Friday, December 07, 2007

The Romney Sermon

If there was a reason why the Constitution of the United States was important, the speech delivered by Presidential aspirant Mitt Romney on December 6th provided the reason behind the founding text and the need for the very first amendment under the Bill of Rights. Whereas John F. Kennedy needed to assure the American public that his religion would not interfere with his political judgment and acumen, Romney could not help himself in pleasing the Religious Right that he is certainly religious enough to make his pious distinctions a part of public policy.

Heaven help us.

Read the full transcript of Romney's epiphany.

To put it succinctly, Gov. Romney needs Evangelical Christians to vote for him and this speech was presented to mollify their concerns about a Mormon. In effect, it was his bid to promise that he will really hammer away at keeping religion in government and it will be something approximating what they believe in - the correct religion if you will.

Some of the more confounding quotes from his speech:
"Radical violent Islam seeks to destroy us."
There was once a country named the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They did not destroy the United States, even armed with the most abundant military power the world could muster throughout most of the mid- to late-20th century. Does Mitt Romney really think 1,000 would be attackers could destroy America? Is that not unstable thinking, unreasoned and illogical through and through? The speech-writers must know this sounds appropriately scary to most citizens and puts them in the right emotional mindset to think that Romney will stop "them", but what he is propagating with those words is the myth that a religion is out to get the U.S. Why does that not ring as plain old silly?

Oh there is more:
"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. 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."
There has been so much written on this claptrap already that it almost needs no clarification. Almost. From what we can gather of Romney's esteemed opinion, freedom from tyranny, freedom from oppression, freedom of individual choice just cannot come to be unless there is some form of religion backing it up. One must have God on her or his side in order to obtain freedom. Yes, that form of freedom that came directly from the Age of Enlightenment could only come about from the bishops, imams, and rabbis scattered throughout the world. Disregard the names of Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, Jefferson, et al. It is almost too difficult to write how absurd a proposition that statement is and was. Many, many organized religions saw to it (and still see to it) that treatment of women was to be subject of the whims and wishes of the father or the husband. Freedom indeed.
"There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it's more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it."
Who specifically is asking him to distance himself from Mormonism? We need names here to back up this claim. Someone close to his campaign staff? Fellow former Governors? Joe Lieberman? Sure these offerings are meant in jest, but otherwise this is a standard ploy by politicians, most notably President Bush. "Some people say Muslims aren't decent enough to have democracy. (pregnant pause) And I reject that." You can make up any ill-thought-out claim and stand up and be on record as against it, but it adds zero to the discussion.
"The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation "under God" and in God, we do indeed trust."
Atheists and agnostics, please sew a badge on your clothing so that you may more easily be rounded up and removed from society. Polytheistic religious believers should also narrow down their scope of deities to a more uniform 'one' in accord with this new vision of religious tolerance in America. So there shall be no state religion, but you must believe in God since everyone does.

It goes on and on like this.
"Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government."
"Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me."
Ending on this note:
"And in that spirit, let us give thanks to the divine "author of liberty." And together, let us pray that this land may always be blessed, "with freedom's holy light.""
Governor Romney's view of religious freedom is certainly his free right of expression, but let us pray that he never makes it any where near the White House that he may act on those expressions which the First Amendment equitably allows him to hold and espouse.