Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Apparently Islam is as Christian as Mormonism…

My wife and I are fans of the TLC show “Sister Wives.”  I like the show on a variety of levels, from entertainment to social commentary.  The family depicted in the show, the Browns, is a part of a fundamentalist sect of Mormonism and practice polygamy.  However, they are not affiliated with and vehemently reject Warren Jeffs and his ilk.

While watching the show, I got to thinking about how Mormonism is hitting the mainstream with the nomination of Mitt Romney as GOP candidate for President of the United States.  Interestingly, November promises to pit the first black President against the first Mormon nominee for President.

With the former being the Democrat and the latter the Republican in the race, this proves to be quite a conundrum for Evangelicals who have any concern whatsoever about being consistent in their politics and their beliefs.  Perhaps we should lay out the case first.

On the one hand, if I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times that Obama is a Muslim.  He was actually a member of the (ultra-liberal) Christian denomination “United Churches of Christ.”  (Whether he is still, I don’t know.)  On the other hand, Romney, a Mormon, is part of a religious group that is not unlike Islam.  Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention‘s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in February of this year that “perhaps the best way to describe Mormonism, perhaps the most charitable way to describe Mormonism, is that it’s a fourth Abrahamic religion, with Joseph Smith playing the role that Muhammad plays in Islam and the Book of Mormon playing the role that the Quran plays in Islam. It’s based upon the Christian faith and the Jewish faith but it goes beyond them and it contradicts them.  Islam is not a Christian faith. Mormonism is not a Christian faith.”

The Mormon Puzzle – a Southern Baptist study on Mormonism and how to witness to Mormons

With as much as I hear conservatives moan about how the US of A needs to get back to its “Christian roots” and be a “Christian nation,” I just don’t see what they are going to do in November if they want to hold true to making America a “Christian nation once again.”

Apparently, Land isn’t too concerned about this problem and is willing to tie his cart to Romney’s horse in this case.  His concern is that the news media, which “by and large is in the tank for Mr. Obama,” will focus on Romney’s religion as a wedge issue to try to swing independent voters to Obama’s side.  I’m sure this is somehow different that Land’s use of religion to try to sway voters to Rick Santorum during the GOP primaries.It will be interesting to see if Southern Baptists make any statements about religion or Mormonism or the like that could be construed as tacit endorsements at their annual convention this month.

 

(Full disclosure – I was Baptist for over 30 years, “was” being the operative word.)

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Blocked…

I did something this week that I never thought possible.  I was booted and blocked from Newt Gingrich’s Facebook page.  Seriously.  Now, if you’re familiar with political figures’ Facebook pages, you know that all of them have proponents and opponents posting and commenting on them.  People are always debating the candidates and the issues on those pages.  It’s just the way it is.  But today, a friend on Facebook had commented on something on Gingrich’s page and I had never seen it come up in my news feed.  I went to the page and, sure enough, I couldn’t comment on any posts.  I tried to “re-like” it and when I did I could only read the posts, not comment on them.

Now there are still tons of people who oppose Gingrich still posting on on his wall.  Sure, a lot of people talk about his affairs and divorces and the timing of the second divorce/third wife, but that’s not really of concern to me.  (Nor is is apparently a concern to tons of Republican “values voters” who hated Bill Clinton.  Some values.)  Gingrich’s positions on the issues should be enough to disqualify him from consideration from conservatives, especially the “Tea Party” types.  Instead, in South Carolina, Gingrich scored about 45% of the vote of people who support the “Tea Party” movement.  Issues like the health care mandate, TARP, foreign policy, and the drug war are debated, discussed and cussed ad nauseam, mostly because we like to harp on them all.  So what on earth would get me kicked off of Gingrich’s page?

My most recent activity included linking this video (or at least one of the various other videos like it), which is apparently nearly kryptonite for Gingrich in his quest to dupe conservatives into thinking he is one of them:

Off all of the issues on the table and of all the history there is to observe with Gingrich’s time in various offices and as an influence peddler, it’s a video that points out Gingrich’s Progressivism that gets me booted and blocked.  I’m not the biggest Glenn Beck fan–oftentimes he’s been looking way too much for black helicopters–but as far as “conservatives” and “tea party” supporters go, this video should be reason enough for any true conservative to seek elsewhere for a nominee.  It’s obviously a sore spot for the Gingrich campaign.

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Don’t Steal…the Government Hates Competition

“Judge not, lest ye be judged,” the Authorized Version says in Matthew 7.  We’ve all heard this saying at some time or other.  I’ve usually heard it when someone is criticizing someone else’s lifestyle choices–usually referring to moral issues.  Oftentimes this is a function of judgmental moralists on the right being pitted (or pitting themselves) against more libertine individuals often on the left.  This is not always the case but this is the context I’ve most often seen this verse used.

Yesterday, Mitt Romney released his tax returns for the past few years.  In 2010 and 2011, Romney earned approximately $42 million, virtually all from capital gains (obviously long term not short term, a distinction that is important) and not wages.  In other words, his income came from investments.  Nothing in the returns suggests Romney has done or is doing anything illegal or “cooking the books.”  ABC News calculates that Romney’s income puts him in the top 0.006%, not just the top 1% (an obvious stir of the class warfare pot).  Interestingly, his income compares more favorably to professional athletes and Hollywood’s elite than it does to Wall Street CEO’s (read: the former is paid far more than the latter).

