Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thoughts on "The Speech": Let's Move On

I didn't start my blog to talk about politics, and I'm rather tired of hearing about Romney's Mormon problem. So I promise this will be my last post on Romney. (OK, I don't promise, but I don't intend to make this a political blog). But I felt I had to say something since my last post was critical of him and I think he did a great job today giving "The Speech".

This post is not an attempt at a full analysis. Probably everything I would want to say has already been said by some pundit, blogger, or commenter.

But let me try to counter some of the negatives I've been hearing, particularly from those that share my faith and his.

Romney said, "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom." I can see how the statement "Freedom requires religion" might be strange. I wish he had elaborated a bit. I also agree that the speech was a bit off-putting to less religious folk. But he is a politician and he needs the evangelical vote, so what do you expect? Still, I find it strange that some in the LDS community are critical of that statement. Our own scriptures say that only by choosing to follow Christ can we find liberty. Now, it might be stretching it a bit to extend that scripture to include the kind of freedom Romney was talking about, but at least the idea should be familiar to Mormons.

Second, Romney is being criticized by Mormons for saying "When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God." But what about temple covenants? some Mormons say. As for me, I would not vote for anyone who didn't believe that being president was his or her highest responsibility. I'd ask those who criticize him for saying this, "How should a Mormon run for President then? Can it even be done?"

If I were deciding whether or not to run for president (Heaven forbid!), I would do so after much thought, discussion with my family, and prayer. If I could not say that being the president would be my highest responsibility, above even my religious commitments and my family, I would not run. Mrs. Romney has commented in the past (I apologize I'm too much into my rant to look up the reference) about how one of the things that Mitt worried about was that by being president, he would have a higher obligation to the country than even his own family. The family made the decision that the sacrifice was worth it. And I don't criticize him for that. The office of the president is very important to the world. The president has the power to do a lot of good in the world or cause a lot of harm. Any of us who are committed to serving others and being engaged in a good cause, as the church teaches, would not be fulfilling our duty if we did not commit to the office 100% if we had the unique opportunity and responsibility of being president.

On top of this, consider that there is no practical situation imaginable where the oath of the president and Mitt Romney's temple covenants could possibly conflict. Will he be put in a position where he has to commit adultery for the good of the country? Give me a break. This argument then, is purely idealogical. And running for president is not for idealists.

I thought the speech was wonderful. I wouldn't have said anything differently. OK, maybe the freedom requiring religion part was a bit strange, and maybe at least mention the possibility that those still searching for truth have value too, but moving on... This will be the test to see if his speech was successful: Are we still talking about Mitt's Mormon problem two weeks from now? If so, he failed, but not for any shortcoming of his own. At least now, when questioned about his religion he can just smile and say, "Read my speech."

I apologize for the political rank. I now return to my irregularly scheduled blogging.

1 comment:

Paul said...

"I'm rather tired of hearing about Romney's Mormon problem."

-- I think a lot of us are.

"But what about temple covenants?'

-- My retort would be: "When you are in the service of your fellow man, you are in the service of your God." I would think that all covenants we make in the church culminate in this scripture. So where is the conflict? Being President of the U.S. would afford a person with one of the greatest opportunities and responsibilities to render service to your fellow man. Let's move on, already!

P.S. Just ONE more thing, though. I think the real crux of the matter for the evangelicals isn't about whether Romney is a Christian or not. Anyone with even a modicum of reasonableness knows that he is. Give me a break! It's really about the fear that a Mormon president will greatly aid the church's missionary program. It will persuade more people to change their views in thinking that the Mormon church is a main-stream religion, and consequently you're not 'weird' if you join. If you're a Republican anyway!