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."

Point, Counter-Point and CARTOONS!

Posted by: John Schroeder at 08:25 am, April 21st 2012     —    7 Comments »

OK, not really the subject of this blog, but the humor flowing out of the “Obama ate dog” meme is just too good to ignore.  It’s everywhere and a lot of it is very good.  So, without further comment, please enjoy the cartoons that festoon this post.  I got them from my friend Rick.

Point, Counter-Point 1

Regulars will recall that on Tuesday we linked to a piece by McKay Coppins at Buzzfeed on how Mormon belief can feed the “War on Women” meme.  On Wednesday we linked and quoted Jennifer Rubin  writing in response to Coppins.  This exchance of articles resulted in an extensive Twitter exchange between the two that you can read here.  You’ll see the exchange ends with Lowell chiming in and pointing out that Coppins may have a point with this tweet:

This may be the way Dems will raise Mormon issue: not attack it, but say Mitt’s afraid to talk about it (thus making it sound spooky)

This is why I have felt all doctrinal/belief examination, for any religion is out-of-bounds in a political discussion, and why I objected initially to Coppins piece, accurate though it may have been.

Frankly, the examination of belief in a candidate (or an appointee for that matter – remember James Watt and all the discussion of dispensationalism?) is that at best it is about motive – it has the same problems that hate crime laws do.  Why is it any worse to beat someone up because you hate their ethnicity or sexual orientation than it is to beat them up because you drank too much and got stupid?   Either way you are guilty of assault and battery.

If Romney starts talking about what Mormons believe, or if a lot of Mormons start writing about what they believe (well more than they do in the normal course of being a church) or they start running around correcting every article that gets it wrong (trust me Mormon friends, the press doesn’t get what I believe any more correct than it does your beliefs) then Mormonism becomes the issue, not Romney’s stance on the political issue at hand.

What Coppins does not seem to realize is that HE, not Romney, not the Obama, not the Dems – but his article – made Mormonism the issue in “War on Women” discussion.  Will the Dems try and do what he suggests in his tweet?  Oh sure, but doing anything besides brushing it off with an, “Of course I don’t want to talk about it, what Mormons believe is not the issue here,” gives the Dems precisely what they want.

I know it is deep in the soul of every Mormon to have the world know what they believe and not the rumors, misstatements and misunderstandings that are so common.  That is a reasonable desire.  But a presidential campaign – particularly one with as much at stake as this one – is not the appropriate time nor place to make that necessary corrective.

Point, Counter-Point 2

Yesterday we pointed out the wretched statements of the Governor of Montana.  The wretch doubled down later in the day:

But for his part, Schweitzer is standing firm. In a statement to The Daily Beast, the governor’s senior counselor, Eric Stern, said: “The governor believes exactly what he said: that Romney is in a pickle. He’s in serious trouble with Hispanics because he took a crazy, extreme position on immigration during the primary (deport even those who may have come here illegally 50 years ago who have children and grandchildren who are naturalized citizens)…Romney will probably not choose to highlight his own family’s connection to Mexico as a way of reaching out to Hispanics, because that history involves a polygamy colony, which is something that Romney doesn’t like to discuss.”

See Point, Counter-Point 1 above – they are doing what Coppins suggested; however, for now Schwietzer is the issue, not Mormonism.  It will stay that way because when he responded, Romney did not mention Mormonism at all:

During an interview with Fox News Chief Political correspondent Carl Cameron on Friday, Romney, who is a practicing Mormon, emphatically stated, “My dad’s dad was not a polygamist. My dad grew up in a family with a mom and a dad and a few brothers and one sister.”

Note, the writer brings up Mormonism here, not Romney.  Were this allowed to devolve into a discussion of Mormonism and polygamy past or present Romney loses – now Schweitzer loses:

While senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod pushed back hard against the notion that the campaign would employ any kind of dog whistle tactics like that, Schweitzer serves as a reminder that there’s no way to exert control over external party figures who don’t adhere to message discipline — and that many news cycles will be lost as a result.

I would read that to say that Schweitzer has probably reached the limits of his influence in the Democrat party.

No point

From CNN:

Liberty University students and alumni are accusing the Christian school of violating its own teachings by asking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whose adherents are called Mormons, to deliver its 2012 commencement address. By Friday morning, more than 700 comments had been posted on the school’s Facebook page about the Thursday announcement – a majority of them decidedly against the Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.’s invitation, citing that the school had taught them Mormonism isn’t part of the Christian faith.

Oh please!  Much later in the piece is this graph:

Mark DeMoss, a Liberty graduate, member of the Board of Trustees and a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said on Friday, “We have had a Jewish commencement speaker, we have had a Catholic commencement speaker, and so, I think people are certainly entitled to their opinion. Social Media certainly provides an outlet for people’s opinions, but I think it is a great thing for the university.”

Last time I checked, Jews weren’t a part of the Christian faith either.  So I guess these students are biased or they’re bigots, one of the two.

Great Point!

HT: Instapundit for this James Taranto quote:

“The truth is that Romney and Obama are both products of distinctively American subcultures–respectively, the Mormon church and the academic left. The difference is that whereas the Mormons, for more than a century, have aspired to join the American mainstream, the academic left is aggressively adversarial. It’s true that there is much about Mormonism that seems odd to people of other faiths. But a contest over whose opponent is weirder is one Obama cannot possibly win.”

Lowell adds . . .

The Schweitzer attack is just the latest early manifestation of a pattern that I think will develop steadily, and which will continue as long as Democratic public figures can get away with it. It goes like this:

1. Prominent Democrat (officeholder or not) makes a sensational statement about Romney’s Mormonism.

2. News media covers the statement.

3. Blogosphere, Facebook and Twitterverse go crazy.

4. White House/Obama campaign distances itself from the statement (but does not denounce it).

5. We move on, waiting for the next bigotry eruption (“bigruption”).

This way the Obami get what they want: constant reinforcement of the “weirdness” meme, while maintaining a safe and somewhat sanctimonious distance.

Like all the other distraction strategies the Obama reelection campaign has tried, this one, although more annoying than most, is destined to fail. The president’s people are trying desperately to define Romney early, but Romney has shown that he responds firmly and with discipline. No anger, no outrage; he just comes back to the main issues. If the current pattern continues, pretty soon these surrogate bigruptions will look sad and ridiculous. What was it Abraham Lincoln said about fooling some of the people some of the time?

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