

    Your analogy fails on multiple levels, to me.

    Further, let’s refine your thought experiment a bit.

    Let’s say there are two candidates who hold precisely the same policy ideas. Their public stance on every single issue is identical to mine.

    The only difference between the two is one is an atheist and one is a Mormon.

    I’m voting for the atheists for the sole reason the other guy claims to believe in wacky, racists, anti-scientific nonsense, and so I question his critical thinking skills – and will even suspect his motives.

    So yes, if we’re going to discuss it philosophically, I can certainly conceive of not voting for a candidate for no other reason than their religion, and find it entirely reasonable.

  142. 142
    tkreacher

    @myself,

    the other guy

    I’m not afeared of subtle, creeping Sharia law… subtle, creeping sexism however -

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