Thursday, December 13, 2007

Romney Roundup

A lot of good discussion has taken place at VFR over the Romney faith speech so I thought a roundup of all the recent VFR entries containing these discussions should be put together, which I've done below.

The discussion began with VFR reader RWM's negative reaction to Romney's speech. Mr. Auster then gave his assessment of the Romney speech after he saw the speech. Here LA responds to criticisms of Romney which are too Mormon-centric. And here LA names the winner of the most tortured argument of the week award. The discussion really takes off here where Steven Warshawsky articulates a position on Mormonism very close to my own. And here VFR reader, M. Mason, lays down Mormonism's unorthodox cultic and downright weird theological underpinnings which Mitt Romney embraces. Here the discussion culminates (for the time being) in two separate criteria, Richard W.'s and M. Mason's, for determining what is a cult and what is not a full blown cult, and the implications of both views.

There you have the roundup of the current (main) VFR entries on Romney's faith speech. In the culminating entry, The reasonableness of Romney opponents, M. Mason continues to articulate a perspective very close to my own.

Mr. Mason writes:

My concern isn't so much that Romney as President will personally act to advance Mormonism per se. It is rather that, as Mr. Morris states, electing a Mormon as President of the United States will immediately and effectively begin to normalize other strange religions like this in the national political arena as well (which up to this point still remain confined mostly to the margins). I'm also thinking about something else, too. A while back I referred to the issue of President Bush's aberrant Methodist theology/worldview and the devastating political consequences of those beliefs. This did not become obvious to many until those beliefs of his played out once he arrived on the world stage. Bush at least initially appeared to us as a man who was well within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy, and yet his fatal errors were just another variety of brain-dead liberalism compared to the implications of Romney's fantastic theology. Admittedly, one cannot know for certain how or even to what extent this could become a terrible problem in the future should he occupy the Oval Office. But ask yourself this: do you actually want to turn over the Presidency to a man who sincerely and firmly believes in Mormonism with every fiber of his being and thus beliefs that he's a potential deity-in-training? God help us. Frankly, I don't even want to think about the possible consequences of a Mormon President's bizarre religious beliefs on U.S domestic and foreign policy. (emphasis mine)

On Mr. Mason's point about legitimizing abberant religious doctrines which have more or less heretofore been confined to the far corners, I would say first that this is indeed one of my concerns with electing a Mormon President. With every election of every Mormon to high political office, we continue to normalize and legitimize Mormonism as a faith consistent with American religious and political orthodoxy. I would also add that I think it reasonable to assume that it is precisely because Americans have historically relegated Mormonism to its place among the strange religious cults that Mormonism has adjusted itself to be more (or to appear more) American-like in its religious and political manifestations. As with liberalism, once you legitimize and normalize it, I predict that Mormons will become more emboldened by their newfound legitimacy among American religious and political philosophies of God, Man, and government, and will begin to assert themeselves accordingly.

As with Mason's assessment of President Bush and his religiosity, I concur as well. All the more reason for me to be very cautious about the way I approach the candidate Romney, his faith and the faith of his fathers. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on ME.