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ROMNEY: A person’s religious beliefs do matter

Letter by Janis Aimee, Olympia on June 6, 2011 at 11:14 am with 28 Comments »
June 10, 2011 4:48 pm

Re: “A religious test for Mitt Romney” (TNT, 6-3).

Yes, religion matters. While a “religious test” is forbidden, religious evaluation by voters happens all the time. Specific to Mitt Romney as a Mormon are questions that pertain to how he may view individual rights.

The Latter-day Saints’ practice (acknowledged and defended by the church) of baptizing the dead by proxy raises question about the Mormons’ respect for the beliefs of other religions.

The LDS church allows members 12 years and older to stand in for dead people and perform the baptism ritual. It is accepted fact that the founding fathers were baptized by proxy by a LDS president and “prophet.” A Mormon friend of my grandson’s announced that the founding fathers were Mormons during class discussion on Presidents’ Day. On its website, the church says that the dead are free to accept or reject this baptism.

Romney’s church is not lackadaisical about its beliefs and doctrines. A Mormon is not allowed to pick and choose among doctrine and still be in good standing. Romney, obviously, has good standing. Does he believe in baptizing our dead relatives, dead political leaders, dead business leaders, and people like Golda Meir and Gandhi? This reflects on his respect for individual religious rights and beliefs.

While Romney can believe anything he wants, it does not mean voters should not understand how church doctrines motivate his “values.”

Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. old_benjamin says:

    If Tom Jefferson were alive today he’d be rolling over in his grave.

  2. KARDNOS says:

    Here we go………the Evangelicals telling the Mormons they are wrong….LOL

  3. Rollo_Tomassi says:

    old_benjamin –

    Now that was funny!

  4. bobcat1a says:

    If Jefferson were alive (and spinning), he would be at least as bemused by the Mormons as he was by the brands of christianity contemporary to him.

  5. Look up the meaning “there shall be no religious test”.

  6. aislander says:

    Voters are perfectly free under the Constitution to apply their own religious “test” to a candidate. In normal times, with mainstream religions such as LDS, it seems bigoted to withhold a vote because of the candidate’s religion, but these are not normal times. If a religion is also a system of governance, and the animus behind the world’s only theocracies, I would withhold MY vote from a candidate of such a religion…

  7. Those who are concerned about how Romney’s religion will affect his policies should make sure those questions get asked and answered. If it’s okay to question the influence of that hateful Jeremiah Wright character on the Obamas, it’s okay to question the influence of Romney’s religion.

    As a Christian, I bring my Christian principles with me into any job situation; attempting to apply them as I understand them to whatever situation I face in the workplace…or the neighborhood, etc. If one’s religion does NOT impact his or her choices, why bother with it?

  8. Roncella says:

    Janis, I was wondering how long it would take before the folks on the left would start to attack Romney’s Mormon Faith. They were confortable with President Obama having attended a racist church ran by the Rev. Wright who preached hate for whites, Jews, and America, even as he moved into his million dollar mansion in a white suburb of Chicago.

    Romney has more experience right now to be President relating to business especially and government in general than President Obama has now.

    Are you happy with the state of the economy now, and all that hope and change you were promised by Obama ??

  9. CrazyJim says:

    Flip flop Romney isn’t going to get my vote on any level regardless of his religion.

  10. alindasue says:

    There are two issues being addressed in Ms. Aimee’s letter. One is a misunderstanding of a practice within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The other is a concern that as an LDS, can Mitt Romney serve the American people as president without excessive influence of the LDS prophet? Because of my tendency to write long posts, I will address one issue in this comment and then the other in my next.

    Ms. Aimee said that her grandson’s friend said that the founding fathers were Mormons. That is the misunderstanding of a child. It is quite likely that the temple work has been done for many of the founding fathers – in the temples work is done for the living and, by proxy, for the dead – but that does not necessarily mean that any of them have become members of the church. As it says on the web site, the dead are free to accept or reject this baptism.

    When I do work in the temple for a person, I know that I am only doing the physical work for her. That part is done for her should she decide in the after-life to accept the church. Nothing more. Always, it is the free informed choice of the individual.

    Some churches baptize babies, but we don’t. We believe that each person has to make a conscious decision to join the church and no one is mature enough to make that decision until at least age eight. One of my daughters was nearly twelve before she felt ready to commit to the waters of baptism. She had to understand what she was doing and it had to be her choice.

    In the early days of the church, the prophet Joseph Smith wrote thirteen “articles of faith” in an attempt to explain the church to the rest of the world. Number eleven states: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

    In other words, we may talk to people about the church (as I am doing here); we may send out missionaries to tell the world about Jesus Christ and the Gospel; but NEVER is anyone forced by the church to join – neither here nor in the afterlife.

