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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the highest ranking member of the LDS Church in the Congress, and some other members of their faith, seem to think Governor Mitt Romney is misrepresenting their faith and giving their LDS Church a bad name. In Harry Reid: Mitt Romney 'Sullied' Mormonism, Isn't The Face Of The Religion, Nick Wing reports on Senator Reid's reaction to the blog comments of Mormon author and former Romney supporter, Gregory A. Prince, who wrote:

"His arrogant and out-of-hand dismissal of half the population of this country struck me at a visceral level, for it sullied the religion that he and I share -- the religion for which five generations of my ancestry have lived and sacrificed, the religion whose official mantra is 'to take care of the poor and needy throughout the world,'" Price wrote. "My first impulse was to rent an airplane towing a banner: 'Mitt Romney is Not the Face of Mormonism!'"

Senator Harry Reid agreed with Prince's sentiments in a conference call.

"He said that Romney has sullied the religion that he, Prince and Romney share," Reid said. "And he’s so disappointed that in his words, ‘It’s a good religion and he’s hiding from it.’" ...  "I agree with him," Reid continued. "[Romney's] coming to a state where there are a lot of members of the LDS Church ... They understand that he is not the face of Mormonism."
But, other members of the faith strongly disagree, as Wing reports that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) objected to Reid's and Price's ganging up "on Romney over the way he embodies faith."

"Shame on them," Chaffetz said. "Harry Reid seems to be making this way too personal and consequently throwing the religion under the bus for his own personal gain. That’s not where anyone should be going with this. He’s taking this two steps too far."

While I've agreed that Democrats should not make people's religion political issues, this case may be a little different in that this is a news report of two members of Romney's own faith, expressing concern that members of the general public not that familiar with their beliefs, and church, might come to inaccurate conclusions about what their members believe. [Update: Cany asks if my intent in this paragraph is to suggest no-one outside of a religion should make in comment about it, in an election,  which it was not my intent. I was just trying to be respectful - but will attempt clarification in an update below, rather than change this now]  

A few months ago, I reported stories on the Nuns on The Bus tour, where Catholic sisters challenged both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney to reconcile their Catholicism with social policies lacking compassion for the poorest amongst us, and a similar message from the Franciscan Friar's Action Network.

But, many here, including myself, complained of the over-the-top, attempts to smear President Obama with 24-7 videos of Pasteur Wright.  So, we need to tread cautiously in these matters.    

Perhaps, it is best if we let members of these religions hold presidential and V.P. candidates accountable for the extent to which their social policies are consistent with their own faiths, and to what extent their behavior reflects well on their own faiths?

I know that many members of our own community, here, have strong and divergent feelings on the role, if any, a person's religion should play in elections, and some believe these issues should not be brought up at all, by anybody. On the other hand, others seem to think the speeches by Presidents' Kennedy and Obama on the role of religion and race in their lives represented great advances in our collective understanding and tolerance of religion, and also that the positions of POTUS, and V.P. are so powerful any aspect of their lives, and upbringing that helps us understand their psychology, character, judgement, social influences, and possible decision-making processes in a crisis should be discussed and better understood so voters can make our best decisions.  

So I ask that we all try to be as respectful to the diversity of opinion here, and avoid any sweeping generalizations that would reflect intolerance, or be disrespectful. Especially, on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.      

 

2:00 PM PT: Cany has appropriately asked if I am suggesting that people shouldn't express any views on others people's religions, which was not my intent.  I was trying, perhaps, to hard, not to appear to be encouraging any gang pile on of a religion, while finding a balanced way to discuss what appear to be relevant issues.  Let me try to think of how to articulate this better.  Or, perhaps, someone else can do it better? (see comments below.)  I am happy for others to express any opinion of Romney, or Reid, that they like. But, was just sharing my own struggle to find the right balance between fair comment, and piling on.


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Comment Preferences

  •  I've not known all that many Mormons but (13+ / 0-)

    I'd have to say Reid is correct. All the Mormons I've actually had interactions with have been decent, friendly people.

  •  We shall soon find out if the Mormon (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Smoh, Larsstephens

    leadership agrees with Reid or Romney.  Or not.

    And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 KJV

    by looking and listening on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 01:48:20 PM PDT

    •  In the HuffPo link there was a video (0+ / 0-)

      Talking with members of the Mormon community. Very interesting comment from a descendent of Brigham Young. She talked about the fact that Romney because a "Bishop" and then a "President" of the church (I am not sure about the actual of the latter and to me the title may mean different things in different sects. But when Romney was the latter, he had in his employ a nanny. The nanny became pregnant and he told her she would have to give the baby up or be excommunicated.

      The thing is that as a man, the Mormon culture confers status just as most of our patriarchal religions and the titles in the church confer more status and you add that to the enormous wealth he has and you get an arrogant out of touch tin ear.  

      American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

      by glitterscale on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 08:11:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wut? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, MKSinSA
    While I've agreed that Democrats should not make people's religion political issues, this case may be a little different in that this is a news report of two members of Romney's own faith, expressing concern that members of the general public not that familiar with their beliefs, and church, might come to inaccurate conclusions about what their members believe.
    So, am I understanding you correctly in restating that you believe only people OF a faith should be able to comment ON that faith?

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 01:51:08 PM PDT

    •  Sorry, this paragraph is so awkwardly written (6+ / 0-)

      Cany.  

