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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, December 07, 2007

You're no Jack Kennedy...

The crisis facing America today is morality, not religion in general or Mormonism in particular. And so, in the end, the crucial issue wasn't addressed and no minds have been changed.

Mitt Romney's "Kennedy speech" at the George H.W. Bush Library was designed to assuage the concerns of evangelicals that he was a true Christian. Early returns suggest he has a long way to go to convince the Ayatollahs and their "values"-voting flock that he is one of them.
"His delivery was passionate and his message was inspirational," Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson said in a statement. "Whether it will answer all the questions and concerns of Evangelical Christian voters is yet to be determined, but the governor is to be commended for articulating the importance of our religious heritage as it relates to today."

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Romney's remarks "were well-delivered and he offered many compelling thoughts," but like Dobson he warned that it "would be an illusion to think that any single speech could assuage every concern or end the thriving discussions Americans have about these issues."
And far less diplomatic in his thoughts was this Iowa Thompson supporter.

Steve Carlson, a board member of the Iowa Christian Alliance and a member of a Pentecostal church in Sioux City, said there was little Mr. Romney could have said today to allay his concerns about Mormon theology and his candidacy.

Mr. Carlson said he had been leaning toward (Mike) Huckabee or Fred D. Thompson in large part because of problems he has with Mormonism. The speech, he said, did nothing to change that.

“He didn’t sway me one way or the other,” he said. “I don’t know anything he could have said.”

On the flip side, his defense of the current place of "religion in the public square" didn't win over any converts either, so to speak.
"While it's good for Americans to hear a Republican candidate talk about the value of religious diversity, and the ways that church-state separation supports America's vibrant religious life, Romney undermined that message with his appeals to the Religious Right," People For the American Way said in a statement. "One thing is for sure, Romney is no Jack Kennedy."
In the end, I actually have a bit of sympathy for Myth, believe it or not. He was in a no-win situation.

The inherent contradiction is too hard to overcome: win the hearts and minds of a group of voters/zealots who proclaim their devotion to one god while at the same time holding people in disdain for not falling into lockstep with their beliefs, That core "values voter" attitude is a repudiation of the concept they claim to hold dear -- loving all human beings, no matter their frailties.

(We won't even get into the whole issue of how some evangelicals view Muslims and what that says about their tolerance levels).

But at the same time, Romney scored no points with voters like me who believe religion should be a private affair, not to be worn on the sleeve like a wide receiver scoring a winning touchdown.

Morals, not religious doctrine should dominate the public square. By their silence on the issue of torture, these "values voters" have also contradicted their supposed core beliefs.

And Romney didn't even attempt to address this crucial distinction in an attempt to win over a sliver of voters in one state.

Maybe he can now go back to taking the time to check out the credentials of he people he hires for his home. Or those he throws under the bus.

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