More Anti-Mormon Tactics

A disturbing event in South Carolina came to light recently. Christmas cards purported to be from Mitt Romney were sent to a number of people around the state. They state that they were “Paid For By The Boston Massachusetts Temple,” which is not remotely true. They also highlight a number of “differences” between LDS doctrine and that of Protestant Christianity. The cards are simply classic Anti-Mormon tactics.

The real problem with the cards is that they suggest that Mitt Romney and the LDS endorsed them. First off, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not endorse any candidates and very rarely becomes involved in politics (and then only to make a statement against same-sex marriage, for example).

Whoever produced these postcards should be prosecuted – not for the Anti-Mormon statements but for the pretense of acting on Romney’s behalf. Should the person or persons be jailed? No, but they should at least receive fines or some other fitting punishment. We don’t need any underhanded antics or other illegal, unethical, or immoral actions by individuals trying to falsely attack the beliefs of a candidate.

You can read more here.

Huckabee: Anti-Mormon Politics or Political Incompetence?

By Daniel Kay

Republican candidate Mike Huckabee asked an interviewer for New York Times Magazine “Don’t Mormons believe Jesus and the Devil are brothers?” While he apologized to Romney over this “accidental” smear on his faith, there has been no apology to those of the Mormon faith. I find this particularly odd, as Huckabee claims the comment was not supposed to have been directed at Romney but was spoken out of curiosity about Mormons religion in general. There is not an avid Baptist church goer, let alone a Baptist Minister who does not know that this statement is a classic Anti-Mormon slur used to discredit Mormonism. So we the voters have three possible explanations.

1. Huckabee is a politician who cannot control his tongue or keep to his word. He told reports he would not “go there” to comment on Romney’s religion; yet, after making these statements he could not resist. Perhaps the curiosity was too strong.

or

2. Huckabee is a Baptist minister with a Bachelors degree in religion who does not know the difference between a religiously charged Anti-Mormon statement and innocent banter. This possibility fits with his apparent incompetent image reminiscent of the, “What Iran report? My aids didn’t tell me about any Iran report,” incident or the “I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express last night” comment to laugh off his lack of knowledge about foreign policy.

or

3. Huckabee is a skillful prevaricator and liar who was able to spear Romney’s faith, bring into play Evangelical superstitions about Mormonism, and all the while maintain the nice guy image.

Take your pick; all three speak to Huckabee’s poor viability as a full spectrum GOP presidential candidate.

Huckabee: The Evangelical Theocracy Platform

If Huckabee obtains the republic nomination it will be the end of the religious right. He is self professedly running as the divinely-sent Evangelical Theocratic candidate at the exclusion of all other faiths. He was given the opportunity to comment on Mormonism and instead of making a statement in support of religious tolerance and freedom, he first refused to comment but ultimately made a statement that invoked Anti-Mormon sentiments and unwittingly strengthened his support. Huckabee may be the champion of Evangelicals, but he is not the champion for religious freedom and morals common to all religions. The religious right requires leaders that will unit all peoples of faith in America, not exclude the many by being the campaigner of his own religion. This is only part of his problem.

If nominated, Huckabee will also destroy the strength of the Republican Party, or as the National Review said it would be “party suicide.” He embodies one subgroup of one wing of the party, the Evangelical part of social conservatives. Huckabee is not a Fiscal Conservative; he is not an International Conservative. His tax increases and high spending as Governor of Arkansas are proof of his fiscal liberalism. His suggestion that the US embargo on Cuba be ended is proof of his international incompetence.

Without a nominee that can unite the three wings of the GOP and be a standard-bearer for the religious right, expect a big loss to any Democrat.

Iowa Republican Debate

I think the CNN headline is telling: “GOP Candidates Stay Polite.” There is hope for America when we can have a political debate (which I did not watch) and have mostly positive comments (i.e., focused on personal policy and not on each other). I know that sometimes candidates need to point out flaws or weaknesses in their opponents but that can be done cordially or with humor. That is one thing I really like about Mike Huckabee – he is very polite and runs a positive campaign. I still think that his popularity is more infatuation than substance (it could turn into substance later but now it isn’t) and might die down quickly.

