HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Alan Grayson: Romney's Re...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 06:17 PM

Alan Grayson: Romney's Religion

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/27/1049277/-Romneys-Religion
Yesterday was a federal holiday honoring a religious celebration; if there is a War on Christmas, Christmas is winning. So this is as good a time as any to discuss Mitt Romney’s religion, and the separation of church and state.

One of the unwritten rules of American politics is that you should never express disappointment with the voters. They can express their disappointment with you, each time you’re on the ballot. But it’s strictly a one-way street.

Nevertheless, I was disappointed to read last Thursday that a Mason-Dixon poll found that 26% of all American voters would be “uncomfortable” with a Mormon as President. Last month, a Public Religion Research Institute poll put that figure at more than 40%. In June, a Quinnipiac poll put the figure at 36%. And a Gallup Poll in June found that 22% of all voters would not support any Presidential candidate who is an active Mormon.

The Constitution could not possibly be clearer on this point. The penultimate sentence of the Constitution states: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Note that this was in the original Constitution; the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights came later.

In fact, the Founding Fathers had very strong views on this subject. This is reflected in the inscription on Thomas Jefferson’s tombstone, which Jefferson wrote himself. The tombstone identifies Jefferson’s three proudest accomplishments – interestingly, his being President for eight years didn’t make the cut. Instead, Jefferson’s tombstone recognizes Jefferson as (1) the author of the Declaration of Independence, (2) founder of the University of Virginia, and (3) author of the “Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.” That statute eliminated the Anglican Church as the official state religion of Virginia, and opened state government to all religions.

Perhaps this is one of those times when people need to be reminded of what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” Bigotry is wrong, whether it’s directed against African-Americans, gays, Jews or Mormons.

Mitt Romney got this right, in a speech during his 2008 campaign. He said: “I am an American running for President. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith, nor should he be rejected because of his faith.”

Amen to that, Brother.

It’s not that I’m soft on Romney. When Newsweek asked me about Mitt Romney a couple of weeks ago, the only good thing that I could say about him is that “he would be less bad than some of the other candidates who are running for the Republican nomination.” Mark Shields said that Romney has “more positions than the Kama Sutra.” When I watch Romney, I see someone so conflicted that he can’t make up his mind whether to flip or flop. And I never got to see the Republican Presidential debate that I really wanted to see: Romney 2006 vs. Romney 2011.

But here’s the thing: we need a President who will find jobs for the 24 million Americans who can’t find full-time work. We need a President who will find health care for the 50 million Americans who can’t see a doctor when they are sick. We need a President who will find food for the 48 million Americans who need government assistance to feed themselves.

You find me a President like that, and I don’t care if she is a left-handed, gay, differently-abled, Latino Mormon. Or a Moslem, Buddhist, atheist, Protestant, Catholic or Jew.

I just want someone who can do the job.

Courage,

Alan Grayson

Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified

17 replies, 2290 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 06:21 PM

1. Sorry Alan...

For once I disagree with him. If he doesn't think it's an issue, he needs to come hang out in Utah for a year.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 06:24 PM

2. Yeah, ORDINARILY I'd agree with Alan about religion not being an issue, BUT....

While some people may not vote AGAINST Romney because he is mormon, virtually every single mormon in the country will vote FOR Mittens because he IS mormon.

Think about that for awhile. Then tell me religion shouldn't be an issue.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to arbusto_baboso (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 10:06 PM

11. Excellent point.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to arbusto_baboso (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 11:35 PM

14. So what?

 

Identity matters a lot in politics. Often it's tough to tell because certain demos often coincide with political/party affiliation. It's something of a chicken and egg scenario.

Did lots of Catholics vote for JFK because he was Catholic? Of course they did. But many Catholics were also Democrats to begin with.

What about Cubans voting for Rubio? Plenty probably did because he's Cuban, but also because Florida Cubans trend Republican as well.

It's tough to make the case that African-Americans voted for Obama in the general because of his race, since the percentage wasn't all that different from 2004 and the black vote is usually overhwelmingly Democratic. But what about the primaries? Obama carried the black vote by a huge margin against Hillary. Does that mean race should have been an issue?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 06:25 PM

3. Gee

almost sounds like a pseudo endorsement of sorts.

Shrug...

This in particular:

But here’s the thing: we need a President who will find jobs for the 24 million Americans who can’t find full-time work. We need a President who will find health care for the 50 million Americans who can’t see a doctor when they are sick. We need a President who will find food for the 48 million Americans who need government assistance to feed themselves.

You find me a President like that, and I don’t care if she is a left-handed, gay, differently-abled, Latino Mormon. Or a Moslem, Buddhist, atheist, Protestant, Catholic or Jew.

I just want someone who can do the job.

Courage,

Alan Grayson

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Broderick (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 10:10 PM

12. You left out the paragraph right before the stuff you posted, the part that said ...


"It’s not that I’m soft on Romney. When Newsweek asked me about Mitt Romney a couple of weeks ago, the only good thing that I could say about him is that “he would be less bad than some of the other candidates who are running for the Republican nomination.”

----

THAT does NOT sound like any kind of endorsement to me


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 06:29 PM

4. Seems kind of misplaced.

Nevertheless, I was disappointed to read last Thursday that a Mason-Dixon poll found that 26% of all American voters would be “uncomfortable” with a Mormon as President. Last month, a Public Religion Research Institute poll put that figure at more than 40%. In June, a Quinnipiac poll put the figure at 36%. And a Gallup Poll in June found that 22% of all voters would not support any Presidential candidate who is an active Mormon.

