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Posted by on Dec 8, 2007 in Religion | 43 comments

GOP Politics & Faith: An Ungodly Mess

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“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” — Article VI, U.S. Constitution

Make no mistake about it: The biggest reason that religion is playing such an out-sized role in this presidential election cycle is because of the insistence of the conservative Christian zealots who hijacked the Republican Party that candidates be judged by their faith.

The comparisons between Mitt Romney’s speech this week on his own Mormon faith and John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on his Roman Catholicism were bogus. JFK simply wanted to be accepted as an American; Romney wants to be accepted by the zealots.

Baptist minister Mike Huckabee believes that divine providence is responsible for his surge in the polls. (The same presumably will be true when he finishes far back in the pack.) In one of his TV ads, he proclaims that “Faith doesn’t just influence me. It really defines me.”

Republican presidential wannabes have avidly sought the blessings of Pat Robertson and other televangelists, while speechifying at Liberty University has become a mandatory campaign stop.

And of course President Bush has suffused his tenure with eschatological underpinnings, promoting the Global War on Terror and its wicked stepchild, the war in Iraq, as a modern-day Christian Crusade against people whose religion we are led to believe is shot through with darkness, ignorance and anger.


* * * * *

Romney stood the enduring wisdom of the Founding Fathers on its ear in asserting in his speech that while he championed religious freedom, he would impose a religious test on others. Furthermore, he stated, religion is an essential requisite for freedom.

“Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom,” he claimed. “Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.”

Not that I planned to vote for Romney. He, like Huckabee, won’t survive the presidential primary gauntlet. But I am a deeply spiritual person whose parents and grandparents were Jews, Anglicans and Roman Catholics, while my children got a healthy dose of Friends meetings when they were younger and I found myself repeating a Buddhist mantra the last time I was wheeled into a hospital emergency room.

As you may have guessed, I do not consider my freedom loving self – a veteran who bleeds red, white and blue for his country – to be of any particular faith.

How ironic that Mormons probably have been subject to more bigotry than any Christian-oriented faith but Romney does a bigoted turn himself in declaring that I am less-than-whole. The irony grows richer because a goodly number of those Founding Fathers were Deists, free thinkers and even atheists — and so apparently were less-than-whole, too.


* * * * *

None of this would matter terribly much if we didn’t need a GOP that welcomed all people, not a party beholden to those who believe Christ was one of their own (but not mine) and would rewrite Article VI of the Constitution to comport with their own zealotry. Which is not so much to tear down the wall between Church and State than enmesh the two.

As it is, the Republican Party is in a helluva fix and probably couldn’t hold onto the White House if the Risen Christ was its candidate next year.

The GOP will be up the creek if it doesn’t nominate someone who, like their president, can claim to channel the wisdom of Jesus, but if it does it will further alienate people who don’t view religion as a litmus test.

As former Nixon speech-writer and conservative author Kevin Phillips has written:

“[The religious conservatives] say we cannot be running out of oil; God makes the climate; and White House explanations about what the United States is doing in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East have to square with the fight between good and evil as the end times draw nigh.

“To be sure — as many believers are sure — this time the prophecies could truly be on the verge of fulfillment. History, however, suggests that if the hour was not at hand for Rome, Spain, the Dutch Republic, or Britain circa 1914, despite their convictions of God’s favor and heaven’s special attention, then God may also spurn his Republican faithful in and out of Washington. And should religious excess and overambition become part of an epitaph for the twenty-first century United States, as it did for some of the others, the current GOP national coalition will share in the ignominy.”

How ironic that when Romney’s father ran for president in 1968 his Mormonism was not an issue, nor was the fact that Morris Udall was a Mormon when he ran in 1976.

Times certainly have changed, and much for the worse.

As Charles Krauthammer notes, the God of the Founding Fathers, the God who is on American coins and currency, “is the ineffable, ecumenical, nonsectarian Providence of the American civil religion whose relation to this blessed land is without appeal to any particular testament or ritual.”

In the end, the big problem with mixing Church and State for me is that so-called true believers are called to try to change the world from the inside out and politics tries to change the world from the outside in. The religious zealots who usurp politics ultimately debase both their faith and America.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • Christopher

    For me the saddest comment on America is that we are actually having to have discussions about a candidate’s religion (Mitt, Huckabee), ethnicity(Obama, Richardson), or gender(Clinton).

