What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
The Bloggernacle Times recently posted a portion of a Wall Street Journal article about Mitt Romney and his potential problems if he seeks the presidential candidacy. Much has already been said on this issue, but I’d like to offer my two cents. From the article:
Mr. Romney said he does not believe that there should be any religious test applied for politicians. While voters will “select individuals who are people of faith,” he says the “brand of faith” should not matter. Political leaders “follow the law of the land” and shouldn’t substitute the Constitution for a religious text.
Our country, since its inception, has always had a public religion based in the Judeo-Christian belief system. Because of this, Americans have always sought out a president who shared similar beliefs and morals. When John F. Kennedy was thick in his campaign, he had to placate the public on the matter of his Catholic religion, and appeal to their acceptance and implementation of the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
From the recommended book American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, here is an excerpt talking about JFK’s presidental campaign:
Nearly half a century on, Ted Sorensen could still remember the letters: a flood of them, from all over, attacking John Kennedy’s Catholicism in the 1960 presidential campaign. “The single biggest obstacle to his election was his religion,” said Sorensen, Kennedy’s speechwriter and special counsel. “You should have seen the hate mail that came in, both from rednecks and from liberal intellectuals who should have known better.”
In a time where so many people are eager to speak before they think, it will be interesting to see what slanderous filth is flung in Romney’s face, just as it was in the face of JFK, if he indeed decides to seek the presidential office.
From a Salt Lake Tribune article about the majority of LDS belonging to the GOP:
“I’m thinking Mormons are going to get pretty disgusted with what I believe they’ll do to Romney,” [Democratic State Party Chairman Wayne] Holland says. He predicts some in the party will be “tearing Romney apart because of his faith.”
Ah, I’m sure Jesus would approve of that… Whether the Bible-belt Baptists (after attending their “How to use lies, slander, and deceit to attack the Mormons” classes) and extreme evangelists like to admit it or not, Mormons are Christians. They believe in God. They worship Jesus Christ. They lead good lives. They have families and build homes of love and peace. They volunteer. They serve others. They reach out.
So, it would seem to me that Mitt Romney, being a Mormon, would have more in common with other (alleged) Christians than not. In fact, he probably is one of the few politicians, claiming to be of the Christian faith, who actually practices that faith.
Why, then, are people using this “pro” as a “con”? How is this positive being turned into a negative?
I think it all boils down to flat ignorance. Some people think his being a Mormon means he will turn the USA into a theocracy, force everybody to wear mormon underwear, and re-institute polygamy. If these people would simply inform themselves before freaking out in the public and private arena, they would come to see that Romney is a good man. He’s got a good track record. He loves his wife. He has morals, and he sticks to them. He doesn’t lie, steal, cheat, drink, commit adultery, or do any number of things our current and previous politicians have been caught red-handed doing. I echo Senator Orrin Hatch’s sentiments, when he said “I believe he is everything everyone would want in a political leader.”
So why all the fuss? Do people want to apply some sort of religious litmus test to presidential hopefuls? Of course not.
People fear what they do not know. Being that many people don’t know and understand the simple Christian tenets of the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Mormons”), it is my opinion that they are attacking Mitt Romney out of fear, out of ignorance, and out of unchristian attitudes and practices.
“Well, I personally believe that Jesus Christ is my savior.”
—Governor Mitt Romney
Go get ’em, Mitt!
[UPDATE: CBN has an interview posted with Gov. Romney that’s worth watching. ]