    If you have any questions, you can ask me and I will attempt to answer them. The church also has a site set up for that purpose at mormon.org. Another site, lds.org, is full of study resources aimed at members of the church, but you don’t have to be a member to use and enjoy that site as well.

    Now on to part two…

  11. aislander says:

    alindasue: I have no problem with anybody’s religion, as long as it is not imposed on me AS A RELIGION. It would be ridiculous to insist that a person’s religious inculcation not express itself in his political views and actions. That would be impossible to enforce, anyway, but using religious law (as religious law) to govern the nation would be unconstitutional. That is what happens in Muslim countries. Otherwise, I judge religions and non-religions by their fruits. Mormons seem largely to be happy, productive citizens who contribute a lot to society and don’t harm it.

  12. alindasue, you have been one of the more outrageous, vociferous conservative haters among your fellow liberals to post here. I’m just wondering if that is an attribute also supported by your church?

  13. Furthermore, before you ask, no, I’m not an active church go’er and my opinions and comments reflect on me, not any specific religion.

  14. alindasue says:

    Roncella said, “Janis, I was wondering how long it would take before the folks on the left would start to attack Romney’s Mormon Faith.”

    Ms. Aimee did not indicate where her political views lay. Her concern was about how Mitt Romney’s religion would influence his politics. The concern about a possible candidate’s religion is nothing new in this country. Observe.

    As a Mormon, can Mitt Romney serve the American people as president without excessive influence of the LDS prophet?

    Several of you here who post regularly can remember a similar situation about five decades ago:
    As a Catholic, can John F. Kennedy serve the American people as president without excessive influence from the pope?

    Even though the US Constitution says that “there shall be no test of religion”, it is easy to see why people may have been concerned. The pope is a powerful figure not only among Catholics, but as a world figure in general. The Catholic church has essentially “ruled” the leaders of countries in the past.

    However, the reality was that although John F. Kennedy’s values were formed by his Catholic beliefs, the country was not run under the influence of the pope. The same would be the case with Mitt Romney. When he was governor of Massachusetts, we didn’t see the church’s hand in all his dealings there, did we? Why would he be different as president?

    While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made statements regarding certain moral issues like the sanctity of marriage and the importance of families, the church itself is generally neutral when it comes to matters of politics.

    Its members aren’t always so neutral, as you may well know, but we are far from lock-step in our political beliefs. Glenn Beck has made his political beliefs know. Personally, you wouldn’t find me at any of Glenn Becks’ rallies, except maybe as part of a counter-protest group. As for Mitt Romney – I like elements of the health care plan he introduced in Massachusetts, but I think I’m going to have to go with CrazyJim. I’m not going to vote for him regardless of his religion.

    I like President Obama, but I might consider a someone else come election time IF a better candidate were to turn up. Right now, it doesn’t look like the Republicans will be coming up with that candidate this time.

  15. alindasue says:

    frosty said, “alindasue, you have been one of the more outrageous, vociferous conservative haters among your fellow liberals to post here. I’m just wondering if that is an attribute also supported by your church?”

    frosty, I don’t hate anyone.

    Look at my posts again. I debate issues, not political party extremes. I have deliberately not joined an political party because I feel that how a candidate stands on issues is more important than his party affiliation.

    I have voted for Republicans and “third party” candidates in the past and may do so again. I am “liberal” on some issues and “conservative” on others. It all depends on the issue being discussed. The main consistency is that I value life and care about the world and people around me.

    The church often stresses the importance of education and getting involved in our communities. An informed voter is a better voter, no matter which way he leans in the political spectrum.

  16. “but using religious law (as religious law) to govern the nation would be unconstitutional.”

    And yet you do not support the right to chose, of gay marriage or even gays serving in the military.
    Your hypocrisy is only overshadowed by your total disconnect with reality.

  17. “I’m just wondering if that is an attribute also supported by your church?”

    Mormons by and large make you look liberal.

  18. sozo, we rarely totally agree, but I am with you on this one. We should not assume, like the Catholic bashers did in the South when Kennedy was running, that a candidate will choose his or her religion over the Constitution.

    I lived in Houston, and my pastor was one involved, when a group of Protestant church leaders asked Kennedy very pointed questions about his religion and his political stances. Most were satisfied with the answers (even if they didn’t agree with his politics), and Kennedy proved true to his word and didn’t mix religion and politics.

