Abortion

Flunking a Religious Test

Mitt Romney's strange double standards

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Mitt Romney is worried about religious intolerance. He fears religious and nonreligious people will unite to punish him because of his Mormon faith. He thinks it would be much more in keeping with America's noblest traditions if Mormons and other believers joined together to punish people of no faith.

On Thursday, Romney showed up at the George H.W. Bush Library in College Station, Texas, to announce that even if it costs him the White House, his Mormonism is non-negotiable. That came as a relief to those who suspected he would defuse the issue by undergoing a Methodist baptism.

Like John F. Kennedy, who said in 1960 that the presidency should not be "tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group," Romney said there should be no religious test for this office. "A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith," he said.

Rejected because of his faith, no. But rejected for his lack of faith? That's another question. Romney evinces a powerful aversion to skeptics. "We need to have a person of faith lead the country," he said in February, which sounds like a religious test to me.

In case anyone doubts his inhospitable stance toward freethinkers, scoffers and Sunday-morning layabeds, his speech confirmed it. Nowhere did he make the slightest effort to suggest that anyone unsure of the existence of God has anything to contribute to our democratic dialogue. In fact, he went out of his way to denounce decadent European societies "too busy or too 'enlightened' to . . . kneel in prayer."

When he said "we do not insist on a single strain of religion—rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith," he drew a line that excludes those professing no creed. Zoroastrians and Taoists in, agnostics out.

As he sees it, any American who doesn't worship at least one god is eating away at our democratic structure like a hungry termite. He quoted John Adams: "Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people." Romney went further: "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. . . . Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

He ignores evidence that the framers thought otherwise. The Constitution they so painstakingly drafted contains not a single mention of the Almighty—unlike the Articles of Confederation, which it replaced. A 1796 treaty, signed by that very same John Adams and ratified by the Senate, stipulated that the U.S. government "is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

If the founders thought religion was indispensable to a free republic, why does the national charter say "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office"? Wouldn't it have made more sense to include a religious test?

Romney's theory that faith is essential to liberty suggests he has yet to visit the modern world. He doesn't try to explain countries like Germany, France and Norway—free democracies where most people no longer believe in God. Religion is not exactly synonymous with personal freedom in, say, the Muslim world. Organized Christianity once coexisted comfortably with, and often sponsored,
oppression in Europe and elsewhere.

The former Massachusetts governor makes equally imaginative claims about those who champion church-state separation. He believes they "are intent on establishing a new religion in America—the religion of secularism." Oh? You would look long and hard to find any secularist or civil libertarian who thinks the government should officially espouse atheism or encourage Americans to abandon religion.

Believers insist on keeping "In God We Trust" on our currency. Where are the nonbelievers who want to replace it with "There Is No God"? Secularists don't expect the government to take their side—only to practice neutrality. They think 1) all Americans should be free to practice the religion they choose and 2) none should have the active assistance of the government.

But neutrality between belief and nonbelief is something Romney can't abide. He thinks the government must be firmly and vocally on the side of religion. Only when it comes to Mormonism versus other religions does he recognize the value of neutrality as a principle. Isn't that convenient?

In the end, though, Romney accomplished what he set out to do in this speech. Henceforth, no one can possibly justify voting against him because he's a Mormon. Not when he's provided so many other good reasons.

COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

NEXT: Passing Notes

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  1. For most Americans, I think atheists rank somewhere below alcoholics and gang members. Asking a candidate for national office to forgo easy points like that seems a little unrealistic.

    “Believers insist on keeping “In God We Trust” on our currency. Where are the nonbelievers who want to replace it with “There Is No God”?

    I’m still pulling for “Fear is the Mindkiller”.

  2. Whatever happened to “e pluribus unum” ?

  3. So who’s the atheist candidate in this field that Romney’s trying to rally the faithful against?

  4. So who’s the atheist candidate in this field that Romney’s trying to rally the faithful against?

    I don’t know who it is, but he/she has my vote for two reasons:

    1. Atheist
    2. Romney’s Against said Candidate

  5. I’m still pulling for “Fear is the Mindkiller”.

    Paul Atreides on the one dollar bill, baby. Fuck this “George Washington” guy, whoever he is, even if he is 6’20” tall and made of radiation.

