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."

  • As the Convention begins, a special request: Coming together in a common purpose

    Posted by: John & Lowell at 07:41 am, August 28th 2012     &mdash      2 Comments »

    Dear readers:

    Today’s post is different from anything we’ve done in our 6 years of existence.  Please read carefully, and know that we make this request cheerfully and humbly.

    Lowell and John

    We, the contributing authors of MittRomneyCentral, the Article 6 Blog and Evangelicals for Mitt have come together in a common purpose today. Many of us consider ourselves religious, but not all of us are comfortable wearing our beliefs on our sleeve. While religion and faith in God are an important part of all of our lives, we do not take the following requests lightly. But we have come together at this time, despite any personal discomfort we may have, with the following:

    We believe this is a time for prayer.

    First and foremost, hurricane Isaac is bearing down on the United States’ gulf coast. New Orleans, a city hard hit by hurricane Katrina seven years ago, appears likely to be affected once again. We believe it is appropriate for all Americans to pray on behalf of those in the storm’s path.

    In addition, in the next two days, tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people across the world will be tuning in to hear Ann and Mitt Romney speak. Many millions more will see the speeches on YouTube or by other electronic means. Ann and Mitt are right now putting the finishing touches on those historic speeches and practicing their delivery.

    Among those who will be watching, many will never have heard Ann or Mitt speak before. Many will be looking to form an opinion, wondering in the tumult of words by both sides whom to believe, whom to trust. Others may have predispositions to discount what Ann and Mitt say as a result of whatever personal biases they may have, whether those biases be political, religious or other. But the significance of Ann and Mitt’s messages, both spoken and unspoken, must come through and touch the hearts of those listening.

    So we think it’s a time for prayer. People will then vote for the person they believe in good conscience represents the right direction for this country. But we all believe that decision should be made on the basis of a firm understanding of the truth.

    All the authors of these three contributing sites feel strongly about the importance of this election. Not just because of the state of the economy or of the many issues that face our country, but because of the state of religious freedom. Never have we, in our collectively long lives, seen the kinds of disdain and bitterness now being directed at religion and at people of faith.

    By way of example, and not political demagoguery, we do not take it lightly that under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) religiously-affiliated institutions are now required to violate their own conscience to comply with the law. We do not take it lightly that the current administration tried to limit a church from terminating its own ministers. We think there are legitimate reasons people of all faiths should be concerned about what we’re seeing. If it’s not your faith that’s threatened by legislation or popular culture today, it may be tomorrow.

    Ann and Mitt are not professional politicians. While both are trying their hardest to convey why Mitt is the right person to be president, they, like all of us, are limited by their human capacities of speech and intellect. As humans we don’t always think of the right things to say. Sometimes we make mistakes in the words we choose. Sometimes the message we intend to convey is lost in our words, despite the sincerity and intensity of our efforts.

    But being people of faith, we collectively believe in miracles. We can say we’ve seen a few. Some involve the power of prayer, and even the power of many people coming together in prayer. We have faith that there is a God, and that he hears and answers prayers. Ann said in April of this year that “the kindest and sweetest of all” things she hears on the campaign trail are women who “tell me how much they care for me and how much they’re praying for me,” and that “I do need everyone’s prayers.”

    So whatever form of God you believe in, Christians, Jews, Muslims, all, will you join us? Ann Romney speaks at 10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time today. Mitt speaks at the same time Thursday. We invite all who read this post to request the blessings of God on Ann and Mitt as they prepare. We invite all to pray that those hearing them speak will do so with an open mind, and be willing to hear their message. We invite all to take an attitude of prayer throughout the convention, but in particular, at the commencement of each of Ann’s and Mitt’s speeches, at 10 p.m. today and Thursday, to offer a silent prayer in their behalf, and to continue with a prayer in your heart for them and their audience throughout their delivery.