      I was anticipating objections by many here who do not believe we should bring religion into political discussions, and I was trying to write this post as a post rather than an editorial, to avoid tangential issues.  But, if you are suggesting that I have perhaps erred to far in the other direction, I would have to agree.

      I'm happy to have others express any beliefs they like, and for those that believe everything about a Presidential candidate existence is fair game, to express their opinion.

      Let me think for a bit and change this paragraph in an update.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      I support the right of others to express any opinions that they like.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 01:57:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jimmy Carter- Southern Baptist. (4+ / 0-)

    Richard Nixon- Quaker.

    Anyone who thinks professed religion is a major determinant of either character or policy needs to explain those two.

  •  wow. split the Mormon vote. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Larsstephens, Sunspots, cany

    Good going Harry!!


    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous..........got me?" - Don Van Vliet

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 03:46:09 PM PDT

  •  He's got that right. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckylizard, Larsstephens

    http://www.sltrib.com/...

    "44 percent of births to parents who listed ‘student’ as their occupation" in Utah in 2008 were funded by Medicaid." Of those, about 39 percent occurred in Utah County, she writes, where some 80 percent of the population is LDS.

  •  Chaffetz is a zealous convert (0+ / 0-)

    but he will always ride in second class...

    Everyone is crying out for peace; no one's crying out for justice...

    by mojave mike on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 04:00:49 PM PDT

  •  Unfortunately, Romney is. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    If you profess a religion, you are face of that religion to everyone around you.  This is true whether or not your actions correspond with the tenets of your faith.  It is also manifestly unfair and impinges more heavily on minority faiths.  (Analogous pressures are brought to bear on people whose race, color or orientation differ from the local norms.)

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:01:32 PM PDT

  •  Yes he is, too bad Harry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Tue Sep 25, 2012 at 05:22:52 PM PDT

  •  I think the take-away here is clear -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    Just what Mr. Reid said -- Romney does not represent Mormons as a group.  Reid's aggressive hounding of Romney about his tax returns demonstrates that Mormons don't all think alike.

    Perhaps, it is best if we let members of these religions hold presidential and V.P. candidates accountable for the extent to which their social policies are consistent with their own faiths[...]
    I agree.  I'm not the Grand Inquisitor.  I just want to know if someone has the right political values and character to do the job.  Leave the heretic-hunting to someone else.
  •  I was raised in the town of Mesa, AZ. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thestral, glitterscale

    At that time, it was demographically
    dominated by members of the LDS.
    As a child, I had several friends whose
    families followed that faith. I did not
    understand it at that time, but my father,
    being born in MO and raised LCMS, resented,
    and was somewhat prejudiced against them.

    Some of that certainly rubbed off on me, and earned
    me a fat lip on the grade school playground before I
    learned the hard way that an outsider should think
    more than twice about using the word 'Mormon' in
    any way, shape, or form as an insulting epithet.
    It also cost me a friend whose parents heard of this
    incident and forbade my presence in their home.

    It did seem that they controlled almost every aspect
    of life in our community back then, especially the schools.
    The stakes controlled the local BSA council, local politics,
    city employment, and if you weren't in, you were out.

    I did not learn until years later, when I had asked my
    mother for the reasons my father held such viewpoints,
    that the doctor who had presided over her only still
    birth just so happened to be LDS. That did not answer
    fully my question, but it gave me some insight into the
    visceral and tribal motivations that drives our need to objectify.

    In my junior and senior years of high school, I had
    neglected to take the unknown to me state required
    number of credits in physical education needed to graduate.
    At that time, I had hitchhiked across the nation twice,
    and was generally having a good old time living in the 70's
    detritus of the 60's youth revolution, on my own, for the most
    part, and would never have received my diploma had
    my very LDS drama teacher not intervened on my behalf.

    I in no way merited such, and had been suspended more
    than once for various infractions of a mere statutory nature.
    I have often wondered if he didn't threaten the administrators
    with my continued and willful presence on campus should I
    somehow fail in my scheduled attempt at matriculation.

    This one act of kindness from a Mormon changed forever
    my attitudes towards the faith, and I subsequently, over
    the course of decades, learned of their history, both good and bad.
    They do take care of their own. And sometimes, they do
    much more than that, as my experiences will attest.

    I have no idea how the LDS came to be aligned with so
    much of the right wing extremism they exhibit today, but
    I can agree with Harry Reid that Rmoney is not the face
    of the LDS that I have experienced. Which is the real one?

    I recall another Mormon friend of mine from those days,
    whose parents slept downstairs in their Bircher inspired
    back yard underground fall out shelter. That caliche dirt
    is as hard as a rock there. It must have cost a lot to dig it
    out. I think my friend said they had to blast it all out.

    We had great late night parties then.
    We all called him Jack as a cruel joke.
    He later developed a taste for the opiates.

    By the way HoundDog, your work here
    has been nothing short of exceptional.

    Thank you for all of your efforts.

  •  Mormon Psychology (0+ / 0-)

    Of course no one person can be the face of an entire religion. However, to ignore religion's powerful role in the psychology of a potential President is a big mistake. As a former Mormon, I would not want any true-believer Mormon as President. I explored why in my blog post "A Recovered Mormon's View: Why We Don't Want a Mormon President."
    Perhaps even more important than the issues I mention there is the fact that Mormons are taught from childhood that Armageddon is coming soon, along with the second coming of Jesus. Because they are the chosen people, they'll not only be spared, they'll be blessed. It is something they look forward to. We don't want the guy with his finger on the nuclear trigger to have an unconscious desire for apocalypse.

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