Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Manifest Destiny

This article by Andrew Sullivan is worth a read. In an ideal world a candidate's religion ought have no relevance whatever. In fact, I think absence of religion, in these times which call for clear thinking, would be an enormous asset. But, given the undeniable trend in this country, pretty much exclusively in one party, toward substituting one's version of gospel for common law and common sense, religious leanings may be more relevant than ever.

... For Mormons, the Constitution was a necessary great prologue for the real endeavor: the restoration of the Gospel, i.e. the triumph of Mormonism over other forms of Christianity. The same president of the LDS church confirmed the Mormon belief that the Founding Fathers appeared as spirits in Utah's Saint George Temple to a previous president, Wilford Woodruff in 1877, and stayed for two days and nights in order to be properly saved by a Mormon baptism. Woodruff wrote of this experience:

The spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, "You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God." These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them ... I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister [sic] to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others...

George Washington was posthumously named a high priest in the LDS church, alongside John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus. Yes: Ben Franklin is a Mormon High Priest now, according to Romney's faith. More significant to me is that all these figures in American history were asking to be baptized since they now knew that Mormonism was true and they needed saving.


I raise this because such an understanding of America's unique and divine status among nations has profound foreign policy implications. It means that America alone has divine permission to do what it wants in the wider world, that America is subject to different standards than everyone else (because we alone are divinely blessed),

So, assuming this is a fair analysis, we have, in Mitt Romney, not only a constant and deliberate liar and a man of no political morality, but one who'd see foreign policy as a means to a particular end: namely, the supremacy of the Mormon church via aggressive action against all perceived enemies, borne on the shield of righteousness.

I suppose some might see this as an appropriate counterpoint to Barack Obama's obvious attempts to make Sharia the law of the land. Me, I consider it a tad worrisome. Because President Obama's record is there for the looking, and it's nothing like the one RWS™ and The Rominee would have us believe. Mitt, on the other hand, has shown countless times he has no public values at all. Now, there may be reason to worry about his private ones.

And if not, well, then his lying and pandering and lack of core political convictions are more than enough to run away from, fast and far.


Frank Drackman said...

Absence of Religion?
Oh, like Hitler, I'm sorry, I mean Stalin, I mean Mao, I mean Ho Chi Minn, I mean Putin, all of whom you'd probably prefer to the most evil Human Being ever, Richard N. Nixon.
I mean Ronald Reagan.
Or is it Dick Chaney now? Y'all need a playoff.
But anyway, since the EICOTUS has talked about his Christian Faith, his Muslim Faith, it's only a matter of time before he evolves to atheism.
And I haven't totally made up my mind, I like to know a little bout' all the major Surpreme Beings, just in case mine turns out to be wrong...
To tell you the truth, I sort of LIKE that whole 77 Virgins thang.
And when I was a wee lad, I asked my dad howcome God let really evil people, like Mao, Nixon, Ted Kennedy live to be really old, you know, like 50, but gave little kids my age cancer, and whatever those creepy kids on Jerry Lewis's telethon had, and he said.
"God doesn't give a shit"
"So howcome I have to go to Sin-o-gog AND Church"
and he smacked me for saying "Howcome" instead of "Why".
See, he had that Depression error thang for "The King's English" even though we fought a war NOT to have a King.
OK, I admit, that whole "Baptising the Dead" thang is alittle creepy, but at least they don't dig the dead guy up, then dunk him in the water...


Anonymous said...

Sid, well-said. Thank you very much for a well-thought-out post.

One thing that comes to mind, though, when we discuss the attempts by the GOP to inculcate feeble-minded citizens with the idea that America is inherently bound to one or another version of millenial xtianity:

It's all about divine right.

The Divine Right of Kings held sway for much of the history of the xtian west. Only with its downfall (chiefly, the American and French revolutions) did we see the ascension of common sense over the political whims of the oligarchic ruling caste.

Romney's current rhetoric is nothing less than an attempt to assert that the divine right of kings applies to an entire nation. Think about that statement - it asserts (albeit implicitly) that no action taken by the US is incorrect because of the larger mission, the scope of which is theological in nature.

Since it seems like the people who speak for (alleged) god find that god's opinions remarkably often align with their own, and since god is essentially silent on the matter (being as he/she/it doesn't exist, anyhow), this scares the daylights out of me. Assertions that this is an xtian nation are nothing more than an attempt to provide fig-leaf cover for unconscionable actions in the service of the American plutocracy....


Sid Schwab said...

Agreed, Matt. And the beating over the head with "American Exceptionalism" is part and parcel of the same thing: don't question anything we say or do.

Anonymous said...

The credulity of the religious, of any faith, sect or cult, is inestimably *Beyond the dreams of algebra!

*WC Fields.

There are zero limits to what people will believe.

I am quite sure that all of that, which the faithful call "Theology", consists of no more than tortuous rationalizations concocted to transmogrify black to white and truth to falsehood.

For example: I recall an exchange with SSWoman where her reply, to one of my points, was "That had nothing to do with the crucifixion."

Her "Theology" enabled her to overlook the teachings of all Christianity that stress that HIS entire life and everything HE said, had to with the crucifixion.

You know, as in, "God gave his only begotten son...

Thus I see that Theology is a versatile garment that may be worn inside or right side out, - serve as pants, socks, skirt or jock strap and is elastic enough to shrink for the skinny or expand to cover the fat.

Regarding DrekMan's point inre. Virgins:

"To tell you the truth, I sort of LIKE that whole 77 Virgins thang."

I am assured that the teaching is true - except that said virgins will be an assortment of Catholic nuns and basement-dwelling boomerang boys.

Go for it Frank!!


Frank Drackman said...

@ Eww-Gene
watta ya got against Nuns?

you can have the boys.


Cory said...

Way to go Sid. WTF? You let your work be painted over with Franks graffiti.... why on earth would you actually do that to your own work?

Sid Schwab said...

The more you ask, the more I wonder, too.

Anonymous said...

DrekMan serves an important purpose!

He is a constant reminder to the knowledge that everyone serves a purpose.

His purpose is to be a horrible example.


AlisonH said...

I am no fan of Mitt Romney and have no intention of voting for him. But I can tell you there's no hidden agenda on the part of the Mormon church and that the reason the Constitution is revered is that it laid the foundation for religious freedom wherein the church and any other could grow and thrive and people could have freedom to choose for themselves. That's it.

There are some cultural Mormons who relate more to the far right than to the actual tenets of their religion: which state that the essence of God is, purely and simply, love. And that we are to take care of all who come before us. Anyone who wants to cut taxes for the rich and destroy the safety net, if they're Mormon, ask them what King Benjamin in the book of Mosiah would have had to say about that.

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