Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Global War on Romney

The Boston Globe is on the attack against Mitt Romney. The major theme seems to be that he's a (gasp!) Mormon. But it's nothing but a scurrilous hit piece. I thought that discirmination based on religion had been laid to rest when JFK was elected, but the Globe brushes that aside because:
In 1960, JFK made it clear both that he believed in an absolute separation of church and state and that he should not be considered the Catholic Church's candidate. "I do not speak for the church on public matters and the church does not speak for me," he declared.
Romney's organization, it is claimed, reached out the the LDS Church for money and help building a grass roots organization.

First of all, it doesn't matter if they did. Do you think that Kennedy didn't seek contributions from Catholics or talk to the Cardinal? If they did what the Globe says, the Church has a well-known policy against endorsing or supporting politica parties or candidates. The Apostle supposed to have met with Romney's representative flatly denies any such thing. Even if he did, that is not the same as offering him church resources. Utahns are generally conservative and the BYU business and law schools have a lot of alumni who have money. It would be idiotic not to seek donations amoung them. But every Mormon, and especially Romney who has been a Stake President, about equivalent to a Catholic Bishop, and has been instructed every election year that the Church does not endorse or support parties or candidates or even allow its meetings or property to be used for political purposes.

The article's attacks on Romney and Mormonism are primitive, calling him "Slick Willard," and implying that he authorized his aides to sneak around and request the Church's help. While not attacking Mormonism direstly, the author, Scot Lehigh, makes sure to mention polygamy, which probably assured the survival of the church but was abandoned in the 1890s, and the church's former policy that blacks could not receive the priesthood, the authority to officiate in ordinances of the church. That was changed in 1979 through revelation, after blacks began to join the church in spite of that policy (The revelation was not unlike the one given to Peter in Acts 11, where he was shown that the gospel was to be given to the Gentiles, not only Jews) Lehigh seems to despise Romney, calling him "Slick Willard" (His full name is Willard Mitt Romney) and is now attempting to argue that Romney would be directly controlled by the LDS Church leadership. There have been other Mormons in high offices, J. Reuben Clarke in the State Department and Ezra Taft Benson who was Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower. There has never been any evidence that they were taking orders from the Church. Political Leaders regularly visit with the President of the Church, but the Church doesn't tell them anything it wouldn't tell anybody else. There are 5 Senators who are LDS, and as far as I know, such accusations are not made against them. Orrin Hatch is a strong advocate for stem cell research. The Church has made no official statement on the subject. The idea that Romney would seek to violate church policy is laughable, but I can imagine some overenthusiastic campaign aide trying to approach church members, who are free to support whoever they wish, but if he approached church officials seeking help, he was mistaken. Romney knows better and wouldn't be that dumb, but some non-member politcal consultant could be.

The church flatly denies that the meetings reported by the Globe ever happened,and faculty at the BYU business school have been admonished not to involve the church in any private political activities. None of the story is believable to anybody who has heard the First Presidency's letter that is read in Sacrament Meeting throughout the church in election years.

It's a little early to start smearing potential candidates, but Romney is a special case. He's dangerous to Democrat hopes. He's got charisma, executive experience and character. People hear him speak and are impressed. He took over the Utah Winter Olympics when its was beset by financial problems and scandal, solved financial problems and produced one of the best, most memorable Olympics in years. He straightened out Massachusetts' deficits and balanced the budget. He's a dream candidate, but he's a good practicing Mormon.

The other attacks on him a just as bogus. Some conservatives claim he's not really conservative because he hasn't been strong against abortion in Massachusetts. He probably didn't hit gays hard enough for them either. Hello? Massachusetts? Some times I think the far right will only support candidates who can't win.

For those who say they could never vote for a Mormon, here are some of our beliefs:

Articles of Faith 11 through 13:
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own cconscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
We've been called a cult, a sect, non-Christians, heretics and everything else people could think of. We've been driven from our homes, murdered, mobbed, robbed, slandered and had our rights ignored. Most of this persecution was fomented by ministers of other churchs who saw us as a threat to their income and resorted to lies, innuendo and claims that we aren't Christian because we don't accept that God is three persons in one, without body parts or passion, which is tradition from the Catholic Church, not scripture.

Despite all the things said against us, we have looked forward, not back, and we have worked hard to build, not to tear down others. Brigham Young brought the church here to Utah to be free of the violent attacks on it, and the people built a civilization out of a desert. These past persecutions are one reason we would not deny anyone else their legitimate rights, nor give religious leaders the power inherent in government. Another reason is that to do so is not scriptural. Joseph Smith whom we honor as a prophet of God sent to restore the Church of Christ as it was established by him and his apostles in their mortal lives was once asked how he was able to govern such a large people. His answer was, "I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves."

Mitt Romney impresses people because he is a leader, both in business and in government. He has improved the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through his service.
I think that it would be a shame if the people of America deprived themselves the leadership of such a talented man based merely on religious spite, and I say this not just because he's LDS. Harry Reid is LDS, but he's not a leader. He's a political hack. a colorless messenger boy for the likes of Kennedy, Kerry, Durbin and Schumer. Romney is someone who has shown good judgment, skill and ability and I trust him. I can't say that about Reid or McCain or George Allen. In my mind, it's between Giuliani and Romney. I think that people will get tired of Hillary's tedious scolding pretty quickly and if given a likeable alternative, will flee from her.

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