Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What century is this?

What finally tipped me over the edge into resuming posting was the announcement that Mitt Romney will be making a major speech on faith in a couple of days, hoping to neutralize his Mormonism as a campaign issue.

Regular readers know that I'm no big Mitt Romney supporter, and as an agnostic I often take a jaundiced view of religion in general. But c'mon: Have we learned nothing from history, or even the last five years?

We're deeply engaged in an overseas war, ostensibly to fight religious extremists who wish to impose their brand of faith on everyone. One way we're doing that is by attempting to persuade Iraqis, Afghanis and everyone else that a person's race and religion does not matter: Sunni and Shiite can live together peaceably, ruled by a government representing all of them. In particular, we're trying to persuade Sunnis that it's quite all right to be ruled by a Shiite majority.

But at the same time, here at home, a longtime governor and serious presidential candidate feels compelled to make a national speech in order to advance the argument that it's okay to elect a Mormon as president.

Like, duh.

Seriously. What century is this? And what sort of mixed message are we sending to the people abroad whom we presume to instruct in tolerance? Sure, "refusing to elect" is a far different thing than "executing as infidels". But the philosophical underpinning is too similar to dismiss.

If Romney were a religious nut, that would be one thing. I would never vote for Pat Robertson, for example, because he holds extreme, often apocalyptic views and seems all too willing to try to put those views into practice. But that doesn't mean I would refuse to vote for any evangelical Christian candidate. And I tend to oppose conservative Christians because I disagree with their politics, not because they're Christian. Just like I oppose conservative Jews, Hindus and Muslims.

Grow up, people. Vote or don't vote for Romney because you agree or disagree with him, not because of where he goes to church on Sunday (or Saturday, or whatever).

And Republicans? Consider this event as further proof of the excessive and damaging hold that the religious right has on your party.

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