Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mitt Romney on the Bible

In tonight's debate, Mitt Romney was asked if he believed every word in the Bible. He attempted to dodge the question by stating that he believes the Bible is the word of God, but when pressed to answer the question specifically he stumbled more than I've ever seen before.

Now, I think the question is flawed. I think the question stinks of a religious test. It's fine for any individual to base his decision on whatever he likes, including religion if he so chooses. But it's not OK to make ask a "religious test" question at a sanctioned debate.

Still, I'm disappointed at Romney's response. Considering the focus on his Mormonism, I would think he would be more prepared for questions like this. Here's the answer I would have given: "I believe in every word of the Bible as they were written by the prophets." It is a fact, not some crazy Mormon belief, that the Bible was compiled long after the words were written, and that the words have undergone much translation, which can change meaning.

I'm starting to wonder if Mitt Romney's desire to appease the religious right is making him fake. I'd much rather vote for someone who is not afraid of being honest than someone who is a "true conservative".

Mitt, I want to believe in you. Don't let me down.


vikingz2000 said...

Don't you think that if you are going to 'criticize' (for the lack of a better word) Romney for this sort of fackery or evasiveness, that you would also have to levy the same 'criticism' against G.B. Hinkley when he answered something to the effect that "I don't know if we teach that" in reference to the age-old doctrine of mortals becoming gods? It may be that Romney has been mentored in the wrong sort of way in light of the LDS church's continual attempts in going mainstream in order to become more accepted by the many and varied factions of our society. I agree with you, though, in so much that I would like to believe in Romney, but at the same time I want him to be an 'honest' politician.

Horebite said...

GBH was refering to the teaching that God was one a man, not that man can become gods. Those are two very different things.

And he's right. When was the latest conference talk where that was taught, or where is it in the lesson manuals?

I understand that prophets a long time ago might have taught it, but this would not be the first time that the church has moved away from something a past prophet has said. I'm not going to go into a tangent on why I believe that's ok.

The point is, what GBH said and what Romney said (or more importantly, what he didn't say) are very different things. If someone asked Romney if he believed God was once a man, I'd be perfectly comfortable if he said, "No" or "I don't know".

Horebite said...

And I'm not sure what you're getting at with the second part of the argument. It was very clear that Romney was not comfortable answering that question. The only reason I can think of that he would be uncomfortable is that he knew that an answer of "yes" would be dishonest but politically covenient.

Horebite said...

Well apparently I might have spoken to soon. Still, I'm doubtful that the specific teaching is actually in the manual. I haven't seen it yet. If it is, then I stand corrected and you have a point, vikingz2000.

My defense then (if I'm permitted to have a second go), was that my original post said nothing of GBH. I stand by my original point that Romney should have been more straight-forward. Perhaps Pres. Hinckley should have also, but that's not the point of this post nor is it entirely clear to me yet if he was, in fact, avoiding the question.

Paul said...

This is how feel about the matter: The church is a lot of things, i.e., a corporation, operating for the most part in a similar way as other corporations; it is a religious organization with a set or sets of specific religious agendas many of which are not too dissimilar to other religions (although there are differences, or course); and it is also a well oiled political machine for the intent of furthering its objectives, one of which is to establish the government of the Kingdom of God on earth. And like all entities that rely upon and need 'politics' to function and survive, the church will not differ too much in the deployment of political tactics, some of which could end up (I said 'could') upsetting some people.
Okay, where am I going with this? You said, "I'm starting to wonder if Mitt Romney's desire to appease the religious right is making him fake. I'd much rather vote for someone who is not afraid of being honest than someone who is a "true conservative". And I said, "...I would like to believe in Romney, but at the same time I want him to be an 'honest' politician." But really, we cannot think in terms of absolute honesty when we closely examine the LDS church in order to demonstrate the value of its core or fundamental God ordained efficacy, any more than in the way governments need to operate at the top in order to preserve their existence in a world rife with opposing views and organizations that are in vehement opposition. Hence, Romney will do and say whatever he 'needs' to say and do to further his gains, and so will the LDS church. I have come to expect this now, although at one time I was one of those people who would be upset by the 'dishonesty'. So whether it's the "milk before meat" rationalization, or the very blatant changes in diametrically opposite doctrinal changes, I know that this is what has to happen in order for the church to survive, and hopefully flourish in today's world. I suppose I shouldn't blame Romney just as I don't blame the church for both of their political ways and means. The real issue, for me and should be for everyone, is that once they have realized their goal of empowerment, will they, or can they deliver in being effective governments for the betterment and prosperity of those whom they govern and have stewardship over? -- Paul (vikingz2000)

Horebite said...

I wouldn't go as far as you would to say politicans (and religions) should be able to say whatever they 'need' to say in order to accomplish their agendas. I think there needs to be some lines. However, I partially agree with you.

I didn't get upset, as some did, when Romney said that he couldn't imagine anything worse than polygamy. Don't get me wrong--I don't want to live polygamy. But to me there are certainly worse things. But I'm ok with him saying that. That's politics.

I also don't get upset, as some do, about how Romney tries to minimize differences in Mormonism and other Christian religions. I don't feel he has any obligation to point out the differences. It's not his purpose to be the source of truth on Mormonism. So I'm ok with him pointing out the points of Mormonism that are convenient for him and leaving out the rest. That's politics.

But what makes the Bible question different in my mind is that we're not dealing with some strange doctrine. Mormons are not alone in believing the Bible has errors. In fact, we're on the conservative side on the issue. There are Christian churches that believe the entire bible is a myth and that Jesus never performed miracles. So asking if Romeney believes every word in the Bible is essentially saying, "If you want us to vote for you, you need to agree with everything evangelicals believe. You need to be an evangelical." That reasoning is unexceptable to me and Romney should have recognized that as a line he should not cross. He should have said (maybe in words a bit more tactful), "I'm not going to play that game. The Bible is the word of God, but I'm not going to say it's perfect in its present form. If you want a president that believes everything you do, then why don't you run for president? You will never be happy with anyone else." Instead, he cowered, and in doing so he gave validity to the mindset that it's a reasonable position to demand that all candidates for president agree with evangelical principles.

Another thing that bothered me was how Romney looked scared answering the question. Not just uncomfortable, but literally scared. I'd be almost ok with what he said if he had said it confidently. I might even be ok if he had said flat-out that he did think every word was true, as long as he did so with confidence. I'm not sure I want a president that can be scared that easily.

Finally, I'm not saying I won't vote for him. I still think he might be the best we've got, but I could envision him being so much better if he wasn't trying to pander so much to the Christian right. I take your point that some pandering may be necessary, but there needs to be some limits, in my opinion.

Paul said...

I agree with everything you have stated (and I am not pandering!).

The part relating to a 'scared Romney' is troublesome to me as well, unless we really don't recognize how tenuous this issue is, i.e., it can break him in an instant if says even the least wrong thing.

I am looking forward to his speech tomorrow morning. Let's see what happens then.