Mitt Romney

All Your Tithings Are Belong To Us

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Great number-crunching on the Mitt Romney campaign by Chris Borowski:

In 2006, Utah residents gave more than $1.3 million in donations of $1,000 or more to Romney's fundraising organizations, or Political Action Committees (PACs), according to a Medill News Service analysis of state and federal filings.

That amount is about 17 times the amount raised in Utah by Sen. John McCain, the candidate who received the second-highest total, $74,000, in large donations from Utah. Only Massachusetts, where Romney was governor, and California exceeded Utah in funds contributed, with $1.9 million and $1.6 million respectively raised by Romney's PAC.

However, Utah, where 70 percent of the population are Mormon, far outdistanced all other states on a per capita basis. Romney collected 51 cents in Utah per citizen, compared to 30 cents in Massachusetts and four cents in California.

I just read Hugh Hewitt's Mitt Romney bio A Mormon in the White House?, which spends a lot of time hashing out an incoherent argument about Romney's faith. On the one hand, Hewitt argues, it's unAmerican to question Romney's judgment for being a member of the Mormon church, and it's impolite to ask him too many questions about it. On the other hand, Hewitt predicts Romney will have great success because Mormons will donate so much time and money to him… because, uh, of his faith.

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  1. When Mitt Romney (and every other theocrat-pandering politician) says what John Kennedy said in 1960, that the wall between church and state is absolute, and that he will not allow his religion to influence his performance, then their religious beliefs will become as irrelevant as Kennedy’s religious beliefs.

    But as long as they continue to brag about how religious they are, insist that the wall between church and state should disappear, and pledge to be guided by their faith in the performance of their official duties, then it will remain perfectly appropriate to question their religious beliefs and lives.

    I don’t recall any Socialists insisting that it is wrong to question them about their socialism while they campaigned on their commitment to socialism.

  2. Dave,

    The headline made me think this was a carbon credit story.

    Made the giggling even more enjoyable when I read your post 🙂

  3. Given how little Kennedy allowed his religion to affect his private life, it’s little wonder it didn’t affect his public life.

    Personally, I’m holding out for the first Scientologist to run, if only for the ensuing South Park episode.

  4. WHAT YOU SAY!!!

  5. I can’t believe you left out a picture of the pupil-less anthropomorphic flipper dolphin that dogs the Romney campaign like Coleridge’s albatross.

  6. What Joe said. If we’re going to be ruled by theocrats who see no distinction between their church and their office, I’d like to vote for a Unitarian or perhaps a follower of a particularly emasculated brand of Presbyterianism, not a guy whose religion was founded by a treasure-hunting nut with a sex addiction, a profound sense of entitlement, and a propensity for manufacturing phony history that Romney’s church has yet to officially forsake.

    Of course, a Unitarian would believe in that whole bright line between religious observance and state.

  7. 1 – Joe, you dont get it. A guy can worship whatever the hell he wants, and it doesnt necessarily have anything to do with public policy. In some cases, like Abortion, yes, he might care, and speak against it… but again, it’s in specific areas. In general, Mormonism, despite some of its quirky extremes, is a far more ‘you leave me alone, I leave you alone’ theology, especially when compared to Secular Athiests who call bringing your kids to church ‘child abuse’

    2 – Wiegel- You dont get it either. In your ‘either/or’ scenario, the first is reasonable… who cares if he thinks God is named something weird… whereas the second point is more fundemental = he will get a lot of money from the Mormons. They’re fucking crazy rich. Is your assumption that they will want actual Policy Changes for their money… and what are they?… or that the fact that Mormons would like a Mormon president really that odd? I mean, if Blacks want a black president… clearly thats suspicious… He’ll want to make Basketball will be the National Pastime, and open up all the jails!

