Thursday, December 13, 2007

Romney's "courageous" speech

Since Grudem is in the tank for Romney, it’s not surprising that he liked his speech:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/decemberweb-only/149-53.0.html

In some ways, this election is shaping up to be a referendum on the state of Evangelical leadership as much as political leadership. I’ll venture a few comments on Grudem’s analysis:

“But he also said that he thought questions about different doctrines of his or anybody else's faith were out of bounds, they are inappropriate for someone to ask someone as a candidate for president because that's not relevant for his suitability for office. I thought that was a good distinction.”

i) The first problem with this distinction is that it’s clearly overstated. Sometimes doctrinal differences are politically irrelevant, and sometimes they're not. Would Grudem support a Scientologist for high office? Or would that say something important about the candidate’s intellectual discernment? Belonging to a religious cult is a reflection on your powers of judgment.

Would Grudem support a jihadist for high office? Is it "out of bounds” to oppose a jihadist simply because he’s a jihadist?

ii) And why is Romney drawing this distinction in the first place? Because he has to. This is a statement of expediency rather than principle. He doesn’t want his Mormon faith to be held against him. So the whole point of his whole speech was to preempt that objection.

That’s political pragmatism. And pragmatism isn’t always out of place on politics. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that Romney’s speech was an exercise in high-minded statesmanship.

“I was very thankful to see his courage in saying that he wouldn't back down or jettison his personal religious faith just for political convenience. It was important to him, and if people reject him then so be it—that took courage.”

Aside from the wimpy definition of “courage,” this exposes Grudem’s pitiful naïveté. Does he really think, on the eve of the primaries, that Romney could publicly recant his Mormonism?

Everyone knows that he is a Mormon. As such, he has to play the card he dealt himself. It may be a losing hand, but he has to play it as though it were a winning hand. He said this to make himself look like a man of unyielding integrity, and Grudem fell for it.

BTW, don’t you suppose a lot of Mormon businessmen are making contributions to his presidential bid? What would be the financial impact on his campaign chest if he suddenly recanted the Mormon faith? Wouldn’t the donor-pool dry up overnight?

“I thought he was courageous also to say that the state-sponsored religions in Europe did no favor to Europe's churches. He saw the danger of state religion and talked about the empty cathedrals in Europe.”

This is calculating, not courageous. It’s all part of Romney’s endeavor to marginalize the “religious test.” This is just another transparently self-serving attempt to tell us that we’re not supposed to judge him by his religious resumé. He has to say that because he’s a Mormon, and everyone knows he’s a Mormon. From start to finish, Romney is trying to make a virtue out of an onerous necessity.

“If as evangelicals we are going to support the principles on which our nation was founded, then we need to defend the principles of religious liberty. That means that non-evangelicals are not only full citizens but eligible for office as well. I would hate to see us come to the point where we would essentially be saying non-evangelicals are welcome to be citizens but we will never ever allow them to become president.”

i) Of course, that’s the very same argument that Andrew Sullivan uses to justify homosexual marriage. Yet Grudem is a stalwart in the defense of traditional marriage.

ii) Anyone over the age of 34 who’s not a foreigner is “eligible” to run for president. That’s not the issue.

iii) Our nation was never founded on unconditional religious liberty. Not every religious option was a live option at the time the Constitution was ratified.

iv) Opposing a Mormon for office in no way implies that you oppose a non-evangelical for office. You could support a conservative Jew or conservative Catholic for president.

44 comments:

  1. Since Grudem is in the tank for Romney, it’s not surprising that he liked his speech:

    Wow, such deep thinking. If you like Romney, you're in the tank for Romney. And if you're in the tank for Romney, you like Romney. If you are in the tank for Romney, your opinion is tainted.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Carson,

    You're the one who implied the opinion would be "tainted." Steve merely said it wasn't surprising.

    ReplyDelete
  3. To correct myself, Carson didn't IMPLY it, he stated it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What limits/"conditions" do you think should be put on religious liberty?

    ReplyDelete
  5. When Mormons start strapping bombs to themselves and blowing up little children while screaming "death to America", you may have a point.

    ReplyDelete
  6. onelasttime said:

    "What limits/'conditions' do you think should be put on religious liberty?"

    I haven’t attempted to work out an exhaustive set of specifications, which is irrelevant to my historical observation. Romney is ripping passages of the Constitution out of their cultural context and then universalizing them in a historical vacuum.

    For example, many traditional religions practice human sacrifice. Does the Free Exercise clause protect that form of religious expression? No.

