Friday, December 07, 2007

Romney tries to thread the needle of religious prejudice

Here's a copy of Romney's religion speech. Here's my rough summary:
All religious questions regarding matters on which Mormons and Evangelical Christians agree are fair game. All religious questions regarding matters on which Mormons and Evangelical Christians disagree are dastardly attacks that have no place in a presidential campaign. And people who people who aren't religious can't support freedom.
Other reactions:

This kind of intolerant horseshit is basically gibberish, but since words mean things let's try to figure out the implications of what Mitt's saying.
It's as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America - the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
Really it would just be crazy if anyone tried to start a new religion in America... oh, wait.

As an atheist and a father of three young children, the speech Mitt Romney delivered at the George H. W. Bush presidential library today shocked me to my core.

If this is the drift of this country, towards a politics that explicitly excludes my standing as a worthy citizen because I do not believe in one of the major monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism or Islam, then I seriously do not know what I will do to sustain for myself, and instill in my children, the strong sense of belonging that I currently feel as a citizen.

Dude, if this sort of talk from Republicans "shocked you to your core", then you obviously haven't been listening to a lot of Republicans talk lately. They are more and more and explicitly Christianist party, with hawkish Jewish folk along for the ride since many Evangelicals are convinced that Israel must perish in a specific manner for Jesus to come back. Romney speech is pretty par for the course as far as Christianist pandering goes.

Ryan Sager:

The most remarkable thing about Romney’s address — and even folks at National Review picked this out, notably Ramesh Ponnuru — is that is wrote atheists and agnostics out of the American nation. Whereas even President Bush, whose own cynical politics have done so much to pit believers versus non-believers, has long gone out of his way to include “good people of no faith at all” in his vision of America. While the president’s need to qualify that phrase with the word “good” might be offensive, it’s a warm embrace of the faithless compared to Romney’s declaration that “freedom requires religion.”

Got that? Those of us who don’t believe in Christianity, those of us who don’t believe in God, those of us who don’t believe in the divinity of human-written holy books have no place in the American experiment, can’t be relied on to uphold the principles of our Constitution, and don’t have the morality necessary to keep a Republic.

Again, why so shocked? This is the direction Republicans have been going for a long time.

David Frum:

To be blunt, Romney is saying:

It is legitimate to ask a candidate, "Is Jesus the son of God?"

But it is illegitimate to ask a candidate, "Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?"

It is hard for me to see a principled difference between these two questions, and I think on reflection that the audiences to whom Romney is trying to appeal will also fail to see such a difference. Once Romney answered any question about the content of his religious faith, he opened the door to every question about the content of his religious faith. This speech for all its eloquence will not stanch the flow of such questions.


Anonymous Mad Latinist said...

Normally when people start lumping the Abrahamic religions together in discussing the "faith" of our country my instant reaction is negative: come on, it's the Christians you're talking about, lumping us in is just a vague, empty nod to political correctness (come on, Muslims? In this country? In this political environment??).

But this time, I can't argue, because you're right that some of my co-religionists support the administration because they think it's good for Israel. This is not only dead wrong, it's horribly shameful. I really wish I could jump on you for tarring Judaism with the same brush, but in this case I can't. Humiliating.

I am also disappointed in Romney. It was an excellent opportunity to argue for tolerance, and maybe even (gasp) diversity among the white men who become president. The example of a "different" president that comes to everyone's mind (not everyone knows about the UU's in office) is Kenedy, who was (gasp again) Catholic! He could have followed the Kenedy's example, but instead he blows the opportunity to go for insulting right-wing religion-pushing nonsense.

9:56 PM, December 07, 2007  
Anonymous Mad Latinist said...

As usual, Slacktivist nails it.

10:58 PM, December 09, 2007  

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