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Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:44 AM

Politicians Who Reject Labels Based on Religion

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/us/politics/politicians-who-speak-of-religion-in-unaccustomed-ways.html


By MARK OPPENHEIMER
Published: November 9, 2012

Yes, a victory for Mitt Romney on Tuesday would have been the ultimate sign that Americans accept Mormons — that a tradition until recently considered a cult throughout the evangelical world, unable to shake its association with long-discarded polygamous ways, has come to seem pretty normal.
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But the truth is that in Washington, anyway, it has been a long time since Mormons lacked clout. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, is a Mormon; there have been Mormon members of the cabinet; and there are 15 Mormons in Congress. A President Romney would have been the cherry on top, but Mormons already have plenty of ice cream.

For the real underdog story in the elections this year, you have to look further out on the margins of popular respectability. Consider the half-Hindu yoga practitioner just elected to Congress from Hawaii. Or the new Buddhist senator. Or the two religiously unaffiliated women headed for the House and the Senate.

These politicians constitute an unusual mini-caucus, whose members are unusual not for their religion, precisely, but for the fluid and abstract terms they use to talk about it — when they choose to talk about it, that is. Mormon or Orthodox Jewish politicians have succeeded before, but as the price of admission they have been forced to explain their faith. This new bunch is just saying, so to speak, “Don’t worry about it.”

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:55 AM

1. I think stating that electing Mitt Romney would be the ultimate sign that

Americans accept Mormons is quite a stretch.
This American voted along party lines, since I believe each candidate represents a party agenda and does not stand alone.
But a little more than half of people who vote is not all Americans.
In fact, I don't think Mormonism was as much a factor in voting as racism was.
But Obama winning was not the ultimate sign that Americans are not racist.
I would really really prefer that religion was not a factor at all.
Any candidate who stresses religion pretty much loses my support.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:57 AM

2. I tend to agree with you on that.

I think a lot of people had convinced themselves (or been convinced by the republican party) that Mormonism was just another branch of christianity.

I don't think Romney lost because he was Mormon.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:19 AM

3. One factor may be

that the electorate views Religion as a form of entertainment they can no longer afford.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:21 AM

4. Religion as a form of entertainment?

I think you are on to something....

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:31 AM

7. I see no difference between a church revival

and "the wave" at a baseball game.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:24 AM

5. And that the electorate sees how the religious were used by Rove and friends to further

an agenda that really had nothing to do with religion.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:30 AM

6. And the religions they used

have nothing to do with social justice or morality.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #6)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:36 AM

8. Agree. It was all about infringing on the rights of LBGT people and women in general.

What a farce.

I am pleased beyond words to watch it's slow death and the introduction of those who have different ways of seeing the world and those that keep their religion personal.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 11:39 AM

9. I have words...

Fuck 'em.

I'm feeling my Scots - Irish roots today.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 12:01 PM

10. How can one be half-Hindu? Hindu isn't a race

If someone has only one Hindu parent, then they are either Hindu if they are a practicing one, or not Hindu at all if they aren't. In the case of Tulsi Gabbard, she is a practicing Hindu and thus is not "half-Hindu" but simply "Hindu".

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Response to ButterflyBlood (Reply #10)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 12:12 PM

11. Agree that it's an odd choice of words. I think what he is referring to is heritage.

She had a Catholic parent and a Hindi parent.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #11)

Sat Nov 10, 2012, 09:39 PM

12. Oops, typo alert: Hindi is the language. Hindu is the religion.

I wonder if she really intends to take the oath on the Baghavad Gita.
(as reported)



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