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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Of Gods and Presidents: Your Presidents' Day Post

Mitt Romney recently responded to a heckler who attacked his Mormon faith by stating, "We need a person of faith to run this country."

In a just world, this would be a scandal far above and beyond Obama's "wasted" comment. Romney and his supporters have already deflected as religious bigotry (correctly, in my view) the idea (supported by polls) that America isn't ready for a Mormon in the White House. But Romney has no problem declaring that America isn't ready for an atheist or agnostic in the White House. Frankly, that's offensive.

Of course, Romney's comment hasn't created much of a stir, likely because most of America agrees with himâ€"86 percent, according to one recent poll.

As is often the case when religion is in the news, the dumbest take on all of this comes from the insufferable Michael Medved. He writes:

The Romney campaign will no doubt correct many myths about Mormonism, but the public’s reluctance to support an atheist actually makes sense. The Declaration of Independence makes clear that our inalienable rights come from God â€" we are “endowed by our Creator†â€" so that anyone who openly denies God’s existence is likely to take the more conventional (and dangerous) view that rights are a gift from government, not the Deity. "The government giveth, the government taketh away..."-- the peril in this approach is too obvious to require explanation.

Similarly, any atheist would be far less willing to affirm absolutes, and far more likely to embrace moral relativism â€" a real problem in leading a country that’s currently threatened by absolute evil, and requires clear distinctions between timeless right and wrong. Without God, morality becomes negotiable and malleable, and defending God-given rights (for instance) becomes much less imperative.


Where to begin? How about the fact that Thomas Jefferson, the author of the very Declaration of Independence Medved cites, was at most a deist, and likely an agnostic? Jefferson -- who even Medved euphemistically acknowledges in the same post was a "religious non-conformist" -- had doubts about Christian faith in the supernatural that would probably make him damn-near unelectable today, certainly in Medved's view.

Many of the American founders were, of course, also deists, a philosophy that's hostile to religion, and in that its ultimate appeal is always to reason is the very antithesis of Romney and Medved's requirement that our political leaders be "men of faith."

Yes, Washington, Jefferson, Madison and others publicly made references and invocations to God. I'd guess that's because they understood that the best way to get a nation of Calivinists to take up arms against the King was to convince them that God was on their side. Every decent leader before and since has understood as much, from Ceasar to the Crusades to Tony Dungy.

Medved is also misguided in stating that for one to subscribe to natural rights theory, one must believe those rights are conferred by a deity. Kant most famously arrived at natural rights theory without acknowledging a creator. But even Locke, while not a deist, showed that one could arrive at natural rights through reason, not religious faith in the idea that innate rights have to come from a divinity.

Of course, a little common sense also reveals the silliness in Medved's post. The idea that only a president who believes in God can respect our natural rights flies in the face of the countless example in human history of leaders who trampled all over the rights of their citizens precisely because they believed themselves to be acting on the authority of God. Ask yourself, who's more likely to become a tyrant: An atheist who believes he serves no power higher than his fellow man, or a man of faith who believes he's acting on the authority of God?

Which brings me to the most obvious refutation of Medved's offensive postâ€"President Bush. The same man who famously named Jesus Christ as the philosopher who most affected his thinking in the 2000 primaries has claimed the power to spy on U.S. citizens without a warrant, arrest them without a charge, detain them without a lawyer, hold them indefinitely without an indictment, torture them, try them in secret without giving them access to the evidence against them, and convict them without a jury. Some in his administration even believe the government should be able to arrest journalists who dare expose these abuses, and charge them with treason.

If you believe what some in the Bush administration have told reporters, President Bush has asserted these powers precisely because he believes he's acting with the guidance and blessing of God. Medved in fact goes on to implicitly endorse these trespasses on natural rights later in the same post when he says that only a religious man can apprecicate the "good vs. evil" at stake in the war on terror.

Of course, that's just the beginning. Bush's Justice Department, under the leadership of men-of-faith John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez has been incredibly hostile to the Fourth Amendment. Bush's secret service doesn't seem to have much respect for the First Amendment, either.

And these are only the rights actually enumerated in the Constitution. As Medved correctly explains, the Constitution only grants limited powers to the government. We retain all rights not in direct conflict with those limited powers The Bill of Rights, therefore, exists only to explicitly grant the rights the founders deemed most inviolableâ€"basically, the rights necessary to preserve all of our other rights. It was never meant to be exhaustive. James Madison in fact opposed the Bill of Rights because he feared future generations would begin to see it as government granting only the enumerated rights to the people, and not merely a recitation of rights we already have. That's why the framers included the Ninth Amendment, which I'm sure Medved would agree is under a proper interpretation of the Constitution redundant.