    I mean, at first glance, that seems to be the (weak) thread of your argument. That simple support translates to extremeist policy implications

  8. I gotta say as a capper, I never cease to be amazed at how Reason Libertoids are SO FREAKING WRONG ABOUT NEARLY EVERYTHING VAGUELY RELGIOUS SMELLING

    I mean, it’s you’re freaking Boogyman or something. As Gays to Rednecks… as CEOs to hippies…. Libertoids just Cant Trust a Believer. And i am telling you this as a secular normaloid. You guys just freak out and go, “yeah! CRazy Godsorz Gonna Take OVer! Gotta Send Dawkins At Em before Its too late!”

    End rant

  9. Joe did not say a man in government can not worship the god of his chosing.

    He merely stated that Romney could put the issue of religion aside if he acknowledges the seperation of church and state. If Romney makes religion an issue, then it’s fair game.

    I do agree that Mormons, in general, are less

    “”I leave you alone’ theology, especially when compared to Secular Athiests who call bringing your kids to church ‘child abuse'”””

    I’m a secular athiests, and I disagree with that statement. Most secular athiests would. I could careless where you send your kids, they are YOUR kids.

    Maybe you have that argument backwards, child abuse is not from the parent sending his kid to church, it might be what happens WHILE the kid is at church.

  10. Gilmoretoid said “End rant”

    For some reason, I doubt it.

  11. GILMORE,

    “Joe, you dont get it. A guy can worship whatever the hell he wants, and it doesnt necessarily have anything to do with public policy.”

    I do get it, as demonstrated by my making exactly that same point in regards to Kennedy.

    What you don’t get is that Romney, and pretty much every other Republican candidate in America, campaigns by lously promising that their relgious beliefs and values WILL have a great deal to do with public policy.

  12. I agree with joe. When you use your faith and belief as a bonus feature of your candidacy, then it’s fair game to question that faith and belief.

    Let’s use a university example. Compare the mission statements of Bob Jones U and BC, both religious universities. joe is saying the JFK ~ BC & Mitt ~ BJU. Note the emphasis given to each religion in their about statements, pasted from their websites. (I apologize for post length)

    BC
    Boston College is one of the oldest Jesuit, Catholic universities in the United States. U.S. News and World Report ranks Boston College 34th among national universities.

    Boston College confers more than 4,000 degrees annually in more than 50 fields of study through 7 schools and colleges. Faculty members are committed to both teaching and research and have set new marks for research grant awards over the last ten years, more than $44 million in the last year alone.

    The University has made a major commitment to academic excellence. It is in the process of adding faculty positions, expanding faculty and graduate research, increasing student financial aid, and widening opportunities in key undergraduate programs, such as foreign study, internships, community service, and personal formation.

    Boston College has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, including a 43 percent increase in undergraduate applications over the past decade. During the same period, a remarkable increase in revenue from voluntary giving has helped to move the University’s endowment to approximately $1.4 billion, among the 50 largest in the nation.

    Bob Jones University
    Within the cultural and academic soil of liberal arts education, Bob Jones University exists to grow Christlike character that is Scripturally disciplined; others-serving; God-loving; Christ-proclaiming; and focused Above.

    Bob Jones University exists as a training center for Christians from around the world. The goal of the administration, faculty, and staff is to equip its students for a lifetime of service to Christ. While the majority of Bob Jones University students enter Christian ministries upon graduation, a large number also become professionals in such secular fields as higher education, medicine, law, and business. Whatever field of study our students choose, they are taught the importance of having Christ at the center of their lives. Biblical values are integrated in every classroom and every other part of the educational process.

    The University gives special emphasis to studies in Bible, church administration, missions, pastoral training, theology, history, education, ancient and modern languages, public speaking, drama, music, and literature. Every student enrolled in the University takes a Bible course each semester. This emphasis is rooted in the University’s adherence to the Bible as mankind’s only source of faith and Christian practice. Christian professors and staff members encourage students by precept and example to a lifelong commitment to learning, teaching, and exemplifying spiritual truths. The founder’s philosophy that BJU is not here just to teach men and women how to make a living, but more importantly, how to live, remains our focus.

