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(Note: This diary is not meant to be an attack on the Latter Day Saints movement, or all Mormons. All religions have their extremists, their moderates and their liberals. The point of this diary is to showcase that Romney fits into the religious extremist category).

The Alternet piece begins with a certain Peggy Hayes, then a 21 year old Mormon and unmarried mother of a three year old daughter. One day Romney, her bishop asked if he could come over:

Hayes, the divorced, unmarried mother of a 3-year-old daughter, was struggling as a nurse’s aide in a working-class suburb of Boston. She had little in common with the successful Bain executive, but the request wasn’t as odd as it might seem. Hayes was a Mormon. Romney was her bishop. Romney walked into her small apartment, made small talk and then commanded her to give her baby up for adoption after it was born. He was her bishop, and as she knew, Mormonism disapproved of single motherhood. Hayes said no.
Romney did not like the answer and allegedly threatened Hayes with excommunication:
“Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don’t then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church,” Romney said, according to Hayes in an interview with Boston Globe journalists Michael Kranish and Scott Helman. Romney denied he made that threat, although he did not dispute the incident.
And Romney’s extremist beliefs were not limited to Hayes. He imposed his extremist beliefs on many more of his subordinates:
Chosen as a kind of enforcer-in-chief, Romney betrayed a zeal far beyond the call of duty. Bishop Romney tried to stop a mother of four whose health was seriously endangered by her pregnancy from having an abortion. The church allows abortion in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the mother, provided a male LDS authority gives permission to the pregnant woman. Romney's superior had already told the woman to proceed for the sake of her health; Romney intervened.Romney refused to allow an infertile couple to take advantage of the LDS adoption service until the wife agreed to quit her job and be a stay-at-home mother. Other reliable reports of Mitt’s years as a Mormon clergyman have him excommunicating adulterers, calling homosexuals under his authority “perverse,”warning a middle-aged divorced woman that she was not allowed to have sex, and telling a leading Mormon feminist, “You’re not my kind of Mormon.”
Public servants are required to uphold the Constitution and the secular principles of our democracy over their religious faith. Romney instead injected his religious principles in his policies:
Candidate Romney supported a women’s right to legal abortion, and opposed abstinence-only sex education; Governor Romney opposed abortion, tried to roll back reproductive rights and embryonic stem-cell research, and expanded abstinence-only sex education. The candidate dropped pink fliers at Boston’s Gay Pride parade saying, “Mitt and Kerry wish you a great Pride weekend.” Mitt the governor tried to change state law to allow Catholic adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples.
Given recent controversies over rape and abortion, one particular decision by Governor Romney merits renewed scrutiny. In July 2005, Romney cut short a New Hampshire vacation in order to veto a bill requiring hospitals to give emergency contraception to rape victims. (The legislature overrode his veto.)Romney defended his veto by claiming he had “spoken with medical professionals” who had informed him that the morning-after pill could work as “an abortion pill.” Who those unnamed scientists are and what they told Romney is unknown. But Romney’s contention is as false, if not as patently absurd, as Todd Akin’s now classic “legitimate rape” canard. The morning-after pill contains a different dose of hormonal contraception to prevent pregnancy; it does not induce abortion. Romney persists in calling emergency contraception “abortive pills.”
This is predictable given the fact that Romney views secularism as a threat to this country:
Romney acknowledged the “separation of church and state,” but mainly to warn that the greatest threat to liberty emanates from “the religion of secularism.” This dogwhistle to the religious far-right has morphed into Romney’s oft-repeated charge that Obama is waging a “war against religion.”
I do not have a problem with any politician’s religious affiliation as long that politician does not betray his/her commitment to the Constitution and does not try to impose his/her religious values on the American public. If a politician can accomplish this feat I do not care if that politician is a Mormon, a Catholic, a Protestant, a Muslim, a Jew, a Hindu or a Buddhist.

JFK said it best in describing the conflict between his personal faith and the Presidency:

“Whatever issue may come before me as president — on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject — I will make my decision in accordance with [my views as the Democratic candidate for president and] in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates.”
Can Romney do the same? His record does not show it.

Originally posted to Shawn on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 03:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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