Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rough on Romney or Religion? Tim Russert needs a broader perspective

Did you see Meet the Press? Am I the only one who thinks it is unfair to prod Mitt (Republican presidential hopeful) Romney about his religious beliefs? At least there should be some reciprocity. Today we had Tim Russert asking Romney "was it wrong for your faith to exclude [blacks from the priesthood]"? C'mon Tim, are you going to ask Roman Catholic candidates if it is wrong for their faith to continue their ban on women in the priesthood?

And I don't recall Russert, a commentator I normally admire, asking Candidate Lieberman if he was ashamed that his faith did not ordain women rabbis until 1972? For sadly there seems be a lingering institutionalized hypocrisy about religion and politics in America. The advert for America chould read

"We are the land of religious freedom!"
(Some restrictions may apply and your mileage may vary, especially if running for public office. Note that freedom of religion may be interpreted as freedom to chose between a select group of religions. Religion is not optional, non-believers need not apply. Women may be denied equal standing.)

Of course, Romney and others play right into this. Instead of speaking up for the right of Americans to choose what they do and do NOT believe, Romney's much reported speech on the matter of his faith merely tried to get his faith included in the club. "I'm a Christian just like you guys, honest! I'm OK! Heck, Kerry, we Mormons keep women from being priests, just like you guys."

By the rules if this club, anyone who is not in touch with a properly approved God of some sort is clearly not OK. If you're flying the flag of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster you are probably going to feel very excluded by Romney's remarks:

Romney: "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom."

So if you ain't got religion, you are opposed to freedom? An unpatriotic commie pinko? I guess our godless allies in Germany, Japan, and France have no freedom? (fewer that one in seven adults in those countries consider religion important in their lives. Ref.) And it gets worse...

Romney: "Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God."

What if a man's profound belief is that there is no God? Or you're a woman who communes with a God who says you can be a priestess?

Romney: "Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

There you have it, the sad fate of atheists, for apparently they shall perish alone. Thanks Mitt, way to shun your fellow man, woman, black, white, whatever. You shed a tear when your faith embraced blacks. But would you ever invite an atheist to dinner?

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