Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

  • Obama, Religion, Muslims, and Mormons

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:39 am, June 30th 2008     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    The New Nixon Blog is pretty doggone good.  Friday David R. Stokes wrote about parallels between Obama and Jimmy Carter when it comes to Evangelicals.

    But quoting stuff out of context is commonplace among politicians and spin-doctors.

    Why is this kind of thing effective with people who should know better – those who profess to believe the Bible and follow Jesus? Well, the sad fact is that we are dealing with an often underestimated and ignorant illiteracy in many evangelical circles today. As more and more people find theology and doctrine dry and irrelevant, and matters of the soul, eternal life, and moral imperatives not nearly as important as SOCIAL ACTION, the situation is ripe to be exploited by someone with a message that sounds right.

    Now, on the one hand, I agree with that analysis, but it really should not be pertinent to a presidential race.  See here is the thing – the best response to that would be for the average Evangelical to study theology more.  But what we saw in the primary was that more theologically astute Evangelicals drove out the candidate that was most likely to represent their theological views?  Or did they?  It could also be argued that if they truly understood their theology, as opposed to simply wore a tribal label, they might have understood that it would be fine to vote for someone from another “tribe.”  However, to make that case, I would have to get much deeper into the theology than our self-imposed rules allow on this blog.

    The problem is really, that we were treated throughout the primary to legitimate theologian after legitimate theologian making sure, in some cases to define the distinctives, before declaring support, we understood, in excruciating, detail the difference between LDS and more orthodox Christianity.  We had debates over the word “cult” and the word “Christian.”  Yes, with the possible exception of Joel Belz in World Magazine, the real bigotry came from the left,  but the in-depth analysis came from the right.  Analysis that while generally true, was not useful.

    Many will remember the cartoon I have here at the left – It’s an old Far Side.  The dog does not hear most of what it is being told.  If Stokes is right, and he probably is, then all that came from all that theological hair-splitting, all most people heard, was “Not one of us – Not one of us – Not one of us.”

    The great political lesson of the 2000 race was that people do not generally vote the issues, they vote identity.  But that game is not good for the nation and it is a game we really, really need to stop playing.

    Maybe I will have to post that theology?

    Speaking of Theologians . . .

    . . . Obama apparently has one to call his very own.  As I watch my own church rip itself apart between left and right, to consider putting the force of a presidential race behind such debates is truly terrifying to me when it comes to the future of the church.  I could easily see a day where rather than trinitarian questions dividing LDS and creedals, it will be questions about global warming – and somehow in that transition, what has really suffered is the gospel of Jesus.  Think about it . . .

    Speaking of Religious Divides . . .

    A letter in the NYTimes:

    Roger Cohen suggests that Barack Obama “should visit a mosque” to “break the monolithic, alienating view of a great world religion that is as multifaceted as Judaism or Christianity.”

    How come nobody called for George W. Bush to appear at a Mormon Temple (well, outside one) to break any associated monolithic views there?  Hmmmmmm?

    And, Does This Help?

    Friend of this blog, Peggy Fletcher Stack, had a piece Friday in the SLTrib on former Mormon candidates for the presidency.  Interesting bit of history, but it appeared under the sub-head “LDS Quest for the White House.”  That sounds a bit ominously conspiratorial to me.  If a church, any church,  is setting policy to gain legitimacy by having one of its own in the office of POTUS – they have sacrificed some claim to being a religion and become a political party.  Given the political neutrality of the CJCLDS, I don’t think that is a problem here, and now.

    Lowell:  Nope!

    And McCain needs this, but:

    After the meeting, Franklin Graham issued a statement praising the Arizona senator’s “personal faith and his moral clarity.”

    The moral clarity seems like a good thing to say, but what about that other part, especially if say, Romney, had prevailed?

    From the AP:

    Leavitt, from Pompano Beach, Fla., is asking his siblings and children on the West Coast to choose family over a call from Mormon church leaders to support a November ballot initiative to define traditional marriage California’s constitution.

    A letter from Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was to be read from the pulpit in church congregations Sunday.

    Since the letter began circulating on the Web last weekend, hundreds of Mormon blog posts have expressed disbelief, disappointment and outrage at the church’s decision to wade into politics.

