Monday, October 22, 2007

Romney: Either not much of a Mormon, or Not Much for Intellectual Honesty

Okay, this comment by Mitt Romney struck me as particularly disingenuous.

"No president could possibly take orders or even input from religious leaders telling him what to do," Romney, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" program. "My church wouldn't endeavor to tell me what to do on an issue, and I wouldn't listen to them on an issue that related to our nation."

First off, for years presidents have used evangelical pastors like (can't remember the name) Jimmy Swagart (???) as so called spiritual advisers. You can't tell me that those religious figures have not had effects on some decisions that American presidents have made. Second, if Romney is a stout Mormon, the positions and doctrines of the LDS church have an effect into your decision making. (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, and Utah's much lamented liquor laws) For Romney to say, "I wouldn't listen to (LDS leaders) them on an issue that related to our nation" shows a epidemic lack of intellectual honesty.

Personally I would rather hear an LDS presidential candidate (who is worth voting for) acknowledge that the teachings of the LDS church are a core part of their values, and that as such those values will (should) be a major part of his decision making as President. Someone whose decision making is not influenced by their values is like a ship with a captain who has a compass and map but would rather be guided by the whims of his crew and shipmates. They may travel making good time, but with a completely unintended destination.

Romney went on to say:

"I am not going to try and distance myself in any way, shape or form from my faith. The same kind of philosophy that's associated with other Christian faiths and the Jewish faith and others is very much consistent with (Mormonism)ours."

While I agree with Romney on the later point, it appears that (by denying that the Church will influence his decisions as a President) he is distancing himself from his faith. I believe most voters would be more likely to have empathy with Romney if he acknowledged that his faith would effect him, and bring to light some of the Christian values his faith typifies.

Bad form, Romney.


Anonymous said...

I think what Mitt meant is that he is not going to be taking counsel on how to run the presidency from the prophet and apostles of the church. And rightly so, I think. The prophet and apostles wouldn't ever think of getting involved politically that way anyway, so no worries.

The church has, and ever will, remain officially politically neutral. They will give advice to "government leaders" as they did in the Proclamation on the Family, but they will never tell a government officer what to do.

Of course Mitt's faith will influence his decisions in the White House. And those will be good decisions.

Anonymous said...

Check out this video about Mormons.

Tyler Farrer said...

"No president could possibly take orders or even input from religious leaders telling him what to do"

It looks like the above quote is incomplete, and contains some minor errors.

What he actually said was, "Well, No president could possibly take orders or even input from a religious leader telling him what to do. Uh, I mean look, I guess you could always listen to ideas, but you certainly wouldn't be guided by someone outside the constitutional circle."

That seems entirely appropriate to me as a Mormon. Romney says in this interview that he doesn't expect any endorsements for his religion. He uses the value line all the time, saying that he shares values with people of other faiths.

"I can tell you that the values of my faith are founded no judeo-christian principles."

Romney's view of the role of the president under this constitution is entirely consistent with my beliefs as well.