A citizen may have many good reasons to avoid voting for Mitt Romney, but his adherence to a religion some look upon as a cult is not one of them.
Romney has been taking fire from Christian conservatives, like Bill Keller and Frank Pastore, who claim that the election of a cultist to be president of the United States would be an irrecoverable disaster and would cause the country to incur God’s wrath. Keller has said that a vote for Mitt is a vote for Satan.
Romney is also the target of some unfounded criticism from secularists, represented by Christopher Hitchens and Jacob Weisberg. These men are making clowns of themselves by claiming that you just can’t trust a Bible literalist, or somebody who is so irrational as to believe in Mormonism’s whoppers, to use Weisberg’s phrase. Their argument is that anyone dumb enough to believe that stuff is too dumb to govern.
Keller, Pastore, Hitchens, and Weisberg (they really do all belong together) need to go back to college and retake American History
101 99R before they are allowed to say another word about Romney’s religion. There they will learn that America already has elected a cultist to be Commander in Chief.
Dwight D. Eisenhower grew up in a home where his parents were devout followers of the Watchtower Society, or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their home in Abilene, Kansas served as the Witness meeting hall for 19 years, beginning when Dwight was 4. When Eisenhower was admitted to West Point, he came into conflict with the Society’s beliefs about war and patriotism and became something of a lapsed Witness. He was still nominally a Witness when he was elected in 1952, although he later became a communicant of the Presbyterian Church. But he still thought enough of the religion of his youth to swear his second oath of office in 1957 on his copy of the New World Bible, like the one pictured above. The equivalent today would be for Mitt to swear on his triple combination, and I will confess that the prospect of watching Keller and Pastore squirm while he does it brings me an unseemly pleasure. And it should go without saying that their hysterical predictions about the hellish future of our country presided over by a cultist are ridiculous. The eight years of Ike’s presidency were characterized by a booming prosperity and unquestioned American hegemony.
As for the secularists, well, what can you say? How does their record of making fact-based, rational decisions compare to the record of Eisenhower or Romney? Weisberg edits a money-losing online ‘zine that depends on Bill Gates’ deep pockets and the backing of the Washington Post Co. in order to meet payroll for 40 employees. His magazine once bit hook, line, and sinker on a blatantly obvious and preposterous hoax and published a story about monkeyfishing. He has no standing to lecture anybody else about believing whoppers.
Eisenhower instructed that the words “under God” be put into the Pledge of Allegiance. In his memoirs, he often wrote about praying to God and getting answers when planning the invasion of Normandy and later as president. He believed that God guided him. That is precisely the kind of talk that puts people like Weisberg and Hitchens over the edge, because they feel it leads to irrational actions. So ask yourself: If the chips were really down, and you absolutely needed one person to make something happen, who would you want standing by you – Christopher Hitchens, or the supreme commander of Operation Overlord, the guy who planned D-day, conquered the Nazis, and liberated Europe?
Romney would be smart to start making a point of this. Whenever he is asked how his religion will influence the way he will govern, he should say that he plans to govern just like his cultish, snake-handling predecessor in office, Ike Eisenhower. That ought to drive all the right people crazy.
Please note – This thread is meant to provoke discussion about the merits of considering a candidate’s religion as a qualification for office, and about the place of religion in public life. I won’t allow it to become a forum where True Believers either promote or denounce individual candidates or parties. Offending comments won’t be deleted, but they will be edited for maximum comic effect and the commenter will be held up to public ridicule.