    How can we move past the irrelevant junk and have serious discussions on policy?

    These are serious times we live in. I wish we could act more like adults.

  • bdc

    The evangelicals are so effective because they unite around one issue, but if their wildest dreams come true (at the moment) and Huckabee becomes president, it would not be long before the dominant American religion is Catholicism because their champion du jour opens up the borders.

    I think one of the big errors the evangelical right makes is to assume they will always be speaking from a position of strength. Washington is so vitriolic right now in part because of a spiraling policy of payback, and the day may come when evangelicals are on the political receiving end.

  • Don Quijote

    it would not be long before the dominant American religion is Catholicism because their champion du jour opens up the borders.

    Too late, Roman Catholics already are the largest religious denomination in the US.

  • domajot

    We are going backwards in time.
    It’s as if everything past generations learned about what happens when Church gets the power of State is being erased from history.
    We insist on reinventing the wheel, it seems.
    After Romney’s ‘freedom requires religion’ statement, there’s not much of history that hasn’t been unlearned.

    CHRISTOPHER, I agree with you completely.
    In the 21st century, and in the midsct of the most seious challenges at home and abroad, we are discussing God. gender and race. That’s a damning self-portrait we are seening (and creating).

    It makes it very sad for me personally, Over the years, I’ve voted for more Republican presidents than Democratic ones. Now, for reasons of self-preservation, I can’t even consider it. I still, probably naively, want the country to go forward, not backward. The GOP has become, on many fronts, the party of going backwarsd: Gung-ho On the Past.

  • When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.

    Barry Goldwater, speaking to The Washington Post, July 28, 1994

  • Shaun, I’m having a difficult time sorting out what’s really bugging you. There are lots of familiar charges here, “conservative Christian zealots [have] hijacked the Republican Party”, “mixing Church and State”, and your use of the word “zealot” more than once. These catch phrases have been so overused that I doubt they have any meaning left in them.

    You and lots of others are concerned that Christian Republicans are forcing the party to adopt a candidate with Christian bona fides. That’s a fair charge, but the Christian right, while a big voting block, doesn’t represent a majority. Rudy Giuliani is a token Catholic who rejects his church’s position on abortion. John McCain is a mainline Protestant. Fred Thompson is a nominal member of the Church of Christ. These are all fairly typical and unexceptional for the United States, which is a very religious nation.

    In other words, we have a diverse field of candidates. The Christian right gets to try to influence the outcome just like everybody else. That’s the way it works.

    Are you saying Republicans should reject any candidate who takes his faith seriously? And why would “zealots” not be included as citizens with a full right to run for office and participate in politics in your America? It sounds like you’re so ready to exclude any “zealot” who takes his faith seriously that you’ve become a zealot for religious tokenism.

    Romney and Huckabee are both certain about where they stand on matters of faith. I know a lot of people are troubled by certainty. They’re certain that certainty is narrow-minded and bigoted. We all have our certainties, and we all prefer candidates who think the way we do. But as I look at the whole field, Democratic and Republican, I see a pretty good cross-section of American religious belief and unbelief.

    So what’s your beef? Nobody has rigged the process. If Romney or Huckabee become the nominee, it’ll be because they had the most effective campaigns, not because God, or Jerry Falwell, pulled levers behind the curtain.

  • Somebody

    That it is a mess is your opinion.

    Politics and Religion have been a part of this nation for 200 plus years. Nothing has changed except the internet allows for the outcry of the minority to be louder then times past.

  • domajot

    Chaz and Somebody-

    There is a vast difference between a president who is religious and a president who puts his faith, instead on the Constitution, in the pilot’s seat of his decision making process.

    There is a vast difference betwen praying that God will guide his decisions and stating what God’s decsisions are before any deliberation according to the Constitution.

    It’s that difference that marks the changed role of religion in Republican politics.
    It’s that difference that marks the difference between JFK’s speech on religion and Romney’s.
    It’s that difference that makes the Republican candidates so alarming.

  • kritt

    Romney’s “freedom requires religion” statement makes no sense to me—-actually it doesn’t. Freedom requires that we abstain from religious tests for candidates, and choose those who have demonstrated the ability to govern with reason instead of faith.

    We have already seen the disasterous effects when we pick someone who “listens to a higher power” instead of existing information to solve a vexing problem. Lets put religion back where it belongs- in the private sector.