    You know what – throughout history, the church has established marriage, and in this country and some others, the government simply chose to put its imprimatur on it – because it was the very foundation of society.  This is really more about politics sticking its nose in religion’s business.  Which is why the two are never completely separable – they are both ruling institution competing for ruling space.  And given that this past week, my church made all sorts of stupid moves with regards to homosexuality, I am pleased to see the LDS stand up this way.

    Lowell:  What’s interesting about the Florida story is the “hundreds of Mormon blog posts” expressing “disbelief, disappointment, and outrage.”  What?  This decision by the First Presidency to support the amendment is one of the least surprising LDS developments in the last 50 years.  The Church also endorsed the federal Constitutional amendment

    In fact they are on the exact same page as Focus on the Family.   So why can Dobson agree with Monson on this and not on a candidate?

    This Does Help.

    Religion in a more proper political perspective.   Yes, the kind of thing discussed in this NYTimes piece can be over extended and become just another leftie-schill, but it worked here and it is worth noting.

    The Vatican chimes in with some smart thinking in this realm as well.

    And… some reason from WaPo o the Dobson/Obama dust-up.  But then, this blog was there first.

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    Is The “Erosion” Real?, and more…

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:37 am, June 27th 2008     &mdash      4 Comments »

    Yesterday, we looked at “The Ongoing Erosion of The Religious Conservative Voter’s Voice in 2008.” We discussed conservative Evangelicals that were “shooting themselves in the foot.” Seeming, initially, to refute our claim was a post at First Things by J. Daryl Charles. In reality; however, Mr. Charles is combating the NYTimes, not us:

    In this hour of “new day” presidential politicking, it is difficult to distinguish prophecy from wishful thinking, especially among those in the electronic and print media. Take, for example, the purported radical shift in alignment among religious conservatives that was reported as a cover story in the New York Times Magazine in October 2007. Under the definitive title “The Evangelical Crackup,” David D. Kirkpatrick announced that the “conservative Christian political movement” today shows signs of “coming apart beneath its leaders.” And this, we were told, when “just three years ago,” by Kirkpatrick’s reckoning, “the leaders of this movement could almost see the Promised Land.”

    Lowell and I were just talking about mistakes made by Evangelical leadership (well, in Dobson’s case; I doubt Keller could lead a parade in progress), Mr. Charles is refuting a somewhat twisted narrative that is making the round concerning Evangelical shifts. The real heart of Charles’ argument is:

    Conspicuously absent from Kirkpatrick’s reporting, a genre that rests on the perpetuation of false or exaggerated stereotypes, are several inconvenient facts. First, it ignores the remarkable—and seldom reported—diversity among evangelicals on matters social and political. Those of us who teach at the university level cannot help but be impressed by the current generation of young evangelicals, who possess a remarkably sensitized social conscience that is far more diversified and progressive than evangelicals of a previous generation. This development, it needs reiteration, has been measurable since the 1980s and is both heartening and to be encouraged. To describe this as a “recent” phenomenon or a “desertion” of traditional priorities or a major leftward political shift, as Kirkpatrick does, is pure fiction. Kirkpatrick need only consult a recent Pew study that reports “a small increase in the number of Democrats” that is coupled with an increase in the number of “independents and politically unaffiliated Americans.”

    I think what is going on may be a bit more complicated. “Evangelical” was originally a theological term describing a particular approach to Protestant Christianity. The press really did pick it up to mean something along the lines of “Idiot redneck believers too stupid to understand things so they vote dogmatically.” There have always been liberal voices inside Evangelicalism, but they could not get press attention. Now they can — largely, it would appear to me, because the Democrats have identified religious voters as important to their efforts.

    But also, missteps by conservative Evangelical leadership, like those Lowell and I discussed yesterday, have served to energize the Evangelical left. Which brings us back to identity politics. People that identify as part of your group, in this case Evangelicals, but who are told either explicitly or implicitly, that they are not “really” a part are going to get ticked off. So, in this case, when Evangelicals have allowed the press to define Evangelicals in this way, and in so doing sent either an implicit or in some cases explicit, message that you had to be conservative politically to be Evangelical, well you can count on the Evangelical left to respond – strongly.

    That’s what happens when you make a theologically defined group political. United in your differences simply becomes divided. That is what is going on here.

    Speaking Of The Evangelical Left . . .

    . . . Their chief spokesperson, Jim Wallis, appears to have been caught in a bit of an embarrassing “flip-flop” himself.

