Skip to comments.No Religious Test--Except for Conservatives?
Posted on 10/12/2011 8:47:50 PM PDT by stolinsky
No Religious Test − Except for Conservatives?
David C. Stolinsky
Oct. 13, 2011
but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
− U.S. Constitution, Article VI
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a leading contender for the Republican nomination for president. But questions are being raised about his Mormon faith. Similar questions were raised when Romney ran in 2008. Some of these questions are raised by conservative Christians who disagree with his theology.
But even here, the liberal media spread disinformation. A prominent Evangelical pastor questioned Romneys Mormon beliefs. The New York Times headline read, Prominent Pastor Calls Romneys Church a Cult. But as Dennis Prager points out, if you read the full article, in the next-to-last paragraph you find that the pastor concluded, Im going to advise people that it is much better to vote for a non-Christian who embraces biblical values than to vote for a professing Christian like Barack Obama who embraces un-biblical values. So the headline should have read, Evangelical Pastor Prefers Romney to Obama.
Instances in which Evangelicals question Romneys faith are emphasized by the liberal press. But many of the questions are raised by liberals themselves, who hope to stir up conflict among Republicans. For example, take the recent cover of Newsweek showing Romney jumping around like a crazed fanatic, holding a book − presumably the Book of Mormon − with text reading, The Mormon Moment.
And dont forget the 2008 cover of Time, showing a photo of Romney with the text, Sure, He Looks Like a President. But What Does Mitt Romney Really Believe?
Excuse me, but whose business is it what Romneys religious beliefs really are? In fact, this is a blatant attack on Latter-day Saints theology. In fact, this is a glaring example of liberal religious bigotry. In fact, it is a colossal case of hypocrisy: Republicans are religious bigots, but we Democrats are tolerant, sensitive, and diverse − so we can do whatever we please to further our agenda.
This is hardly the only example of liberal bigotry. Recall the questioning of Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito by Senate Democrats, who pointedly asked whether his Catholic faith would influence his rulings. Of course, no one asked nominees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan whether their deeply held liberal beliefs − from religious or secular sources − would influence their rulings. It was simply assumed that this was the case. Liberals are allowed to be influenced by their beliefs, but conservatives − no way!
Nor is this bigotry limited to national politics. Some years ago, the chief of police of Los Angeles retired, and the city council considered his successor. But the top scorer on the written exam, Assistant Chief Robert Vernon, was a member of a local Evangelical church. His religious views were hot topics in the Los Angeles Times, and eventually he was forced to retire − a loss for the city. The new chief who was selected was hardly his equal, but no one questioned his religious beliefs − he wasnt a conservative.
Why am I interested in Romney and his faith? Let me tell you a story − an American story. My parents and I spent the first eight years of my life in Lisbon, North Dakota, a town of 2000 people. My father was a physician. I vividly remember him coming home frostbitten after a house call in a snowstorm. We were the only Jews in the county, and as I grew older my parents felt the need to introduce me to my religion. For this and other reasons, we moved to Boise, Idaho.
There was a small Reform Jewish congregation, but they did not hold Sabbath services on Friday evening. So my father and a colleague borrowed the synagogue and organized a small Conservative congregation. The Reform congregation needed their synagogue for the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, so we had to find space elsewhere.
My father and his colleague found a place − the meeting room in the Mormon Temple. I believe the rent was either low or forgiven entirely. There were no crucifixes, images, or statues, so we had no problem.
At the age of eight, I was introduced to the holiest days of my Jewish faith in the meeting room of the Mormon Temple in Boise, Idaho. That couldnt have happened in any other country − in Canada or Australia, just possibly, but nowhere else. We have many faults, but when it comes to real tolerance − not just phony blather − America is the best.
So perhaps you will understand why I have a special place in my heart for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My only problem with them is whether day should be capitalized.
Perhaps you will understand why I paced the floor in anger when TV news showed an unruly crowd demonstrating in front of the Los Angeles Mormon Temple. The crowd was furious that the LDS Church had contributed to Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The proposition passed with over 52% of the vote in 2008, but it was blocked by a judge who himself turned out to be gay, and the case remains in legal limbo three years later. So much for Power to the people.
As the mob milled about in front of the Temple, carrying nasty signs and yelling insults, some members threw trash over the fence, and a few tried to climb it, but fortunately it was too high. On the lawn behind the fence stood two young men, typically in conservative suits and ties. What they could have done if the mob scaled the fence I dont know, and the police remained politely out of sight blocks away. They had to be politically correct, you see.