    Bob Jones University seeks to maintain high academic standards, an emphasis on culture, and a practical Christian philosophy that is both orthodox and fervent in its evangelistic spirit. Relying upon the strength of God, Bob Jones University continuously strives to be the best school it can be, to the honor and glory of Christ.

  13. Sorry, those aren’t mission statements, but from each schools’ “About” page.

  14. Um, wouldn’t Brigham Young University have been the more apt school?

  15. Of course, a Unitarian would believe in that whole bright line between religious observance and state.

    Religious observance?

  16. What you don’t get is that Romney, and pretty much every other Republican candidate in America, campaigns by lously promising that their relgious beliefs and values WILL have a great deal to do with public policy.

    Which makes their religion fair game on the same basis as anyone’s beliefs and values are fair game.

    Religious-based values shouldn’t be given a pass, nor should they be treated as a form of mental leprosy (something that many here should keep in mind).

  17. If a person says their christian beliefs will guide their actions in an elected public position, the end result will be a piss poor job serving God and their constituents. If they suggest they are spiritual to help their chances for election they are in for a Godsmack.
    I agree it is a subject of public debate if they interject their faith in their campaign.
    Judging from the ads here in Alabama, it must be a law that you have to profess your godliness to run for office.

  18. joe =

    I do get it, as demonstrated by my making exactly that same point in regards to Kennedy.

    What you don’t get is that Romney, and pretty much every other Republican candidate in America, campaigns by lously promising that their relgious beliefs and values WILL have a great deal to do with public policy.

    Sorry, joe – i misread your first paragraph as being neutralized by the first, suggesting that Mitt and most other people who capaign partly on their faith (not out of theocracy, but pandering to the majority that likes ‘the sound of that’)… i read it as a general suspicion of ALL candidates of faith. Some of your ‘agree’rs’ here seem to think so to

    e.g. Brother ben’s point
    Judging from the ads here in Alabama, it must be a law that you have to profess your godliness to run for office

    not a law, but a reflection of the reality of politics in America that the things voters consider most important (and especially important in the South) are “Family Values”…

    translated as =

    Gods, God, (fearing/hating) Gays…

    [ and making babies and protecting the shit out of them with walls to keep out mexicans and drugs and bombing A-rabs etc]

    To expect anything else from political ads would be strange.

    It’s not “injecting their faith” into the campaign… it’s the same as wearing a red tie if you’re a Republican, and a blue one if you’re a Dem. I dont know what “subject of public debate” about it means in your context, or what exactly the burning questions are… but it’s naive to get so fired up about Why exactly these guys claim to be so devout…

    Havent I linked to that Spartacus comment before?

    Julius Caesar: I’d no idea you’d grown religious.
    Marcus Licinius Crassus: [laughs] It doesn’t matter. If there were no gods at all I’d still revere them.

    It’s a basic tenet of politics to pretend to be more pure of heart and spiritual than the next guy, who cant be trusted, because HE’S not washed in the blood of the lamb…

    re: TrickyVik…

    Dude, so, I’m wrong because…?

    Because religion is ‘fair game’? What exactly is the thing you want to nail the guy on? Thats he’s playing the same tired ‘Praise Jesus, please gie me some money?’ game? Thats shooting a brick wall with spitballs.

  19. DAR,
    I was doing it more to illustrate a point, but ask and you shall receive. BYU is between BJU and BC.

    The mission of Brigham Young University is “to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life” (“The Mission Statement of Brigham Young University” [hereafter Mission Statement]). To this end, BYU seeks to develop students of faith, intellect, and character who have the skills and the desire to continue learning and to serve others throughout their lives. These are the common aims of all education at BYU. Both those who teach in the classroom and those who direct activities outside the classroom are responsible for contributing to this complete educational vision.