    On his blog yesterday, the liberal evangelical Jim Wallis, reacting to comments made about Barack Obama by Focus on the Family’s James Dobson and Tom Minnery, said this:

    Dobson and Minnery’s language is simply inappropriate for religious leaders to use in an already divisive political campaign. We can agree or disagree on both biblical and political viewpoints, but our language should be respectful and civil, not attacking motives and beliefs.

    I agree with Wallis about the need for civility and respectful language. I wonder, then, what Wallis would say about these aspersions, made by a professing Christian not long ago:

    I believe that Dick Cheney is a liar; that Donald Rumsfeld is also a liar; and that George W. Bush was, and is, clueless about how to be the president of the United States. And this isn’t about being partisan… I’ve heard plenty of my Republican friends and public figures call this administration an embarrassment to the best traditions of the Republican Party and an embarrassment to the democratic (small d) tradition of the United States. They have shamed our beloved nation in the world by this war and the shameful way they have fought it. Almost 4,000 young Americans are dead because of the lies of this administration, tens of thousands more wounded and maimed for life, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis also dead, and 400 billion dollars wasted—because of their lies, incompetence, and corruption.

    But I don’t favor impeachment, as some have suggested. I would wait until after the election, when they are out of office, and then I would favor investigations of the top officials of the Bush administration on official deception, war crimes, and corruption charges. And if they are found guilty of these high crimes, I believe they should spend the rest of their lives in prison – after offering their repentance to every American family who has lost a son, daughter, father, mother, brother, or sister. Deliberately lying about going to war should not be forgiven.

    It turns out that these disrespectful and uncivil words, attacking motivations, came from … Jim Wallis, back in November. How terribly inconvenient for Wallis.

    Says my friend and fellow-blogger Rick Moore:

    A lefty is a lefty is a lefty. It really doesn’t matter what their faith, or lack thereof. They are interested only in the advancement of their political causes, and past statements cease to become “operable” the moment they are uttered.

    ‘Nuff Said!

    Now, About McCain . . .

    Says Philip Elliot on the AP:

    If Christian conservatives stay on the sidelines during the fall campaign, presidential hopeful John McCain probably stays in the Senate.

    Christian conservatives provided much of the on-the-ground, door-to-door activity for President Bush’s 2004 re-election in Ohio and in other swing states. Without them, the less-organized and lower-profile McCain campaign is likely to struggle to replicate Bush’s success. And so far, there’s been scant sign that the Republican nominee-in-waiting is making inroads among these fervent believers.

    Not a bad analysis, and it points out the problem when you back yourself in a corner a la Dobson. Not voting for McCain is voting for Obama. With McCain we may not get what we want. With Obama, we will undoubtedly get much that we flat-out oppose. BIG difference, that. Worth thinking about, is it not?

    Lowell adds: I will point to my favorite reason for not staying home and sulking on election day: The U.S. Supreme Court.

    Today the Court held, in the Heller case, that the Washington, D.C. ban on handguns is unconstitutional – by a single vote, 5-4. We were one vote away from a decision that would have lasted for the rest of this Republic’s history saying that an entire city can declare itself off-limits to handguns.

    One vote.

    Just a few days ago in the Boumediene case, the Court held, 5-4, that enemy combatants have habeas corpus rights. We’ll be living with that decision for a long, long time. By one vote, the Court gave al-Quaeda members greater rights for crimes on the battlefield than American soldiers have.

    One vote.

    Back in 2000, in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, the Supreme Court decided that the Constitution gave the Scouts the right to exclude openly gay men from serving as Scoutmasters. What was the vote? Yes, 5-4 again.

    One vote.

    If John McCain is president, he may well appoint some Supreme Court justices of whom I will disapprove– but he has promised to appoint justices like Roberts and Alito. But if Barack Obama becomes president, we are guaranteed to have justices appointed who will vote like the four dissenting justices in Dale, or the five majority justices in Boumediene.

    And they will be on the Court for decades.

    So if you are sitting at home, upset that John McCain was rough on Mitt Romney, or unhappy that he does not respect Evangelicals; and you’re thinking that you’ll sit this election out, so that in 2012 a conservative can rise up like Ronald Reagan did; ask yourself: Even if you are right and history does repeat itself that way, how long will it take to undo the damage? Obama’s appointees will be on the Supreme Court until long after “the next Ronald Reagan” has left office.

    Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Vote for a candidate who can win and who will appoint justices who won’t damage the Constitution.

