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Aug 27 2012

Mitt Romney’s Mormonism

Is it appropriate to demand scrutiny of Mitt Romney’s mormonism? White protestantism has always been the religious norm for US Presidents, so in addressing this question it is worth considering the scrutiny that other Presidents who were not white protestants were subject to vis a vis their religion.

(1) Kennedy’s catholicism was severely scrutinized, and as I understand it he was forced to essentially swear that he was not taking orders from the pope or whatever.

(2) Obama’s black protestantism was severely scrutinized, and he was forced to “disavow” a pastor who led a church he attended based on willful mischaracterization of some of that pastor’s rhetoric.

So it seems to me that it would be only fair and consistent with normal practice in Presidential politics to scrutinize the fucke out of Romney’s mormonism.

37 comments

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  1. 1
    Cuttlefish

    Clinton was asked, at an MTV event, “Boxers or briefs?”

    Thus, we have precedent for asking Mitt “Are you wearing magic Mormon underwear?”

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    Romney has strongly held beliefs; hundreds of millions of them. Maybe more offshore.

  3. 3
    steve84

    Romney wasn’t just an ordinary worshiper. He was a bishop who controlled hundreds, maybe thousands of people.

  4. 4
    blindrobin

    The Mormon Regierung understand that the organization began as a scam, became a real-estate consortium of sorts and remains as a, rather ironically, communal asset management business for those most successful individuals and families that comprise the high echelons of their society. Only the most deluded of the proles by into the dogma but they see the social structure of the cult as ‘useful for an ordered and moral society’ and most of all decidedly profitable.

  5. 5
    Skip White

    The key difference here is that Kennedy and Obama are both Democrats; anyone who scrutinizes a Republican’s religious beliefs is violating the Constitution and is probably a Communist traitor.

  6. 6
    DrugMonkey

    I don’t think “bishop” means what you think it does in Mormonism…but it is worth the scrutiny.

    also, 1978.

  7. 7
    DrugMonkey

    Actually there’s a better link showing that Mormon “revelation” about black folks was mostly about being able to exist in Brazil. See? This is why we need scrutiny.

  8. 8
    ottod

    When George Romney was in the running for a presidential bid there were the predictable questions about his citizenship and about whether he’d take his marching orders from Salt Lake. His campaign didn’t last long enough to spawn a herd (horde?) of birthers, and the questions around his relationship with the church hierarchy went mostly unanswered. I’ve seen some evidence (sorry, no link) that George would have been willing to buck the church on some issues, but keep in mind that what was considered hard core conservatism in those days is almost liberal today by what passes for the standards of today’s far right.

    My feeling is that the church is even more conservative that it was then, that Willard has less character than his father, and I’ve seen no indication that he’s likely to oppose any group that might help him get elected or that he has a real commitment to anything but getting elected. (“…now we’re just haggling over price.”)

    That said, for most of the population, the LDS church is mysterious and scary, and the often promulgated stereotypes and the poor media description of the church and people have done nothing to mitigate the fear. I’ve not seen anything approaching a good description of Mormons for a U.S. population that knows nothing about them.

  9. 9
    steve84

    I know it’s not the same as a bishop in the Catholic sense. Especially not by numbers. They’re also lay leaders. But they still have tremendous power over people. He was a stake president and thus in charge of all wards in Boston and over 4000 people.

    Overall, he was a in crossfire between abiding by the conservative edicts out of SLC and demands for for more participation and consideration by local women who felt oppressed. Admittedly, he seemed to handle that relatively well by listening and changing smaller things that were in his power.

    But there were also negative sides. At one point he counseled (or even threatened) a single, pregnant mother to give up her child for adoption because the church despises unwed mothers. He also told a mother with a risky pregnancy to get an abortion – without any regard to her mental and physical well-being.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/02/mitt-romney-201202

  10. 10
    DrugMonkey

    well yeah, steve84, but he did tell her to ride on the top of a car for 12 hrs to induce a God-approved solution…..

  11. 11
    steve84

    Correction: he obviously told her *not* to get an abortion.

    She got one anyways

  12. 12
    Chebag

    Figures you self-congratulatory atheists would have to go after his religion. Pathetic. Why don’t you focus on the issues? Too afraid Obama would be revealed for the socialist he really is, Comradde????

