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."

The New Code

Posted by: John Schroeder at 05:44 am, April 16th 2012     —    3 Comments »

Maybe I was not paying attention last cycle, but it seemed like race was barely mentioned.  That is the ideal is it not? – Race no longer matters.

Well, I think it is going to this time.  Just consider this story:

Does Mitt Romney have a snowball’s chance to lure many of America’s increasing number of self-styled conservative black voters?

and this one:

It was hailed as the dawn of a “post-racial America,” ushered in by the election of the first black president in a country still scarred by the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and the battle for civil rights.

But recent incidents — including the shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer — have revived concerns about America’s racial divide.

Just a few short years after President Barack Obama’s historic 2008 election, when many Americans believed the country had finally taken the upper hand over race, some are asking where the dream of a post-racial America went.

“I’m not so sure it ever existed,” said law professor Athena Mutua of SUNY Buffalo Law School, whose work focuses on issues of race and the African American community.

Look the Martin/Zimmerman thing is a tragedy.  That’s all we really know at this point, and yet here comes the race card.  As with most things on the large political scale, there are lots of reasons, but political convenience has to be at play here.  I certainly think the MSM and Team Obama want to develop a code that Mormon = racist, in fact I think it already exists in their minds.

Which brings me to an interesting point.  James Kalb wrote an interesting essay from a Catholic point of view:

Liberalism tries to be principled, and its moral skepticism means it can’t give the nod to the choices that are simply better. It wants a neutral solution, so it ends up appealing to technical effectiveness and the “do your own thing” attitude implicit in the triumph of individual choice over collective will.

[...]

The result is that it eventually becomes tyrannical and therefore self-refuting. Religious freedom provides an example. The liberal principle of neutral individual freedom has no special concern for religion as such, but views it as one pursuit among many. For that reason liberalism favors freedom of worship as a private activity much more than freedom for religion to play a public role. So it seems to set religion free, because it wants to set all activities free, but ends up suppressing it, because religious concerns are too comprehensive and go too deep to fit smoothly into a system of efficiently satisfied individual preferences.

Interesting, but inconsistent.  Because what we do find in liberalism is an tendency to FAVOR protected classes, in the case in point – based on race.  Which is why Kalb’s conclusion is problematic:

But how do we Catholics turn the situation around, when the whole trend of public discussion seems against us? For starters, I think, we should argue for our positions based on substantive reasons for holding them. If the main argument we present is the American tradition of ever-greater freedom and equality, we’re going to lose, because the other side can argue that too, and their argument (not to mention their institutional and material resources) will be stronger. The individualism of the usual American understanding of freedom assures that result.

That doesn’t mean that our argument should be, “Down with Thomas Jefferson!” or, “Long live the Pope!” What it means is that we should insist on bringing into the conversation a concern for natural law, for common goods that go beyond efficiency and material prosperity, for the freedom of religious communities and other groups outside the state, and for the roots of America in Christianity and of Western society in Catholic Christendom. If other people can say that American life has sometimes slighted things that deserved more attention, why can’t we?

He’s right on up until that, “the roots of America in Christianity and of Western society in Catholic Christendom,” part.  (Even if it is truth.)  It is the common goods argument that really applies here.  We cannot favor blacks over other races, nor can we favor any religion, or areligion, over the other, history notwithstanding.  What we can do is establish that there is a common good in the freedoms we choose to uphold. – That and get busy making converts.

Doug Giles makes a rather interesting point, in a perhaps too direct manner:

When common folks discovered Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s religious views were racist, Marxist and nuttier than a squirrel’s turd, some rightly wondered if BHO also believed this bogus smack, and if not, why he would sit for twenty years listening to those race-baiting beliefs if he fundamentally and radically disagreed. Why, they wondered, did he not vehemently condemn this cuckoo stuff?

The media, however, decided for us cattle that Reverend Wright’s racially-charged sermons, his black liberation theology and the fact that Obama sat for two decades under this slow drip of heresy wasn’t newsworthy and bypassed those tasty morsels. Instead, they crucified anyone who dared question Obama’s affiliation with his class warfare junkie Jeremiah (who was swiftly tossed under BHO’s campaign bus).

Fast-forward to 2012 and Mitt Romney and his religion.

The same media that ignored information about Obama’s racist religious roots steeped in Marxism is already queuing up with queries about Romney’s Mormonism as somehow being weird and a tad white.

If a principle is not consistently applied then you can bet something is afoot.

So while race is the new code, the old code about Evangelicals and social conservatives will continue to be sawed upon.  Fortunately, smart people like Jordan Sekulow long ago figured out that such code is nonsense.  Not smart people are sounding remarkably inconsistent.

I wish I knew why Mormon history is proving so fascinating to so many from so any angles.  The history of Christianity generally is rich and diverse and endless and yet have we ever been treated to such stuff?  These kinds of games, both positive and negative, could be played with any faith.

And in closing a guy named “Smoot” writing about Mormonism.  Imagine that.

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