Mormons have long experience in being persecuted. In fact, no religious group has suffered in America as have Mormons. They were founded in Upstate New York by Joseph Smith. But they were driven out by pogroms, and settled for a time in Illinois and Missouri. Even worse pogroms met them there.
Interestingly, Joseph Smith announced his candidacy for president on a platform of abolition of slavery. But Smith was taken by a mob and lynched. The governor of Missouri actually issued a shoot-to-kill order for Mormons. So they fled again, led by Brigham Young, and wound up in Utah, and to a lesser extent in Idaho, where I observed the Jewish High Holidays as their guest.
But here is an interesting sidelight. This year we are observing the 100th anniversary of the Model 1911 pistol, which is still in use by elite units, including the Marine Special Operations Command and LAPD SWAT. How many other mechanical devices are still in use, in virtually unchanged form, a century after their invention?
The inventor of this and many other firearms was John Moses Browning, who was a Mormon. But this wasnt coincidental. You see, his father was born in Illinois and was a friend of Brigham Young. The elder Browning participated in the exodus to Utah, where the Brownings opened a gunsmith shop in Ogden. His fathers stories of persecution may well have intensified young Brownings interest in firearms.
In high-school ROTC, I was taught to disassemble a Model 1911A1 pistol by a master sergeant with combat ribbons. At the time I had never heard of John Moses Browning, but later I learned about him − and about the persecutions his people had undergone. These seemingly unrelated events − my religious observance in the Boise Temple, the weapons lessons on Brownings pistol, the mob in front of the Los Angeles Temple, the bigoted magazine covers, and the criticism of Romney − are related after all.
So perhaps you will understand when I become upset when I see magazine covers belittling and mocking the faith of Mitt Romney. Perhaps you will sympathize when I pace the floor in anger as a mob assaults a Mormon Temple because of a political and moral stand the LDS Church took. Perhaps you will agree when I insist that no religious test means NO religious test. Not for conservatives. Not for Catholics. Not for Evangelicals. Not for Mormons. Not for anyone.
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: email@example.com. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.
Here’s the deal. I will use whatever the hell I want as criteria to choose a candidate to vote for in the primary and then the general election.
Does this guy not remember JFK's election? That was a BIG topic of the day. Even years later.
True dat. I don't hate him because he's a Mormon, I hates him because he's anti-gun and pro-abortion.
And for those two things, he shall never, ever, ever have my vote.
Boy, is that a stupid article.
It’s SO stupid, it’s embarrassing to comment on it, but somebody has to do it.
The GOVERNMENT may not impose a religious test. If Congress passed a law that said LDS members could not be President, or if a State Legislature passed a law forbidding electors to vote for an LDS member, that would be an unconstitutional religious test.
VOTERS, on the other hand, can consider all relevant information, voters in this instance including Presidential electors. I personally don’t think being LDS is disqualifying, but I understand how somebody cold reach that conclusion.
Deciding not to vote for someone because he’s LDS is not an unconstitutional religious test.
nothing controversial about Rev Wright?
So you have no problem with the Senate Democrats grilling Alito and Roberts on whether their Catholic beliefs on abortion and other life issues might affect their votes on the Supreme Court? You have no problem with kicking out the top candidate for LAPD chief because he was a member of an Evangelical church? You have no problem with Time and Newsweek portraying a Mormon candidate like some freakish lunatic? We’ll just have to disagree.
Senate Demoncraps and LA City Council are STATE ACTORS. Subject to the Constitution, limited by it, by design.
But, We, The People, are the ones doing the limiting, and we're not limited by the Consitution.
We can use whatever we wish as a litmus test when voting.
It's good to be the sovereign.
And don't you EVER think I've forgotten who is sovereign in this land.
No, that would be the 1st Amendment. Folks can lie, if they aren't government. And the only recourse other folks have is to point and laugh at their falling subscription rates.
I think there is a Dinosaur Media Watch(tm) thing here on FR to help with pointing and laughing and the schadenfreude.
Too bad the Establishment News Media didn't ask that question about 0bama in 2008.
Nice try. I’ll bet you’re a whiz at Twister.
I think I see both points of view. You two are discussing entirely different things. The government is constitutionally prevented from using religious tests, but individuals can vote however they want. Personally? A person’s religious faith does factor into my decision, but that is not the same thing as a legally established religious test for office. In other words, I’m perfectly within my rights as an individual to set whatever tests or standards I want, but I cannot constitutionally write those religious tests/standards into the law, even if a majority of voters agree with me. See the difference?