    Years ago, SCOTUS ruled in favor of the religious use of peyote. But is that really what the Framers had in mind?

    To take one more example, at the time the Constitution was drafted and ratified, the Ottoman Empire was at war with Europe. So it’s hard to imagine that the Framers or Founding Fathers would necessarily be tolerant of Muslims.

    In addition, the Free Exercise clause originally had reference to the Federal gov’t, not the states.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Starting To Learn said...

    "When Mormons start strapping bombs to themselves and blowing up little children while screaming "death to America", you may have a point."

    And how do you think that's responsive to what I actually said?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Human sacrifice is illegal because it's murder. Religious liberty is obviously constrained by other forms of liberty (life) as all forms of liberty ultimately are.

    When I say "religious liberty" I mean practice of religion which does not interfere with the freedom of others.

    You can read this article from the library of congress, which takes a pro-toleration of Islam position in regards to the founding of the country. I've read a quote in which JQ Adams speaks of the perceived dangers of Islam, but that was quite a bit after the constitution and I'm not sure how much his view would be present during the constitutional/pre-constitutional period.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, I didn't link to the article: http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/0205/tolerance.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. onelasttime said:

    "Human sacrifice is illegal because it's murder."

    It's not defined as murder by the religions that traditionally practice human sacrifice. It wasn't illegal under those regimes.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "You can read this article from the library of congress, which takes a pro-toleration of Islam position in regards to the founding of the country."

    That article doesn't begin to present a systematic sifting of period opinion on the subject.

    ReplyDelete
  12. For a different historical perspective:

    http://islamthreat.blogspot.com/2007/01/founding-fathers-on-islam.html

    ReplyDelete
  13. C'mon steve,

    You point out the inexhaustiveness of the article I brought up, and then bring that.

    They simple say "Adams," not mentioning that they are quoting JQ Adams who can hardly be considered a founding father.

    It also takes a single quotation from Jefferson which is about the Barbary pirates, not Islam in general or how Muslims would be treated in the United States. The site, like many today, try to connect Thomas Jefferson's actions to the war on terror and neoconservative foreign policy, but this is simply not the case: http://www.strike-the-root.com/52/younga/younga7.html.


    If you wish to quote Jefferson in this fashion and say that Jefferson would support the government banning/infringing upon the practice of Islam, then how about:

    “I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.”

    ?

    ReplyDelete
  14. onelasttime said...

    "If you wish to quote Jefferson in this fashion and say that Jefferson would support the government banning/infringing upon the practice of Islam."

    I'm not taking a position one way or the other. My point, rather, is that if Romney or Grudem are going to cite the Constitution, and if, as conservatives, they are serious about original intent, then it's not a foregone conclusion that Muslims (or Mormons) are covered by the terms of the Establishment clause. Rather, that must be subjected to historical investigation.

    The Establishment clause doesn't specify the referents.

    Oh, and yes, I'm all for banning or infringing on the practice of Islam, viz. jihad, pedophilia (i.e. child marriage), wife-beating, honor killings, female genital mutilation, pederasty (i.e. the Pashtun), dhimmitude, the opium trade, the law of apostasy, &c.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "I'm not taking a position one way or the other. My point, rather, is that if Romney or Grudem are going to cite the Constitution, and if, as conservatives, they are serious about original intent, then it's not a foregone conclusion that Muslims (or Mormons) are covered by the terms of the Establishment clause. Rather, that must be subjected to historical investigation."

    But this suffers from a fundamental misunderstand of the constitution - it's purpose wasn't to dole out rights and freedoms, but to recognize preexisting freedoms and rights and expressly prohibit the government from violating these. The constitution doesn't apply to people at all, it applies to the government.


    "Oh, and yes, I'm all for banning or infringing on the practice of Islam, viz. jihad, pedophilia (i.e. child marriage), wife-beating, honor killings, female genital mutilation, pederasty (i.e. the Pashtun), dhimmitude, the opium trade, the law of apostasy, &c"

    Fair enough (though I'd take issue with regulation of the opium trade). My issue is that, on principle, these things are wrong because they violate personal freedom, not as though there's something special about dealing with Islam in this regard.

    ReplyDelete
  16. ONELASTTIME SAID:

    “But this suffers from a fundamental misunderstand of the constitution - it's purpose wasn't to dole out rights and freedoms, but to recognize preexisting freedoms and rights and expressly prohibit the government from violating these.”