Why Kucinich is a Dangerous Candidate

Dennis Kucinich is a representative from Illinois. It is commendable that he takes strong stances on issues and is not shy to share his beliefs. However, his ideologies on one hand tear at the fabric of America (which is a little ironic considering there is a large “Defend the Constitution!” splashed across his campaign issues site) and on the other display what is great about America – that we can have such broad viewpoints.

  • He seeks universal government health care in a form that is more extreme than any other viable candidate. I’m not commenting on socialized medicine but he seeks the most extreme form possible. Extreme is actually a common theme with Kucinich.
  • On his website it states: “In an interconnected world of trading partners afloat with nuclear weapons, war is unthinkable. The Europeans have turned away from the catastrophic wars of the last century which took over 100 million lives to embrace a new understanding of diplomacy and dialogue as well as a new understanding of patriotism. So must the United States. The world depends on it.”
    • Europe has turned away from war? Hardly. War is unthinkable because countries have nuclear weapons? War could be catastrophic but it isn’t unthinkable. Besides, even if they have, war has not and will not turn away from them. As much as I hate war (I think we should avoid war at almost all cost), I also recognize that we will never see an end to war through political discussions. Some people (and ideologies like radical Islam {or Communism, Fascism, etc.}) just will never respond to diplomacy. It may not even be wise to try diplomacy with everyone (as nice as that would be).
  • “Saving Capitalism”: He has a “plan to instill ethics, accountability and fairness in global trade and big business.” Basically the plan is to save capitalism through socialism, thereby incapacitating capitalism. He wants to save it from itself. Capitalism isn’t perfect but we need less regulation and more education to fix the problems it may create.
  • He’s for ending poverty in the world (which would be nice) but against genetically engineered food (which allows more people to grow more food).
  • He’s against racial discrimination (“I proudly endorse a comprehensive non-discrimination policy, including nondiscrimination based on race”), which is wonderful, but for Affirmative Action (“Affirmative action is necessary, affirmative action is right, and affirmative action must be preserved”), which is a policy that discriminates based on race.
  • He supports same-sex marriage. We have enough problems with marriage (high divorce rate, high cohabitation rates) without completely destroying the sacred institution of marriage by allowing people of the same-sex to marry. This has nothing to do with being homophobic, which is so often thrown back at anyone who stands up for traditional marriage; this has everything to do with supporting the moral foundation of our nation. I’ll be friends with, work with, talk with, and serve with people who are gay or lesbian but I don’t support their homosexual behavior and I don’t think we should change the meaning of marriage to include same-sex couples.
  • He wants the immediate and complete withdrawal from Iraq. You may support the war or not support it but that would be a disaster for Iraq and the Middle East. It would tell the extreme Islamic militants that they won. I respect the Islam faith, there is much great about it, but some people twist the doctrines and plan to either convert the whole world or destroy those who won’t convert. The radical militant Islamists are no different than Genghis Khan was back in his day.
  • On logging: “The United States was originally blanketed with a billion acres of forest. Now only 40 million acres remain uncut.” We also didn’t have 300+ million people in the United States. “We must end public lands logging….” Which would result in more forest fires. We need to conserve the environment intelligently and not go to either extreme.

This list could go on. You can read more about Kucinich’s views here. There is also a short biographical sketch about him here.

I think that Kucinich is a dangerous candidate because his political views are on the extreme left of the ideological spectrum. That does not mean that I think that they are all wrong but he’s just way too extreme. We’ve already had a general liberal drift in this nation over time, especially morally. Things that used to be unacceptable are now acceptable. We don’t need more extremists because extremism only creates rifts between parties and people. Kucinich is farther to the left than any of the Republican candidates are to the right – even Ron Paul balances out quite moderately. We need to return to our roots and our values. We don’t need a radical shift away from the country our Founding Fathers established, we need to return to that. Kucinich would take us in the wrong direction.