The Constitution could not possibly be clearer on this point. The penultimate sentence of the Constitution states: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Note that this was in the original Constitution; the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights came later.


Yes, the constitution says there is no religious test for holding public office but that applies to the government and its rules. Citing a poll where 26% of respondants are uncomfortable is a whole different can of worms. The constitution does not, cannot, govern people's feelings and how they vote.

I would be included in that 26% but that's due to my ignorance of Mormonism. Sure, I hear all the scare-mongering but I'm not religious in general and know even less of genuine Mormon doctrine in particular. The unknown is always uncomfortable especially within the context of the most powerful office in the nation. That is, of course, more a commentary on my ignorance than a Mormon's fitness for the office of president.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 06:32 PM

5. He's wrong on multiple counts. A person's faith or lack thereof is a big part of who they are

I see nothing wrong with voters taking into account the religious beliefs of a candidate, especially as it will likely influence their choices. Grayson is also wrong that Romney is "be less bad than some of the other candidates". He would be one of the worst because he has no core and would do anything, no matter how wrong, if it happened to be politically expedient at the time. That's dangerous, no matter what your ideology or party may be.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to maximusveritas (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 07:23 PM

7. I think it's important to avoid politicians who will demand that others follow the rules of their

religion.

However, I don't think that a person's faith on its own is a 'big part of who they are' in the political sense. Faith, any faith, can be used for good or ill. Martin Luther King and Pat Robertson were both Christian clergymen; they used their faith in very different ways. Lack of religious faith is perhaps even less defining; the nonbeliever can be a fanatic of another ideology (at the extreme, Stalin); or an admirable public servant interested in human welfare (Attlee); or even a Christian-Rightie-without-the-belief, who supports religion for others as a means of imposing social conformity and keeping the establishment in power, but admits to not actually *believing* it (Norman Tebbit).

As I said a long time ago, the trouble with Romney isn't that he's a Mormon, but that he's a moron. Or perhaps even a moran.

'he has no core and would do anything, no matter how wrong, if it happened to be politically expedient at the time. That's dangerous, no matter what your ideology or party may be.'

I agree about Romney; but I'm not sure that it's less dangerous than having an ardent hardline ideology. The 'Vicar of Bray' type can sometimes be persuaded, or at least bought off, from their more extreme policies; the fanatic will press on regardless.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 06:36 PM

6. Appearance of personal conflict between religion and governing DQ's a candidate for me. ...

Besides, Romney's a twit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 07:32 PM

8. I got the sense Grayson is saying it SHOULDN'T be a factor, but most of you

guys interpreteed it differently.

His religion is about the ONLY thing that I don't hate about Romney!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to gateley (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 07:52 PM

9. grayson is just saying that romney being a mormon shouldn't be a factor

there's other things about romney, that would keep me from ever voting for him. Actually, some of his beliefs about corporations and labor rights-some of those beliefs are influenced by being a mormon. having lived in utah and debating everything from helping the poor, labor rights and corporate power; most of my colleagues did have a "group think" mentality, especially when it came to how great corporations are. Of course the mormon church is like one huge corporation. And the church members are very much in each other's lives, and dictating how to live (the navajo called them the chatter people).

Remember when they made a big stink about kennedy being catholic?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to newspeak (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 11:25 PM

13. Yeah - I was thinking of that when you mentioned that every Morman in the country

would vote for Romney, because every Catholic voted for Kennedy. My family was Catholic (and I went to Catholic school) - and that's all they focused on -- his Catholicism.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 08:58 PM

10. There is so much repugnant about Romney that his religion need not even be an issue

The constitution says there is to be no religious test for office, and I think that is EXCELLENT. As an atheist, I really wish religion didn't figure into the government and its officials at all. But with Romney, there plenty of reason to reject him as presidential material without even considering the issue of how his religion would affect his ability to govern properly. He seems never to have found an issue he can't approach without flip-flopping on. As a businessman, he is a job destroyer. Just these two issues are enough for me to say "no f*%@ing way."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 11:36 PM

15. Religion can't be used as a test by government, but it sure as hell can be used by the PEOPLE

For instance, I would have a very, very hard time supporting a fundamentalist evangelical Christian, since far too many have this propensity towards wanting to use the legislative process to codify their morality.

And I would never, ever support a Dominionist for any public office. If you don't know what a Dominionist is, look it up and tell me if it doesn't scare the shit out of you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 11:39 PM

16. Agree with Grayson here

 

Personally, I don't care one bit that Romney is a Mormon. Nor did I care that Lieberman is Jewish, or Carter a Baptist etc.

I don't support Romney because of his policies. I couldn't care less what his personal beliefs are.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cal04 (Original post)

Wed Dec 28, 2011, 11:34 AM

17. Mormonism was officially racist until 1978

Why shouldn't that be an issue? A politician should have to answer for his associations, whether secular or religious. His church, of which he is a Bishop, had an officially racist policy until the late 1970s, when Romney was an adult. He chose to remain in that religion despite its racism, and only "changed" when ordered by church elders.

I'm an atheist, so all religions are equally false to me. But, not all religions are the same. Mainline Christians didn't have officially racist teachings in the 1970s. He needs to answer the question why he didn't leave the faith when he realized that it was racist.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread