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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Romney vs. Al Sharpton

CNN reports: "During a debate on religion and politics at the New York Public Library with atheist author Christopher Hitchens, Sharpton said, "As for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don't worry about that. That's a temporary situation."

This reference was, of course, in reference to Mitt Romney, lackluster candidate of the Republican party. Romney then accused Sharpton of bigotry.

But... was Sharpton wrong to make that comment?

NO.

Sharpton could have made that comment about ANY faith without being bigoted. After all, the reason that he isn't Mormon is that he doesn't believe that Mormonism is correct.

Besides that, Sharpton also has a bone to pick with the Mormon faith: Until recently, the Mormons taught that black people were the result of a terrible curse. This tenet in their faith never endeared them to blacks. As the years went by and the tenet grew even less popular, it was revised. However, it still sticks in the craw of many black people who have not forgotten the original insult.

However, let's return to Sharpton's comment. What if Sharpton had said the Jewish faith was wrong: Would that be bigoted? NO. But if he had said the Jewish PEOPLE were bad, it would be.

What if he said the Muslim faith was wrong: Would THAT be bigoted? NO. But if he said all middle eastern people were evil, he WOULD be.

Mirriam Webster defines a bigot as "a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance."

Since when does religion qualify?! Are we no longer allowed to say "What you believe is wrong?" Socrates would be rolling in his grave! All great philosophers through the ages have debated ideas. It's hard to debate an idea when we are throttled by such new-found rules.

The Catholic Church once tried to stifle any other religious opinions. We see how well THAT worked out.

A bigot is someone how UNREASONABLY takes a dislike to a widespread group of PEOPLE: Not their ideas.

If we go by Mitt Romney's definition, we are already doomed.

I doubt that Romney is truly upset by this. It's the most press coverage he's received yet. He may have already privately called Al to thank him.

As for us, we need to realize that most lives are intrinsicly interwoven with a life's philosophy (i.e. religious or anti-religious beliefs). To deny everyone the ability to discuss and thus examine what they believe is to deny us TRUE freedom of religion. And since freedom of religion is guaranteed in the Constitution, we still have the right to debate it.

As for Romney, he would have done much better if he'd handled the controversy with Ronald Reagan's style and grace. A quip or a sly nod to Sharpton would have increased his credibility as a candidate. However, if we're looking for another Reagan, we may find him in Fred Thompson... but we will never find him in Romney.

17 comments:

The Lazy Iguana said...

Mormons believe that the "mark of Cain" is darkness, nappy hair, thick lips, and a wide nose? Really? What kind of stone age crap is that?!

Too good. I thought this was something that came from the Rattlesnake Shakers. Shows what I know.

Is it wrong to call Mormonism a "cult"? Because it seems to me like it is. Unless you really believe that Joe Smith really found magical gold tablets in the woods and translated them to English using magical rocks and a top hat. Where are the tablets and magic rocks today? It was only a little over a hundred years ago. An Angel took them! How convenient!

Anyway, I will use the word "cult". Why not. I do not live in Utah and I am not running for anything.

And we think Scientolgists are crazy. Well they are. And possibly crazier. The Evil Lord Xenu story still amuses me to this day.

I will also add that as far as cults go, the Mormons are less of a threat to the world than Scientology. So there. Fair and balanced!

Did you see my Florida On Fire map?

The smoke situation seems to be back to normal today. But I really can not tell from the house unless it is REALLY bad. Ill know more in a bit when I get on the highway and hit an overpass.

Subtropical Storm Andrea is still out there, but the forecast track keeps it further and further offshore. So much for that rain!!

I am THIS CLOSE --> <-- to obtaining a 19 foot power cat. I found a gold tablet in the backyard, and some magical rocks in the front yard. When I threw them both into a pillow case strange lights appeared, and the hieroglyphs on the tablets turned into English! The words said "and ye shall buy a 19 foot Seagull power cat, with single axle aluminum trailer and Mercury Optimax Bluewater Series 135 hp outboard engine". Then King Neptune showed up and took away my golden tablet and magical rocks.

You believe me, right??!?!

Holy crap! Do I agree with Al Sharpton?!?!

Matt said...

As long as we don't get dENNIS kUCINICH, we'll be alright.

Hans said...