So how has man-of-faith Bush and his men-of-faith in the Justice Department Ashcroft and Gonzalez respected the Ninth Amendment and the unenumerated rights in the Constitution?

Please. Given their contempt for the expressed rights in the Constitution, it shouldn't be surprising that Bush & co. have no concept of or respect for unenumerated rights. If the Ninth Amendment means anything, one would think it would grant a sick person the right, within the privacy of his own home, to take a drug that alleviates his suffering. But guided by their faith, a faith that says marijuana is immoral, Bush, Ashcroft and Gonzalez not only don't consider the medical marijuana an unenumerated right, they're willing to use federal coercion to override states that have determined such a right exists. Gambling. Pornography. Access to prescription painkillers. All are bald refutations of Medved. Not only are they examples of the men-of-faith who run this country not respecting natural rights theory, they're examples where these men's faith itself is the reason they're using government to subvert our rights.

I'd also note that many (though certainly not all) of the people who have eloquently argued against these trespasses on our freedom are atheist or agnostic liberals and libertarians.

I'm not arguing that religiosity is incompatible with good government. I'm arguing that it's offensive and contrary to all available evidence to suggest that only religious people are capable of respecting our rights.
Source.

So what say you? Is America ready for a Mormon president?
 

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I think we're more ready to have a Mormon president than one who is black or a woman. There are still too many underlying race and gender issues in this country and I don't see them going away anytime soon.

I'm ready, personally... but neither Romney, Hillary OR Obama will get my vote. All are socialists who will renew the AWB in a heartbeat. One from Mass, one from NY and one from IL. I don't want any of those states values in the white house.
 

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foshizzle said:
I think we're more ready to have a Mormon president than one who is black or a woman.
I have no problem with the last two, so long as they are conservative/libertarian. If you see any, let me know.

I have no problem with a Mormon president, either, so long as he does not give "code words" in speeches like Orrin Hatch does, regarding impending doom and gloom and subjugation of non-Mormons . . .

http://romneyforpresident.townhall.com/page2
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Personally, I would rather see a candidate devoid of religion. In my opinion, religion clouds judgment. It gives people the false belief that they are not responsible to other humans because they will only be judged in the afterlife. And the criteria for that judgment is based on whatever book with which they are beholden. But, I don't want to aberrate from the thread topic.

Ideally, I'd like to see a libertarian president. But, I understand that is about as likely as a handicapped, black, muslim, lesbian woman being elected president.
 

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I'm not particularly fond of this Mormon for President. Romney has been courting the NRA crowd hard with his attendance at the SHOT conference, etc. He has however, not been a particular fan of gun rights. I don't think he would do us any harm, but he won't do us any help either. Right now, frankly, the major candidates all don't look good for gun rights.
 

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I have no problem with any religion, color, race or sex in the big seat of that white house. But as mentioned their track record and political stance would have to be in line with conservative beliefs. But like any politician track record is like navigating the Bermuda triangle.
 

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My problem is that a religious belief can influence ones outlook to the point of being tyranical. History gives many examples: prohibition, stem cell research, marriage, etc.

Not to say that atheizm is any better. But the agnostic or atheist generaly don't try to pass laws to force a behavior on the people around them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I wouldn't classify it as tyrannical. Rather, just trying to impose their own religious world-view on others.
 

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have no problem with a Mormon president, either, so long as he does not give "code words" in speeches like Orrin Hatch does, regarding impending doom and gloom and subjugation of non-Mormons . . .
What were these "code" words?

I like it! Two wives in every pot!
Not in your lifetime! This practice among "Mormons" ended in the 1890's!

I agree with KKennett about Romney's gun stance and I don't want him in the presidency and I am a "Mormon"!
 

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Mafuta54 said:
have no problem with a Mormon president, either, so long as he does not give "code words" in speeches like Orrin Hatch does, regarding impending doom and gloom and subjugation of non-Mormons . . .
What were these "code" words?
"Constitution hanging by a thread." Most Americans have no idea the import of what he was saying. I imagine you do. For the rest of the people here who have no idea what is being referred to here . . . and here

Mafuta54 said:
I like it! Two wives in every pot!
Not in your lifetime! This practice among "Mormons" ended in the 1890's!
Yes, God at one point quite clearly stated that this would be eternal, according to Mormonism's divinely inspired leaders at the time, then he changed his mind so that Utah could become a state. :wink:

Mafuta54 said:
I agree with KKennett about Romney's gun stance and I don't want him in the presidency and I am a "Mormon"!
I will not support this man for President, but it has nothing to do with his religion (if you read my post in context, I clearly indicated that I would have no trouble supporting a Mormon for President). I would not read too much into what I had to say, except that apparently Mitt Romney himself has had a thing or two to say about the same comment.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110009193
 

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Mafuta54 said:
. . . and I am a "Mormon"!
And let me make sure you understand that I do not have a problem with that! It sounds cliche, but some of my best friends are Mormons, and that has been the case all my life no matter where I live.

