Friday, December 07, 2007

The bits Romney left out of his not-so JFK speech

Joseph Smith's Vision of Jesus
and the Angle Maroni.

Are a candidate's religious beliefs fair game?

or "My Inner-Frenchman on Why Mitt's Mormonism Matters"

Other than a few irresistible satirical pieces, I've stayed away from the question of whether voters should consider Mitt Romney's religion before casting their vote. I preferred to sit back and bathe myself in schadenfreude as I waited for the true-red Republicans of the Intermountain West to react to being blackballed by the most powerful faction of their party's base.

But my feelings changed a few weeks ago after I read a Burnt Orange Report post on why a candidate's religious beliefs should be off limits. I've been considering writing a response since then, and what better time to do that than now, on the day after Romney gave his so-called "JFK speech."

I'll begin by saying that I fully support the "no religious test" clause of the Constitution. I am not advocating that anyone be barred from holding office on the basis of religion. I do believe, however, that it is proper for voters to consider a candidate's religious beliefs before casting a vote for him or her.

The weight one should give to this consideration is dependent on four variables. First, what is the candidate's level of religiosity? Is he or she unquestioningly committed to the church's doctrine or is the candidate more independent in his or her thinking?

Second, how dogmatic is the candidate's church? Is questioning allowed? How does it treat dissent? Do they believe their scriptures are literal or metaphorical?

Third, what does the candidate believe regarding the relationship between people and God? Does the candidate believe God speaks directly to him or her? If so, does the candidate believe he or she has special powers of Revelation that are unavailable to most people? Does the candidate believe that the God guided the hands of our founding fathers and continues to guide the hands of our leaders today?

Finally, how would the church's doctrine influence the candidate's presidency?

More after the click on Jesus' General ...

And still more here under the title "Mitt Romney's Jesus is Just as Good as the Leading Brand"

With a slightly different approach under the title "Mitt Romney's Ironic Speech on Religious Tolerance"

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