Thursday, December 06, 2007

Romney's sophistries

I’ll quote some passages from Romney’s recent speech, interspersed with my own comments:

"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 is 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.”

Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? He’s making religious identity a question of social loyalty rather than allegiance to the truth. He’d rather be true to his Mormon ancestors than be true to the true God.

This reflects poorly, not only on his spiritual priorities, but on his intellectual discernment. Mormonism is not a difficult religion to falsify. He lacks judgment.

"There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.”

Of course, Mormonism apes Christian terminology, but uses that terminology as code language to launder a heretical belief-system. Mormon Christology bears no resemblance to Biblical Christology.

“My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.”

But Mormonism isn’t tolerant of other faiths. Mormonism was founded on religious intolerance. On the presupposition that Christendom was apostate, and it was necessary for Joseph Smith to restore the long lost Gospel.

Romney himself, like all observant Mormon males, was a Mormon missionary. Missionaries aren’t tolerant. They are promoting their own faith, at the expense of the opposing faith.

And I don’t have a problem with that. I do have a problem with Romney’s duplicity.

"There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith.”

I believe that Romney is twisting this clause of the Constitution. In England, at that time, you had to be an Anglican to hold elective office. You had to pay lip-serve to the 39 Articles.

And some of the 13 colonies had the same sort of policy—which would have been divisive at the Federal level.

So, as I understand it, this clause prohibits a religious oath of office. If you’re a duly elected candidate, you cannot be disbarred from assuming office on religious grounds.

But this in no way prevents a voter from taking a candidate’s religious identity into consideration. A voter is entitled to treat that as his sole criterion if he wants to. He can vote for or against him on religious grounds.

By Romney’s logic, if a jihadist ran for president, promising—as a matter of solemn religious duty—to use his top-level security clearance to leak all our classified military secrets to the enemy, the electorate would have no right to discriminate against that candidate on religious grounds.

"I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God.”

Does that include Bin Laden?

BTW, which God is he referring to? Mormonism has a pantheon, not a God.

"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.”

I think that overstates the scope of the Establishment clause. It forbids a national church. It doesn’t forbid Federal patronage of Christianity in general, and it doesn’t forbid the states from establishing sectarian churches.

"We believe that every single human being is a child of God - we are all part of the human family.”

Which God? He talks like a monotheist, but he’s a polytheist.

“The lives of hundreds of thousands of America's sons and daughters were laid down during the last century to preserve freedom, for us and for freedom loving people throughout the world.”

Thousands of American women died in combat in the 20C?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. stop playa hatin

  3. I was at work when Romney gave the speech, but I followed some of the coverage of it on radio and television later in the day. I heard Michael Medved comment on the speech on his radio program. He said that he would give the speech a ten on a scale of one to ten. I think he also said that every part of the speech was written well. I saw part of Chris Matthews' coverage on "Hardball" on MSNBC. In the process of covering the speech, which Matthews apparently thought highly of, he commented that the concept of being endowed by our Creator with rights doesn't exclude atheism. It's a concept that atheists can agree with. He also referred to Thomas Jefferson as a deist who believed that God isn't active in human affairs. (Read the rest of the Declaration of Independence to see if Matthews' characterization is accurate.) At his web site, Hugh Hewitt has called the speech a "positive breakthrough moment", a speech that showed "passion and brains". Hewitt writes:

    "And of course in all but the most jaded, iconoclastic or biased eyes, he [Romney] carried it off magnificently. Here’s the objective measure: When was the last time that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Fred Barnes, Charles Krauthammer and me all focused on the same subject and all agreed on the merits?...Now add James Dobson to the list of enthusiastic endorsers of the Romney speech’s message." (

    Some of these people's comments are more qualified than others. Different people are commending Romney's speech to differing degrees and for different reasons. But the response seems to be highly positive in general.

    We should keep in mind that people who are discerning on one subject aren't always discerning on other subjects. Though the liberal segments of the media are worse, there are some significant problems with the conservative side of the media as well.

    I did hear Mike Gallagher discussing some of the problems with Mormon theology, however. I've heard him do that on at least two different programs, and he apparently was getting a lot of criticism for it from his audience. I don't listen to Gallagher much. His program may have some of the same problems that others, like the ones mentioned above, have. But Gallagher at least seems to be somewhat more discerning in his evaluation of Romney. Not all of the coverage of Romney is as bad as what we get from somebody like Chris Matthews or Hugh Hewitt.

  4. Given that Steve's analysis is correct the question remains: who to vote for. Theologically, the best in the field is a semi-pelagian. But what of his other views? Is it unimportant if he's a populist, a liberal?

    Is a non-practicing RC theologically better than a practicing Mormon?

    And what of the rest of the field --both parties? Do we know what they believe? Do they know what they believe? Are they atheist dressed in religous verbiage?

    When voting one is always faced with the picking the lesser of two (or more)evils. Right now it is hard discern a "dimes worth of difference" among them.

    Now where did I put my fishin' pole?

  5. A couple quick observations:

    1. This is just more evidence that he'll say anything to get elected. I'd have more confidence in his integrity if:

    a. He displayed at least a rudimentary understanding of the basic doctrines of the Christian and Mormon faiths.

    b. He just come out and stop trying to pretend that Mormonism is just another form of Christianity. Granted, I realize we live in the age of ignorance, and the press has gone out of its way not to talk about what Mormons actually believe about God and Christ (rather, they focus on polygamy and Mormon ethics).

    2. Which gets me here. Romney is avoiding the big elephant in the room either because he, like most Mormons in the public eye, doesn't want to tip his hand regarding what Mormons actually believe or he simply doesn't understand what evangelical Christians are actually concerned about. They aren't concerned about his ethics, they are concerned about:

    a. His duplicity in not owning up to the fact that Mormonism is polytheistic.

    b. His insistence that Mormonism is just another form of Christianity.

    c. His stupidity if he thinks Mormonism and Christianity are convertible. This isn't about ethics, it's about doctrine, the one thing that nobody really wants to discuss, not even Richard Land of the SBC, who, I remind everyone has called Mormonism "the 4th Abrahamic faith."

    d. Consequently, we aren't concerned about Romney being the willing thrall of the Mormon faith. We're concerned about what the Mormons would do with a Mormon president, namely use his presidency as a platform to legitimize themselves as "just like us."

  6. We will all have our own plants some day. Let's give this one to Romney until we get our own.