  • domajot

    Peggy Noonan in a WSJ column refers to those who are troubled by Ronmey’s ‘freedom requires religion’ speech as ‘the idiot vote’ And her column was praised on MVDG’s site.
    That tells you pretty well whete today’s conservatives stand.

    Oh, and Goldwater’s statement about the Religious Right is claimed to be irrlelevat, because he was really talking about the liberals.
    You just know that whatever the GOP does, the liberals made them do it.
    Bpy oh boy, how I miss the days when I voted with confidence for many Republican candidates. I could claim with perfect sincerity that the conservatives of today made me into the ‘liberal’ that I’ve become.
    Although among liberals, I’m accused of being much too conservative, at least I know what I am not, and that’s today’s conservative..

  • domajot said: There is a vast difference between a president who is religious and a president who puts his faith, instead on the Constitution, in the pilot’s seat of his decision making process.

    It’s a good sound bite, but I’d like to hear exactly how Bush (who I assume you’re talking about) has put “his faith, instead of the Constitution, in the pilot’s seat.” I think that would be front page NY Times news, but I haven’t read it.

    So, again, if we could dispense with the slogans please? Both Jimmy Carter and George Bush were born-again, evangelical, church-going Christians. Both prayed about their leadership of the country, because their faith is a central part of who they are.

    It should be obvious that their shared faith identity is not a predictor of their political leanings. I understand that you don’t like Bush’s politics. No problem. Just don’t try to wrap your disagreement in paranoid, theocratic mumbo jumbo.

  • AZChas:

    You said it well in your initial comment.

    “You and lots of others are concerned that Christian Republicans are forcing the party to adopt a candidate with Christian bona fides. That’s a fair charge . . . “

  • Somebody

    “You and lots of others are concerned that Christian Republicans are forcing the party to adopt a candidate with Christian bona fides. That’s a fair charge . . . “

    And so whats it too you?

    If the Republicans want to run Santa Clause for President whats it too ya? If this country is so Anti Christian as to be terrified that a God fearing, Born Again Christian is in the White House…….They will say so at the polling booths. If not…..well gosh and goooolllllyyyyyyeeeee you got 4 more years to moan about Those evil Christians.

  • domajot

    AChaz-

    As a matter of fact, I wasn’t thinking about Bush at all. I was thinking primarily about the current presidential rant about Romney’s “freedom requires religion” speech in particular. Second place in my comment goes to Huckabee and his problems with evolution.

    When I’m talking about Bush, I say so.
    Now that you mention it, though, Bush’s Faith Office bothered me a lot. You see, I believe strongly in the
    separation of Church and State, for the sake of Church as well as State, Previous presidents, who were devout Christians (Carter was an Evangelical) had no problem knowing that their Bible while in office was the Constitution.
    Over the years, I’ve voted for more Republicans than Democrats.

    So is we could just dispense with the false characerizations, and political mumbo-jumgo accusations, please?

  • domajot

    Somebody

    I have no problem with either a Christian or Santa Claus being elected president, so long as he understands that he swears to uphold the Constitution, instead of swearing to uphold his faith.

    His faith is his business. The Constitution is the country’s business. Should there be a faith/constitution conflict, I want to know which guide he would choose Romney’s speech indicated that he would choose faith. That is a HUGE problem, and yes, that scares me.
    When the Evangelical Carter was president, I didn’t give it a moment’s thought.
    Despite your repeated false claims, this is not about Christianity or Christians. This is about the Constitution, instead of anyone’s faith, guiding the country.

  • Somebody

    Doma again I have to ask what is it to you if the Republicans run a Christian for president?

    The country if they are as horrified as you will vote him out and put your Darling Barrack into the White House. Oh wait……..darn…..hes a Christian Too.

    Gee…….now what…..He might pray for guidance.

    Gawd……..Wheres an atheist candidate when you need one.

  • JSpencer

    Excellent commentary Shaun. When the republicans once again demonstrate an allegiance to the US Constitution as strong as their allegiance to staying in power by any means necessary, including pandering to evangelicals, then they may have a shot at restoring their badly damaged credibility. The founding fathers were pretty smart guys, a heck of a lot smarter than what gets passed off as leadership these days. It’s time to get back to the basics.

