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Posted by on Nov 27, 2006 in At TMV | 93 comments

More Views On Mitt Romney

We had some controversial posts here and here on Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney yesterday. Here’s a take on a different aspect of Romney’s emerging Presidential campaign.

Some additional perspectives on Romney and the issue of religion can be FOUND HERE.

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Copyright 2006 The Moderate Voice
  • Uncle Joe McCarthy

    wanna watch conservative christian prejudice in action? wait till romney campaigns down south

    the holy rollers believe the mormons are of satan

  • Herodotus

    Joe,

    I can tell that you and some of your fellow bloggers are surprised by the reaction to Shaun’s post from the Mormon community. If I might, I’d like to offer some insight into this reaction. I’m going to speak from the perspective of how these blog posts are perceived. I recognize that this may be different from their intent.

    To begin with, Mormons are acutely aware that they are in no-man’s land in the U.S. We are rejected both by atheists and fundamentalist Christians. We grow up with a sense of isolation.

    This hostility is not just on a theoretical level. In many cases it is institutional. When I completed my undergraduate education and applied for medical school, I was given a list of schools not to bother with. They had never accepted a Mormon.

    Historically, this institutional bias is even more remarkable. I refer to Missouri Executive Order 44 issued on October 27, 1838. To quote it in part, “…the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace…�

    Both myself and my wife count among our ancestors people who lie dead on the trail from the east to Utah after the issuance of this order. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time in the history of our nation that it has been legal to kill people of a certain faith. This order was not rescinded until 1976.

    We notice that Harry Reid’s Mormon faith was virtually unmentioned in the press when he became Senate majority leader. But when Mitt Romney is considered for president we are treated to… a photo of underwear? It becomes difficult to see this as anything other than a politically-motivated cheap shot.

    I have read many interesting defenses for the photo. I have read that he wasn’t using the photo to mock, but just to call attention to a potential issue. I have read that your comments policy only applies to Jews. I have read that the comments policy and any pretense to religious sensitivity was a mistake to begin with. I have read that if I take offense then I am somehow akin to the Islamic radicals who riot and kill. I have also read that you could have done far worse and that worse is yet coming. To be honest, the justifications for the photo have been far more illuminating than the photo itself.

    To Mormon ears, this sounds remarkably hostile. It doesn’t sound at all like Shaun was just mentioning an issue that may come up in the future.

    Best of luck with your blog.

  • Mikkel

    So I have an interesting question. There is lots of chatter that Romney will try to become the social conservative candidate and appeal to Southern theocon types who think that religion should help dictate laws. Now I know that most Mormons are very socially conservative in their personal lives, but I’ve never had the impression that they ever try to impose that on other people — and the tone asking for the pictures to be taken down reflected this. A lot of religious right types I know would be claiming that insulting their religious was a sin that would get you sent to Hell and you’d should be punished, which obviously none of the LDS types did (and I can agree that to compare them to Islamcists is offensive because of that).

    So with that in mind, I have to ask the LDS commenters whether they would even support Romney if he tried to integrate religion more into the state. I have a suspicion that would be no based both on my experiences with Mormons and the comments last night.

    Also, if that’s the case, is there a branch of LDS that does support such things? Most evangelicals I know are actually for separation of church and state to protect their religion — it’s only a small group that has made evangelical a code word for theocon.

  • Rudi

    To all those Mormons and others who found pictures of ‘holy underware’ offensive – lighten up. Would you be so sensitive to pictures of Iraq war veterans with severe burns and amputations. What about seeing those injuries in person. I understand that South Park is planning some episodes dedicated to LDS. Now that may be sometning to get your knickers in a twist.

  • Joe

    Herodotus Where does it say my comments policy applies “only to Jews.” That’s interesting news since it isn’t the case. My response should be to yell “bigot” on that one…but I wouldn’t dare jump to conclusions. Like some people have in recent days.

    From what I understand, the photo has been removed and it’s very interesting that there’s no comment on that happening. It’s easy to get into talk show mode and attack. What happened was that someone wrote an email that actually explained the perspective and didn’t scream “bigot” about a photo that was available on google images that will probably be run somewhere else sooner or later. This person who wrote the email actually used reason and didn’t go on the attack attributing motives that don’t exist here.

    That person also didn’t suggest that we ONLY ban comments that are hurtful to Jews. (Oh by the way, I have to hurry since I’m about to get on a conference call to talk to my bosses in Tel Aviv to get my instructions on what to post next. They give me a list of the post subjects that I can do each day.)

    .

    This is my final comment on this subject but FYI I banned not only a commenter who was anti-semitic in virtually every comment he left (and ONLY after a host of readers, cobloggers and top bloggers from the left and right lambasted me for NOT banning him) but have banned some time ago someone who was vehemently anti-muslim and also probably lost a longtime reader (who is a blogger) because I deleted a supposedly satirical anti-Muslilm comment by a reader who vowed he would bad mouth this site everywhere he went. My cobloggers remember this FULL WELL. (And you better BET my bosses in Tel Aviv who laid down the “only apply comments policy to comments hurtful to Jews” will be upset at that!)

    It’s also hard to ban comments if people read a post and immediately write in accusing the post writer and the whole site of being bigots. It sort of makes it hard to figure out WHO to ban. You COULD cut off comments on that and delete ALL comments on that post and close off the commenting. But then both sides would accuse you of being bigoted and stifling expression.

