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Friday, November 16, 2007
posted by Kyle Hampton | 2:45 PM | permalink
With the latest about the anti-Mormon calls going around, several people have weighed in on what Romney's reaction should be. First, the Editors at NRO have some thoughts:
Nor should Romney denounce anti-Mormon bigotry. Accusing people who are so far withholding their votes of bigotry is not likely to persuade them to change their minds. Few people who oppose Romney because he is a Mormon are going to come around. Romney’s problem, and his opportunity, is a different group of people: those who are not hostile to Mormons but find Mormonism unfamiliar and strange.

They further suggest that Romney should give a speech, not like JFK's, but one saying that the unfamiliar and strange parts of Mormonism have no bearing on his ability to govern and that he still shares similar values.

I find it almost unbelievable that they suggest that Romney not denounce anti-Mormon bigotry. It's not that the people are withholding their vote that offends, as the editors suggest. It's the offensive and false slanders directed at Romney and his religious affiliation that warrant denouncement. Romney would find no occasion nor cause to decry a lack of votes due to hostility to Mormonism. Neither has Romney attempted to revile large segments of the electorate for apprehension towards him because of his faith. However, specific acts of ugly anti-Mormonism should be condemned clearly and unequivocally

In response to the Editors, Lisa Schiffren (at the Corner) says that Romney should go further than the Editors suggest:
It is not easy to spell out one's own religious views and how they compare and contrast to the standard doctrine of that religion in a speech. We voters are best off observing, over time — as the nation has done with, say, Senator Lieberman, whose very moderate Orthodoxy has made it easy for him to get along with both conservative Christians and less religious voters. But Romney is a serious possibility in this cycle. So, I personally think that letting us know more about his religious beliefs would be useful. Especially now that the anti-Mormon push polling has begun in New Hampshire and Iowa.

So the question is: Does the recent manifestation of anti-Mormonism directed at Romney merit Romney's deliverance of some sort of religious address? In my opinion, the answer is still no. An a-religious media is incompetent in religious matters. Thus, Romney's message would be placed in the hands of an unreliable messenger. Nor would the media be satisfied that Romney has laid the issue to rest, continuously second-guessing the effect of the speech or speculating about the reason(s?) that Romney excluded certain doctrines and included others.

Schiffren acknowledges as much, understanding that behavior teaches us more than any speech can. The goal, then, should be to inquire about Romney's past in order to learn about the man and his beliefs. Indeed this is what Paul Weyrich describes in an Op/Ed in the Washington Times convinced him to endorse Romney:
The issue here is simply this: Is Mr. Romney competent to be president of this great country? Indeed he is. Mr. Romney has the experience, vision and values to be president. He has spent most of his career in the private sector turning around companies and the 2002 Winter Olympics. He has actually met payrolls. How many of the other candidates running can match that? And, he successfully ran a very liberal state for four years by governing as a conservative.

And while I very much disagree with the theology of the Mormon Church, its principles have given him the ethical standards needed for an American president. Can anyone point to scandals connected with the governor?
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"So, I personally think that LETTING us know more about his religious beliefs would be useful."

What kind of hack is Lisa Schiffren? Letting us know?!? Is there anything preventing anyone curious about Romney's religion from finding out more? Have all the Mormon missionaries packed it in this year? Is Salt Lake City closed for the season? Have they borded up the churches? Is Romney the only Mormon anybody knows? Does running for President make him the spokesman for his church?

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