    Even if I were to concede that for the sake of argument, it doesn’t change the point I’m making. What preexisting rights and freedoms the Constitution merely recognizes in order to impose a self-limitation on gov’t would still require historical investigation to determine. Romney and Grudem can’t simply cite the wording of the Establishment clause or the Free Exercise clause or the (no) religious-test clause and extend it to whomever or whatever they please irrespective of its historical scope and concrete setting. The text has a context.

    “The constitution doesn't apply to people at all, it applies to the government.”

    The Bill of Rights doesn’t apply to people?

    ReplyDelete
  17. “My issue is that, on principle, these things are wrong because they violate personal freedom, not as though there's something special about dealing with Islam in this regard.”

    You’re acting as if something has to be inherently uniquely religious to count as a religious practice. That is false on two grounds:

    i) People may do something for uniquely religious reasons even if the practice itself is not uniquely religious. Circumcision wasn’t a Jewish distinctive. But Jews were religiously motivated to practice circumcision.

    ii) Likewise, religious practices come in packages. Even if some or all of the practices which comprise a religious package aren’t uniquely religious, the package is uniquely religious. It’s the religion that dictates a particular set of ethical or spiritual duties.

    Finally, the Founding Fathers weren’t so naïve as to imagine that as long as a criminal organization (to take one example) can slap a religious label on itself, that it’s covered by the Free Exercise clause, and can therefore operate with impunity.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Or would that say something important about the candidate’s intellectual discernment? Belonging to a religious cult is a reflection on your powers of judgment.

    I've had that thought as well. Morality and judgment are important in choosing a President, and you can't separate either from the candidate's religion or lack thereof.

    You know what I'm waiting for: Romney attending a political event with Native American leaders and greeting them by saying, "Shalom".

    ReplyDelete
  19. Peter Pike said: You're the one who implied the opinion would be "tainted." Steve merely said it wasn't surprising.

    I didn't "imply" anything. Very first sentence says Grudem is in the tank for Romney. It doesn't say "sorta" or "kinda" or "tainted." Duh!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Peter Pike said: To correct myself, Carson didn't IMPLY it, he stated it.

    I'll correct you again. I didn't state it, I repeated what the first sentence said. It said he's "in the tank" for Romney. Dude, shut up.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Steve said: “Since Grudem is in the tank for Romney, it’s not surprising that he liked his speech”

    You said: “…if you're in the tank for Romney, you like Romney. If you are in the tank for Romney, your opinion is tainted.”

    Technically you should have put “…if you’re in the tank for Romney, then you like Romney. *If you like Romney, then your position is tainted*. Therefore, if you’re in the tank for Romney, then your position is tainted. P->Q. Q->R. Therefore, P->R.

    Steve actually didn’t say anything about anyone’s view being tainted, or at least not in the sentence quoted above. He just said it’s not surprising that he liked his speech.

    So you have

    1)Misrepresented Steve
    2)Didn’t do a very good job at it, because you couldn’t even get you’re strawman into a valid argument without missing steps.
    3)Steve didn’t even mention “tainted” positions.
    4)So, we can conclude from your own words back at ya, “Dude, shut up.”

    ReplyDelete
  22. Of course the 'You' in my comment above is referring to 'Carson'.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous (Carson?) illustrates the inability to think cogently by stating:
    ---
    It said he's "in the tank" for Romney.
    ---

    But of course I was not referring to the term "in the tank" at all, for I specifically stated:

    ---
    You're the one who implied the opinion would be "tainted."
    ---

    Apparently, putting quotations around the relevant portion that I referred to is not enough for our poor anonywuss. It is so very sad how badly people read these days.

    Is it just blind hatred of all things T-bloggian? Or are you merely a product of publik edjukashun? Perhaps a mixture of both. Or maybe you were born an idiot and just had a horrific relapse.

    I think it must be something along that nature, because obviously Caleb understood what I had written.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Peter Pike said: But of course I was not referring to the term "in the tank" at all, for I specifically stated:

    Of course you didn't. Here's what you said.

    "You're the one who implied the opinion would be "tainted." Steve merely said it wasn't surprising."

    Now, if Grudem is "in the tank for Romney," and that is the explanation for his behavior in the face of sound reasoning, then he is biased, tainted, or otherwise prone to error because of his being "in the tank." So, Steve didn't "merely say it wasn't surprising," but said his thinking is expected because he's "in the tank." It wasn't surprising for no reason at all.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Caleb said: Steve actually didn’t say anything about anyone’s view being tainted, or at least not in the sentence quoted above. He just said it’s not surprising that he liked his speech.