:D

Although I do not share their theology, I find that a lot of their values and perspectives line up with mine more so that people of other religions.
 

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I hope this is not too long of a post.

"Constitution hanging by a thread." Most Americans have no idea the import of what he was saying. I imagine you do.
One of the prior presidents of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" (The Mormons) wrote the following about the constitution of the United States of Ameriica:
Ezra Taft Benson, “The Miraculous Constitution,†Friend, Sep 1987, inside front cover

Adapted from The Constitutionâ€"a Heavenly Banner, pages 11â€"12, 15, 31.

George Washington referred to the Constitution of the United States as a miracle. In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Savior declared, “I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose†(D&C 101:80). These were not ordinary men, but men chosen and held in reserve by the Lord for this very purpose.
......
But we honor more than those who brought forth the Constitution. We honor the Lord who revealed it. God Himself has borne witness to the fact that He is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith on August 6, 1833, the Savior admonished: “I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land†(D&C 98:6).

I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has sent other choice spiritsâ€"even you who read my wordsâ€"to preserve it.
The Church teaches adherance to the constitution and we as members hold fast to that document and beleive that it was given as an inspired document for mankind.
The "hanging by a thread" reference is happening today! The people of this land are not holding on to the constitution or its fundamentals and it is indeed in danger of being undermined and thrown away by the United States and it's politicians and lawmakers!

Yes, God at one point quite clearly stated that this would be eternal, according to Mormonism's divinely inspired leaders at the time, then he changed his mind so that Utah could become a state
Utah became the 45th state on January 4, 1896.
In an interview with Mike Wallace, Gordon B. Hinckley, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) was asked many questions including the following:
Question: “As you know, some skeptics say that major changes in Church policy have come from political pressures, not necessarily as revelations from God. For example, the business of ending polygamy, say the skeptics, wasn’t because it was revelation but because Utah wanted to become a state.â€

Response: “One of the purposes of a prophet is to seek the wisdom and the will of the Lord and to teach his people accordingly. It was the case with Moses when he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. It was the case for the Old Testament prophets when people were faced with oppression and trouble and difficulty. That is the purpose of a prophet, to give answers to people for the dilemmas in which they find themselves. That is what happens. That is what we see happen. Is it a matter of expediency, political expediency? No! Inspired guidance? Yes!â€
I truly beleive that it was not an issue of becoming a state but because the man beleived to be a Prophet of God at that time received inspired revelation, as did Moses, Noah, and others in the Old Testament, stating what God wanted His people to do!

I do not want to start, or have, a religious debate!
 

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Let us just say, then, that the Mormon God changes his mind a whole lot, and his mood swings, coincidentally, tend to line up with outside political pressures.

God did the same thing on race, too, didn't he? And Gordon Hinckley claimed he did not know anything about this in an interview with Larry King on CNN, since you want to bring up Mr. Hinckley. I found his feigned ignorance to be rather shocking given his claims to inspired guidance. I think it was rather that he did not want to answer a very uncomfortable question.
 

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One of the great things about this country is that it was founded on principles of freedom of religion, etc. while we may not agree on these things (and we don't have to) I support your right and freedom to express your beleifs and ideas and applaud you doing so!

The "Mormons" beleive that you and I each have the right to believe as our conscience dictates!
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
Mafuta54 said:
. . . and I am a "Mormon"!
And let me make sure you understand that I do not have a problem with that! It sounds cliche, but some of my best friends are Mormons, and that has been the case all my life no matter where I live.

:D

Although I do not share their theology, I find that a lot of their values and perspectives line up with mine more so that people of other religions.
And let me just repeat this one in case you missed it while you were typing the long response. If this were the Middle East instead of America, I guess we would have to start blowing stuff up now.
 

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make no mistake .... Romney is anti-gun. A couple years ago, the legislature reformed a minor portion of their law. He signed the bill, then went on a tirade about how bad gun owners are and that gun owners only want to kill.

He will never have my vote.
 

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By and large, though, American gun owners will swallow whatever lip service the candidates pay to the "Second Amendment."
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Mafuta54, not to get into a large religious brouhaha...

But, would not the idea that God specifically "raised up" the founders also have to be adopted for the thought that God specifically "raised up" men like Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Saddam Husein, etc?
 
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