January 27, 2012

How Romney's new debate coach seems to have affected what Romney said about religion.

Sarah Posner looks at his new answer to the debate question about how religion would affect what he does as a President and compares it to what he said back in October.
Romney's answer was clearly aimed at making sure no one thought that his Mormonism would impact his decision-making, but that his embrace of the Christian right's "Judeo-Christian values" framing would.

31 comments:

Andy R. said...

It looks like the debate coach told him to run from his Mormonism so he wouldn't lose the evangelical vote.

Scott M said...

Romney will look back after securing the nomination and think, "Well, the hard part's over."

Andy R. said...

This is too funny:

Liberty was a door for O'Donnell to the political world; he's moved on from college students to politicians on the national stage. He worked for the 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign, and now has his own consulting firm. He admitted to Chafetz that he's a "Christian ideologue" (Chafetz's term), but "would I work for a candidate who isn't a Christian, somebody with the same core principles as mine? Sure. Mitt Romney for example; he's a Mormon, but our beliefs are similar. I'd work for an atheist if he shared my values."


I never would have thought the Republicans would nominate a non-Christian.

Scott M said...

I never would have thought the Republicans would nominate a non-Christian.

Can we take that as tacit admission that you don't understand Republicans as well as you think you do? Or are you waiting for the nominee to be official before admitting it?

I ♥ Willard said...

Sarah Posner looks at his new answer to the debate question about how religion would affect what he does as a President and compares it to what he said back in October.

This is another great thing about Willard--he's never short of new answers.

Some candidates give the same answers all the time. Not Willard! You can count on Willard to change his answers more often than he changes his underwear.

Henry said...

It's a commonplace in Mormon history and folklore that America is a promised land and its founders were divinely inspired. The free exercise of religion is profoundly important to Mormon history.

The odd thing about Romney's two answers isn't the second -- the one that talks about the Judeo-Christian values of our law and the divine implications of liberty. That answer is a perfect expression of Mormon folklore.

It is the first answer that is odd. It is a good answer, but it is passionless and legalistic. Andy R has it exactly backward. The first answer is the corporate line. The second answer allows Romney's faith to reveal itself.

YoungHegelian said...

The trait that most highly correlates with voting Republican is how often one attends a house of worship, be that a church, synagogue, mosque, whatever. The only exception to this rule (and it's a big exception) are American blacks, who are very religious and very Democrat.

There is also an understanding among people of faith that, in the first world, they all struggle against the force of secularism, so they often put the Wars of Religion in abeyance when together.

Andy thinks it's weird that an evangelical Christian would back Romney. And, he's right, it is.

But it's not all that much stranger than the evangelical's champion being Santorum, a dyed-in-the-wool ethnic cradle Catholic.

Bruce Hayden said...

Andy thinks it's weird that an evangelical Christian would back Romney. And, he's right, it is.

But it's not all that much stranger than the evangelical's champion being Santorum, a dyed-in-the-wool ethnic cradle Catholic
.

I think that is exactly right. Sure, Mormons have some weird add-ons to their purported Christianity, but a lot of Protestants think that Roman Catholics do too. All that polytheistic idolatry, along with a non-marrying clergy, etc. And, yet, of my last 4 serious girlfriends, 3 are RC, and the fourth Mormon.

In the end, I think that what a lot will see as more important that doctrinal disputes is that Mormons in general, and apparently Mitt Romney in particular, are devout, God-fearing, family oriented people, who share far more with the rest of us, than that which separates us. (And, if you ever doubt this - try visiting Salt Lake City in December - they play more "Christian" Christmas carols than anywhere else I have ever lived).

traditionalguy said...

Run, run...the Judeo-Christians are coming!

First it was the debate coaches. Then it will be Theocracy enablers appointed to posts.

Finally it will become full force "Render unto Mitt what is Mitt's and render unto God what is God's."

That will allow a nice co-existence that can be be enjoyed by all.

edutcher said...

Of course, nobody's going to ask GodZero how his worship of Karl Marx and Uncle Saul affects his decision making.

But religion?

We can't allow anyone in public office who believes in God.

Andy R. said...

It looks like the debate coach told him to run from his Mormonism so he wouldn't lose the evangelical vote

Baloney, he rephrased it a little differently, but the import's the same.

Hatman needs to see somebody about those nightsticks to the head.

Posner, too, maybe.

I never would have thought the Republicans would nominate a non-Christian.

They still won't. So Milton is just fine.

PS Nice to see Hegelian thinks we haven't improved in the last century and a half.

Bruce Hayden said...

Here is something else - Gingrich is a Roman Catholic convert. Supposedly, that excuses, at least somewhat, his previous infidelities and other ethical lapses.