    We don’t ask for a miracle in the form some would expect we might. While many of us will be privately praying the election goes the way we would like, today we ask that all unite in a prayer that God extend his grace to those in the path of hurricane Isaac, that he attend Ann and Mitt, that they will be strengthened beyond their usual limits, and that they and their audience receive the help of God that Ann and Mitt’s message will be understood.

    Please join us.

    –The authors of MittRomneyCentral, Article 6 and Evangelicals for Mitt.

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    Posted in For Discussion, Religious Freedom, Understanding Religion | 2 Comments » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    The Midsummer Doldrums, 2012

    Posted by: Lowell Brown at 03:00 am, July 9th 2012     &mdash      1 Comment »

    With Independence Day behind us and Governor Romney et fils on vacation on Lake Winnipesaukee (photos here), the presidential campaign’s religion beat is a little slow, but it will never go away.  The news media will love Romney-Mormonism stories as long as cats will love catnip.  Take this odd report from Burns and Haberman at Politico, which seems to go to great lengths to take a John Boehner statement out of context:

    “Aside from Romney’s “friends, relatives and fellow Mormons,” Boehner said, most people will be motivated to vote for him in opposition to Obama.

    The Ohio Republican made the remarks when an unidentified woman asked during a question-and-answer session: “Can you make me love Mitt Romney?”

    “No,” Boehner said. “Listen, we’re just politicians. I wasn’t elected to play God. The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney. I’ll tell you this: 95 percent of the people that show up to vote in November are going to show up in that voting booth, and they are going to vote for or against Barack Obama.

    “Mitt Romney has some friends, relatives and fellow Mormons … some people that are going to vote for him. But that’s not what this election is about. This election is going to be a referendum on the president’s failed economic policies.

    “Mitt Romney believes, just like we do, that if we’re going to get the economy back, if we’re going to put the American people back to work, we need to fix the tax code, we need to stop the regulatory juggernaut that’s going on in Washington and we need to fix our economy. Solid guy, he’s going to do a great job, even if you don’t fall in love with him.”

    It seems to me that all Boehner was saying is that it’s not important to love any presidential candidate. Instead, we need to vote for the candidate who can remove Barack Obama from the White House. Some people will vote for Romney because they are personally devoted to him, and believe in him, as an individual. Mormons will fall disproportionately into that latter category. But if someone uses the “M” word while discussing Romney, the punditry will build a story around that word. No wonder Romney usually avoids the subject.

    Remember what we said about Obama surrogates playing the Mormon card?

    This time it’s Spike Lee, quoted in the Huffington Post:

    Lee, an outspoken Obama supporter, told Vulture that although he believes the presidential election is going to be “very, very, very close,” at the end of the day, it may come down to Romney’s religion.

    “I think there will be a block of people saying, ‘I cannot vote for a Mormon,’” he said. “They got a tough decision: Obama or a Mormon. Their beliefs got them between a rock and a hard place.”

    We’ll be waiting a while for the disavowal or denunciation from the Obama campaign.

    If you can stand the yammering of Chris Matthews, this is an interesting discussion of how “pop culture visibility” has made Mormonism more “mainstream,” which may help Romney.

    Meanwhile, in the “Not Surprising” Department:

    “Pew surveys in November and May show white evangelicals overwhelmingly voting for Mitt Romney, despite serious reservations about his Mormon faith.”

    The next big events are the announcement of Romney’s running mate and the Republican National Convention, followed shortly by Labor Day and the “real” fall campaign. We’re almost off to the races, and The Question will be riding along in a sidecar the entire way.

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    Posted in For Discussion, Latest News, News Media Bias, Political Strategy, Religious Bigotry | 1 Comment » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    Any Excuse to Learn: Even Political Excuses

    Posted by: JMReynolds at 07:30 pm, July 6th 2012     &mdash      3 Comments »

    I once had a student who started a discussion on Plato like a potential star. He had read the text carefully prior to the class and had good, defensible views on the meaning of the dialogue, but by the end of term he was a disappointment to me and to the rest of the group.

    Why?