    The statement that follows reaffirms and expands on the earlier and more general Mission Statement adopted in 1981. As the quotations under each heading suggest, this document also draws on the religious and educational teachings of the university’s founding prophet, Brigham Young. Quotations within the text come from the scriptures and from the counsel of modern prophets, whose teachings about BYU lay the foundation of the university’s mission.

    The following four sections discuss the expected outcomes of the BYU experience. A BYU education should be (1) spiritually strengthening, (2) intellectually enlarging, and (3) character building, leading to (4) lifelong learning and service. Because BYU is a large university with a complex curriculum, the intellectual aims are presented here in somewhat greater detail than the other aims. Yet they are deliberately placed within a larger context. The sequence flows from a conscious intent to envelop BYU’s intellectual aims within a more complete, even eternal, perspective that begins with spiritual knowledge and ends with knowledge applied to the practical tasks of living and serving.

  20. to make this simple – the ‘contradiction’ Dave points out

    “On the one hand, Hewitt argues, it’s unAmerican to question Romney’s judgment for being a member of the Mormon church…”

    …is a dud. What do you mean, ‘question his judgement’? he’s a mormon. Many people belong to a faith for a variety of reasons. Could be he was raised that way. The “question his judgement” is implicitly asking, – “There is Something Funny With Mormonism = Therefore, explain why you chose this strange and unreasonable path in like…”

    You want him to *justfy* why he belongs? Or explain what the differences are between mormons and, er, mennonites? I dont even get the thrust of what is “Fair Game’ in the line of questioning.

    I have not gone to church in years, and when i did go, it was drunkenly on Christmas Midnight Mass (which, i should point out, is sometimes pretty cool)… and i dont really believe in god. But if anyone asked me (a stranger), ‘what *are* you’? I’d say Catholic. As a cultural reference, not as a ‘faith’. Whats the big deal about ‘Religious Disclosure’ that Dave is looking for that would make him comfortable with…. well… with Hewitt’s comments?

    This whole thing is just gay. Its arguing with a non argument.

  21. Well, we could have all the candidates put their faith in a “blind trust” if elected. Isn’t that what religion is anyway?

  22. Mormons have made runs for the presidency in the past. None of them received this level of support from Utah. Romney’s support is probably mostly because he saved the Salt Lake Olympics. He is loved here for that.

  23. GILMORE,

    Romney isn’t a “cultural” Mormon. He is a bishop in the church (which doesn’t mean the same thing as a Catholic bishop, but is still an indication of his seriousness), and even more importantly, has been discussing his status as “person of faith” as part of his credentials.

    Although I agree, there are some – not many, but some – regulars here who treat evidence that a person has a spiritual life as a knock against them.

    brotherben, “If a person says their christian beliefs will guide their actions in an elected public position, the end result will be a piss poor job serving God and their constituents.”

    That depends on what they mean. If they intend to use the government to impose or advance their beliefs, absolutely. On the other hand, if they intend to use their beliefs to guide how they, themselves, act while in office, that would be quite nice. I don’t think George Bush loves Nancy Pelosi as he loves himself. I don’t think he does unto others as he would have others do unto him.

  24. I know I am coming into this a little late, but it seems to me that most of you seem to be missing a very big point. That is you don’t have to have romney state his intention to keep church and state separate, as trickyvic suggests, you can look at his record.
    Joe, Romney has never pledged to be guided by his faith in the execution of his office. He has simply claimed that he is a person of faith, and believes that most of america want that in a leader. If you are worried about him allowing his faith to dictate his policy, look to Mass.
    The very things that Romney is constantly attacked about (His flip on abortion, gay rights (which never actually happened, BTW), etc.) are proof of this. As governor of a liberal state, he lead a liberal constituancy. As you all know, mormons are against abortion, gay marriage, heck, they’re even against drinking alcohol, tea, smoking. Did we see him pushing these things in his public policy? No, only once he saw that they way his constituancy wanted was not working (remember the catholic charities adoption fiasco). So his public plicy tended to be more liberal than his personal beliefs. In other words, his policy was determined by the constituancy he lead. Is that not what we all want (last time I checked, this is a democracy, after all)?
    But for those who think words speak louder than actions and will not be satisfied until he has “pledged” to keep his personal religious beliefs out of his public policy making arena, your day will come (my guess is before Sept., but who knows). It is just sad to me that that would be required for someone who has so clearly shown to not force his personal views onto the public.
    BTW, you do realize that Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch are both mormon, right? They couldn’t be more different politically. Which one is trying to impliment his religious beliefs on us? The world may never know…