  13. 13
    skeptifem

    He wasn’t just a bishop, he was a stake president.

    Anyway, mormonism does present some problems about allegiance to religion vs country. Mormons essentially went to war with the US back in the day and its reflected in doctrine. Also his secret service agents would need to be mormon (and in good standing) in order to accompany him to the temple. That is kind of a big deal, isn’t it?

  14. 14
    Richard Simons

    Too afraid Obama would be revealed for the socialist he really is, Comradde????

    Obama? A socialist? It seems to me he would fit in with any centre-right party almost anywhere in the world.

  15. 15
    Charles Sullivan

    Admittedly, the Mormons push the Christian envelope a bit far for most Protestant evangelicals (and Catholics). For one thing they have a separate sacred book with its own revelations; for another thing they’re not Trinitarians; for a third some say the Catholic Church is the Whore.

  16. 16
    Q.E.D

    chebag @ 12

    Figures you self-congratulatory atheists would have to go after his religion. Pathetic. Why don’t you focus on the issues?

    We tried but he refuses to answer any questions on the issues.

  17. 17
    davidmc

    whats wrong with socialism?

  18. 18
    steve84

    >He wasn’t just a bishop, he was a stake president.

    By Mormon terminology, yes. But Mormon bishops are more like parish priests – being in charge of a local congregation. Several wards are collected in a stake – the same way several parishes form a diocese (although smaller).

  19. 19
    Corvus illustris

    Figures you self-congratulatory atheists would have to go after his religion. … Why don’t you focus on the issues?

    Mormonism is an issue, just as JFK’s Catholicism was in 1960. The famous speech to the Protestant clergymen was also implicitly addressed to the Catholic bishops, telling them that their theory of political authority was not going to be part of a Kennedy presidency–and the implications of that theory were, and are, inimical to democracy. LDS political theory is not as accessible as are the papal encyclicals, and the fact that the LDS high honcho is held to get current revelations straight from On High even outdoes papal claims. No, we ought to ask.

  20. 20
    Trina

    Chebag: I would love it if Obama was a socialist. A little socialism goes a long way and the US of A could use it! (saying this from the perspective of an Aussie)

    However…he’s not a socialist. He’s centre-right.

  21. 21
    hexidecima

    chebag,

    You wrote this nonsense “Figures you self-congratulatory atheists would have to go after his religion. Pathetic. Why don’t you focus on the issues? Too afraid Obama would be revealed for the socialist he really is, Comradde????”

    Well, dear, please do show how the president is a socialist? Or is this just more false witnessing by a “good Christian”? IF you want to focus on the issues, you need to provide facts to support your claims. You have not. All you seem to be is a coward who is too afraid of discussing a pertinent topic and uses a lie to avoid it.

    Mr. Romney’s religion is as fair game as anyone’s religion is. There is nothing special about religion, indeed, most people have one and they are utterly unable to show that *their* religion is the only “right” one. If Romney, or Obama or Ryan etc want to claim that their religion makes them “good people” then those religions are up for analysis. Why should anyone belive them that religion makes them good? Actions surely do speak louder than words. Each of them have their own version of their religions, Romney finds it no problem to lie repeatedy. Obama has no problem in ordering the killing of a man rather than turning the other cheek. Ryan has no problem with ignoring his religion and its invocation to give up everything and follow this Jesus when it’s a lot more fun to earn money and run for political office.

    There’s no reason to give religious beliefs a pass when the candidates tout them constantly.

  22. 22
    Chebag

    If they equally have religion and they equally violate the principles (as you claim) then why is it relevant which religion the guy asserts?

  23. 23
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    Because what a person believes affects how they act. Asking about – and making a voting judgment on – someone’s religion isn’t against any freedom of religion clauses: if the candidtae believes dangerous stuff it’s perfectly valid to find this out and then not vote for them.

  24. 24
    skeptifem

    If they equally have religion and they equally violate the principles (as you claim) then why is it relevant which religion the guy asserts?

    so you would vote for a scientologist?

    The distinction between cult and religion is important here. Mormonism meets most of the definitions available for “cult” (social isolation, secretive practices, living prophet, boundary violations, etc).

