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Cultural Contradictions of Liberalism, Part 123,456,789

Some commenters on the left have tried to spin Romney's "don't hate me because I'm Mormon" speech more or less like this: "oh, how horrid that he should even have to make such a speech! But those Republican primary voters are so bigoted against anybody who departs the least little bit from Christian orthodoxy that he had no choice. We Democrats, of course, would never even dream of rejecting somebody simply because of his religion!"

Meanwhile, back in the real world, The Huffington Post (!) Reports:

"Lawrence O'Donnell...began by remarking, 'This was the worst political speech of my lifetime'...Because this man stood there and said to you 'this is the faith of my fathers.' And you, and none of these commentators who liked this speech realized that the faith of his fathers is a racist faith. As of 1978 it was an officially racist faith, and for political convenience in 1978 it switched. And it said 'OK, black people can be in this church.' He believes, if he believes the faith of his fathers, that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God, in this demented, Scientology-like notion of what was going on in heaven before the creation of the earth...Mormonism was founded by a 'fraudulent criminal,' O'Donnell maintained, insisting that the speech was an 'opportunity to distance himself from the evils of his religion'..O'Donnell would just not let up. His kick to commercial, 'Romney comes from a religion that was founded by a criminal who was anti-American, pro-slavery, and A RAPIST!'"

Well. What can I say?

At some point, people on the left need to work it out amongst themselves whether or not it's acceptable to object to a Mormon candidate for political office, simply because he's Mormon.

So, of course, do people on the right. But, then, they already knew that.

Comments (5)

...or acceptable to object to a Catholic judicial nominee because he's Catholic, or acceptable to rant ad nauseum about the "religious right" or, just generally, acceptable to engage in anti-religious bigotry *all over the place.*

I find the entire Mormon question somewhat, well, baffling, inasmuch as it is entirely irrelevant as a matter of substantive politics, until and unless Romney attempts to derive from his Mormonism a policy commitment both objectionable on its own terms and distinguishable from rival positions primarily by its Mormon derivation. The probability of something like this occurring is infinitesimally small.

On the other hand, the requirement imposed by a substantial percentage of the electorate, that a candidate actually "be one of them" in a theological or philosophical sense, over and above stated policy preferences, seems to be of the essence of democratic politics: identitarian and not necessarily rational.

My objection to Romney is that he is a consummate opportunist, politically and ideologically, and that, as a function of this, his "conversion narratives" strain credulity; his substantive policies, moreover, do not impress me, particularly in the arena of foreign affairs. Mormonism doesn't rate as a factor in my decision not to support his candidacy.

I agree that people have the right to measure political candidates against their religious biases and either demonize/glorify them accordingly.

But I don't think it's good for America, certainly not the extent that it has occurred.

Call me idealistic, but I think patriotism knows no religion (with the obvious exceptions of the Muslim Jihadists, as they are at literal war with America). Furthermore, I've known people of all faiths who are upstanding and moral.

Rather, the status quo drags religion and politics together through a very ugly mud. No wonder we elect the people we do.

The general reaction on the non-evangelical Right to Romney's Mormonism seems to be the prudent one of; "he may be a heretic, but he is our heretic."

Currently, many liberals are officially fearful that Romney didn't issue a Kennedyesque homage to Americanism. Yet, the life-style Left is taking solace in the sanction of polygamy (within Mormonism) and the discomfort his candidacy causes evangelicals. These 2 reactions, though will morph into one unified howl of extreme angusih over the danger of "cults" should Romney be on the ticket come November.

I think that Romney's Mormonism would be irrelevant to the conduct of foreign policy. That said, I find it not at all far-fetched that Romney's Mormonism might have an affect on his domestic policies, particularly with regard to the western states. Mormons do stick together, which is how they survived and why they have flourished. In this, they are somewhat similar to the Jews.

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