  • domajot

    Somebody-

    Since you obviously don’t read my comments before beginning to froth at the mouth, this is my last effort to get the attention of your brain.

    i HAVE NEVER BEEN, NOR AM I NOW OPPOSED TO CHRISTIANS AS PRESIDENTS.

    i AM OPPOSED TO PUTTING FAITH AHEAD OF THE CONSTITUTION.
    When a candidate spends more time swearing allegiance to his faith than to the Constitution, that is alarming.
    Should a president be faced with a conflict between his faith and the Constitution, I want to be sure which he would remain loyal to.

    I have explained it all in numerous responses to your comments on numerous threads, and I’ve extremely patient about doing so. It’s up to you now, whether you want to respond to something I’ve actually said or to go on ranting about the ATTACK ON CHRISTIANITY.
    I’m leaving the echo chambers of your mind.

  • JSpencer

    I have to laugh. The so-called attacks on christianity are such a bogus ruse. The intended purpose can only be to rally the more suggestable element among the “faithful”, but it comes across as a sort of hysteria that christianity is too weak to withstand a little scrutiny – which is not how I imagine most christians feel about their religion. It sort of reminds me of the over-the-top response some radical muslims had about a few cartoons. Did I say bogus yet? I want to make sure I have the operative word in there. 😉

  • Somebody

    Doma I totally Understand. I read your entire comment many times. The problem is you do not understand my question.

    Yet the question still remains…….If you are not going to vote for a Republican, If the country is not going to vote for a Republican………..then why are you guys so worked up over the Republicans pandering to Christians.

    Why even care? In fact if you are so convinced this country will throw out those evil Christians then why not pray to your non god that the Republicans put the most evangelical man up for the nomination??

    So it really is a simple question. Why even worry….in fact why not pray to your non God that the Republicans do put a Christian up against Obama. It will guarantee their defeat because as you strongly imply There is not a single Republican who does not follow mindlessly the Christian code of ethics which is now becoming quite clear. All Christians have one overriding desire in Life……Trash the constitution in favor of a Fascist state in which George W. Bush is Emperor.

    JSpencer yours is my point as well the looney left is frantically screaming that our constitution is going down the drain and its all Christians faults. Yet in the same breath they are convinced that the Republicans and Christians cant win the coming election……….so if thats true then………why even care??

    Thats what Im trying to get from Doma. She keeps going back to the same Left wing talking point and all I want is an answer to a simple question………..IF they cant win………WHY CARE???

  • THIS Democrat cares about the Republican candidates because she might need to vote for one of them. Also, if a Republican is elected President then he’s our President too.

  • kritt

    ‘Yet the question still remains…….If you are not going to vote for a Republican, If the country is not going to vote for a Republican………..then why are you guys so worked up over the Republicans pandering to Christians.’

    Because a Republican might win, and continue to pander to Christians in office, or worse, put their faith ahead of the Constitution, as Doma fears.

  • StockBoySF

    I don’t really practice any religion. While I was growing up my mother took me to a Unitarian Church, and my paternal grandmother took me to her Methodist Church (though in both cases not very often). While I consider myself “spiritual” and not “religious” I still tend to think of myself in terms of Christianity. My family taught me to believe in the bible, meaning the ten commandments, as well as the teaching s of Jesus- acceptance of others, helping others, forgiveness, etc. The Golden Rule was very important as well as the phrase, “Judge a man not by what he says, but by what he does.” These principles are important to me and what I feel are the foundation of any civil, humane society. That is the tradition I was raised in and how Christians should strive lead their lives.

    However I feel that the religious right does not live, or even strive to live, by these basic principles. I know I’m generalizing, I’m sure some of the religious right truly does believe in those principles, but you wouldn’t know it by watching how most conduct themselves. The most powerful among the religious right are the televangelists and they seem more concerned with amassing money and power and changing the world to suit their needs, rather than helping others. The religious right is more concerned with protecting themselves against imaginary threats than helping those in need. For instance many of the religious right would deny healthcare to immigrants (including children) because of the costs, but then they find it perfectly acceptable to spend $1.6 trillion on a war against a country that we attacked even though it posed no threat to us. And they find it acceptable to continue to send troops to Iraq to die so the troops who died before would not have died in vain. None of that seems very Christian to me.

    And there is no discussion of acceptance of others. In this country if you’re different, it’s too bad and you’re going to hell.