  25. When Mitt Romney (and every other theocrat-pandering politician) says what John Kennedy said in 1960, that the wall between church and state is absolute, and that he will not allow his religion to influence his performance, then their religious beliefs will become as irrelevant as Kennedy’s religious beliefs.

    Kennedy is really a laughable example to use; heck, his public religious beliefs didn’t even influence his personal life (eg Marilyn Monroe or others like her), let alone his public service.

    If Hillary is elected, should she swear that her feminist beliefs will have no influence on her presidency? Of course not. So long as she stays within the bounds of the Constitution (ha!), I don’t care if she bases her decisions on the dictates of her Rice Krispies. The principle that an officeholder can make decisions based on his or her secular ideology, but not based on his or her religious beliefs, flies in the face of the freedom of religion.

    It is, however, mighty convenient for atheists and those who claim to be religious but modify their religion to conform to their political ideology. Don’t worry, joe, you’re not the first Massachusetts Catholic to do so.

  26. joe,

    So, a Catholic politician who supports restrictions on abortion is guilty of violating the separation of church and state…but if a liberal pushes universal health care because of his or her ideology, that’s just part of the political process?

  27. frofreak,

    You mean the record he keeps running from?

    “Did we see him pushing these things in his public policy?”

    No, when he owed his position to voters who believed in the separation of church and state and rejected religious right policies, after running a campaign pledging to govern according to those beliefs, we did not.

    But that’s not how he’s running this campaign, is it?

    “BTW, you do realize that Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch are both mormon, right? They couldn’t be more different politically. Which one is trying to impliment his religious beliefs on us?” Er, the one who keeps talking about his religious beliefs and running down the separation of church and state?

  28. crimethink,

    Hillary Clinton can base her actions on anything she wants. However, if she keeps talking about her feminist beliefs as a reason to elect her, she should be asked about those beliefs, and people should consider the fact that she’s a feminist when they consider whether to vote for her.

    This isn’t about whether Mitt “can” base his decisions on his religious beliefs, but if and how those beliefs will effect what kind of president he’d be. He’s done everything he can to suggest that his religion has quite a bit to do with what kind of president he’d be, and I’m inclined to take him at his word.

    I hope I’ve cleared up your confusion, because the ideas you’ve attributed to me bear only the slightest resemblance to what I’ve written.

    And, just to put your mind at ease, I didn’t worry about how you feel about my spiritual life when I woke up this morning, I’m not going to worry tonight when I go to bed, and I’m certainly not worried about it now.

  29. “So, a Catholic politician who supports restrictions on abortion is guilty of violating the separation of church and state…”

    No, not even remotely.

  30. Much of the time people expect their religious beliefs to beyond criticism. In a political setting they simply shouldn’t be though; no more than the economic theories that a candidate (or a just person speaking in the “public square”) might hold.

  31. Things would be much simpler in American politics without all the Magical Invisible Beings bullshit. I mean, it had its day–like the Three-Fifths Compromise–but it is really time to move on.

  32. yeah we should get onto concrete stuff like natural law and free markets and other things you can totally hold in your hands and stuff.

    semi-related: the folks who say things like “the social sciences are a lie” but believe in “the free market” get bonus points for being super obtuse.

    obvious moral: you don’t need religious beliefs to have faith in something that’s utterly abstract and personal.

    cathy young moment: on the other hand, this doesn’t mean that everything that everyone thinks is a kind of religious faith.

