"I do not speak for my Church on public matters--- and the Church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as President------ I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise."
The Economist wrote recently in a special report that "religion will play a big role in this century's politics." No doubt, it has galvanized voters that would have never participated in the pre-election process. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has faced severe criticisms from the 'evangelical conservatives' about his Mormonism and the fact that he had held office in the Church itself, a far cry from just being a subscriber to such religious ideology. Romney isn't the only one who has faced opposition to his religious tendencies in a bid for the highest office in the land, but he is the only candidate that is a member of a controversial cult.
No, he didn't make the quote above, though he most likely will reflect that in his upcoming "Faith in America" speech that will be given to the conservative audience at the George Bush Presidential Library at College Station, Texas.
The above quote was made by another Presidential hopeful, a Democrat instead of a Republican, who was being criticized by his faith that was just as controversial as Romney's faith during his pursuit for the highest office. President John F. Kennedy (then a Senator from Massachusetts) was speaking before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association at the Rice Hotel in Texas in regards to his faith in 1960.
There are those "Christian" leaders who support Romney in his comments that his religious beliefs shouldn't be a major impediment to attaining the Republican nod for the Presidential run, much like there are those who support Giuliani for the same reasons.
Reverend Lou Sheldon, co-chair of Romney's faith and values committee, says, "Romney [is] a strong Christian who shares pro-family values with social conservatives" according to an article Romney's Mormonism Not a Big Problem, Christian Leaders Say on CNSNews.com.
Sheldon, chairman and founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, brings up the fact that there was fear over a Muslim Congressman who 'might' swear his oath upon the Koran. For some reason, the staff writer for the article, Kevin Mooney, seems to forget that this event indeed happened. It wasn't just a 'maybe' event, as Sheldon would have you believe.
At his swearing in ceremony, Congressman Keith Ellison, the first democratically elected jihadi for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, placed his hand upon an eighteenth century translation (Arabic to English) purportedly to be from Thomas Jefferson's library. Detractors suggested that this shows Ellison's allegiance was made to the Quran, the holy script of the violent Islamic faith. Most of those who were offended by Ellison's act point to the fact that this shows a servitude to Islam and the Khalifate, and not the American people that elected him.
If Romney is successful in his bid to be nominated to the Republican choice for the White House, he will indeed have a lot more in common with Congressman Ellison than Kennedy, if we go beyond the rhetoric that he seems to have 'borrowed' from the President past.
Mooney feels that Romney betting that he can get prospective voters on his side by directing their attention away from "theological differences" between the "Mormons, Catholics, and Protestants" and embracing "shared common values" , what should be "key policy questions." At first sight, many Mormon beliefs sound like traditional Christian values, which is what Romney and leaders like Rev. Sheldon would hope you believe. But, as Sir Richard Burton noted in his visit to this 'new cult' in 1961 (ironic, ain't it?), the Mormon faith is "essentially an agglomeration of Jewish mysticism, millennialism, transcendentalism, freemasonry, and Islamic practices." Of course, the leadership of the Mormons were clear; their religion embraced all truths! The same thing can be said of the Islamic founder, Muhammad! Ellison and Romney are distant cousins in the terms of faith.
Sheldon is quoted further by Mooney in the article, "If his address emulates the faith in God and religious liberty and justice for all, with the relationship being he is accountable to God for what he says and does, then I don't think you will see Christian voters moving away from him because he is Mormon." This seems to be the common point that Romney actually has with both his republican and democrat presidential opponents in the race, the hope that 'key social issues' will sway the voters into his camp:
"While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the onset that we have far more critical issues to face.....These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues--for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers."
A good opening for Romney's speech, that is possible. It seems the Republicans are taking lessons from their democratic opponents who have won in the past, namely President John F. Kennedy, who faced similar problems in his run to the White House.
I wonder if Romney's oath would reflect the same disregard Ellison has for the faith of the majority of his constituents, according to recent polls. In the book Ellison claims contains "the scripture I read every day ---it is the book that inspires me", we find the views that reflect un-American values:
"And fight for the religion of GOD against all those who fight against you....And kill them wherever ye find them........They desire that ye should become infidels, as they are infidels, and that ye should be equally wicked with themselves. Therefore take not friends from among them, until they fly their country for the religion of GOD; and if they turn their back from the faith, take them, and kill them."
Of course, Romney and all of the other presidential hopefuls from both parties would have you believe:
"It is apparently necessary for me to state once again---- not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me---- but what kind of America I believe in."
Something's never change and something's aren't what they seem. The Democratic Party continues to distort their own records and party lines, suckering in those who don't look beyond the words issued forth from the mouth of those who would deceive you. Kennedy did it, distorting a little thought of phrase in a personal letter from a government figure to a congregation and claiming total understanding of the concept. And Republicans continue to think they can just ride the democratic threat long enough to overcome any conservative objection. Romney has at least picked the right cult to belong to, unlike his democratic opponent, Barrack Obama. Mormons are, according to one government regulator, "very social. They communicate with one another and trust each other very much. If someone in the church believes something's right, he can sell it to the others."
Romney would have you believe that his faith, Mormonism, is on par with the Christian faith and that he can represent your values well. Giuliani would have you believe that you can overlook his blatant disregard for his Catholic non-values and hold him accountable to what "he says, he does." Hillary and Obama would have you believe that their faith, while stopping at the door of the White House, is a valuable part of their lives, and yet their congressional records show otherwisethat their faith doesn't even reach their consciousness.
When the dust settles from the floorboards of the hall where Romney launches his attempt to reconcile the evangelical conservative base with his Mormonistic views, I think we will wind up with an exchange similar to the one that took place between Senator Kennedy and B.E. Howard, a minister of the Church of Christ.
"I would be glad to state to you that no one can direct me in the fulfillment of my duties as a public official under the United States Constitution. That I am directed to do to the people of the United States, sworn to do, to an oath to God"
B.E. Howard's reply is what I think a conservative evangelical follower of Christ will be left saying to Romney's "Faith in America" speech..
"I understand you didn't explain anything."
Matt Friedeman- Guest Columnist on One News Now, wrote in his Perspectives column, The vital role of Faith in a nation, evangelicals must realize that American "seems much of the time to be decomposing in front of our eyes." But, Friedeman reminds us, "We nonetheless stand in a long line of reforming and redeeming movements that were able to 'put the toothpaste back into the tube,' so to speak."
It is time for evangelicals to stand, with a joyful and righteousness that comes from being aligned in God's purpose to defeat the evilness of inaction, resignation, and general acceptance of the decaying morality of our public officials. This is not just a liberal sin, but a collective sin of a nation, either in active pursuit of an anti-God agenda or through the inaction of holding those so engaged to a higher moral and ethical standard.
There is absolutes in our Christian faith. There are standards and accountability that exceed a humanistic expectation. It is time that we hold ourselves, our officials, and our nation to those standards. Then, and only then, can this nation repent and restore its moralistic integrity.
As Friedeman says, "A fourth Great Awakening can come, but not if we see others dismissing God and His ways and in our sadness
The Honorable Thaddeus G. McCotter said " No good government denies God's presence."
But no government can be 'good' if the people don't demand such standards from their elected officials. Can Romney live up to that standard is the question we should ask. Moralistically, Spiritually, and Ethically.
As we should ask of each of the contenders for the White House.
Jim is a Senior Ordained Chaplain with Chaplain Service Corp. Answering the call to ministry for the sake of all men, focusing on God, Jim writes and pursues with faith the plans of His Father wherever that may lead. www.chapel-michigan.blogspot.com
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