    AZChas, you said:

    Both Jimmy Carter and George Bush were born-again, evangelical, church-going Christians. Both prayed about their leadership of the country, because their faith is a central part of who they are.

    Well, Carter is more of a true evangelical Christian if one wanted to follow the bible’s teachings than Bush is. Carter, after leaving the WH, travels all over the world doing good deeds, whether it’s Habitat for Humanity or fighting river blindness in Africa. Bush, on the other hand, has said that once he leaves the WH he plans on hitting the speech circuit and, “filling the coffers.” That hardly seems the action of a good Christian, much less an evangelical Christian. While Carter was in the WH he encouraged Americans to take energy conservation seriously and was derided for wearing cardigans. Carter knew the importance of energy conservation and lead by example. Now, 30 years later, in the face of global warming and rising energy prices (and after years of denial of both problems) all the Republicans can respond with is Cheney saying that it’s a “personal virtue.” This is a great cause for evangelicals to rally around, for it threatens our very way of life.

    Bush gives a good talk about eduction and “No Child Left Behind” but then he doesn’t even bother to fully fund it. Then he asks for more money and troops to send to Iraq with all these special spending requests.

    So if our President is a Christian, I’m fine with that. In fact I would welcome an evangelical Christian as President- one who sees the United States as a community and believes in helping others and living by the bible’s teachings. However the evangelicals who want power today want that power so they can force their views on others. That’s what scary. So when I see the current Republican candidates talk about how they can “out-Christian” their opponents I just want to scream.

    I agree with domajot: the President took a solemn oath to uphold the US Constitution and that means upholding the US Constitution. It doesn’t mean saying you’re going to uphold the Constitution and then following whatever you want to. While I fully expect the President to use his faith to guide him, he can not impose his beliefs on the rest of us at the expense of the Constitution. The point of the debates is for the American public to get to know their candidates and chooses which one they feel would do the job the best, and this means taking their faith into account. Of course most of the candidates try to appeal to their “base” and that really doesn’t give us a way to judge a candidate.

    Somebody: you asked why the left wing should care the Republicans are pandering to the Christians if the left wing believes that neither can win. Rather than get into a whole argument about the logic behind that question, I’ll answer it directly. As Obama said in 2004, There’s not a blue American and there’s not a Red America, there’s the United States of America. My belief- like his- is that we’re all part of a diverse community.

    Right now our country is very divided, but despite our differences, we’re all Americans. Despite our current leadership, I love my country and I want to see it great again. That means our President must work to pull Americans together towards common goals. The religious right does not believe that and Bush has sought to divide the country time and again for his own political gain. I don’t expect everything to be perfect under any President, but it’s a long process to build a great country and our next President must believe that our country and it’s ideals are worth fighting for and that means uniting us for the common good rather than divide us. If a nation can’t take of the needs of its citizens (whether physical needs such as food and shelter or psychological needs) than we can’t be a strong nation.

    If we continue down the path we’re on- a path of division and hate, then we’re doomed as a society and as a country. There will always be division and hate, but we must strive to be better than that to survive. Because our current President is leading us down this path of division and hate then that’s where we’re headed and that’s the wrong place to be.

  • Somebody

    Because a Republican might win, and continue to pander to Christians in office, or worse, put their faith ahead of the Constitution, as Doma fears.

    Do you really believe that the only person who most likely will win the nomination for the GOP……Rudi RINO actually pander to the Religious Right?

    Once AGain Krit you prove what I have been saying for quite some time now.

    There is not a single Republican who does not follow mindlessly the Christian code of ethics which is now becoming quite clear. All Christians have one overriding desire in Life……Trash the constitution in favor of a Fascist state in which George W. Bush is Emperor.

    The far lefts new talking point. It does not surprise me that you guys are talking like this. Not only do you accuse the right of ruling by fear but you yourselves do it as well and look aghast when anyone claims it is so.

  • domajot

    I’m glad I didn’t bother responding to Somebody’s ‘ why do you care’ question.
    As I suspected, no serious answer was wanted.

    When others tried to answer seriously, this was the response:
    “All Christians have one overriding desire in Life……Trash the constitution in favor of a Fascist state in which George W. Bush is Emperor.”

    I wish i had bet a large sum on this type of response being the result, no matter how the question was answered.
    I could use a nice vacation trip.