I believe all of religions are steeped in a little (or a lot) of mysticism. As UWL pointed out yesterday 3 Republican candidates are still trying to get their heads around evolution. I don't know enough about the LDS church to make an honest evaluation about it's cult status. I haven't seen a candidate yet that I'd feel comfortable voting for. That's why I like the "neither" option they are pushing to head off another of the Christine Jennings/Vern Buchanan undervote controversy.

Miss Cellania said...

I can deal with any religion a candidate has, as long as he believes in the separation of church and state as a founding pillar of America. Keep YOUR religion out of MY government.

green said...

Yes, Mormonism is a cult. There are several works in print detailing the various religions and their beliefs.

I hope those republican candidates (or any candidate for that matter) never get their collective heads around the nonsense that is evolution.

exMI said...

In point of fact the LDS Church never promulgated as a doctrine the issue of the blacks being the recipients of "the Mark of Cain" a great many members of the church including several of those in higher leadership positions did say that. Which is perhaps a fine line to draw but one that is there.

Bigot is perhaps the wrong word for Romney to have used. But religious intolerance is certainly an acceptable phrase. (although calling Sharpton a bigot is pretty much stating the obvious.)

daveawayfromhome said...

Miss Cellania has got the right tack as far as religion and candidates go, which is why the Republican party needs an internal revolution, or an exodus. That 28% that wont let go is running the other 72% of the country. Some might describe that as aparthied, but that may be a bit over the top.
As for Kucinich, while I think he's a bit of a homonculus, what's so wrong with his platform:

1. Universal Health Care
2. International Cooperation: US out of Iraq, UN in
3. Jobs and Withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO
4. Repeal of the "Patriot Act"
5. Guaranteed Quality Education, Pre-K Through College
6. Full Social Security Benefits at Age 65
7. Right-to-Choose, Privacy and Civil Rights
8. Balance Between Workers and Corporations
9. Environmental Renewal and Clean Energy
10. Restored Rural Communities and Family Farms

These dont seem like crazy, dangerous ideas. Okay, #3 is out there, but #7 and 10 are supposed to be Republican positions. It's like I woke up and am living in Bizarro America.

Ed Abbey said...

I hope 3 Score stops by and writes about his religion since he is Mormon.

I'm with exmi. I'm kind of tickled to see Sharpton called out for being a bigot even though this time was probably unjustified.

jsull28fl@yaho said...

the only reason the Idiocrats allow Al to even hang around is he is the picture of evolution. He is 2 pictures behind modern day human, really look at Encyclopedia Brittanica. Anyway it makes no difference if he was right or wrong its the balatant hypocrisy.

There will never be another Reagan or Lincoln but we can only hope we dont have to settle for another Carter, or a Dean or for the love of Darwin a Gore.

I hope the fires arent bothering you to bad, I can't imagine why Bush set them and caused all this destruction, but then again he did cause global warming!
haaaaaaaaa
idiots one and all i tell you.

Senor Caiman said...

Saur,

If I get my hands on one of those bigots "pow" right in the kisser.

Excellent post.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Reagan was great! I epically liked the way he dismissed AIDS as "gay cancer".

Fuck all the people that contracted AIDS because screening the blood supply would cost too much money. They were probably going to vote Democrat at some point in the future anyway.

But we can never bring that up. Oh no. It may destroy the myth! Can't have that now can we?

Ill forget about the explosion of the Federal Budget, the crash of the Savings and Loan industry (cost us slobs billions while Neil Bush got off without loosing a penny), the deficit, junk bonds, and all the rest of the house of cards the economy of the time was built on.

His brain in a jar implanted into a zombie is just what we need! Right after I buy stock in Jelly Beans and black shoe polish.

j said...

i guess Reagan wasn't great, but the American people did vote second best pres all time. I dont agree with that but I did see he came in before clinton. And carter, yeah he was voted worst. An idiocrat, thats true, he was an idiot, i mean really any person with common sense agrees.
You have educated me though. I just learned tonight that more people got AIDS from blood than from homo sex or hetero sex. Thanks for the update.
I am trying to remember what admin was it that said that heteros and homos were each equally at risk. Oh damn i think that was the admitted sexual harrasser and his pet bulldog billery!
good point fella, you have a very credible aids argument!
try that on a moron and it could possibly fly!
js

The Lazy Iguana said...

Actually, the whole story about AIDS was out by the late 80s. But they (the government and drug companies) knew about it before then.

The "best worst" President polls sampled idiots. You would really have to poll nothing but noted historians who have studied the administrations of all Presidents. The results are meaningless. Carter is the worst huh? Worse than Nixon? Worst than James Garfield? Worse than that guy elected after Grant, whoever that was?

Many of Carter's problems were things beyond his control. Like the oil embargo. OPEC turned off the tap. That really screwed up the economy. It could happen again you know.

And yes, more people got AIDS from blood products than butt sex. Cancer patients on chemo. Accident victims who needed whole blood transfusions to "save" their lives. People born with blood disorders such as hemophilia. And so on.

How do I know? My brother died of AIDS complications. He also happened to have hemophilia. For some strange reason (maybe you can help me figure this out) the drug company that supplied the medicine settled the class action claim my brother had made for a chunk of cash and free unlimited health care for the rest of his life - all three or four years of it after the settlement.

Why would a company not at fault do this? Why not just challenge the so called evidence in court and have a judge and jury toss it all out for lack of merit?

Oh yea, they also dragged the case through the courts for as long as possible so the claimants would drop dead with the case in litigation. Many did.

But how much is life worth? Apparently, not as much as the cost of screening the blood supply and throwing out all the bad product.

The federal government knew all this. But it was far cheaper to call it "gay cancer" and do nothing.

Nobody can be perfect. This is just how it is. But I think if you asked a historian who has studied all the Administrations from Washington to Bush Version 2 - Reagan would not rank so high. The Republicans keep pointing to him because people remember him, and he was better than Nixon.

daveawayfromhome said...

What is it with the Republicans and Reagan? Have they identified a need for some sort of Cambellian Hero, and Eisenhower was just too long ago? What exactly seperates Reagan from Dubya except for a better sense of when to get out of the middle east? Neither of them were any good for the deficit, poor and ordinary people, or lawful foriegn policy. Oh sure, you'd love Reagan if you wanted to impose conservative religious ideals on the country, or were just plain rich (the Reagan years were the start of a period of unequaled growth for the wealthiest 1%, and only the wealthiest 1%, that continues to this day), but that doesnt explain why so many others seem to like him.

Oh yeah, that's right, he made us feel good.

Bread (but no butter) and circuses, people.

just stating the facts said...

just for both of you please go back and read what I wrote
i said I didnt agree with Reagan being the 2nd best pres. Please read before you comment. I am an uneducated g'ment schooler but my bride is had a doctrate in History and a masters in political science. She does agree wil you both. She believes Kennedy was worse than Carter. Anyway, dude that sux about your bro but I assure you that more folks dides in the US from butt sex than blood transfusions. And hey I'm 10000000000000000000000000% for butt sex, believe me im all in. I am the putter inner everytime tho, and they always have female parts within 3 inches. I was not trying to put down anyone but I was simply saying that I was 18-26 when the country was abused and lied to repeatedly by the idiot administration, not that most americans are idiots only the ones that carry Clintons water, his administration said it was equal, as many straights as gays got aids. But you and I both understand thats par for the course. I mean its apparent to anyone that is educated or has any common sense at all that the hard core Idiocrats hate minorities and they obviously hated gays, letting them die like they did. Check your history. All the real changes in racial equality was made by Reps. (see Aberham Lincoln) and all racism was made by Demo-Idio-crats (see bull conner, robert byrd) I used to vote Dem but since i have aged and become wiser I did the same thing as all of the wiser people and changed my assosiation.
have a good day
js

daveawayfromhome said...

Dont talk about the Republicans of old. This is not your Daddy's Republican Party; this Republican Party thinks it is your Daddy (and what an abusive Daddy it's turning out to be). And your opinion of St. Ron (either way) is irrelevant in the face of the GOP Propaganda Machine. It's not you that I rage against, but the Machine.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I had originally thought to stay out of this, because, over the last couple of years I have developed a real fondness for Saur and her writings, but I have reluctantly concluded that I must discuss it.

The example quoted from Sharpton was "As for the one Mormon running for office, those that believes in God will defeat him anyway so don't worry about that, that's a temporary situation". Then we hear criticism of Romney for accusing Sharpton of bigotry.