In all of the hoopla, the biggest complaint has been that Romney doesn’t pay enough in taxes.  He averaged about 14.5% over ’10-’11 in federal taxes.  This along with Warren Buffett’s assertion that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does has made the topic of tax rates a contentious one, especially among the class warriors who use socioeconomic differences to divide people for their political benefit.  The advantages of lower long-term capital gains rates extend to anyone who has money in a retirement fund or investments, not just the very wealthy and these rates encourage long-term (duh) investment instead of short-term speculation (which some people still do but pay a higher rate for it).  This is not to mention that capital gains have already been taxed at the corporate level (at about 40%, the highest rate among industrialized nations).

But I’m not writing to defend investment returns or wealthy people or even capitalism (all of which I would defend).  I’m going a different direction.  Joe Biden famously (or infamously) said that paying taxes is patriotic.  Now you can interpret that how you want, but the assumption is that the middle class need help (we need to “take money and put it back in the pockets of middle class people.”)  The fundamental flaw is that this is the very definition of theft.  If we’re supposed to be paying more in taxes to help those who need help, maybe we should encourage people to give more to charities that actually meet people at their point of need. Unfortunately for Biden, this is apparently a foreign concept.  For tax years 1998-2007 the Bidens gave $3,690 to charity.  That’s ten years at about $370 per year (and that’s after the Biden’s upped their charitable giving from $120 in 1999 to $995 in 2007) out of an average adjusted income of about $250,000 per year.  That comes to about 0.15%.  Romney gave approximately $7 million to charity, over half of which went to his church.

“Whoa, now!” you may say.  “Weren’t you just talking about Matthew 7 and not judging and all that?”  Yes, I was.  I suggest we go back to Matthew 7 when we begin to talk about people and their money.  The problem with “Judge not lest ye be judged” is that half of the saying is missing.  The rest of the passage in the TNIV says “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  In other words, when you pronounce judgment on others, the standard you use against them is the standard that’s going to be used on you.

The narrative the class warriors want to tell is that the wealthy don’t care and don’t give to help anyone because they don’t pay their fair share in taxes.  But digging deeper shows, at least in this instance, that Romney is far more generous than Biden.  However, even that comparison is not my point.  My point is that it’s none of your of my business how much money Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or Warren Buffett or Bill Gates has or how each one made his money (so long as it was legally gained, obviously) or what they do with their money.  It’s their money.  Not the government’s.  We’d all be a lot better off if we learned to  respect all of the property rights of others.

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Between Two Evils Should Not Be an Option

I’ve already written on the “unelectability” of the GOP field here.  What hit me recently is how patent a double standard it is for GOP rank and file to say they just want Obama out of office and yet they have such a visceral aversion to a Ron Paul running for president.

In an op-ed from this week, commentator Charles Krauthammer unilaterally narrowed the Iowa caucus race down to Mitt and Newt, both of which are “significantly flawed.”  But for Krauthammer and others like him these flaws are outweighed by the need for someone, anyone, to beat Barack Obama in 2012.  Krauthammer concludes, “If Obama wins, he will take the country to a place from which it will not be able to return (which is precisely his own objective for a second term).  Every conservative has thus to ask himself two questions: Who is more likely to prevent that second term? And who, if elected, is less likely to unpleasantly surprise?”  Given Newt’s and Mitt’s flaws, I’m not convinced that either of them won’t “take the country to a place from which it will not be able to return”!

This singular goal of unseating the incumbent president is not new.  Ever since he took office (if not before), the Republican Party has been trying to devise a means of getting Obama out of office.  With this mindset presumably most if not all card-toting Republicans would vote for a pond scum (an improvement over most politicians to begin with) so long as it has and (R) by its name.  If the goal is simply to unseat Obama, why does it matter who the candidate is? If, as I’ve argued before, the GOP field is unelectable without the votes of Ron Paul’s supporters, why won’t all the GOP rank and file get behind Ron Paul?

With the loyal grassroots base Paul has built up, the organization is in place to rival Obama’s ubiquity in all types of media.  Paul has broader support among independents and could even draw some votes from clear-thinking Democrats.  With even the nominal support of the Republican Party, hordes of Republicans would vote for him just because he has the (R) next to his name.  Add all of this together – Ron Paul’s loyal base, rank and file Republicans who simply want to fire Obama, independents and Democrats who would vote for Ron Paul – and you get the best chance the GOP has of winning the presidency in 2012, not to mention this country’s best chance to get back into shape economically and diplomatically.

This won’t happen though because the GOP doesn’t want to change anything.  Newt and Mitt are both big government Republicans who, like the party leadership, don’t like to be the ones not in control.  They don’t care about reducing the deficit or debt.  They don’t care to bring home thousands of troops that are needlessly scattered around the globe while our border sits largely unprotected.  They don’t care to tackle one of the main sources of our economic problems, the Fed.  Ron Paul wants to reduce the bureaucracy.  The GOP establishment just wants to be the ones in control of it, still financing the present on the backs of future generations.

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