The Rise of Huckabee and the Status of Romney

Mike Huckabee has been in the news a lot recently. He suddenly flew up in the ranks in polls and is now a front-runner. Why do voters like him so much? Well, he’s charismatic. He does decently well on the stage and is witty. He’s also a minister – people tend to like ministers and trust them. The evangelical contingency in the country really like him and are throwing their support behind him. After all, he’s easy for them to support, he is one of them; whereas someone like Mitt Romney is a member of a cult and well, we just don’t talk about any of the other candidates’ religious views. After all, the only Republican candidate who really needs to pass a religious test is Mitt Romney.

This is what is so hypocritical of so many evangelical Christians. Why are they so threatened by the LDS Church? What is it about Mormonism that they don’t like? I’ll address a few of the issues.

  1. Mormons believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost (Spirit) are 3 distinct personages who are completely united in purpose but still separate individuals. They also “look human” because humans were created in the image of God.
  2. Relatedly, Jesus Christ has a glorified, physical, resurrected body.
  3. Mormons also believe that God did not stop speaking to prophets after the Bible; He speaks to prophets today. Thus, the Bible is not the end-all of God’s Word. God provides new revelations to His servants, the prophets. So, the LDS canon of scriptures is not fixed, set, and closed like evangelical or Catholic scripture is; the LDS canon of scripture is open and expanding.
  4. Expanding point 3: Mormons also believe that God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and called him as a prophet. Most other Christians do not believe in prophets in our day. They believe that God stopped speaking to prophets when the last page of the Bible was written (which, by the way, was not the book of Revelation; also, ignoring the numerous edits of the Bible that occurred before and after it was compiled into the format we know now. The Bible is true, it just might not be completely translated correctly. God did not write the Bible by hand, humans did and people are imperfect and make mistakes).

I could go on but a lot of the clash between Evangelicals and Mormons is over the fact that Evangelicals (at least their theologians) don’t believe in the God of the Bible – they believe in the Trinity, which is a view of God tainted with Greek philosophy. Mormons believe in God as described in the Bible (Who talked with prophets face to face, Who sent His Son to atone for the sins of mankind {which Son expressed numerous times His separateness from His Father}, Who created humans in His own image).

So what does this have to do with Huckabee and Romney. Well, as I stated above, Mike Huckabee is a minister. He worked as paid clergyman for his profession. He has the support of evangelical Christians. Mitt Romney is a member of the LDS Church. His values are the same (largely) as evangelical Christians. However, because LDS doctrine is undeservedly viewed as heretical by evangelicals, many of them can’t overcome religious bigotry (or, to use a new term – religism) and support a Mormon. It’s a shame because Mitt Romney is really the only true conservative of the major candidates (i.e., Giuliani, McCain, and Huckabee). This also means that Huckabee is the most threatening to Romney because evangelical Christians would likely (and probably begrudgingly) support Romney over Giuliani and McCain.

I think that Mike Huckabee is an OK candidate but it seems that most of his support is because he said some witty things in a debate and he’s a minister-turned-politician. He just does not have the skills that Romney or McCain have.

Now that the economy is a top issue for voters, Romney looks like an even better candidate given his successful business and fiscal background. Maybe Huckabee would be a good president (and Romney not so good) – we have no way of telling that at this time – but it just seems that so much of Huckabee’s support is based on shallow motives without substance. Then again, maybe I just don’t know enough about him.

Romney’s Faith in America

Mitt Romney recently gave an address titled “Faith in America.” I believe it was one of the defining moments in his campaign. I also believe that it was a defining moment in recent U.S. politics. As mentioned in the talk, our nation is becoming too secular. We are forgetting our Maker, forgetting the foundation of our nation, and thus, forgetting who we are. America is only as strong as her faith. There are many who clamor for the suppression of religion, who see it only as a limiting force in life. This is not what the Founding Fathers intended; they were by and large deeply religious men. Many of them did not regularly go to church because they were not very impressed with the churches of the day but all of them believed in God and established America as a place where people were free to worship how and what they would.

I thought Mitt Romney’s speech was stirring and powerful. He has great charisma and presents himself well. He is a man of faith who not only says that he believes but lives his life in accordance to his beliefs.