    I’m not going to rehash Shaun’s post. But the fact is that this is emerging due to someone running for PRESIDENT. George Romney did not face this when he ran. Why? It was a different era. Our press coverage has gotten more obsessive and there is the influence of tabloids, talk radio, etc and the 24 hour news cycle.

    This is not saying this is GOOD but that it is happening. It happens that when someone runs for President there is an EXTRA LAYER of press coverage. He was saying what is going to happen.

    If Harry Reid ran for President the same questions would probably be floated out there by the press. But he isn’t.

    Also, Mitt Romney was already elected governor. That wasn’t a monster issue there.

    The issue is the kind of scrutiny that the PRESS subjects someone to. That is a FACT. And mentioning it does not mean you are a cheerleader FOR IT.

    Is that bigotry saying that this could be a press issue and a question in the campaign.? Well then why don’t you contact Time magazine and talk to them about THIS STORY

    Make sure you read THE LINK ABOVE then immediately contact Time and tell them how bigoted they are for reporting about this issue. If your past comments were sincere, you’ll do just that.

    I don’t announce when I ban or delete comments so, no, you are not correct that it “only applies to Jews.” I think that suggestion says something about your perspective on who I AM because of MY religion or whoever your source is. Greg Piper mentioned in a post that the idea of a comments policy came up because of anti-semitic comments. He never said it only applied to comments about Jews. We based our comments policy on a rewrite of another site’s policy that was the rewrite of another.

    It’s also interesting that we have free wheeling comments here and when someone disagrees they immediately want to get someone who angrily agrees with them banned. But much of the time when readers email me about that, I go back and THEIR comments violate the policy as well. So I’ve only used it in the most drastic of cases because there is a balance between free, spirited and vigorous speech and suppressing different viewpoints.

    Every coblogger on this site — and other bloggers who’ve emailed me — know that I err on the side of letting people say what they want. I have to be pushed and leave several warnings before I will ban someone. And Shaun’s post did not fall into that area in terms of a post.

    It is very interesting to me that I haven’t heard ANYTHING from people about the photo being removed. But then, it gets in the way, I suppose of some other agendas that may be at work here.

    And good luck on your reading other blogs. And if you came here thinking that comments policy that “only” applies to Jews, then you probably came to the wrong site.

  • Herodotus

    I don’t know if I’m the right person to answer your question. I’m not sure there *is* a right person to answer that question, but I’ll take a crack at it.

    To begin with, the Mormon church is a bit more monolithic than the evangelical religion. (This is my impression at any rate.) What I mean by this is that there aren’t “branches” particularly save for some small splinter groups (Hello, Warren Jeffs.) Our church leadership *has* taken an official stance on politics. The stance is that it leaves political decisions up to its membership.

    When you ask if we’d support the further integration of religion and state, I think you’d get a whole host of answers depending on the issue and the individual Mormon. You’re right that most Mormons are socially conservative although I might hazard that this is less true regarding Mormons active in the online community.

    I also think that finding a viable path through the “culture wars” that doesn’t disenfranchise either side is one of the toughest challenges facing our society. One of the most interesting things I’ve heard in recent years was Justice Stephen Breyer talk about how he could vote on both sides of the recent ten commandments cases (an NPR program from the Aspen Institute). I developed a new respect for the headaches of a supreme court justice.

  • Herodotus

    Joe,

    My remark about the comments policy only affecting Jews was based on Greg’s post which stated that the policy was instituted in response to anti-semitic remarks. That was the extent of my association. I’m sorry if it was interpreted as any more of an insinuation than that.

    The above post was made this morning (my time). Since the photo was removed I have made two posts in other threads thanking the website for removing it. It’s true that I haven’t emailed you personally.

    I apologize for any offense I’ve given.

  • Mikef

    When I completed my undergraduate education and applied for medical school, I was given a list of schools not to bother with. They had never accepted a Mormon.

    Could you explain how that worked. I don’t know of any schools that ask about an applicant’s religion and I’m not sure I could pick out a Mormon on sight or by his surname. I’d never have known Romney was Mormon, except for the fact that he openly declared it.

  • Kim Ritter

    Romney’s religion wouldn’t make any difference to me, but I don’t like the way he’s put down his state of Massachussetts in the press, and read that he didn’t get along with Democrats there at all. We’ve already had a leader who didn’t attempt to work with Democrats, though he may be singing a new tune after January.

  • herodotus

    Mikef,

    I’m actually trying to exit discussion at this website, so let me answer in as brief and conciliatory a fashion as I can. I hope you’ll understand if I don’t again reply to queries directed at me.

    First of all, I graduated from medical school years ago, and I’ve been told that things are changing as it relates to medical school applications. Also, I chose not apply to the schools that had been identified to me as biased, so to the best of my knowledge I have never been the victim of any discrimination.

    But to answer your question directly, while not every applicant fits the mold, there are usually several elements that make Mormons identifiable. The most obvious one is that we have usually taken two years off in the middle of college to be a missionary.

  • Nathan

    Mikef,

    If you’re undergrad work was done at Brigham Young University in Provo Utah, or Idaho’s Campus or Hawaii’s Campus, then any post-graduate interviewer has an 80% or greater chance in knowing that you’re a Mormon. I’ve never been discriminated against, nor know of any Mormon that has. In fact, usually stating that BYU is my alma mater ilicited a positive response. I just wanted to accurately answer your question.

    Regards,
    Nathan

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