  • StockBoySF

    domajot: I agree with you LOL… but I’m also glad Somebody asked his “why care” question. It was a reminder that we are a divided country and we need to work together. It also shows reality- that no matter how hard some people try to work together there will be those who refuse to go along. I wonder how many time-outs some of these people got at the sandbox as kids…. Too bad we can’t give time-outs to politicians…. make ’em go sit in a corner until they’re ready to play nice…

  • Lynx

    Hmmm, since Doma is clearly out of patience I’ll see if I can hammer my way into Somebody’s brain.

    Somebody, read this closely, and if you wish, you can answer based on the following premises:

    1. Being concerned about religious extremism does not mean you hate religion or the religious, so I would appreciate if you’d stop it with the evil-Christian strawman. Thanks a bunch 🙂

    2. “Praying to your non-god” sounds like the sort of thing I get out of creationists and reeks of anti-nonbeliever bigotry. I would highly appreciate if you did away with it. It makes no point and only serves to add belligerence to your comment.

    3. Re: why should you care? Gee, maybe because non-believers and moderate believers love our country too and wish the best for it. Doma has very patiently explained how she ( she? That’s news to me, but hey, the more the merrier) has voted for Republicans in the past but knows that she can’t vote for politicians who clearly see no place in democracy for nonbelief. Like Republican Gays, Republican nonbelievers find that the tent is too small for them now, and are concerned about it. Imagine that?

  • DLS

    Ah, yes, still more religious bigotry and thinly masked hatred from the Left. Aside from your hatred and diseased thinking and acting, I have to laugh cynically at your reverse religious test for prospective public officials (similar to abortion and other things such as judicial activism in place of proper judicial conduct). Adhere to the PC line or else, and religious people are demons! Hopefully one day you’ll grow up, get well, and behave better.

  • DLS

    Both Jimmy Carter and George Bush were born-again, evangelical, church-going Christians.

    Carter, liberal, D, PC, hypocritically but obviously politically acceptable. Bush and anyone else like him, oft-conservative, R., not PC, heretical and apostatic, politically condemned, to be subjected to bigotry and hatred and abuse (more if he were from East Texas or elsewhere in the South instead of West Texas).

  • THIS liberal center-left Democrat detests Jimmy Carter.

  • tonto

    Come Somebody, you know why. Its the same reason that Shaun writes many many more articiles on Republicans than he does Democrates.

    Because a Republican might win, and continue to pander to Christians in office, or worse, put their faith ahead of the Constitution, as Doma fears.

    If you read or heard Romneys speech you will find that he said that the constitution and the office held sway over his faith. If you look at how he governed he did not place his faith over the office. I just read the other day a commentor complaining that since he does not believe in abortion, why does “Romneycare” have a $50 copay to have one.

    And, kritt, if you raelly think Romneys “freedom requires religion” line makes no sense. You should take that up with John Adams, since that is who Romney was quoting.

  • DLS

    Romney’s “freedom requires religion” statement makes no sense to me—-actually it doesn’t.

    It’s not as bad as “freedom through planning” (the wrong lesson learned from encountering the rise of totalitarianism in the early-to-mid twentieth century) but is incorrect nevertheless.

  • DLS

    Being concerned about religious extremism does not mean you hate religion or the religious, so I would appreciate if you’d stop it with the evil-Christian strawman.

    There is no straw man. The media, statements by liberals, and the postings of liberals here on this liberal Web site has proven this time after time.

    Religious-right extremism is almost totally absent (and is far less than extremism on the left). Federal “blue laws” are not extremist, merely excess (and would never be accepted by the American public at large). Rushdoony-style “dominionism” is extremist; this does not exist in Washington, nor in state governments, including in the Bible Belt.

    The Religious Right is less repelled by the GOP and their forms of conservatism than by the Dems and the many, often hateful and pathological, forms of liberalism it represents, which include slander, hate, and attacks of various kinds on the Religious Right.

    The Religious Right has in fact little clout in Washington, and constantly complains that it is taken for granted — the only time there is pandering (grossly exaggerated, though not as much as the false “extremism” charge) is, not surprisingly to the knowledgeable, before elections, so more Religious Rightists will vote GOP rather than Dem or (the more likely suspicion) will stay home in apathy or disenchantment.

    You stand corrected, my dear.

  • DLS

    THIS Democrat cares about the Republican candidates because she might need to vote for one of them. Also, if a Republican is elected President then he’s our President too.