Voters can apply any test they want to. Any test.
There is now and always will be a “religion” test by the voters, and it is quite defensible.
If a person with great ideas and a good looking resume was running for office and was also a member of lets say Branch Davidians (before waco) Wouldn’t the VOTER have the right to ask themselves .. So this guy thinks he has met the actual second Coming .. do I really think he is a good choice ?
Well in Romney case.. he does or at least presents that he does believe that....
There was a large advanced civilization in N.America of Israelites.
That J.Smith was given a NEW and COMPLETE replacement for the New Testament
That the President of the LDS IS a LIVING PROPHET that speaks to and is SPOKEN TO by God. And may render NEW SCRIPTURE as revealed to him.
I may be wrong, but I do think that things like that are valid questions for a voter to think about.. Do I want a man that believes these to be President ?
If I recall most here seemed to think Rev Wrights RELIGIOUS statements that Obama agreed with by staying were relevant to his character.. whe are the statements and beliefs that Romney agrees with by staying not relevant some how ?
It’s a setup.
Romney knows his record will be easily exposed thus resulting in his failure to ascend.
He will use his note from his mother and hand us his Epstein Religous Excuse.
I have no problem with them touching on the subject but, belaboring it would be another matter.
As for the LAPD Chief, I am not familiar with the story.
Government officials should not use religion as a litmus test, lest we develop a state based on a particular belief and enforce its morays.
The voting public may or they can ignore their religion.
Time and Newsweek portraying a Mormon candidate like some freakish lunatic? It’s stoopid, churlish and well, assinine. But they have to get paid eyeballs perusing their pages.
Dang! I can’t find your tip jar.
That is interesting, isn't it?
The only politician or candidate talking about religion is Romney. I call it playing the religion card. He got the idea from Obama.
I think that since Romney is so interested in whether Perry adheres to the beliefs and statements of the Texas minister, that it is only fair that we should find some Mormon Bishop to make a statement on the Mormon beliefs about homosexuality and same sex marriage and then challenge Mitt Romney to repudiate the statements.
Temple ? you have to have a Temple Recommend to get in.
Oh and H.Hewett had some guys from 6th blog braying about how it was so wrong to even ask a question on religion by the VOTERS.. lost a lot of respect for Hewett because of that
“The only politician or candidate talking about religion is Romney. I call it playing the religion card. He got the idea from Obama.”
That’s an outright lie. He doesn’t talk about his religion at all, unless obliquely when having to defend it when attacked. Don’t lie.
A lie??? Romney is the one demanding that Perry repudiate comments from the Baptist minister in Texas, after Perry has answered the question twice.
Indeed, the government is prohibited from discriminating against a candidate for office based on his religion. Not so with individual voters. Neither are pastors or the press denied their 1st Amendment right to express their opinions on Mormonism.
Excuse me, but whose business is it what Romneys religious beliefs really are?
It's the voters' business. A person's moral character IS important. American voters _should_ have learned that with Clinton.
Epstein's Religion Test? Bwahahaha (wish I knew how to write the sound Epstein made when he laughed)
Now I’m laughing... LOL
Snort, Snort, Gefelta...or something like that.
Well, of course. But the "test" can't be institutionalized in law, and it can't be used to prohibit someone from running for office.
After my first marriage, I dated for s hort time a gorgeous gal who should never allow herself to laugh in public. She snorted like Epstein and hooted like an owl when something really caught her funny bone.
girls like that make me laugh.
It’s like farting. Why not? Life’s too short to live with pain.
quite correct but Romney proponents are trying to conflate the two issues that the State may not have a test but that Voter may test a candidate on any issue or belief.
Of course voters can use any criteria they want. But what criteria SHOULD they use? I really don’t care about a candidate’s theology. Besides, only God can see his heart—I can see how he acts.
Does he remain loyal to his wife and kids, or does he wander around? Does he stick to his principles. or does he switch from pro-life to pro-choice to suit current voters? Does he understand that evil exists in the world, or does he think we can “just sit down and talk” to mass murderers?
If he comes down on the right side of important issues, that’s what I really care about. I don’t believe that Romney is a sincere conservative on life, guns, and other issues. THAT’S what worries me, not his theology.
We must think that every voter has a test for every candidate on issues and beliefs, applied with some degree or another of vigor.
Every candidate and his advocates has disqualifiers that they wish to apply to their antagonists. These disqualifiers are a natural risk we all undergo. Only the weak minded cannot withstand pressures so weak.
We cannot shoulder the burdens of others.