    I didn't say he used the word "tainted." Why is it "not surprising that he liked his speech"? Because "he's in the tank for Romney"?

    Technically you should have put “…if you’re in the tank for Romney, then you like Romney. *If you like Romney, then your position is tainted*. Therefore, if you’re in the tank for Romney, then your position is tainted. P->Q. Q->R. Therefore, P->R.

    Actually, no. The comment indicates that it is not surprising that Grudem has his perspective because he's in the tank. You can pick whatever adjective you like as a substitute for "in the tank." Why did Grudem end up on the "wrong side" of the issue? Because he's "in the tank."

    ReplyDelete
  26. A translation of Carson:

    "It doesn't matter what you say. I will read whatever I feel like reading. Even though you did not say what I claim you said, you obviously meant it because I read it that way. I do not care if you correct me on this, because I know better than you do what you meant when you wrote something different from what I know you really meant to say."

    ReplyDelete
  27. Translation of Peter Pike: "I'm going to pretend that "it's not surprising" has nothing to do with the rest of the sentence, so that the comment about Grudem's perspective has nothing to do with being "in the tank for Romney." In fact, I'll keep putting "merely" into my comments so that it appears that what was said was "I'm [merely] not surprised." Hopefully no one will notice that the first word of the first sentence of the first paragraph begins with "Since."

    ReplyDelete
  28. Dude, learn some English. This is not that difficult.

    The sentence in question did indeed begin with the word "Since" but the "Since" is an adverb clause indicating a relationship (technically one of cause and effect). We see:

    Since Grudem is in the tank for Romney, it's not surprising that he liked his speech.

    (BTW: if you want to criticize Steve for anything in this speech, nail him for the ambiguous use of "he" and "his" and you'll at least be grammatically correct, even if still a dorktard.)

    Now Adverb clauses with expressions of cause and effect exist to explain the reasons for what happens in the main clause of the sentence. Adverb clauses are somewhat tricky because they invert the normal order of the sentence. We can rearrange Steve's sentence easily enough (with the proper nouns to replace the ambiguous "he" and "his"):

    "It's not surprising that Grudem likes Romney's speech since Grudem is in the tank for Romney."

    In this sentence, the word "since" is synonymous with the word "because."

    This sentence makes a claim: "It is not surprising that Grudem liked Romney's speech." And provides the reason why: "Since Grudem is in the tank for Romney."

    We can try a few variations on this theme, Carson. "Inasmuch as Grudem is carrying water for Romney, it's not at all shocking that Grudem actually likes the stuff Romney says." Or: "You'd have to be a complete idiot to think Grudem not supporting something Romney says is at all unexpected given the fact that Grudem has endorsed Romney's candidacy."

    What you cannot get from that sentence is: "If you support Romney your opinion is tainted."

    See, Carson. An object lesson in exegesis verse eisegesis. The exegete reads what the text says where as YOU make it all up and pretend it's real.

    I shall now leave you with another adverb clause with an expression of cause and effect:

    Since Carson is as bright as a two-liter of Pepsi, this metaphor will make no sense to him.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Peter Pike:

    This sentence makes a claim: "It is not surprising that Grudem liked Romney's speech." And provides the reason why: "Since Grudem is in the tank for Romney."

    Obviously.

    What you cannot get from that sentence is: "If you support Romney your opinion is tainted."

    My point is regarding Grudem, who is "in the tank for Romney." He is the "you" of whim I speak. Now, if he likes Romney's speach because he's "in the tank," then he's biased because of that.

    Of course, we can also braoden the application, too. Dude, wake up!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Correction, before Peter gets too excited:

    I meant: My point is regarding Grudem, who is "in the tank for Romney." He is the "you" of whopm I speak. Now, if he likes Romney's speach because he's "in the tank," then he's biased because of that.

    ReplyDelete
  31. How come it's taking so long for Caleb to post something that makes Peter look better?

    ReplyDelete
  32. How is "in the tank" for someone the same as being biased?

    Everyone is "in the tank" for the candidate(s) they support. This is why endorsements are made in the first place.

    It doesn't mean that your thinking is "tainted" or "biased" at all. You are the one reading into this, Carson. You assumed the worst possible meaning for Steve's words (which, by the way, IS tainted thinking).

    You are the one who is biased here.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous said:
    ---
    How come it's taking so long for Caleb to post something that makes Peter look better?
    ---

    Because he doesn't need to make me look better. When are you going to post something resembling an argument?