But Romney, and maybe Santorum, are life long, strong believers in their faith. Romney did his missionary work, as strongly suggested by his faith, and has been apparently quite active in his church his entire adult life.

Who do you trust more? Those who have lived their lives devoutly in accordance with their churches dictates, or those who come to their religions later in life, after a long search? Is it necessary to be reborn as a Christian to be saved?

I don't think that there is anything any more wrong with a Mormon President, than a Roman Catholic one - and don't expect that one of the former will let his religious leaders dictate American policy to him any more than Jack Kennedy allowed the Pope to do so for him.

Bruce Hayden said...

And, while I think an argument can be made that Mormons are not "Christian", I think that it is far harder to consider them non-Judeo-Christian. I think that maybe you can view it this way - Jews accept one book, (regular) Christians two books, and Mormons three books. But the first two are the same ones that the (regular) Christians do, and the first one, the Old Testament, is accepted by all three.

Mormonism appears to be a direct outgrowth of early 19th Century American Protestantism, which is why there are so many comonalities.

edutcher said...

Uh, how do we get un-Christian out of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

I know some of their practices are outside mainstream Protestantism, but the Baptists don't call the Episcopalians un-Christian.

YoungHegelian said...

@edutcher,

Uh, how do we get un-Christian out of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

Let's not go down the well-worn path of Mormons -- Christian or Not? here again.

The Mormons reject the Nicene Creed. They reject the Trinity, the Incarnation, the dual nature of Christ, and all that follows from those basic doctrines, which is most of what pro-Nicene creed Christians believe.

If you consider that Christian -- have at it. Just don't ask us the rest of us to buy into it.

Andy R. said...

Uh, how do we get un-Christian out of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

You should ask Romney's debate coach. He's the one who said that Romney isn't a Christian.

Bender said...

Here is something else - Gingrich is a Roman Catholic convert. Supposedly, that excuses, at least somewhat, his previous infidelities and other ethical lapses.

No, Newt's conversion to Catholicism does not "excuse" his prior wrongful acts, but it does allow for forgiveness of them. It does allow for a return to a state of grace.

This puts him in a far different position than Bill Clinton or John Edwards or Herman Cain.

Bender said...

By the way, Kennedy knew jack about Catholicism and the relationship between Catholic teachings and civil governance. There is nothing in Catholic teaching that is contrary to or inconsisent with the principles of the American founding -- that we each are possessed with certain inalienable rights, etc.

EDH said...

Romney's new debate coach from Liberty University, Brett O'Donnell, did very well on The Colbert Show.

traditionalguy said...

AndyR...The differences arise from Hebrew scriptures from 1000 or so BC and the Christian Gospels and letters written between50 and 90 AD. Some are interpreted too narrowly and others are ignored by both Christians and Mormons.

Both believe in the Jesus of Nazareth that was crucified for your sins, resurrected and is alive today, but vary some in other added on aspects

Mormons for instance have some extras added on to scripture in upstate New York in about 1830 AD by a Masonic spiritualist talking to angels and using his handy seer stone to translate Egyptian like hieroglyphs from plates they gave him. He was was Joseph Smith.

If you are interested, the Episcopal Church is fine to get your feet wet.

But eventually you will value the scriptures or you wont. Good luck.

Bruce Hayden said...

No, Newt's conversion to Catholicism does not "excuse" his prior wrongful acts, but it does allow for forgiveness of them. It does allow for a return to a state of grace.

Not sure if any of us really are in a state of grace. Something about all of us being sinners.

But, then again, we really don't know if Gingrich was forgiven by his God. For one thing, we don't know if he was truly repentant in his heart. And, a lot of us I think believe that just going through the motions doesn't suffice. Maybe he really was repentant. Or, maybe his conversion was purely political. It is not, I would suggest, for us to know.

In any case, the question is probably not whether his God forgave him, but rather, whether the American public can trust him. I don't, but his seemingly convenient conversion is only a small part of the problem. And, the American public can be very trusting - reelecting Bill Clinton, despite ethical lapses that appear to many of us to have been far worse than those committed by Newt Gingrich.

WV: witch - thinking that this would be more appropriate to the Hillary! thread.

michaele said...

EDH, thanks for the link to the Colbert show. O'Donnell has a really high likability factor. It sure wouldn't hurt Romney if some of that friendly authenticity rubs off on him.
I wish Romney would use more middle class friendly terms when he talks about how his investments work. He can refer to the "blind trust" but I think he should ditch using the phrase, "my trustee"...it sounds pretentious although I realize it's the most correct. Instead, he should call him a financial professional. Lot's of people probably would use that phrase to describe who runs the mutual funds and 401k investments they have themselves.

Carol_Herman said...

Romney can't win! Heck, he didn't even win in Iowa!