    THIS liberal center-left Democrat detests Jimmy Carter.

    I suspect it’s related to the subject about which so much venom has been hurled at Joseph Lieberman by libs and Dems — and why Hillary C has been the subject of similarly-related attacks recently.

  • DLS

    Like Republican Gays, Republican nonbelievers find that the tent is too small for them now, and are concerned about it. Imagine that?

    You left out blacks, Hispanics, women, youth, all the rest of the demographic-related, anti-GOP-stereotype, Dem-interest-group menagerie.

    Place his speech in context. Romney is being attacked because of his religion, and he has chosen to be proactive in defending himself against additional such attacks, which are unmerited if I want to keep things as soft and gentle as can be. His defense (the speech) could have been better, but at least he answered his crappy critics. (He’s hardly someone who wants to make the USA into a Mormon USA, or join the evil Christians to create a theocracy, a favorite word of the loserish left.)

    I am underwhelmed by him for the right reasons, that he may have have been unduly influenced by being in Massachusetts (notoriosly left of the US public in general, including me) and because he has been liberal before, and his claims of conservatism now (to seek the GOP nomination and to oppose a liberal and Democrat next year in the general election) are unconvincing, both problems also affecting Giuliani. (Romney is cleaner than Giuliani, a plus.) I am a decent, normal, intelligent person, and consequently his Mormonism has nothing to do with how I view him and more importantly, with the things that matter and how they, not his Mormonism, qualify or disqualify him from office in my view, and win or lose my vote.

  • Somebody

    Being concerned about religious extremism does not mean you hate religion or the religious, so I would appreciate if you’d stop it with the evil-Christian strawman. Thanks a bunch 🙂

    Sorry Lynx it is not a strawman. It is happening. Remember the cries of The American Taliban?? If you think that the far left loons in this country are not actively trying to paint Christians as evil then that just shows you no longer LIVE in this country.

    thank you very much.

  • Somebody

    I’m glad I didn’t bother responding to Somebody’s ‘ why do you care’ question.
    As I suspected, no serious answer was wanted.

    You are absolutely right Doma. There is no proper answer for the question I was asking. The reason. It is because the loon left is indeed actively trying to paint Christians in this way.

    How soon we forget the screams of American Taliban, Fascist. Heir Bush. You on the left put your fingers in your ears, close your eyes and jump up and down on one foot and hum loudly whenever anyone tries to point out your behavior is absolutely NO different then the behavior exhibited by those loon righties.

    Yet I stand by this statement because it is EXACTLY what the left is trying to do and have been trying to do since 2003. Paint Christians as evil.

  • domajot

    Tonto,

    At least you stayed on topic. Thank you for that.
    At least you didn’t bring up the ‘hating all Christans’ meme, and thank you for that.
    You are the exception.

    Romney, over time, has sent mixed signals. His campaign and this speech, however, has centered on trying to please the Evangelical Right. That may have a superficial political tactic as a basis, but we can only know what he says niost currently.

    As far as quoting Adams goes, then I’ll see you and raise you Jefferson’s ‘wall of separation’. Neither quote is in the Constituion, which is a document of consensus. The Founders were not of one mind individually on quesions of religion nor on many other issues.

    The importance of consensus in the writing of the Constituion can not be overstated. It was what united the Founders and should unite the country. were allowed to, instead of being used as a political cudgel.

    The consensus was, after heavy debates, to include the word God. God does not equal religion, however. It is sufficiently vague to allow almost everyone to put their own beliefs under the God umbrella. Although I am an atheist, I can take it to mean the creative force of nature and not be bothered by the word itself. Actually, I like the word’s loftiness, as that induces a sense of humility and reverence for man’s task of creating and maintainng a democratic nation.

    When religion, and especially one particular relgion is so accented by a candidate or a political party, I’m alarmed because it leads people further away from that need for consensus instead of closer to it.

    That’s the important difference between JFK’s religion speech and Romney’s. The former was centered on the Constitution and its unifying symbolism, while the latter was centered on personal faith of a particular kind (the Christian religion), and the competitiveness for power that evokes.