    ReplyDelete
  34. There is nothing to add to what Peter has already said. Besides, I have been driving all day to visit family. I'm now in a different state ;-).

    ReplyDelete
  35. Peter,

    Everyone is "in the tank" for the candidate(s) they support. This is why endorsements are made in the first place.

    Now you're moving the goalpost. No one said it was wrong to support a candidate. It's wrong to approve of what someone says, even when they're wrong, because your "in the tank" for that candidate.

    It doesn't mean that your thinking is "tainted" or "biased" at all. You are the one reading into this, Carson. You assumed the worst possible meaning for Steve's words (which, by the way, IS tainted thinking).

    If Grudem liked Romney's comments because "he's in the tank," then being "in the tank" is the reason for liking what he said. That is very different than liking what Romney said because it's sound reasoning. In fact, the point is that Grudem likes what Romney's comments, even though they are flawed, because he's in the tank for Romney.

    Dude, you've got yourself surrounded.Come out with your hands raised above your head.

    ReplyDelete
  36. There is nothing to add to what Peter has already said. Besides, I have been driving all day to visit family. I'm now in a different state

    The State of Denail, no doubt.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Make that the State of Denial.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Carson said:
    ---
    Now you're moving the goalpost. No one said it was wrong to support a candidate. It's wrong to approve of what someone says, even when they're wrong, because your "in the tank" for that candidate.
    ---

    This is rather ironic. I'm not moving any goalposts at all. I'm pointing out to you that you're using imaginary goalposts. You INVENTED the stupid goalposts that had nothing to do with Steve's comments in the first place.

    You have invented a meaning for Steve's words and are now insisting that reality bend to conform to your hallucinations. Well, it ain't gonna happen.

    You said:
    ---
    If Grudem liked Romney's comments because "he's in the tank," then being "in the tank" is the reason for liking what he said.
    ---

    This shows simplistic thinking on your part. I can use myself as an example here.

    I like Fred Thompson. I'm "in the tank" for Thompson because I agree with the majority of the proposals he's put forth (for instance, of the candidates for the GOP, he's the only one so far who's actually presented a real plan for Social Security--not just said "It needs to be fixed" but actually presented an actual plan for what he'd do if elected). Since I agree with Thompson, it would be no surprise at all if, after a Thompson speech, I said, "I agree with Thompson." This is self-evident.

    This doesn't mean I'll always agree with Thompson on everything. But indeed, the surprise would be if I said, "I disagree with Fred on this issue" not "I agree with Fred." This is so obvious it takes active non-thought to miss it.

    Now, if Steve said, "Since Pike is in the tank for Thompson, it's not surprising the he liked his speech" I'd say, "Exactly correct." It's a truth statement, nothing more or less.

    Carson said:
    ---
    is very different than liking what Romney said because it's sound reasoning.
    ---

    Of course it's impossible to like anything Romney says because of sound reasoning...but that's another issue :-P

    And since you're so uppity, yes that was sarcasm. No, it wasn't an argument. For the love, read some Jonathan Swift and shut up.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Peter,

    LOL!! The comment wasn't that Grudem agrees with Romney, so he's in the tank with Romney. It was the reverse. It was that since Grudem is in the tank for Romney, that explains his agreement with Romney.

    Of course it's impossible to like anything Romney says because of sound reasoning...but that's another issue

    Yet another example of irony in your attempted defense of the first sentence of the article. You work in denial like a master artisan works in oils or clay. You’re a true master.

    Yet, contrary to you, Grudem approves of what Romney said because he’s “in the tank for Romney.” LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dude, shut up.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Peter said: "Since" is an adverb clause indicating a relationship (technically one of cause and effect).

    Pawned by himself. Doh!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Well, it's obvious that you don't care about anything anyone actually says, so have fun in your little sandbox.

    There's only so many times a man can point at reality and say, "This is real" and put up with people who say, "No it's not because I don't want it to be real therefore what I want to be real is what's really real and that isn't it."

    ReplyDelete
  42. Whatever, Peter. Thanks to you, we even have grammatical support. You have seen the enenmy, and it is you!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Dude, I'm so glad I'm in the tank with Johnny Walker so I don't have to figure out how to think. Someone make the world stop moving, I wanna get off!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Paul Mananta12/17/2007 7:57 AM

    Dude, I'm so glad I'm in the tank with Johnny Walker so I don't have to figure out how to think. Someone make the world stop moving, I wanna get off!

    ReplyDelete