  6. The biggest problem for Romney isn’t what atheists think of him since they are unlikely to sway the election one way or the other. The real problem for him is that his pablum about “faith” won’t convince the religious right of anything since you have to have the right faith to convince them. If says something about the rift between Evangelicals and Mormons that Pat Robertson has thrown his weight (and his mighty world-record bench-pressing legs of steel) behind Rudy Giuliani, who has even less in common with Evangelicals than do Mormons. See, for a big segment of the U.S. population atheists may rank below gang members and alcoholics, but “cult members” (i.e., whoever Pastor Ray Bob Tom* says is in a cult) rank even lower. So they’d rather have Giuliani, who’s pretty dubious on their agenda, than they would have a Mormon who claims to support their agenda.

    So Mormons are the new atheists or atheists are the new Mormons. I knew a kid in high school who refused to sit near Mormons on the bus, a distinction not even atheists got from him…

    *Hat tip to Dave Barry

  7. In the end, though, Romney accomplished what he set out to do in this speech.

    Ace the entrance exam to the Robertson/Falwell Right?

  8. Romney went further: “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. . . . Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.”

    He ignores evidence that the framers thought otherwise. . . A 1796 treaty, signed by that very same John Adams and ratified by the Senate, stipulated that the U.S. government “is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

    How is this evidence that the framers thought that one can’t enjoy freedom without religion? If anything, Adams statement lends support to Romney’s position, since the treaty he snged didn’t stipulate that the U.S. government “is not, in any sense, founded on any religion. But it seems to me that Adams’ point isn’t relevant to the discussion at all.

  9. why Christians don’t trust Mormons http://biblia.com/christianity2/3b-mormons.htm

    Freedom of Religion not from

    If they do their job according to the Constitution then they can have my vote, whether or not they are cultists or atheists. If their religion does not allow them to rule according to the Constitution, then they won’t get my vote.

  10. The “Christian” right best be careful what they ask for. I recently ground my teeth through Del Tackett’s “Truth Project,” which calls for a Christian Government.

    The setup for the series cites a study that finds only 9% of Christians with a “biblical worldview.”

    So these people want the government run by a group of folks where 91% will vote against fundamentalist principles.

    Tackett is so sure he’s Right he can’t even consider other possibilities.

  11. I’ve always found it curious that many Americans have trouble accepting that true freedom of religeon means the freedom not to be religeous at all. Anyone who would refuse to vote for an otherwise well qualified candidate for public office simply because they don’t profess a particular faith doesn’t really believe in freedom of religeon or conscience.

  12. Atrios makes the observation that Romney was introduced by Bush the Elder.

    Who has a rather sordid history of slandering non-believers himself.

  13. I’m still pulling for “Fear is the Mindkiller”… Paul Atreides on the one dollar bill, baby.

    More cults. Damn Bene Gesserit witches, and their (Butlerian) jihad…

  14. If you are going to cite a page to explain Mormon theology and the opposition from Evangelicals, it would help if the writer was literate in English and didn’t get some basic matters of public record (like demographics, not to mention the absurd statements about Mormon belief) simply wrong. If you consider that page an authoritative statement of anything other than bad grammar, sloppy editing, and poor quality invective, I’m afraid you have bigger problems than who the next president will be.

    If Mormons can’t follow the constitution, how do you explain Jeff Flake, who’s doing a darn sight better than anyone who holds the positions you presumably think are needed?

  15. More cults. Damn Bene Gesserit witches, and their (Butlerian) jihad…

    Yes, but his name is a killing word. Think of the interventionist foreign policy we could engage in then!

  16. …Thou shalt not make a candidate in the image of a man’s mind…

  17. Elemenope | December 10, 2007, 10:07am | #

    …Thou shalt not make a candidate in the image of a man’s mind…

    With the exception of Ron Paul, I think that allows the entire field to stay in the race.