And, his win in New Hampshire was lackluster. Because he "won" in his home state ... where he's been shaking everybody's hand for seven years ... And, no one was gong-ho for him.

At least Newt enlivened the debate scene!

While my guess is that the GOP is still suicidal. Not enough they picked Bob Dole to run against Bill Clinton's second term.

Not enough that the GOP lunatics in congress pushed Newt out so they could put Dennis Hastert "in."

But with the Iron Lady coming ... people will learn the same thing happened to Margaret Thatcher.

Hmm. Maybe that's why the lackluster GOP is terrified that Newt will have a mind like an elephant that "remembers."

Bruce Hayden said...

Hmm. Maybe that's why the lackluster GOP is terrified that Newt will have a mind like an elephant that "remembers."

Let me suggest that the problem with Newt for President, is that he would likely make a piss-poor President. Why? Hubris, lack of discipline, and essentially a total lack of managerial experience. Sure, maybe not as bad as President Obama, but probably not that much better either.

edutcher said...

YoungHegelian said...

Uh, how do we get un-Christian out of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

Let's not go down the well-worn path of Mormons -- Christian or Not? here again.

The Mormons reject the Nicene Creed. They reject the Trinity, the Incarnation, the dual nature of Christ, and all that follows from those basic doctrines, which is most of what pro-Nicene creed Christians believe.

If you consider that Christian -- have at it. Just don't ask us the rest of us to buy into it.


Hmmm, I wasn't aware Hegelian was the arbiter of Christianity.

OK, the Mormons believe the Church was corrupted in the First Century and don't follow anything after.

Doesn't give me a problem, but, then, I don't have a particular axe to grind against one of its current members.

Bender said...

Not sure if any of us really are in a state of grace. Something about all of us being sinners.
But, then again, we really don't know if Gingrich was forgiven by his God.


Well there you go. That is the difference between the Catholic Church and Protestantism -- the Sacrament of Penance.

Upon absolution received in Confession, one does, in fact, receive such sacramental graces to restore one to a "state of grace." And we do know, in fact, that God has forgiven.

We know this because Jesus Himself provided for such forgiveness by His establishment of the Church and sacraments.

Non-Catholics reject this, of course. But they reject a lot of things.

YoungHegelian said...

@edutcher,

Doesn't give me a problem, but, then, I don't have a particular axe to grind against one of its current members.

I have no problem with voting for Romney if he's the Repub. nominee, and have said so before in this forum.

As for me being the arbiter of Christianity, if this were just my personal religious rigorism at work, we wouldn't need to have this conversation, would we? Because the rest of the Christian world would be having no problem with Romney's faith.

But that's not the case, is it? Organizations as varied as the Vatican to the Southern Baptists have publicly declared that Mormonism is not a Christian sect.

To make my previous statements indications of some personal animus just shows a total misunderstanding of Christian beliefs and practices.

shiloh said...

Bottom line, mittens needs all the help he can get, much like palin.

The Crack Emcee said...

I ♥ Willard,

You can count on Willard to change his answers more often than he changes his underwear.

That would be "magic" underwear.

And, further, do Christians wear those? That would seem to be one major difference between them and Mormons.

I swear, when it comes to debating religions, spirituality, and the like, most of you are either trapped in jargon, don't know much, or are about as superficial in your outlooks as can be.

Uh, I've got no problem voting for a Mormon - even if they are a weirdo cult who do weirdo shit, while making others lives miserable, and are clamping at the bit for political power over this country so Jesus can return to Earth where he'll arrive in Salt Lake City. Seems as perfectly normal to me as Newt suggesting he should be president because we all cheat on multiple wives - just ask his daughters from his 'first" marriage how things went as he was trying to get out of his second for the third. That's just like your life, right?

Real political/spiritual operators, you people are,...

Phil 3:14 said...

Well we know Andy wouldn't vote for a Mormon.

Harry Reid, Mark Udall, Tom Udall. (not to mention Morris and Stuart Udall) would be disappointed

I wonder if he would've voted for Jim Kolbe?

Phil 3:14 said...

Jim Kolbe of Arizona declared, "There is no Member who has strode across the Halls of this Congress and left such an imprint as he has. It is by virtue of the personality, the integrity and the character of the man himself."

Phil 3:14 said...

Kolbe came out as gay in August 1996 after his vote in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act spurred efforts by some gay rights activists to out him. [2] He won re-election that year. In 2000, he became the first openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention, although his speech did not address gay rights. He is the second openly gay Republican to serve in Congress, the other being Steve Gunderson of Wisconsin.

Even after coming out, Kolbe's record on gay rights was somewhat mixed. He was lukewarm in his support of same-sex marriage and voted in support of the Defense of Marriage Act. However, he strongly supported the availability of universal civil unions.