In a future where Mitt Romney would be president, I’d already feel excluded and disaffected. Taken on a personal level, I’d feel those things even moreso than I do already. And that’s really saying something.
The speech he gave today was wrong on every level I can think of, including meta-levels and machinations. I’m certain that this was not ultimately Mike Huckabee’s fault. Conspiracy allegations aside, I’d be completely unsurprised if Romney’s handlers and campaign staff incited Huckabee to trip up and hand over a reason for Romney to get a national spotlight.
Why? Because Romney and staff technically didn’t give a national speech, just a local stump-type speech which a manipulated, corporate-greed-driven media made into a national event.
Props to the Romney campaign. Seriously. You played them all.
But they didn’t play me. Not because I’m a powerfully attuned skeptic or a knee jerk contrarian when it comes to the Republican candidates, but rather they simply excluded me.
This may sound terribly obvious, but Romney’s call for tolerance was simply polemics. This may sound even more obvious, but the whole speech about religion was based on logical fallacy. One of the more obscure ones, but a logical fallacy nonetheless.
Which one? The one called ignoratio elenchi:
And he did it with an admirable economy of words:
Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people. Americans do not respect respecters — excuse me — believers of convenience.
A confession of his own faith? Already happened. And Americans in general have nothing to do with his faith in particular. That’s what the speech was supposed to be about!
This speech was never was it was claimed to be, a means of diffusing the “controversy” over his own Mormonism, because there wasn’t a controversy until Huckabee’s obsession-compulsion added the strawman that broke the camel’s back. Well, the media’s back, but they salivate like a camel. I’m torturing analogies like Romney tortured reason.
A speech to quell Americans’ fears of the “cultish” impression of Mormonism would have required education, explication. Of the tenets of the Mormonism, of the mainstream qualities of Mormonism. A speech to quell fears required boldness, but not once could he bring himself to call his own “cherished” religion by it’s official name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
So, “so be it” if his religion sinks his own candidacy? Bullmitt. He already chose his candidacy over his religion—and he cleared that up for us all in his speech. Wow!
What he did was show how much of a religious hypocrite he is, earning his membership among the rest of the Republican candidates.
While you can read the full text of the speech here, I did have a few favorite nuggets:
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.
Excuse me? Freedom requires religion? Religion? Really? Christians (and Jews) have Commandments. Limits. I have no religion and I actually kinda think freedom is a nice little idea.
There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it’s more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs.
Say the name! Say it! “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”.
Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.
Faith tolerates another faith. A person of faith is called to tolerate a person of another faith. All these faiths! All these people of faith! No call to tolerate people who don’t need or want a faith. No implication that those people are included in the call for “tolerance”.
It’s important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it’s usually a sound rule to focus on the latter, on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.
Movements of conscience: equal rights, reproductive rights. Successes in spite of religious convictions. Oh, and was that a thinly veiled reference to a commitment to defeat anything related to equality for gay folks?
We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It’s as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
If secularism is a religion, why is he suddenly completely intolerant of a religion that he disagrees with?
The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation “under God” and in God, we do indeed trust.
“Under God” is an idiom. Jesus Christ, don’t they understand that! Oh my God, what idiots!
It was in Philadelphia that our founding fathers defined a revolutionary vision of liberty, grounded on self evident truths about the equality of all, and the inalienable rights with which each is endowed by his Creator.
“Self-evident truths”. Meaning obvious ones. Ones not requiring an external influence or explanation in order for them to be accepted. “Endowed by his Creator”? Isn’t it my god-given right to disagree with a literal interpretation of that? And remember, for all his bluster about universal truths that happened 230+ years ago, he chooses this literal interpretation of the language itself. And also remember, in Philadelphia at that same time, they permitted slavery to continue. What did the Creator give to them, other than a 3/5-of-a-person consideration in Census counts?
I’m not sure that we fully appreciate the profound implications of our tradition of religious liberty. I’ve visited many of the magnificent cathedrals in Europe. They are so inspired, so grand and so empty. Raised up over generations, long ago, so many of the cathedrals now stand as the postcard backdrop to societies just too busy or too ‘enlightened’ to venture inside and kneel in prayer. The establishment of state religions in Europe did no favor to Europe’s churches. And though you will find many people of strong faith there, the churches themselves seem to be withering away.
Perhaps Europeans remember their own history better than Americans remember ours: most of that magnificence was built by indentured people, poor people, all for the fealty of fabulously rich clerics and the dreaded Roman Catholics.
The diversity of our cultural expression, and the vibrancy of our religious dialogue, has kept America in the forefront of civilized nations even as others regard religious freedom as something to be destroyed.
Ask the rest of the world whether the Americans are at the forefront of civilization. Are they not people, too? Does their supportable opinion not matter? Aren’t they included in the “all”? Did you not call for tolerance for those who disagree?
In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be — You can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: We do not insist on a single strain of religion—rather, we welcome our nation’s symphony of faith.
So in this grand symphony, are the rest of us non-religious outsiders a grace note or an accidental?
And in that spirit, let us give thanks to the divine “author of liberty.” And together, let us pray that this land may always be blessed, “with freedom’s holy light.”
Ummm, the Greeks had liberty. And they existed before the Christians. “with freedom’s holy light.” Look how he snuck in two references to the verse of “America the Beautiful” that no one sings anymore. And further, how he implied that these were excerpts from a religious text and not the tortured poetry of songsmith Samuel Smith!
Mitt’s speech is digested whole as a lie. He misleads multiple times. He demurs when it comes to the literal aspects of his own religion in favor of political expedience and claims the opposite.
Isn’t it interesting how Christians may sink him because of his religion, but may also take comfort in his lies because they reinforce the out-and-proud-ness of the commoner Christianity?
Political Conservative Christians are so entangled in the webs of their own lies and contradictions that they forget that their own Holy Spider lays in wait to bring them all to their rests.