    I hope Romney can stand up to the same scrutiny, and I expect he would not inject his personal religious beliefs more than any right wing politician does. He seems much smarter than that.

  19. Roncella,
    How long did it take the Religious Right to attack Romney because of his Faith?
    Less than 6 hours.

  20. aislander says:

    xring: You seemed to object when I called you a “dissembler,” but your observation about the “religious right’s” attacking Romney is an illustration of why that label is accurate. Certainly there are individuals, and perhaps even congregations, who have a problem with Romney’s religion, but they are not even close to being the majority of conservatives of faith. Rev. Fred Phelps is a Democrat and has run for office several times, always as a Democrat. I don’t see conservatives making the case that Phelps represents the “religious left…”

  21. aislander, you can see the ripples starting, however. World, the Religious Right magazine run by Marvin Olasky, who was the man responsible for George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservative” ideology, ran a piece by a very influential commentator saying real Christains could not vote for a Mormon for President. This letter sounds like a condensation of that piece, and in parts plagarism from it.

    The author was Warren Cole Smith, whose columns are run by the American Family Association and who has an in influential radio show. It will be interesting to see if the American Family Foundation denounces or contradicts Smith.

    I don’t think they will, unless Romney is about to get the nomination. Then it will be all about how liberals attacked Romney for his religion.

  22. aislander says:

    The libs seem to be hanging their hats on, a) Romney is the only Republican the poll shows as beating Obama, and, b) Christian conservatives will never allow Romney to be nominated; therefore, c) Obama wins re-election. Not so fast…

    A recent poll showed that nearly half of those asked said they would definitely not vote for Obama in 2012. That leaves the Republican candidate needing to win only a small percentage of undecideds to win the presidency.

    The states, such as Virginia, Indiana, and (I believe, without Googling) South Carolina, Florida, et al, that anomalously voted for Obama in 2008 make Obama’s re-election impossible if they vote according to recent historical patterns. Throw in the economy, gas prices, a new war, a murky foreign policy, Obama’s preening arrogance (my own animus), crushing debt and other failings of the administration, and Obama’s task becomes even MORE difficult.

    Romney is the only non-Palin, non-Gingrich candidate with any name recognition. As much as some may admire them, those two currently have very high negatives (which they may well overcome). When attractive candidates such as Pawlenty, Cain, or someone not on the radar introduce themselves to a larger audience, they will certainly increase their percentages.

    So, even if Romney is blown out of the water due to his religion (I don’t believe it will be a factor, and that is an opinion based on my acquaintance with many, many, Christian conservatives), that by no means comes close to guaranteeing four more Obama-ridden years.

  23. No matter who is the republican candidate, republicans will vote for him or her before they would vote for Obama. It’s very likely also that most independents would also vote for the republican candidate rather than for Obama. Whoever it turns out to be won’t really matter, what does matter is tha Obama will not get their vote, I for one am not going to allow the drive-by media to pick my representative, therefore I pay no attention to what they have to say about the republican nominee.

  24. Islander,
    Do a web search for ‘conservatives attack Romney’.

    Throw in the GOP’s war on the American worker and middle classes and their radical social engineering and you get a different spin on 2012.

  25. harleyrider1 says:

    When JFK ran for office and many expressed concern after his visit to the Pope, he assured voters his faith was his own and he would run the office as a President for all Americans.

    My father who was not Catholic, complained loudly that the Catholics were going to take over America. Wait and see. He’ll take his orders from the Pope. My father was serious too – and angry.

    Course it never happened. As long as our next President is not a Muslim – I’m good with it.

  26. Roncella says:

    Sorry but alot of Americans have got the liberal left message having almost three years of Obama/Carter like Recession, joblessness, housing depression, high gas prices and all the rest.

    I believe that the voters in 2012 will be more selective and informed and will vote for their pocket books and for their futures and their families futures this time around.

    The Country really can’t afford 4 more years of Obama economy.

  27. Roncella says:

    Romneys handlers had better beware. The Liberal left Main lame stream Press and the democrat hit squad will be on the attack now that Romney is ahead of Obama in the Polls.

    Watch for his Mormon Faith and his Romney Care he pushed through in Mass to become big issues the dems will use over and over and over and over.

    The dems can’t brag about what a great job Obama has done in 3 years. Obama gets a failing grade an F from almost 67% of Americans polled.

    The dems. can only attack and be negative thats all they have along with their Weiner.., sorry I just couldn’t help myself. .

  28. Roncella says that the Dems will be to blame for Bachmann and Palin and others on the far right leading the charge in attacking Romney. That is how far the “doublethink” of the far right has brought us.

    From Orwell’s 1984: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary”

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