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    The Ongoing Erosion of The Religious Conservative Voter’s Voice in 2008

    Posted by: Lowell Brown at 06:00 am, June 26th 2008     &mdash      2 Comments »

    crossroads.jpgThat title may seem a bit overblown, but I really think this is a significant year in the history of religion in public life.

    Consider this: It has not been a great year for James Dobson. Now he has picked a fight with Barack Obama over a speech Obama gave in 2006, says the Associated Press. The debate’s focus is on Obama’s understanding of the Bible. Dobson thinks Obama employs a “fruitcake” interpretation, Obama is essentially dismissing Dobson – directly.

    To my Obama-opposing, Republican, non-Evangelical eye it looks like Obama is getting the better of Dobson in this one. You need to read the whole AP piece, but note this bit of backlash Dobson has provoked:

    The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist pastor from Texas and longtime supporter of President Bush who has endorsed Obama, said Tuesday he belongs to a group of religious leaders who, working independently of Obama’s campaign, launched a Web site to counter Dobson . . . . The site highlights statements from Obama and Dobson and asks visitors to compare them.

    So now there’s evidence of squabbling within religious creedal Christians, provoked by Dobson’s apparent over-the-top efforts to stay relevant.

    In response, Tom Minnery, a Focus on the Family spokesman made this thoroughly fascinating statement:

    Without question, Dr. Dobson is speaking for millions of evangelicals because his understanding of the Bible is thoroughly evangelical.

    It seems to me that by that utterance Mr. Minnery has helped marginalize Dobson and his worldview as the “Evangelical” view. How does that help anyone, other than Obama? Ironically, by trying to stay relevant, Dobson seems to be slipping closer and closer to irrelevancy.

    U.S. News summarizes pretty well where we are:

    Anybody who thought faith and the values voters wouldn’t play a big role in the next presidential election might be having second thoughts by now. In the primaries alone, we saw a Baptist minister come out of nowhere to make a surprisingly strong showing, while a highly accomplished candidate and presumptive front-runner unexpectedly went down in flames, possibly in part because of his Mormon faith. Assorted “pastor eruptions” nearly derailed a Democratic candidate who had seemed eloquently at ease with his faith. And the Republicans ended up choosing a candidate who appeared to have difficulty even explaining what his religion was.

    Yet while it’s clearly a force, religion appears to be a more complicated variable than it was when evangelicals and other conservative Christians lined up behind George W. Bush in 2000 and even more solidly in 2004. . . .

    Read the whole thing.  It’s unremarkable, but worthwhile.

    John comments: U.S. Snooze (sorry Rush) seems a bit oxymoronic to me. If indeed religion as a political force is fracturing, and I think it is, then those very fractures will reduce its political relevance.

    Sadly the political battles are drawing lines inside the churches. Check the news from the current General Assembly of the PC(USA) or the forthcoming Anglican Lambeth Conference, and you can watch churches fracture as well as political alliances.

    When political stances become religious ones and religious identity becomes based on those stances, these sorts of fractures become inevitable. There is a difference between stating that “My faith causes me to believe abortion is wrong, and I should fight it in the political arena,” and “If you believe in abortion you cannot be a Christian.”

    Bill Keller Watch

    Meanwhile, the attention-addicted nutty pastor from Florida is in a bit of trouble. Blogger David Bernstein at The Phoenix observes:

    Since last year, the Christian right has been talking about challenging [IRS rules against partisan political advocacy] in ’08. But their carefully laid plan of attack has been snarled by the wonderfully loopy Bill Keller — “world leading Internet evangelist.” Keller has insulted many famous people, from Oprah to Obama, but he is most famous for his classic line: “A vote for Romney is a vote for Satan.”

    The IRS is now investigating whether that statement pushed Keller over the line, and outside the rules for tax exemption. Keller argues that he was merely making a religious statement about the tenets of Christianity vs. Mormonism. But it sure sounds like a political statement against voting for a specific candidate. Where’s the line? And what about Keller’s more recent assertion that Barack Obama is an “enemy of God,” complete with Biblical explanation for his use of the phrase?

    That’s two very different religious leaders (Dobson and Keller)  shooting themselves (and their supporters) in the foot.

    John chimes in: I am not so quick to group Dobson and Keller. Keller is a numbskull, media whore with a penchant for the idiotic. Dobson is a different story altogether. though I agree he is shooting himself in the foot right now. Sitting one out is no way to build political authority.

