The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Romney's Mormonism

Sunday, I was in a Panera or Starbucks (I forget which) having a tea and pastry, and talking to a young student who was becoming interested in politics after having been mostly indifferent. He'd asked me my opinions, and I was explaining that I really wanted to replace President Obama with someone like Mitt Romney, and when he asked why, I started to give my reasons — beginning with the fact that Obama has shown no leadership (allowing Congress to write the health care law, for example) while Romney showed that he could even get his proposals through, even when he had to work with a Massachusetts legislature heavily dominated by the opposite party. The student listened to me and agreed that this was an important point, and a nearby woman interrupted to say, “You know, I totally disagree with you. Isn't he a Mormon?” I said, certainly he was, and then she railed about how only a Christian could have the necessary morality to be President.

Well, first of all, being non-Christian myself, that comment was exactly not the sort of thing that I could accept, and I told her so, adding that the writers of our Constitution were smart enough to put into Article VI the prohibition against any religious test for any public office under the Constitution. As I put it to her, “I don't care whether a Presidential candidate is a Moslem, a Hindu, or even an atheist: and we have a Constitution that says the same thing.” She kept insisting, and I pointed out that probably the most convinced Christian we ever had in the Presidency was Jimmy Carter, but he was not a very competent President. (And at this time, the student commented that Obama was in some ways like Carter, someone who seemed like a nice person, but unable to handle the Presidency.)

Actually, of course, as far as I am concerned, Mormons are Christians: the name of their church is the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” and any church that claims to follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and calls him the Christ is, according to my definition, Christian. I have seen too many cases of Protestants and Catholics each denying the other the right to the term “Christian” to say that anyone who claims to be a Christian has to be accepted on his word as one, despite the claims of any other Christian that he is not. But, as it was clear that this woman had her own ideas as to what constitutes a Christian, there was no sense arguing that point with her.

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