Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts, has apparently ‘thrown his hat in the ring’ as a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. As a one-term governor and a one-time unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate, his qualifications to run an entire country are, frankly, not overwhelming but to balance that, he is personable, charasmatic and well-educated (which is all that matters to far too many voters).
David French, one of the co-founders of the blog “Evangelicals for Mitt” has pronounced Mitt Romney “the no-brainer choice for ‘people of faith’ in the next election;” this right-wing evangelical endorsement comes in spite of the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon.
According to Mr. French, there is “not a glimmer of daylight between Romney and evangelical Christians on issues such as family, abortion, gay marriage and having a firm belief in religion.”
His “firm belief in religion” is a point I want to explore so, while Mr. French, Gov. Romney and right-wing evangelicals everywhere bask in the glow of their shared values, I’d like to interject a pessimistic note:
We have seen (and are currently seeing) the effects on the country of an evangelical christian in the White House. Just some of these effects are:
- We have seen a proposal to add an Amendment to the United States Constitution that would put the answer to the question of who can marry whom in the hands of the federal government.
Why would the President of the United States propose that the federal government have a ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ vote on who you choose to enter into the legal contract of marriage with? My theory is, he has allowed his religious convictions to interfere with his job as president of the country . . . president of the entire country, not just the right-wing religious ‘folks.’
- We have seen our president firmly refuse to enforce our immigration laws. President Bush is fighting ‘tooth and nail’ to give people who are in our country illegally a ‘chance at citizenship,’ a chance to pay a fine and then go through some process that would make them legal.
Why would a president scoff at our laws and, so to speak, ‘turn the nations other cheek’? My theory is, because that is his personal belief based on his faith and, once again, he has allowed his personal and religious convictions to interfere with his job as President of the United States.
- We have seen the president do his job as president (in the face of considerable criticism) by authorizing an invasion into Iraq for the stated purpose of making sure that the Iraqi government did not have weapons of mass destruction that could be unleashed against us or other countries. National security — that is his job! But then we watched and listened as he floundered for an excuse to stay in Iraq and rehabilitate Iraq by bringing them freedom and democracy . . . and then continue to stay in Iraq in the face of the realization that freedom and democracy are not readily exportable commodities to an Islamic society.
Why would our President expend American lives to justify our continued presence in the quagmire of Middle-East politics? Some say it is to prevent future terrorist threats to the United States* but my theory is that we stay because he feels its the “right” thing to do and, if it’s the right thing for him, it makes it, in his mind at least, the right thing for the country.
(*If we spent just a portion of the money and time we have spent playing referee in Iraq on building our intelligence network, that and the judicious use of our overwhelming military power would, in my opinion, be a far better way to prevent future terrorist threats.)
Two pertinent questions come to mind:
- Is this the type of behavior (the behavior of the current President) that the newly minted ‘Evangelical Mormon’ Mitt Romney is eager to emulate as president?
- Can a person who is firmly committed to religion, function as President of the United States, a country of people who hold many and varied religious and non-religious beliefs, without relegating all but those who share his personal beliefs to the ‘back of the National bus?’
Judging from Governor Romney’s recent call for action to force an “anti-gay marriage amendment” onto his state’s 2008 ballot, in spite of the State Legislature’s hesitancy to address the issue, in spite of the fact that Massachusetts already has a court-tested law on the books allowing same-sex-marriage and in spite of the fact that several thousand couples have already taken advantage of that law; I’d say it’s a good bet that the answer to that first question is ‘Yes.’
Any answer to the second question, however, would be pure speculation . . . at least for another two years.
From the Evangelical Right point-of-view, a President Mitt Romney in 2008 would be, effectively, a third term for George Bush — I guess I would have to agree with that assessment.
Credit where credit is due: I’ve spent a lot of time criticizing President Bush but, in one respect, George Bush has been a great president: under his presidency the FBI and the CIA have foiled many hundreds of terror plots against the U.S and we have, obviously, not had a repeat performance of 9/11/2001 on any scale. If that is still the case in 2009, it will be considered George Bush’s greatest heritage.
The Deseret News: ‘Pres. Romney’ sounds good to many
Los Angeles Times: Romney presses for marriage vote
From the blogosphere (pro and con:)
Thoughts of a Conservative Christian: Mitt Romney’s Evangelical Problem
Merit-Bound Alley: Mitt Romney hates equality
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