    From there it’s only a step to the Christian Nation concept, quite popular akso in the GOP. No one can deny the role of Christians in our history. Honoring that heritage as part of our history is quite different than replicating history in psepetuity. The Constituion was a dcocument intended to guide the country as it progressed into the future, not merely a document for settling the challenges of the times.
    Surely you can see that today’s nation of many beliefs and the concept of a Christian Nation is not an easy fit and would be alrming to all those left out.
    Giving a backhanded, ‘Jews and Muslims can participate, too’ late in the speech is not the same as making them participants with equal standing at the outset.. Only folks like the Amish can try to stay in the past, and they are an exclusive society.

  • domajot

    The topic is religion in the GOP today.
    The vituperative comments by some are all about the evild Left (even the Ameican Taliban gets called on for a cameo appearnace).

    None of the sentiments ascribed to the “Left” have apeeared in the post or in the comments.
    There is no pretense of staying on topic or addressing anything said by anyone on this thread. There is,also, a lot of mind reading going on. If I say ‘puppy’, I’m sure that will indicate that I’m planning to bomb the nearest GOP office.

    I’m embarrassed for TMV to see this kind of nonsense pass muster.

  • domajot

    Holly,
    “THIS liberal center-left Democrat detests Jimmy Carter.”

    What does that have to do with religion, the GOP, the current campaign or anything vaguely related to the post?

    Is it the policy at TMV now for every one to just throw poison darts wherever there is space?

    If TMV is to become a mud slinging arena, then there is no use pretending that it hosts discussions.

  • kritt

    Somebody-
    There has always been extreme
    rhetoric used by nutcases on both sides. That doesn’t mean Bill’o is right when he bloviates about the war on Christmas or Christians. Christians constitute a huge empowered majority in this country,Atheists- a minor infinitessmal fraction of that number.

    They cannot pose a serious threat to the majority, but are useful fodder for talk radio hosts who want to demagogue the right wingers, along with activist judges, secular progressives, the drive-by liberal biased MSM, the ACLU, the teacher’s unions, illegal immigrants and any other convenient target that gets conservative white males riled up.

  • StockBoySF

    I think there are more postings on here against the religious right than the far left (which makes sense, because the posting is about GOP and faith). But I see Somebody’s point- that the far left closes their ears as much as the far right does. (I believe there are exceptions to both.) And Holly, your response is perfect (that you detest Carter). You are a great example of a liberal center-left Democrat who does not always agree with all Dems. I think that’s what TMV is about- willing to consider others’ arguments. I for one try to keep an open mind (like you, I hope) but there are certain groups that scare me and the religious right is one of them.

    I was reading Friedman’s column in Sunday’s NY Times (I hope I’m not breaking any rules by quoting it). But before I quote it a little background on its context: the countries Friedman is referring to are the Middle-East countries (and the context was the recent Annapolis peace conference. The person who Friedman took this from is Stephen Cohen, the author of a middle-east history, “Beyond America’s Grasp”.

    “Each one, he added [Stephen Cohen], has a “Party of God” back home “that believes it doesn’t have to pay attention to what the government says because it doesn’t recognize that government’s legitimacy to make big decisions.”

    That’s why these days big decisions get made by iron fists or they don’t get made. Power has become too fragmented. So unless there is more reconciliation within these countries, it is hard to see how there will be more reconciliation between them.”

    To me this is the perfect example why religion has no place in politics. Religion is a very personal, deep-seated belief and the US was founded for (among other reasons) people to practice their religion. If we have a President that caters to (and supports) a particular religious group, particularly when laws are passed to support one religion’s beliefs then that can only cause division within the US. Let’s leave politics to the politicians and religion to the theologians. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again- I would expect a President to use his faith to guide him, but he must use his faith in a respectful manner that does not intrude upon the faith of other religions. We are not voting for a religious leader- we are voting for someone to administer the government and lead this country.

  • Somebody

    Nice fair and balance response Stock. Doma tries to strive for moderate ground but then cannot resist the temptation to start bashing people and their views because she does not agree with them.

    My response is simple and constant. The far left loons despise religion in this country. I did not say the LEFT…..I said the far left………they are the ones throwing temper tantrums and saying things like…..

    They cannot pose a serious threat to the majority,

    The topic is religion in the GOP today.
    The vituperative comments by some are all about the evild Left (even the Ameican Taliban gets called on for a cameo appearnace).

    While Doma has tried to strive for moderate middle ground of late she just cant seem to grasp that her side is as guilty of Religious bashing as the far right loons are guilty of Gay bashing.

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