  25. 25
    Francisco Bacopa

    Mormons have the disadvantage of having arisen recently. They arose on the edge of an empire and fled to the farthest edges of an empire to consolidate their power. Hume said that new religious movements could only form at the edges of empires and used Christianity as his example. The LDS Church is the last example of what Hume talked about.

    And no Bible believing Christian should fault Reverend Wright’s “God Damn America” sermon. He was preaching about a passage in the Bible where a prophet saw that ancient Israel was ignoring God’s commandments concerning the landless poor and small landholders, the prophet said that Israel should be cursed for this. Likewise, here in the US the working poor and the small business owner are similarly mistreated. How can we ask God to bless America when we act the same as when God cursed Israel and Judah? ” It’s not ‘God Bless America’, It’s ‘God damn America’ ” was what Wright said. I do not believe the Bible is the word of God, but I think Wright interpreted it correctly.

  26. 26
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    but I think Wright interpreted it correctly.

    Not to mention righteously. That sermon warms my godless cockles.

  27. 27
    usingreason

    At the end of the day if Mittens is a Mormon he must answer to the prophet in Salt Lake; only the prophet speaks directly to god. If the prophet directs him, it is directions from god, he must obey or he could be banned from the temple. This is not in question in any way.

  28. 28
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    (2) Obama’s black protestantism was severely scrutinized, and he was forced to “disavow” a pastor who led a church he attended based on willful mischaracterization of some of that pastor’s rhetoric.

    Pfft. Whatever. We know he’s really a Muslim terrorist ™.

  29. 29
    Loquaxe

    Crazy people, crazy arguments all self-interest and bad politics

  30. 30
    slc1

    Re Chebag

    If Obama is a Socialist, then so are Cameron and Merkel and so was Sarkozy. Mr. Chebag’s use of the word Socialist is just a cover phrase for scary black man.

  31. 31
    Chebag

    he must answer to the prophet in Salt Lake

    As must have JFK answered to the Pope? Please.

    You atheist/skeptic types are really a trip, you know? Trying to parse out one religion as a “cult” when they are all exactly the damn same, save the number of people who give them lipservice and money? “skepti”fem, my ass.

    Obama is not “scary”, slc1 you moron, he in fact comes across as quite personable and Presidential. Doesn’t mean he isn’t a socialist, though, nor that he doesn’t pursue socialist policies. In fact, his personal characteristics say exactly zero about his policies. Again, where is this much-vaunted “free” thinking and alleged skepticism?

  32. 32
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Please enlighten us on Obama’s “socialism”. I for one would feel much better knowing there was someone in the oval office who cared about working people, rather than yet another corporate stooge.

  33. 33
    becca

    Obama’s black protestantism wasn’t even particularly controversial- his black Islamicism was. So I propose we scrutinize Romney’s Teotlism. Will he get his marching orders from Quetzalcoatl? Will Quetzalcoatl be content with quail sacrifice, or will he require ripping out hearts of humans? Will poor brown humans from countries we’re mad at suffice to continue the existence of the universe, or will we need to figure out which Americans will be killed first?
    These are Important Questions!

  34. 34
    John Norris

    Whenever a politician campaigns on his or her religion, and what pol ever did not tell us about being an elder or Sunday school teacher, then their religious beliefs are part of the public debate.

    BTW: this is the first time ever in the history of our Republic that the candidates of the two major parties are not all White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. And won’t be for the next 4 to 8 years.

  35. 35
    Birger Johansson

    If you think stuff like Obamacare (nationwide Romneycare) is socialist, what does that make Mitt Romney?

    If you think standing up for abortion is socialist, then Romney spent much of his political career being socialist.

    Ideologically, Obama and most of the Democratic congresscritters seem closer to the Republicans than to their own base.

  36. 36
    Lady Day

    I can’t believe anyone can call Obama a socialist with a straight face, yo.

  37. 37
    Spiny Norman

    @Chebag: Romney has no issues other than tax cuts that would cut taxes solely for the wealthiest couple of percent — who already are carrying a historically low tax burden.

    I’ll give you a fukken easy one: what is Romney’s actual position on Medicare? Does he support replacing the program with vouchers? If no, how does he intend to control costs? If yes, how does he intend to control costs?

    C’mon, Chebag: put uppe. Your alternative is to shut the fuckke up.

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