  18. “Believers insist on keeping “In God We Trust” on our currency.

    “In God We Trust” is shorthand for “Jesus,I hope this scrap of paper is worth something tomorrow.”

  19. Good morning, children.

    Good morning, Sister Pritchard.

    Let’s all stand by our desks, put our hands over our hears, and recite the Litany Against Fear.

    *grind, scrape, murmur*

    “Fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the little death…”

  20. Saw Mclaughlin group this weekend for the first time in a long time. While Romney dissed atheists subtly either consciously or subconsciously, the level of vitriol that Lawrence O’Donnell spewed forth against Romney even made Elanor Clift visibly uncomfortable and caused her to come to Romney’s defense.

  21. If they do their job according to the Constitution then they can have my vote, whether or not they are cultists or atheists. If their religion does not allow them to rule according to the Constitution, then they won’t get my vote.

    Adam, except for Ron Paul, NONE of the crop of presidential candidates intends to abide by the Constitution in its entirety, and in particular concerning the Tenth Amendment. Their reasons for abrogating the Tenth aren’t about religion, but about power.

    That said, Mitt would be unlikely to uphold the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clause for atheists, though he would likely uphold it against the equally misguided anti-religious fanatics who would pervert the First to exclude any religious manifestions from government at all, such as preventing a Christmas display on public property even if tasteful Jewish, Muslim, or Taoist displays were permitted there also.

    Though, if he were to win the primary, Mitt might then find it politically expedient to tone down his rhetoric to reach out to less-religious folks. He is, after all, someone with a track record of saying whatever it takes to get to 51%.

  22. Considering that this thread seems to have taken a left turn at Arrakis, would it be appropriate for the Bush and Clinton clans to declare kanly?

  23. Mitt, you sanctimonious, hypocritical, ass, lacking any convictions, moral oor otherwise, please review this list. Tell me again the correlation between faith and democracy, idiot.

    I’ll tell y’all right now, if this jerk or Huckabee Hound gets the nomination, I’m going to campaign, hard, for whoever the Dems nominate. Yes, even Hillary.

    This atheist ain’t no second class citizen, and I’m not gonna take that holier than thou, religious bigotry crap.

  24. So who’s the atheist candidate in this field that Romney’s trying to rally the faithful against?

    It’s the MSM. And the speech is further proof that Romney is an idiot. The media is using Romney’s faith as a wedge issue to push support for their candidate – Giuliani (and then either Clinton or Obama). There isn’t any real antipathy toward Mormons or any other religion in the country. Nor is there any antipathy among the electorate for the non-religious. It’s a phony issue created by the media and Romney, in all his brilliance, fell into the trap.

    People expect that a candidate’s religion will inform their values and principles and most understand that the major religions have common values and principles. Additionally, most major “non-religions” have the same values and principles. What concerns people is when religious doctrine creeps into public policy. Values and principles are one thing, worship and doctrine is another.

    Romney ran blindly into a no-win discussion of his religion. No matter what he said he would be derided as a kook, rightwing ideologue with designs on creating a theocracy. That he and his campaign are too stupid to realize the trap is all the evidence one needs to vote for somebody else.

    Huckabee — you’re next…

  25. You can tell I’m really angry because I neglected the obscene insults I usually provide for people I am contemptuous of.

    Don’t worry, sister fucker Mitt (you want bigotry, Mitt?, I don’t like it, but I can do it) will get his blast when I’m in the proper invective frame of mind.

    You want bigotry, Mitt?, I don’t like it, but I can do it. Remember asshole, you started it, cultist heretic freak.

  26. Aresen,

    Certainly.

    The Forms must be obeyed.

  27. I’ll tell y’all right now, if this jerk or Huckabee Hound gets the nomination, I’m going to campaign, hard, for whoever the Dems nominate. Yes, even Hillary.

    The problem is that the Democrats (even Hillary) will shill just as hard for Big Religion when pushed.