    He learned nothing new. What he thought on the first day was what he thought on the last day and not because he had worked out challenges to his ideas with care. His thinking was impervious to change and so by the end of the discussion his ideas were less mature than most of the other students.

    They had grown and he had not.

    I am reminded of this student when I read press coverage of Mr. Romney’s Mormon beliefs. (more…)

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    Am I Paranoid?

    Posted by: John Schroeder at 01:36 pm, February 17th 2012     &mdash      4 Comments »

    Reported about an hour ago by US News:

    There’s a chance Ron Paul won Maine after all.

    Maine’s republican party announced Friday that it will recount votes cast in the state’s non-binding GOP caucus, which initially showed a 194-vote victory for Mitt Romney.

    The state’s GOP chairman Charles Webster released a statement Friday announcing the party is working “diligently to contact town chairmen throughout Maine” to independently verify the results from each of the counties’ caucuses.

    Even if the results don’t change, Romney’s victory is now forever tainted – it hurts less, but it still hurts politically.  So, two caucus’ with two recounts both moving away from Romney in the recount.  Once is a mistake, twice is at a minimum – stupid.  “Amateur hour” on the part of the state parties is the kindest possible understanding of what is going on here.

    What I know is that there are a lot of people who really, really do not want Mitt Romney as the nominee.  Has to make you wonder, just has to.

    Let’s assume for just a minute that my suspicion have some reality associated with them (again – I have no evidence, I’m just speculating here) this is amateur hour for cheating too.  So, when the general rolls around and we are up against a Chicago political organization – you know Chicago where they invented votes for the dead and strong arming – do you think shenanigans will help?

    There’s an old rule about not stealing from a thief that just might be worthy of consideration at the moment.

    UPDATE THE NEXT MORNING: Apparently, Romney is gaining votes as a result of the Maine recount.  Which means our local parties really are flat out inept.  It is commonly said that Republicans have better things to do than politics, you know, jobs, productivity, that sort of thing.  We may indeed have better things to do, but when we do politics we ought least do it well.

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    Posted in Electability, For Discussion, Miscellany, Political Strategy | 4 Comments » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    A Friendly Challenge

    Posted by: JMReynolds at 07:26 pm, January 20th 2012     &mdash      8 Comments »

    Conservatives have done a good job in new media. One “go to” site for me in the past has been “Red State.” However, I have not agreed with the direction of Mr. Erickson there . . . much as I appreciate any conservative voice and his willingness to take on the status quo.

    Since they are all the rage: let me challenge Mr. Erickson of Red State to an online Lincoln-Douglas debate on the question: “Is Newt fit to serve?” An alternative question might be: “Is Mitt Romney a conservative?”

    If he agrees, I promise a civil argument between allies in the bigger political fight. Perhaps this would help our community makes some decisions in the weeks ahead.

    I am open to variations that he finds better. Of course, his on-line status is larger so perhaps he can find a foe more his equal, but I would love to see such a debate. Since I am not a political expert, I would be willing to defer to a better choice for the chance to see this issue discussed.

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    Posted in For Discussion, Uncategorized | 8 Comments » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

    In Which I Help Do Research for the Media

    Posted by: JMReynolds at 12:00 pm, November 9th 2011     &mdash      3 Comments »

    I predict the next media attack on Mitt Romney is that he is part of an all powerful and secretive Mormon church.

    This attack has already been made mustering the following powerful bits of evidence. These are the clues to the great Mormon Conspiracy to be liked and treated as regular Americans. Sadly, many in the media are unable to write clearly and so must be helped to say what they often only hint at.

    The conspiracy is simple: Mormons want to be treated like human beings and demand their ideas get respectful attention.

    Let me summarize the arguments of those brave enough to expose these outrageous Mormon demands, but unable to do so succintly. Now they need only Google this post and their noble work of exposing this danger from the Mormons will be done. (more…)

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    Posted in For Discussion, News Media Bias, Religious Bigotry | 3 Comments » | Print this post Print this post | Email This Post Email This Post

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