Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Mitt and the Mormon Question. No Problem.

At least it shouldn't be. Here's one good reasoned viewpoint on the subject:

Would A Mormon President Subvert American Democracy?
[...] What follows below is not a Romney-fan’s propaganda. Actually, my favorite used to be another aspirant. The LDS affiliation of Mitt Romney exposes us again to the temptation to make religion into a criterion for picking a candidate. Now then, the theological validity of Mormonism’s version of Christianity is beyond my competence and my interest. To many, the implications of a President embracing that creed are of concern. However, American public life and her high-level politics have created indicators that Mormons will not kidnap America and replace its system with their theocracy.

The record of Utah State, when it was ardently LDS, is also an argument. In practice, LDS keep the worldly realm separated from the private pursuit of heaven. Yes, Mormonism involves a way of life. Furthermore, the Church is interested in conversions. Nevertheless, the instinct to “rescue souls” stops short of imposing the “right way” upon non-believers. Unlike the Sharia, it refrains from making outsiders to adhere to enforced norms that limit every aspect of life. Since Mormons know a personal realm, the faith can place politics outside of religion’s sphere. Accepting or rejecting Mormon theology does not have political consequences. The faith does not command unquestioned obedience in the public realm. At any rate, it does not do so to a larger extent than does the now discarded scarecrow of “Popism”.

The second point issues from an old moral obligation. To those that had no contact with Mormons such testimonials could be revealing. Nevertheless, at the outset a cautionary note is needed. We tend to judge exotic groups by the first “samples” we encounter. The resulting generalization can be quite misguided. I recall my college roommate and now best friend “I have never met a Hungarian before. So this is what you guys are like.” Since I am rather unlike other Magyars, I thought that this “discovery” was ironic.

Now to my story. In the seventies, we were moving back to the US. We knew that we had abandoned a secure existence to face uncertainty. On the plane, we sat near to a large group. Soon a gentleman came over and congratulated us because of the behavior of the children. Given our trepidation, this felt reassuring. I told Mr. Hugh Smith that much and explained our probable predicament. He then identified himself as a Mormon returning from Israel. [...]

Read the whole thing. Mr. Smith sounds like many of the Mormons I've known.

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