    It’s a phony issue created by the media and Romney, in all his brilliance, fell into the trap.

    Yes, but the media are well aware that Americans want their politicians to be righteous and God-fearing–the media are just giving ’em what they want.

  28. This thread is full of win because I’m reading Dune right now.

  29. The problem is that the Democrats (even Hillary) will shill just as hard for Big Religion when pushed.

    I’m unawre of any statement by any Democratic candidate that so much as infers that religious belief is a requirement for any government position. Link please.

  30. Considering that this thread seems to have taken a left turn at Arrakis…

    Well, what’s done is done…

    “On Caladan we ruled by sea and air; in the US, we need Polling power. Polling power, Paul.”

  31. There isn’t any real antipathy toward Mormons or any other religion in the country.

    Ummm, Curly Smith, I can tell you from direct personal experience that your statement is SO not true.

  32. “We need to have a person of faith lead the country,…”

    If you say, “We need to have a person of faith white person lead the country,…” how many blacks will vote for you?

    If you say, “We need to have a person of faith man lead the country,…” how many women will vote for you?

    If you say, “We need to have a person of faith protestant lead the country,…” how many catholics will vote for you?

    If you say, “We need to have a person of faith married person lead the country,” how many single people will vote for you?

    If you say, “We need to have a person of faith veteran lead the country,” would Mitt Romney (received deferment for religios mission in France) vote for you?

    Mitt can kiss my Royal American Atheist Ass.

  33. The problem is that the Democrats (even Hillary) will shill just as hard for Big Religion when pushed.

    I’m unawre of any statement by any Democratic candidate that so much as infers that religious belief is a requirement for any government position. Link please.

    joe, the Democratic shilling for Big Religion takes a different form than the Republican shilling for Big Religion. For example, HRC’s nauseating pandering, on camera, in a black church, where she implied that Republicans would bring back the plantations.

  34. J sub D — could you please tell us how you really feel about religion, and knock off all this mealy-mouthed moderation? 😉

    If you’re not careful, MNG or crimethink will wander onto this thread, say something that contradicts you, and cause Donderoooooo’s ass to headplode while trying to reconcile with his statement that you’re all the same person.

  35. Since I worship Mammon, I should be OK.

  36. prolefeed,

    1. That was J sub D.

    2. For example, HRC’s nauseating pandering, on camera, in a black church, where she implied that Republicans would bring back the plantations. What does this have to do with the subject at hand? Does making a statement about race relations turn into a statement about the necessity of religious faith when a candidate says it in a church? Or are you just lumping any statement made to a religious audience together, regardless of the content or message?

  37. joe, the HRC comment was admittedly a bit sloppy, illustrating HRC pandering hugely to a religious audience, but not about religion in that example. I’m just pressed for time this a.m. Are you saying that fifteen minutes or so of googling wouldn’t reveal dozens if not hundreds of examples of current Democratic presidential candidates specifically pandering about religion?

  38. While I find a lot of religious to be rather ridiculous, I have to say that it is particularly audacious to be lectured by a Mormon about religion, they believe that when Jesus was resurrected he took a right turn and headed for America…

  39. J sub D,

    Your link to Romney’s hypocrisy is quite entertaining on the gun laws item–The same debate on the same day, he says he supports Massachusetts’ gun laws, that they keep people safe, but that he personally owns a gun, is a member of the NRA, and believes firmly in the right to bear arms. I guess he meant that it’s ok for him to have a firearm, but not anyone else. What a tool.

  40. Are you saying that fifteen minutes or so of googling wouldn’t reveal dozens if not hundreds of examples of current Democratic presidential candidates specifically pandering about religion?

    No, I’m saying that 1000 hours of googling wouldn’t reveal more than a handful of Democratic candidates making the claim – pretty much universal among Republicans – that only religious people can be good citizens or good public officials.

    Democrats pander to religious people all the time. What they do not go in for is the dangerously theocratic belief that religious believers should have special rights or an elevated position in public life.