    Dobson simply trapped himself. Sources tell me that he wanted to back Romney, but felt that to overtly do so would simply cause his constituency to back away. His strategy, apparently was to back his constituency into Romney by bad-mouthing Rudy and McCain. Remember all those antics back when, the Colorado Springs meetings, the declarations of a possible third party, etc? Unfortunately, the Huckster stuck his attention seeking face up and what that strategy did was drive Dobson’s group to Huck not Mitt. Rudy stumbles, McCain drives through the gap – here we are.

    Now, Dobson finds himself without having someone to vote for – having denounced McCain so badly in the primary. He knows McCain is far preferable to Obama, but he already swore he would never vote for McCain. He has nothing left but to attack Obama. And then he gets ham-fisted about that. Dobson is mistake prone, but he is trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

    The lesson learned here is it is better to build than to tear down. If Dobson had taken the risk he should have, this would be a different world. He may have believed, as he said, Evangelicals would never vote for a Mormon, but his failure in leadership when confronted with that fact, his attempts to get too tricky, have dug him in a very deep hole. In the end, all he will have accomplished here is to hold his audience, he will not have expanded it, and he will not have moved closer to his political goals. It’s a shame.

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    What Is It All About?

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:44 am, June 25th 2008     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    Obama Keeps Swinging

    A while back, our friend John Mark Reynolds said:

    Like the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, this election turns on whether the public, sick of the party in power, will trust the office of President of the United States to the sort of politician they would normally reject. Whatever John McCain does, this election is about Senator Obama.

    That is a reasonable analysis, and that is why Obama keeps swinging for the religious/value/Evangelical vote.

    “I predict that Sen. Obama will win 35 percent to 36 percent of the Evangelical vote,” said Tony Campolo, a sociology professor at Eastern University, a Christian college in Pennsylvania. Campolo is also author of “Red Letter Christians.”

    His prediction, he said, is based on the changing dynamic of Evangelical voters.

    That about matches Bill Clinton’s numbers so it is certainly within reason, but it is the second paragraph that the real issue lies.  The dynamic of Evangelical voters is indeed shifting, primarily on generational lines.  But that also means that as a bloc Evangelicals are less important than they used to be.

    I wonder what that bodes for next time?

    Lowell:  My guess is that Evangelicals will at least remain in the spoiler role within the GOP.  Unless they can learn to be happy in a coalition, I don’t think they’ll be kingmakers.

    About The IRS . . .

    We looked Monday at the effort of pastors to challenge the IRS prohibitions against “political speech.”  I said then:

    I have never concerned myself with it too much because while I think we should be free to engage in such speech, I think it is a bad idea actually to do it.

    Which brings us to an old “friend:

    Bill Keller, an evangelist based in Florida, runs “Liveprayer.com,” an Internet call-in program. Because he receives a government tax exemption, he is prohibited by law from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.

    But during the Republican primary battle, Mr. Keller proclaimed to his followers and the news media that “a vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for Satan.”

    Now Mr. Keller says he is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service for involvement in partisan politics.

    He asserts that his denunciations of Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who is a Mormon, were religious and not political.

    Boy, talk about a difficult situation to comment on!  On the one hand, Keller is an idiot and he definitely crossed the line on the current IRS rule (if that “Satan” crack is not an endorsement, I do not know what is) but again, the rule limits speech in ways I have questions that the constitution intended.

    It’s a shame someone cannot be prosecuted for being a jerk.

    Lowell:   Funny thing about the First Amendment:  It’s always people like Keller who force changes in the law by pushing the envelope.  (Think of the obscenity cases over the years.)  Without a Keller type to walk so close to the line (or cross it), the existing IRS restrictions on non-profit organizations would just sit there, unchanged, without fanfare or controversy.  Trouble is, Keller may end up hurting the ability of lots of individuals of good will to do good works via their religious non-profits.  If that happens, then yes, he ought to be put in the dock on charges of extreme jerkhood.

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    Can They Get Together?

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:35 am, June 24th 2008     &mdash      1 Comment »

     Apparently, James Dobson Won’t Be Voting For President . . .

    Having long ago declared that he would not vote for McCain under any circumstances, Dobson has now decided to tackle Obama.   Dobson has decided to argue with Obama on Biblical interpretation.  He’s entitled, but in this case, I have to side with Obama:

    Dobson reserved some of his harshest criticism for Obama’s argument that the religiously motivated must frame debates over issues like abortion not just in their own religion’s terms but in arguments accessible to all people.