  33. Hey, tomorrow’s NYT has an article on a “lapsed” Mormon pol:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/us/22rocky.html

  34. Cathy Youngism is a religion, but it is not the “opiate of the masses” variety. It is reserved solely for dithering “intellectuals”.

  35. dhex,

    I avoid natural law and seek succor in historicism. 😉

  36. I mean, it’s you’re freaking Boogyman or something. As Gays to Rednecks…

    Speaking for the entire Redneck Nation and the Redneck Anti-defamation League, I must say that our position is that homosexuals do, in fact, boogie much better than heterosexuals.

  37. No, not even remotely.

    And we have the official R C agrees with joe moment for this week.

  38. henry – i can assure you all of my posturing remains at the same pristine 24 bits as my mental processes. no dithering down to 16 (or 8, heaven forbid – this isn’t free republic) required.

    grotius – i second that sentiment. iirc, it was you who pointed out the straussian strains in my assertion that natural law and the notion of natural rights was something i couldn’t actually argue for, but felt it was a great thing for people to believe in. the more people who believe in ingrained rights – genuinely, and not just at the moment for tribal concerns because the wrong silverback is in office – the better off we all are, probably.

    sadly those days may be past.

  39. GILMORE,

    Romney isn’t a “cultural” Mormon. He is a bishop in the church (which doesn’t mean the same thing as a Catholic bishop, but is still an indication of his seriousness), and even more importantly, has been discussing his status as “person of faith” as part of his credentials.

    Oh shit! He actually cares about his faith, and gives his personal time to it??!?

    Oh fuck, the guy must be nuts!

    AND he tells people about it???? Someone call the cops. I didnt realize it was this bad!!!

  40. I didn’t say it was a bad thing, GILMORE. Merely that it is perfectly appropriate to ask him about beliefs that he, himself, tells us will influence what kind of president he’ll be.

  41. “””re: TrickyVik…

    Dude, so, I’m wrong because…?

    Because religion is ‘fair game’? What exactly is the thing you want to nail the guy on? Thats he’s playing the same tired ‘Praise Jesus, please gie me some money?’ game? Thats shooting a brick wall with spitballs.”””””

    Your wrong about your belief of secular atheist. I’ve never said you were wrong about anything else. Well prior to this post anyway.

    Now I can say your wrong about your assessment of my beliefs, based on your above paragraph. I’m not looking to nail the guy on anything. I don’t have a problem with religious people taking office as long as they don’t try to legislate their religion onto me. I have a Constitutional right to my own religion, including the right to live under NO religion. Mitt can play any game he wants in his election it will be up to the voters to accept it or not. In case you haven’t been paying attention, all is fair game when running for office. Anyone can claim they hate that about politics, but they will vote for someone who used it.

    I have to say, I find it odd when someone asks me a question and the proceeds to answer that question for me. From my experience, people that do that have a problem “listening”. They already have your answer in their head.

    Honestly Gilmore, it sounds like you believe religion is under assault. It’s not.

    “Render unto Ceaser that which is Ceaser’s.”

    Jesus himself understood the seperation of church and state.

  42. All well and good

    Tie this back into previous post announcing the first (tepid) outing of congresses first ‘non-theist’… and the resultant fart-in-the-wind significance of it… resulting in nothing except people using it as a platform to hem and haw about how culture is in decline, or the theocrats must be stopped, etc… it really has very little to do with religion in public affairs. The dobsons and the deLays are in wane, and the religious right has seen the high watermark of their influence in politics. Generationalism, demographics etc. are going to reduce it further in the coming 10-20 years.

    Hopefully we’ll have a black muslim president by then too, and no one will get particularly excited about it.

  43. FWIW, if an atheist candidate was running around proclaiming that his atheism made him a better candidate, and promising to govern in line with an atheist philosophy, I’d say it would be fair game to take his lack of a spiritual life into account, too.

  44. Jesus, joe… why would a lack of a spiritual life be ‘questionable’?

    🙂

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