  41. Shawn Smith,

    There are hundreds of thousands of gun owners in Massachusetts. Masschusetts’ gun laws do not forbid the ownership of firearms.

    Now, if Mitt had said that he owned a semi-automatic rifle with a large-capacity magazine while supporting Massachusetts’ gun laws, then he’d be a hypocrite.

  42. Who knows what Romney actually thinks (if he’s a devout Mormon, it’s some crazy shit!), this is just politics, plain and simple. The American people wouldn’t elect an atheist so why should he stick his neck out for them? He’s just playing the numbers.

    Look, he’s a douchebag, but are we seriously going to call out every politician when they don’t vocally support atheism? Because none of them do and they aren’t going to for the foreseeable future.

    I also don’t think Reason should spend their time in the weeds with the rest of the media singling out one candidate for a sin that they all commit.

    BTW, I’m not trying to defend Romney, he’s an empty suit as far as I’m concerned.

  43. No, I’m saying that 1000 hours of googling wouldn’t reveal more than a handful of Democratic candidates making the claim – pretty much universal among Republicans – that only religious people can be good citizens or good public officials.

    joe, care to provide the links to the public statements of all the non-Romney Republican presidential candidates that “only religious people can be good citizens or good public officials”, since you assert this is “pretty much universal”? Perhaps some of them said something along these lines — I haven’t googled it — but would you concede that tarring ALL the Republicans, and in particular Ron Paul, for something Romney said, ought to come with some links to back it up to avoid charges of partisan slandering?

  44. joe, care to provide the links to the public statements of all the non-Romney Republican presidential candidates that “only religious people can be good citizens or good public official

    joe, I’ll take this one.

    August 27, 1987. At O’Hare Airport he [George HW Bush]held a formal outdoor news conference. There Robert I. Sherman, a reporter for the American Atheist news journal, fully accredited by the state of Illinois and by invitation a participating member of the press corps covering the national candidates, had the following exchange with then-Vice-President Bush.

    Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

    Bush: I guess I’m pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.

    Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

    Bush: No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

    Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

    Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I’m just not very high on atheists.

  45. prolefeed,

    Why would I sometimes get pissed? Not hard to figure, is it?

  46. J sub D

    With respect to your 2:20 post, I wonder how many candidates would take the bait if someone asked them if a worshipper of Mammon would be acceptable?

    I think Bush I would probably have spotted the joke. I doubt Bush II would have. Huckabee might get it just because he was a pastor.

  47. care to provide the links to the public statements of all the

    All of them? Sounds like a waste of time.

    would you concede that tarring ALL the Republicans, and in particular Ron Paul, for something Romney said, ought to come with some links to back it up to avoid charges of partisan slandering? Sure I would. That’s why phrases like “pretty much” were invented.

  48. With respect to your 2:20 post,

    A link would be nice.

  49. Isn’t it really the kind of religion that Democrats and Republicans seem to endorse that matters? While I don’t agree with everything that Dems say, isn’t the real problem the kind of religion that the Repbulicans support is an extremely divisive ‘culture war’ kind of religion?

  50. would you concede that tarring ALL the Republicans, and in particular Ron Paul, for something Romney said, ought to come with some links to back it up to avoid charges of partisan slandering?

    Sure I would. That’s why phrases like “pretty much” were invented.

    joe, if by “pretty much universal” you mean “approximately one out of eight or so”, then you’re working out of a different dictionary than I do. Last I checked, when you claim something is universal, modified by the weasel words “pretty much”, it should mean something like “an overwhelming majority, with a few exceptions”. At a minimum, it would imply more than a bare majority. And almost anyone pulled at random off the street would agree that it absolutely doesn’t mean “a tiny minority”.

    So, do you have links to any of the current Republican presidential candidates besides Romney saying this?

  51. Areses, my bad. I should have provided this link

  52. J sub D — As a former agnostic, I understand completely why you are pissed. I was wryly joking at how very over-the-top pissed off you are.

