Competing Over Religious Zealotry in White House


romney clemons.jpg
Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times offered a brilliant take on the Romney speech on religion which I have only now just read. His blunt read in “Press Preys on Wrong Question” of Huckabee’s flirtation with the anti-Enlightenment commitment to creationism is worth reviewing too.
But on Kennedy, the take-down of the media’s read on Romney is definitive. Here is a part of it:

. . .that sort of institutional blindness to what is at stake in the current struggle over religion and politics made it all but inevitable that Romney’s address Thursday would be misunderstood by much of the media. First of all, it was nothing like Kennedy’s storied speech in setting, intention or content.
Kennedy was straightforward; Romney was clever.
Kennedy spoke to a hostile audience of Protestant clergymen and took their questions afterward; Romney spoke to a hand-picked crowd at a Republican presidential library and took no questions.
Kennedy defended — indeed, insisted on — separation of church and state; Romney simply asked that what is essentially a religious test for office be expanded to include his religion.
Kennedy and his advisors sought the advice of one of American-style religious liberty’s foremost defenders — the great Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray; Romney sought the counsel of political handlers skilled in stage managing the religious right.

— Steve Clemons


9 comments on “Competing Over Religious Zealotry in White House

  1. karenk says:

    I used to be concerned about Christianity taking over America. Now I’m more concerned about America taking over Christianity. Some of these Evangelicals act like Jesus was American.


  2. Carroll says:

    Just so it is clear.
    No, I am not telling all the immigrants to get out..I am telling all the “ethnic opportunist” and politicans who are “gaming” our democratic diversity principles to get out.


  3. Carroll says:

    The Hyphening of America by hyphens in Congress:
    The Library of Congress > THOMAS Home > Bills, Resolutions > Search Results
    Hope Fund Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)
    HR 1999 IH
    110th CONGRESS
    1st Session
    H. R. 1999
    To authorize appropriations for assistance for the National Council of La Raza and the Raza Development Fund.
    April 23, 2007
    Mr. HINOJOSA (for himself and Mr. RENZI) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services
    A BILL
    To authorize appropriations for assistance for the National Council of La Raza and the Raza Development Fund.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
    This Act may be cited as the `Hope Fund Act of 2007′.
    (a) Use- The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall, to the extent amounts are made available pursuant to subsection (b), make a grant to the National Council of La Raza for the purpose of providing technical and financial assistance to local non-profit organizations to undertake community development and affordable housing projects and programs serving low- and moderate-income households, particularly through organizations located in neighborhoods with substantial populations of income-disadvantaged households of Hispanic origin. Assistance provided by the Secretary under this section may be used by the National Council of La Raza or the Raza Development Fund to–
    (1) provide technical and financial assistance for site acquisition and development, construction financing, and short- and long-term financing for housing, community facilities, and economic development;
    (2) leverage capital from private entities, including private financial institutions, insurance companies, and private philanthropic organizations;
    (3) provide technical assistance, training, support, and advice to develop the management, financial, and administrative capabilities of housing development organizations serving low-income households, including Hispanic households; and
    (4) conduct such other activities as may be determined by the Secretary and the National Council of La Raza.
    (b) Authorization of Appropriations- There is authorized to be appropriated for grants under this section–
    (1) $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2008; and
    (2) $10,000,000 for each fiscal year thereafter.
    This is a small example of the larger problem. I could champion this if it left out “hispanic” and said without regard to any particular ethnic group, making sure it was open to everyone in the income guidelines but not in favor of any one group over others. I backed special funds and programs set aside for black Americans because we Americans did owe them a great deal, far more than we have actually paid.
    That is not the case with the current hispanic population…the collective American society does not owe them, they have a right to be “included but not favored.”
    From a Cuban congressman who announces his “goal in congress” is to prepare US aid programs for the restoration of Cuba after Castro. To the Jewish congressmen whose tribal obsessions have been so over indulged by us they actually used their US political office to change an internal Egyptian agricultural program designed to preserve their disappearing palm trees to demand enough be cut irregardless of the damage to supply to religious jews.
    I am tired of what this represents. I have one thing to say to all these poeple …get out. Just get out or we are going to have it out.


