Tag Archives: mitt romney

Adoration of the Lord

This post has three parts. In the first, “The Lord,” I discuss the human impulse to worship. In the second, “The State,” I discuss the role of government. In the third, “The Election,” I discuss these things in the context of the 2012 Presidential Election, and some recent remarks by Governor Mitt Romney.

The Lord

The word for “lord” derives from the phrase “loaf-ward” (in Old English: hlaf-weard). When the power to Give Law and the power to Feed are united in one man, the natural human response is worship.

This impulse is so strong you can make a religion of it.

The people of Israel called the bread manna (what sounds like, “What is it?) It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’”
Exodus 16:31-32

“Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”

Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Exodus 24:6-8

Twice

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Matthew 26:26-29

The State

This is the concern that Romney was channeling, and much of the professional left is outraged by, when he said:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

It’s obvious to anyone with a brain that Mitt Romney was not the outcome of a specific election. Romney’s been in politics too long for anyone to seriously believe that he is ignorant of how politics works.

Rather, Romney was identifying the problem of uniting the Wealth-Giving and Law-Giving powers in one entity, the federal government. The natural human reaction is adoration of such a unity of power. Those who live under the Law and thru the Wealth bestowed upon them by the Wealth & Law Giver will adore it “no matter what.”

Of course the Hebrews in the Desert built their Golden Calf. Judas at the Last Supper sold Christ to the Priests. But these are the exception that prove the rule: not scraping before The Law and The Wealth is seen as weird, deviant, temporarily, and ghastly.

The Election

Now, this is not the darkest moment of the Republican. Obama is not some Mussolini-style monster: he won’t create a durable cult of personality or a network of concentration camps. We already had a monster like that in Franklin Roosevelt. And like Russia, and like China, and like Japan, and like Italy, and like the rest, we learned our lessons. We have Presidential term limits for a reason.

No matter who wins, in the next four years we’ll be killing a lot of Muslims who are already irate at us and have it coming, turning the ship on our catastrophically awful public educational system, making sure people who are friends with high-level execs at Goldman Sachs don’t lose money, and making sure that we have the Mexican and Asian workers we need while making people who don’t want to compete feel good about themselves.

But there is a question: do have bias the discussion in favor of expanding the worshipers of the State — those who see the federal government as the Wealth & Law Giver – or do we bias it against that view?

Do we want a government we worship, or one we fear? Because if an individual give Law but not Wealth, the reaction is fear. You limit such a creature, distrust it, and chain it with cumbersome rules.

If the federal government is already your Lord, if it already combined the source of Law and Wealth for you, it’s probably bizarre to think of fearing it. Doing so would be just inhuman.

But if you’re not already dependent on it, if you want to keep your freedom, it probably seems ghastly to think of worshiping it.

That is part of what this election is about.

Is Romney a Christian?

Cohen, R. (2007). Un-Mormon and unchristian. Washington Post. December 4, 2007. Available online: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/03/AR2007120301620.html (from The Corner).

Maybe.

Mormonism is as close to/far from Christianity as is Islam or Judaism. The main difference is one of emphasize: in spite of fundamental theological differences, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints writes the middle part of their name very large. The religion of submission, in spite of its origin as a variant of Arian Christianity, downplays its historical roots with the carpenter.

Broadly, Christians believe in the existence of two general natures, a created nature and a divine nature. God has a divine nature, man has a created nature. Uniquely, Jesus Christ has both natures residing in one person: hence the titles Son of Man and Son of God. Christ himself is one person of the Trinity, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

In Islam, man has a created nature and God has a divine nature. There is no “confusion” of these natures, no co-residing natures in any one person. Judaism is similar: Judaism differs from Islam not in its basic theology, but a more technical question of what was said when, where, and to whom.

Mormonism disagrees with Islam and Judaism, but with Christianity too. In Mormon theology, there is only one nature, which man and God shares. Mormonism, like Scientology, makes factual claims about the real world without pleading in the existence of a separate, divine realm. The difference between God and Man in Mormonism is essentially one of technology, wisdom, and power.

(While Mormonism is sharply different from most forms of Christianity, it probably approximates the beliefs of those early monolaters who spoke of El, Yahweh, etc. better than either Christianity, Judaism, Islam. Christianity, Islam, and Rabbinic Judaism emerged after exposure to Greek philosophy that dwelt on forms, nature, and persons. Mormonism, by contrast, was heavily influenced by the rise of science and a rejection of the natural-supernatural dichotomy.)

That said, the answer is not as simple as a “no.”

Christ taught that the servant who says “no” and obeys his master’s will is a better servant than that which says “yes” and disobeys. Christianity, in the end, boils down to hope, faith, and love (love most of all). Putting faith before love is putting the cart before the horse!

Secondly, there’s the question of self-identification. While watching Amazing Race: Asia, I was surprised to see a team-mate speaking about how she is good friends with her partner in the game, “even though she is Catholic and I am Christian.” By contrast, socioculturally Mormons in the United States are essentially indistinguishable from Christians.

Ultimately, the question shouldn’t matter. Mitt Romney is a flip flopper to make John Kerry proud, has run away from the one thing he did right (health care reform), and now embraces an extreme position that he was rightly above as governor (immigration). Romney should lose fair and square.

Not because he (is? is not?) a Christian.

Preferences from the top tier

Republican Party
Preferred Winner: Rudy Giuliani. Great things on foreign policy, and his federalist conservatism is a welcome break from Bush’s evangelicalism. Only drawback: uncertainty on judges.
Back-up Winner: Fred Thompson. An unambitious people-person with a conservative orientation, Thompson is the Bush ’00 of ’08. Drawbacks: Vague beliefs, comes across as old.
Please no: Mitt Romney. Mitt agrees with you on the issues. Because he’s supported both sides of all of them.

Democratic Party
Preferred Winner: Hillary Clinton. If she governs like it was Bill’s third term, thins would generally be alright.
Backup Winner: Barack Obama: A post baby-boomer President is attractive as such, as is someone with Barack’s biography.
Please no: John Edwards. Can he possibly be serious about anything he says???

Generic Ballot
Preferred Winner: Republican Party.
At its wingnut extreme, the Republican Party is stupid. The Democratic Party and its extreme, though, is anti-American. I’ll take idiotic over treacherous.