    Thanks for the link. I’m not taking issue with the fact that there are lots of politicians who are dismissive of atheists and agnostics and their First Amendment rights, and that Republicans are overrepresented in that sorry lot. I was just taking issue with joe’s contention, without any supporting links, that the extreme religious right was virtually the entirety of the Republican party, instead of a large and influential faction jockeying for control with the libertarian wing, fiscal conservative wing, warmongering wing, etc.

    Not everyone can gracefully back down and say, “Eh, maybe overstated that a bit, even though there’s a kernal of truth there. My bad.”

  53. So, do you have links to any of the current Republican presidential candidates besides Romney saying this?

    Not right off hand. But I do have some from Rudy’s Butt Buddy.

    “When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. `What do you mean?’ the media challenged me. `You’re not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe in the Judeo Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?’ My simple answer is, `Yes, they are.'”
    From Pat Robertson’s “The New World Order,” page 218.

    and

    “The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that’s what’s been happening.”

    — Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, Dec. 30, 1981

    If you’d like more, you’ll find them here.

    Don’t even try to say that Pat Robertson isn’t a power broker in the Republican party.

  54. prolefeed, we’re passing in the night here. I’m quite aware that there are a lot of religious politicians on the left who would dismiss me because of my freethinking. But they don’t come right out and say, you’re not worthy/welcome. Keeping your distance, OK. Throwing stones, Not OK.

  55. Not playing, prolefeed.

    Everyone reading this, except you apparently, is well aware of the intolerant, theocratic stance of the contemporary Republican Party.

    The burden of proof falls on he who makes the extraordinary claim, and that would be YOU, the one claiming that Mitt Romney’s statement that the Presdident needs to be “a person of faith” is unrepresentative of Republicans.

  56. I heard Rush Limbaugh last Friday defending Romney’s speech. He said that as the Declaration of Independence states that our rights are endowed by our Creator, that means that this country was founded on the principle of a belief in God and that is why our country is so great. He said that anybody who doesn’t believe this is ignorant of the principles of which this country was founded. I take issue with this. Our Founding Fathers beleived in God, that’s true, but the main point here is individual rights. Our individual rights are protected whether or not we believe those rights were given to us by God. It is those rights, including property rights, that has made this country great, not necessarily God’s guidance as Limbaugh seems to be implying.

  57. “Everyone reading this, except you apparently, is well aware of the intolerant, theocratic stance of the contemporary Republican Party.”

    It’s why I left the Party in 1976.

  58. All of these problems coulda been avoided if we had stopped those uppity Protestants and their blasphemous Reformation.

  59. Marcvs

    Your Auto-da-fe or mine?

  60. Of course a worshipper of Mammon is acceptable, or at least in 2000 was to a plurality of the electorate and five black-robed wardheelers, as well as to a slight majority in 2004.

  61. Oops! Brain fart time. The reference in my previous post to a plurality is incorrect. Albert Gore, Jr., not George W. Doofus, won the plurality. I should instead have said 50 million voters comprising about 48 percent of the electorate.

  62. This Chapman article is dishonest and not worthy of a magazine supposedly devoted to “reason.”

  63. The problem with naming your magazine reason is that every time someone disagrees with you, they get to use a line like “This magazine is supposedly devoted to reason?” and they think they sound fucking clever when they use it. Guess what, if using the title of the magazine is part of your argument (or even just added for effect) you’re an idiot.

  64. Even George W. Bush doesn’t seem to have to problem with non-believers.

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/quote-b4.htm#BUSHGW

  65. Have we become that thin skinned?

    Since when is ommission of atheists and agnostics in a political speech a new development?

    I can’t remember when a candidate, of any stripe, including Ron Paul (I may be proven wrong here) has made a specific reference to atheists and agnostics.

    Romney, like most other pandering politicians, is more than a little too ‘holier than thou’ for my tastes when it comes to discussing religion and its place in the public sphere. However, I really don’t think that the aforementioned ommission, in a speech intended to clarify his religious position in relation to other christian evangelicals, is a disqualifying event. At least not for me.