We now find a convoluted attempt to rationalize and say that Romney was wrong in that accusation. First, let's look at the definition of bigotry: First, from the New Dictionary of the English Language (Published by Collier in 1916) a bigot is defined as: "One who is unreasonably and blindly attached to a particular creed, church, or party; one who is intolerant of opinions which differ from his own." From a more current source; The American Heritage Desk Dictionary" A person who is rigidly devoted to his or her own group, creed, etc.,and is prejudiced against those having different views". And from that same dictionary, bigoted is defined as "Intolerance of other groups, creeds, or opinions.", or from the Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged (the staple or most libraries), a bigot is defined as "a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.", and bigotry is defined as "stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion which differs from one's own".
Note that in only ONE of these is a mention of being intolerant of other GROUPS. In the others it refers to intolerance of differing creed (religion) belief or opinion. Even the Mirriam Webster definition cited by Saur the definition deals with "a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially one who regards the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group--or,* my words* try religion, as more or less stated in all of the other definitions)with hatred and intolerance.--My Mirriam Webster I acknowledge to probably be older than the one used by Saur maintains the words creed, belief or opinion though it also uses the term"group".

With these definitions in mind, even if one set out deliberately to make an example of a statement illustrating bigotry one would be hard put to write a more exact example of bigotry. The difference between Romney and Saur is that Romney understood the meaning of the word bigot, as most dictionaries define it. Saur continues "since when does religion qualify? Are we no longer allowed to say "What you believe is wrong". Of course not, but the tone of Sharpton has nothing to do with debate and everything to do with debasement. Bigots have reacted in their own classical way to religions almost from the beginning of time. Take note of the early Roman reaction to Christians, or the early Catholic Christians to the Gnostics or any other of the so-called heretic faiths throughout the renaissance. Even consider Henry VIII's reactions to the Catholics in England subsequent to his excommunication. Over the ages, religions have been the most common victims of bigotry. Bigotry has nothing to do with debate, it has to do with attack which is far different thing.

Now, for a moment consider the horrible curse attributed to the black man by the Mormons. It is not clear exactly why Brigham Young refused to ordain black men to the priesthood when it is historically clear that Joseph Smith did ordain such. The most common explanation of this identifies the Black race as decendents of Cain. (This is not necessarily doctrine, there have been arguments about this among Mormons for a hundred and twenty years.) Assuming that this might be so, it is worth considering the scriptural basis for the "Mark of Cain". In the fourth chapter of Genesis, when the Lord confronts Cain with the fact that he has killed his brother, the Lord tells Cain that he is cursed for shedding his brother's blood, "Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is more than I can bear (14) Behold thou has driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a vagabond in the ear; and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me." (15) and the Lord sayeth to him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a Mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."

Note that the mark of Cain was set upon him as a protection, and it is clear that the curse did not extend beyond Cain himself for the next nine verses set out a pattern where Cain went out into the Land of Nod, built a city and had a very skilled and successful progeny. (Though Lamech, indeed repeated the action of his forebear.)

If the mark is a protection to Cain (and perhaps to his progeny), and if the scriptures in Acts 10:34 which says that "God is no respecter of persons (i. e. is not a bigot), is true, then the Lord did not set up the policy regarding the Black Race and the priesthood to make salvation more difficult or less available to the people in that race, He (assuming that you are a Mormon and believe in what the church teaches) had some other purpose. I choose to believe that it was one more challenge to a group of people (members of the church) who themselves were suffering violent and constant persecution themselves, to see if they could overcome the, then largely national, tendency toward racism and learn to follow the doctrine (and this IS Mormon Doctrine) that "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" even if the neighbor might not have the priesthood. I think it took a long time for membership of the church to be ready to demonstrate that love universally, but the time came, and I can say in truth that there was an almost universal and tangible sense of celebration throughout the church when the limitation on those who could hold the priesthood was eliminated.

My final comment is for those who seem to revel in referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a cult. It is obvious that to some, this word has become a tool of bigotry, and for those, like Lazy Iguana, who proudly demonstrate their contempt for anyone who disagrees with them (see definitions above), I can accept that. Again, referring to numerous dictionaries and encyclopedias (including all that were noted above) a cult is defined as "a particular system of religious worship, esp. with regard to its rites and ceremonies" (Random House), I can accept that appellation, as it has been used over time to describe the followers of Martin Luther, those of Roger Williams (who happened to be following the Baptists at the time), those of Alexander Campbell, a founding member of the Church of Christ (and several derivatives of that church,) those of Calvin, and for that matter (though it would have to be in translation,) a similar appellation was drawn by the Pharisees for the followers of Jesus Christ. That, generally speaking, is pretty good company.