Yesterday, Lowell proclaimed Joel Belz’ World Magazine piece from November of last year, as the MOST bigoted piece of the primary campaign, by a hair. Our original reference to that piece occurred in a much longer “Reading List” on November 5, 2007. With the awarding of such a “prestigious” award, it seems appropos that we reprint the pertinent section of that original post:
I’ve Been Wondering When This Was Going To Happen . . .
I have said all along that the “flip-flop” thing had traction because of Romney’s faith. Well, Joel Belz at World Magazine (a leading Evangelical journal) is now connecting those dots in a fairly ugly fashion (subscription required):
It’s not a trivial matter that Mormonism, as a cultic movement, has a bad reputation when it comes to getting its own story straight. Check out the public record, if you will, including fairly recent interviews with Mormon officials in venues like Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, and Newsweek. Do these officials hold to the fantastical 1827 golden tablets of Mormon founder Joseph Smith—or not? Well, they seem to say: We believe it when we want to, and we don’t when it’s less convenient. Where Mormonism isn’t shrouded in deliberate secrecy, it is covered with confusion.
So when folks tell me they’re satisfied that Mitt Romney won’t try to drag his Mormonism into his politics, and that he would never ever impose his theology on the American people, I have to worry whether that’s exactly what he’s already done. When, in a relatively short space of time, he seems to be on both sides of the same issue—and when such a deviously confusing approach seems to be consistent with his faith rather than counter to it—that sets off alarm bells for me.
Only a few weeks ago, I sat a dozen feet from Romney as he compellingly spelled out his convictions and credentials. He was winsome and persuasive. On the surface, he said almost everything I want to hear my candidate say. On the issues that matter (except for choice in education), he was as convincing as any politician I’ve heard in recent years.
More than anything, I want a president who tells the truth. And I worry deeply when people are overly ready to believe a man whose religious upbringing, of all things, suggests that the truth is a negotiable commodity.
There are basically three charges in this:
- The changing nature of Mormon doctrine
- That Romney will behave in exactly that way.
Let’s briefly address each of those in reverse order:
Romney will behave that way. Do I behave exactly like John Calvin? Do Catholics behave exactly like Baptists? Do all Catholics behave in the precisely proscribed manner of the church? For that matter do American Catholics behave like Mexican Catholics? Do East Coast Catholics behave like West Coast Catholics?
You get the point? The actions of a specific religion cannot be straight line drawn to dictate the actiosn of an individual, or even group of individuals within that faith.
James Bopp was on Hugh Hewitt last Friday. (Transcript was not yet available at writing time, but it should show up here and the podcast is available here.) Bopp is a pro-life legal legend, and an early and strong Romney supporter. He said that he thought Romney had genuinely and sincerely “flipped” on abortion, but that he had not, and probably never would “flop.”
So where’s the beef on this one?
Secrecy. Been there, done that. ‘Nuff said.
Changing Mormon Doctrine. Any reasonable student of Christian church history can attest to radical changes in doctrine through the 2000 year history of the church. Any such student will also know a couple of other pertinent facts. As the changes occurred there was much confusion within the church as to what correct doctrine was. Those periods would create an appearance of uncertainty or “convenience” in a religion. Secondly, the changes and decisions about doctrine came pretty quickly in the first years of church history.
The CJCLDS faith is a very young one and it is showing its age as it were. It is and has changed, and is doing so very rapidly. The pace of change is so rapid that creedal Christians would find it disturbing, but that is a far cry from disingenuous. Within my own denomination, in a matter of just a couple of decades there has been an almost complete transformation in the denomination’s view of homosexuality – not necessarily in the correct direction, but that is a different story. No one involved in the PCUSA homosexual debates is a liar, or disingenuous, or anything else pejorative. Why should sinister motive be ascribed to the CJCLDS faith when they are not actually in evidence? Such is a presumption – not a fact.
If Belz does not trust Romney, that is his prerogative, that is politics. But to attempt to justify that with faux reasoning concerning Romney’s faith is no different than when the left-wingers dismiss us because we have our own beliefs. These arguments are simply beneath a person claiming adherence to the faith that gave rise to reason.
Lowell adds: Recognizing that I have little credibility in the eyes of Joel Belz and his fellow-travelers (after all, I am a member of a 14 million-member church full of liars), I will not go out of my way to address his screed’s shocking lack of regard for the truth, his recklessness, and his astonishingly sloppy analysis. I’ll simply refer to this definition:
bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
I’m not calling anyone any names. I blog, you decide.