  4. Kathleen says:

    One problem I have with so-called christian candidates is that they define their religious convictions by what they condemn in others.
    If you want me to vote for you based on your claim to be a christian, then I want me to know how you feel about casting the first stone and pre-emptive strikes, turning the other cheek and massive retaliation, and whether you would like to be tortured yourself.
    For a glimpse of more religious zealotry, church/state shenannigans, negative consequences and inevitable blowback…
    The Corner Report
    News & more from the Northwest Corner of Connecticut & beyond
    Israeli civil rights group says Israel has reached new heights of racism
    December 9th, 2007 by admin ( )
    Haaretz Daily
    By Yuval Yoaz and Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondents
    Author Sami Michael, president of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said upon the release of the organization’s annual report that racism was so rife it was damaging civil liberty in Israel.
    “Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy,” Michael said. The publication coincides with Human Rights Week, which begins Sunday.
    The report’s key points include a 26-percent rise in the number of racist incidents against Arabs and twice as many Jews reporting a feeling of hate toward Arabs.
    “We are a society under supervision under a democratic regime whose institutions are being undermined and which confers a different status to residents in the center of the country and in the periphery,” Michael said.
    According to the June 2007 Democracy Index of the Israel Democracy Institute, for example, only half the public believes that Jews and Arabs must have full equal rights.
    Among Jewish respondents, 55 percent support the idea that the state should encourage Arab emigration from Israel and 78 percent oppose the inclusion of Arab political parties in the government. According to a Haifa University study, 74 percent of Jewish youths in Israel think that Arabs are “unclean.”
    The ACRI says that bills introduced in the Knesset contribute to delegitimize the country’s Arab citizens, such as ones that would link the right to vote and receive state allowances to military or national service.
    They also include bills that require ministers and MKs to swear allegiance to a Jewish state and those that set aside 13 percent of all state lands owned by the Jewish National Fund for Jews only.
    “Arab citizens are frequently subject to ridicule at the airports,” the report states.
    It says that Arab citizens “are subject to ‘racial profiling’ that classifies them as a security threat. The government also threatens the freedom of expression of Arab journalists by brandishing the whip of economic boycott and ending the publication of government announcements in newspapers that criticize its policy.”
    Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh said that the report “did not take us by surprise and neither should anyone be surprised by it. Its results are the natural consequence of a racist campaign led by political and military leaders, as well as the result of the anti-Arab racist policies implemented by consecutive governments.”


  5. Carroll says:

    President Theodore Roosevelt
    “We freely extend the hand of welcome and of good fellowship to every man, no matter what his creed or birthplace, who comes here honestly intent on becoming a good United States citizen like the rest of us.
    Americanism is a question of spirit, conviction and purpose, not of creed or birthplace.
    The politician who bids for the Irish or German vote, or the Irishman or German who votes as an Irishman or German, is despicable, for all citizens of this commonwealth should vote solely as Americans.”


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, when the Mormon missionaries were working on me in my teens, I had a hard time with the part about the blacks being punished by God with a good ‘ol dose of sun searing, resulting in their dark skin. It kinda sounded like one of those fables Jonah would tell while frying crab in Moby’s gut.


  7. whskyjack says:

    While the Morman church is often viewed as nonchristian, it does have a strong reputation of upholding the values that Conservative evangelicals believe in. If I were a conservative Christian, listening to Romney’s speech, it would make me wonder just how much he holds “rock strong” conservative Morman values or how much he follows “east coast, Ted Kennedy values”. I think the answer to the question, “Can some one from Mass. hold our values” is more important to Romney’s success out here in fly over country than the “can he be independent” question. Sure there are the usual bigots, they will never vote for him and he shouldn’t bother pandering to them. But there are a large group of conservative Christians for whom conservative values are important. They need to be assured that he is closer to their values than the drunken, womanizing, hedonnistic values that they think of when Mass. politicians are mentioned


  8. DonS says:

    Separation of church and state. One of the really great innovations of the United States. The founders must be rolling over in their graves.
    You’ve got candidates mouthing the words of separation out of one corner of their mouths while signaling their religiosity, even theocratic pretentions, to certain groups out the other side.
    You’ve got the hypocrisy of Romney thinking he can signal his anti-islamofacist bona fides by implying (later trying to qualify) Muslims aren’t fit for cabinet positions in his administration . . . because they represent less that 1% of the populaiton , by God.
    Mormons aren’t much more.
    Then you have Jews who, if anything, are disproportinately over-represented in the halls of government.
    But we all know that logic and rational discourse has long since gone out of style.
    Its really discouraging to witness the passing of this central aspect of what used to be the American way: tolerance of religion. We used to think the loonies were only a fringe.


  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If one listens to the various right wing personalities, (such as Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter, Levin), that are so popular with the intellectually challenged segment of our population, you can surmise that religion is playing a far greater role in American politics than is reasonable, constructive, or sane.
    The fact that some religious wack job like Huckabee can actually be seriously considered for the Presidency is indeed scary stuff.
    And screw Romney’s religion. I could care less what religion ANY of the candidates are. When Romney lied to us during the first Republican debates about the details of the UN inspection team’s absence in Iraq, pre-invasion, what difference does it make if it was a Mormon, a Babtist, a Catholic or a Jew lying to us? A liar is a liar, and we sure as hell don’t need another one crappin’ on the Oval Office rugs for four or eight more years.
    Frankly, the posturing and insincere assertions of “faith” currently being bandied about by ALL the candidates is obscene, transparently pious, and actually demeaning to “faith” and religion in general. If I want piety, posturing, and hypocricy I’ll meander on down to my corner church and rub elbows with my “religious” locals, taking care not to take my wallet, my wife, or my teen age daughter with me. I certainly don’t need to have the candidates seduce me with claims of faith while they’re humming “bomb Iran” under their breath, or dreaming gleefully of sending Israel another coupla billion dollars worth of land mines and cluster munitions.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *