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."

Job Qualifications, Religion Shots, more…

Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:44 am, October 25th 2010     —    2 Comments »

Who Gets The Job?

Apparently, Mormons do not get to lead Scout packs at creedal churches and when one is concerned about a religion that has done actual violence, you get fired.  Do you hate it as much as I do when the world seems simply arbitrary?

Christ Covenant Church in Charlotte, NC has decided they do not want a Mormon couple leading their resident Cub Scout pack, and their reasoning is theological.  This is a lot like the GZM – the church has a right to do this, but its not smart.  The Scouts are one of the sharp points in the legal battles regarding homosexual “rights.”  Moves like this can go a long way towards getting the Scouts identified as a “religious organization.”   The Scouts have always been an organization that upheld the civic religion, but they have also always been decidedly non-sectarian and atheological.  To impose a theological imperative on such an organization is to erode one of the most important institutions upholding the civic religion is our nation.  The loss of the civic religion will not be the growth of one specific religion, but the wane of religion overall in the nation.

On the other hand, Juan Williams firing from NPR is one of the most stunning pieces of news in a while.  He got fired because he said he got “nervous” when he saw someone wearing “Muslim garb” on an airplane.

So, when someone goes out of their way to identify themselves as a part of a group that ATTACKED the United States, political correctness rules the day, but when someone suffers only from believing some theological “oddities,” none of which are violent in nature, they get to be slapped around no problem – whether it’s the Scout leaders in North Carolina or Mitt Romney in 2008?  That appears to be the only reasonable conclusion of the week just finished.

What we see is religion reduced to label, the meaning of which is defined by what can get the desired political result.  Such definition of the religious label undermines its real meaning and utility.  Religion ceases to be a force for good in the nation.  Our nation is based strongly on having a force independent of government that makes its people good.  When we undermine that force we make the nation a much worse place.

We used to be smarter than this.

Shooting At Religion

This stuff is getting old.  Compassion does not consist of letting people do whatever they want.  It is more compassionate to keep a child from burning their fingers on the stove than let them do it – even though a curious child is likely to throw a fit at having their will negated.  I have a great deal of compassion for people that are tempted by homosexual behavior – I truly pray for them and their healing, as I do for all of us and our own sins.  Bullying is ugly and should likewise be confronted, but the problems do not end there.

I have not read the Gerson/Wehner book yet.  But I know it has to be a bit more sophisticated than this blog post on it leads one to believe.  One of the problems that arises when theology types try to do politics is that they fail to see the political ramifications of what they are doing until they are done with the theology.  In this case, simply stating the “death” of the “religious right” is going to invite all sorts of mischief from those who are opposed to it.

I found this article on some polygamy trials in Canada fascinating.  It is also dangerous – implying that a separate community somehow threatens democracy.  It is especially troubling when people keep trying to put the Mormon card in play in the Nevada Senate race.  Angle, smartly, has not gone near it as best as I can tell, though a few opportunistic pastors have.  But the press wants it so desperately that they cannot hep but try.  And yet, we keep seeing signs of inter-religious political activity and hope that it can extend to Mormons and Evangelicals too.

Romney News

Noted leftie David Corn thinks Romney has a shot – even though he is no fan.  First of all, Corn shines his leftie credentials by stating that the pundits discount Romney.  Only the lefties do and that’s because they think those of us on the right are mouth breathing neanderthals incapable of the deft intellectual insight that only the left can produce.  (Not to mention they are wishful thinking since Romney will tan the hide of just about anybody they can put up in ’12)  What we are instead is people capable of knowing when we have over-thought something.  There is a time for action – and that time is now.  Therefore, Corn’s basic premise – the economy uber alles, and Mitt is the master thereof – is absolutely right on.

The political analyst at CBS MarketWatch thinks Romney is looking good too.  Interestingly both Corn and Delamaide see the Mormon thing remaining a factor.  Of course, but it will only be a significant one if the press chooses to make it so.  It’ll play big in Iowa – count on it – but after that not so much.  What we need to do is make sure the base understands that the press’ fascination with Iowa, is theirs alone.

Remember the whole push-polling fiasco in New Hampshire last time around?  Calls were made intimating that Romney avoided Vietnam by virtue of his mission.  Ugly stuff and accusation were hurled in every direction.  Huckabee, who had played the Mormon card quite successfully in Iowa seemed a likely candidate, but no evidence surfaced.  The polling company was in Utah which caused many of the Huckabee faithful to accuse Romney in what would have been the most convoluted, likely to backfire, political maneuvers in American history.  Mother Jones reports that the polling firms involved are back at it and makes this quite intersting assertion:

But Western Wats really made news in 2008, when it was identified as the firm behind calls to voters in New Hampshire suggesting that Mitt Romney had dodged the Vietnam draft by serving as a Mormon missionary in France. The campaign behind those calls was never identified, though Rudy Giuliani was the leading suspect.

That is the very first time I have ever heard the accusation thrown at the Giuliani camp.  That said, it makes some sense.  Rudy had bet the farm on Florida and when the Huckster took Iowa he knew the game had changed and he needed something in Iowa.  This is the sort of move that would give him impact with virtually no time or ground game in the area.  Hmmmm.

The Others

Calling Mitch Daniels pragmatic, but discarding Mitt Romney makes no sense to me at all.  And as to Ryan vs Daniels on VAT, there is a big difference in Ryan’s proposal and Daniels off-handed comment.  To date, Mitch is letting fly with little tidbits that are designed to either test his viability, or make sure he has not got a shot.  If Daniels is discussing a VAT in the same manner as Ryan, he needs to be plain about it.

Salon introduces a piece on Huckabee’s unelectablility, based on his prisoner clemency policies by discussing the Obama team comments that they expect to face Huckabee.  Now that in and of itself should tell you a lot, dear friends, about why Team Obama wants to face Huckabee and why they said what they said to begin with.

John Thune sounds pretty smart.

Tim Pawlenty gets a hand up from George Will.

Odd Mormon Characterizations..

Some items appeared this week that characterized Mormons in odd ways.  Apparently people used to think the were vampiric.  Now, I follow this stuff pretty closely and that is one I never heard.  While some great scholarship went into debunking such associations, I wondering if bringing it up now is beating a dead horse – even with the “Twilight” phenomena.

Some think Glenn Beck defines all Mormons (Indeed! – and I define all creedal Christian – wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and he is stupid.  The good news is that he is “stupid” for all the same reasons the rest of us that actually believe in an Almighty are so considered.  That is very worthy of note.

Some think they are masochists.  Well, sort of.  “Religion Dispatches” is quickly defining itself as an outlet with a single agenda – to render homosexual behavior religiously acceptable.  In this case the author likens anti-Mormon prejudice to anti-GLBT “prejudice.”  OK, one is a religion and one is a behavior – big difference just for starters.  This is not the place for this debate, but this is one of the more odd assertions I have seen in a long time.  And speaking of odd, just a reminder that when you redefine something, it is not truly redefined but rendered meaningless.

Interesting Reading

So politics keep kids out of church?  Generation after generation something does – they seem to come back though.

This study will be partially quoted and misrepresented by all sorts of people in all sorts of discussions.  America has a secular government, but its people have a definite Christian cultural bent.

We’ll see.

How the political concerns of the religious get warped.


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