    My “religion” in this fight is that of anti-statism. I’m not certain that atheism, as a belief system, is that integral to that position. The real danger we face is the “religion” espoused by the radical green movement who worship at the feet of Al Gore and his cronies. We are much more likely to have that belief system (global warming as a matter of faith)dictated to us along with the attendant overreaching of government than we are mormonism or baptism or catholicism. That is the threat here. So, be careful who you disqualify and for what reason.

  66. Just for shits and giggles I thought I’d do a quick google on democratic candidates and religion. Third on the list when searching under Obama is this tidbit:

    “Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a Madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage.
    This is the question Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s camp is asking about Sen. Barack Obama.
    An investigation of Mr. Obama by political opponents within the Democratic Party has discovered that Mr. Obama was raised as a Muslim by his stepfather in Indonesia. Sources close to the background check, which has not yet been released, said Mr. Obama, 45, spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia.
    “He was a Muslim, but he concealed it,” the source said. “His opponents within the Democrats hope this will become a major issue in the campaign”

    This is taken from the website THE HILLARY PROJECT (www.hillaryproject.com)

    Now that position certainly doesn’t state that the country needs a person of faith as the president but it certainly seems to make the claim that Mr. Obama’s particular faith might disqualify him.

    I ask you, how does that differ from Romney’s “person of faith” statement. To my view it is even more insidious.

    Same game, different party. Do you have any doubt that THE Hillary Project would be conducting the exact same backgound check if Mr. Obama was a professed atheist? I don’t.

  67. Last post on this issue.

    And there is this article from the Village Voice.

    http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0509,lombardi1,61604,6.html/2

    It is a couple of years old but speaks volumes about the claims above that the republicans have cornered the market on pandering to the religious among us. The article speaks quite clearly to the stated strategy on the part of the DNC to move away from secularism.

    Again, same game, different party.

  68. The Hillary Project is an anti-Clinton website, and the accusations that she was behind the madrassa smears were unsourced charges that appeared on Fox News.

    Congratulations, you’ve found an example of REPUBLICANS using religion to smear people as unfit for office.

  69. The Village Voice article doesn’t contain a single quote from a Democrat smearing the partriotism or fitness for office of non-believers.

    You might remember, THAT was the subject of the thread. Not “appealing to religious voters,” but a particular, bigotted strategy of scapegoating atheists in order to appeal to religious voters.

  70. Mea Cullpa ont he Hillary Project piece. Quick research yields questionable results.

    Explain to me how ommission of atheists in a political speech in which a candidate states that the country needs a man of faith as a president qualifies as a “particular, bigotted strategy of scapegoating atheists”?

    Back to the thin-skinned characterization from my perspective

  71. DOUBT FUELING HUCK FANS
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/12072007/news/columnists/doubt_fueling_huck_fans_702976.htm

    “Mormons must take oaths and covenants of absolute obedience to the Mormon Church,” he said. “What is he going to do when the Mormon Church calls?”

    This does not seem to be consistent with Mitt’s speech.

  72. The exact same claim was made of catholics during the 1960 election.
    See JFK’s speech in 1960 in response to this very charge.

    I am not mormon. I am not catholic. I am an agnostic when it comes to any organized religion. I just find it interesting that we, the self-described free thinkers of the world, seem to think that freedom of thought is confined to those who either claim no religion or claim only those religions with which we are comfortable.

    Romney said the church would not guide his decisions when it comes to matters of the state. Kennedy said the same thing. America took Kennedy’s word for it and I’ll accept Romney’s as well.

    Religous bigotry in the guise of protecting the autonomy of the body politic is still religious bigotry. I fear that shift. I fear it greatly.

    What I truly regret is that the republican primary is seemingly devolving into a religious war when it should be focusing on free trade, the real spectre of the creeping nanny state and the pending collapse of the dollar

    In that many of the folks who’ve posted here earlier are correct. The dems haven’t fallen into that trap. They just sit back and watch it happen. Wise on their part. Sad for all of us.

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