    Dobson counters that he has a right to argue for what he believes, which he does.  So happens I believe it too.  But Obama is right, if you want to be effective in the argument, you have to appeal to more than faith because a lot of people, in fact a majority of the nation, holds their faith differently than I or Dobson.

    There is a difference between teaching and motivating the faithful and carrying the debate to the greater public.

    In Other Arenas . . .

    This has nothing to do with presidential politics, but it has a lot to do with LDS and Evangelical political involvement.  Here in California we have had our Supreme Court redefine marriage for us, so we need to amend the constitution of the state to squelch a court that clearly does not listen to the people.

    The CJCLDS has announced:

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will participate with a “broad-based coalition of churches and other organizations” to promote the amendment, which will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. 

    But, will they be welcome?  Check out this website designed to promote the amendment:

    Dear Pastors, Friends and Christian Leaders

    Let’s see, LDS does not have pastors and a lot of people do not consider them “Christian,” so this could get weird.

    This is a natural issue to foster Evangelical and LDS cooperation, but will we?

    This is also an issue that illustrates Dobson’s problem.  Whether we are defending marriage either as Evangelicals or LDS, it is not, nor will it be enough, to carry the day by arguing from scripture on this one.  In my experience, scriptural mandates are rooted in reason.  It is that reason that we need to tap into.

    Lowell adds:  We have a copy of the letter that will be read across all LDS pulpits in California this Sunday.  There is no daylight between the position expressed there and the views of any politically conservative Evangelical on same-sex marriage.  My concern is not that the website addresses itself to Pastors, Friends and Christian Leaders; it is what those words mean.  Are members and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcome on the pro-amendment effort? 

    For those who don’t know, the Church was the leader in getting Proposition 22 passed in 2000.  It is unclear whether the Church will be just as active this time, but I do know that a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles was in California last week to discuss interfaith cooperation on the issue.  I will bet that the Mormons will be allied with the Orthodox rabbis and the Catholic bishops, just as they were in 2000.  Will Evangelicals join in with that group? 

    On Sunday I e-mailed ProtectMarriage.com and asked if Mormons are invited to paticipate in their effort.  No response yet.

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    Monday In The Sleepy Summer Season…

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:43 am, June 23rd 2008     &mdash      Comment on this post »

    Why We Are (Still) Here . . .

    This blog keeps running because Mitt Romney might be the Republican V.P. selection.  Real Clear Politics has introduced a “VeepWatch” blog to track the comings and goings on that front.  Recommended.

    Ahem . . .

    We commented on Friday that Huck’s “don’t demonize Obama” comments evoked that whole pot/kettle/black thing.  Jonathon Martin had some fuller quotes from the same comments by the Huckster.  His comments illustrate something that has bothered me through this whole thing.

    One of the big themes for Evangelicals in politics is “civility.”  I cannot tell you how often I hear people telling me they “wished” politicians were “nicer,” or politics weren’t so “dirty” or something to that effect.  Huck’s comments in re: Obama hit that theme and preserve his base.  But they also point out the deep double standard when it comes to Romney and Mormons.

    Huck’s plausibly deniable shot in Iowa was one of the lowest blows in the campaign and remains the only religious shot taken by any candidate on either side.  Huck has apologized to Romney in that “if I offended you” sense. Better than nothing, but quite tepid compared to the denouncement of similar comments we see here.

    If Huck wants to be taken seriously it is time for him to denounce his own comments about Mormons and Romney in  equally strong terms.  Or become a Democrat . . .

    This Is What Happens . . .

    . . . when religion and politics get too closely confused.  Politco reports on John McCain’s church attendance and presumes in their comments that his motivations for attending are political in nature.  Might it be possible the guy felt the need to worship?

    Sigh . . .

    This will hurt the church more than it will change the law.   (HT: Holy Coast)  The IRS restrictions on political speech from the pulpit probably do violate the constitution.  I have never concerned myself with it too much because while I think we should be free to engage in such speech, I think it is a bad idea actually to do it.

    But painting a giant target on your church for the IRS to come after?  Well, let’s just hope this guy has an army of PAID FOR lawyers to hide behind; otherwise all he has done is gotten himself in a world of hurt.  Oh yeah, and here’s praying he preaching a REAL sermon at some point that week too.

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