Mitt Romney is looking Christ-like.

    After listening to the Jesus-trumpeting of Rick Santorum for the last week and then having bile rise up in the back of my throat at the obscene remarks of Franklin Graham on MSNBC this morning, Romney, by comparison, is looking like a saint or even Jesus Christ Himself.

    At what point will fair minded Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, reach the point of saturation with the calumny, hypocrisy and self-righteousness of people like Santorum and Franklin Graham, and say to themselves---this is not right, this is not America, and this is not who I am.

    I do not particularly like Mitt Romney, either his money grubbing in business, his flip flopping, his late coming conservatism, or his demeanor. And I think it is fair game to question him on how his Mormon faith would affect his policies. But when you stack Romney up against the likes of Santorum or Franklin Graham, who does not show the President even enough respect to call him "President" Obama on air---so why should I respect his title of "Reverend"?---Romney looks normal and even generous. 

    If Romney were elected I would not like his economic or his social policies, but I think the man himself is rational. He would not tank the economy with austerity. He would not start an unnecessary war with Iran. He would not turn the country into a Christian Theocracy. On the other hand Santorum looks like a train going off the tracks. Santorum with his finger on the button? Are you serious?

    Santorum, Graham & Co, are, spurred on by the media, again questioning President Obama's Christianity. 

    Again, we are forced to hear the explicit dishonoring of another person's faith with the words---he says he is a Christian, don't ask me, ask him." . Do not those words represent calumny? No? In what way do they represent the teachings of Jesus?  Is it not the same if I were to raise suspicion of Rick Santorum's integrity with words like, "I don't know if Rick Santorum practices recreational sex. Ask him, not me". My job is just to get the ball rolling, as has been happening a lot at MSNBC over the last few days. 

    When asked about Obama's faith, Graham said, in effect, "He says he is". When asked about Santorum, he said, "I believe he is a Christian." When asked whether he has a double standard, Graham demonstrated the calumniator that he is. "He, Obama, is not a Christian, because it doesn't 'feel' like it to me". "I don't believe him because in his actions around the world he shows he is more concerned with Muslims than with Christians who are being killed" ---for which there is not a shred of evidence. 

    Further, Graham demonstrated the type of "Christian" he is. Someone can only prove to Graham that he is a Christian, and give Graham a "feeling" that he is a Christian if he, for example, goes to church regularly. And if he lives his life according to Graham's frame of reference.

    When asked whether Romney is a Christian, Graham flat out stated that he wasn't, either by his standards, or according to the beliefs of "most Christians".  In my opinion Romney himself has made the most heartfelt public statements about his faith of all the Republican candidates. And he did so when asked, not bringing it up at the drop of a hat like Santorum. Romney spoke to explain his own beliefs, not to pass judgment on others. 

    The way I understand the teachings of Christ, Romney's behavior is more Christ-like than either Santorum or the sanctimonious Graham, the woeful master of litmus tests for everyone else's belief systems---the, "Reverend" Franklin Graham---who would be both judge and jury on another's man's public profession of faith. For the religious right folks out there who endorse Franklin Graham, please prove to me how he is different from Cotton Mather in 17th Century, Mass.

    Santorum is so full of himself being the front runner that he is either just high or is exhibiting his innate nature of a Religious despot. I think Romney has an opening here to demonstrate that he is the more sane and main stream person and candidate. Talking about the Mormon religion has been a problem in his campaign. But at this point he has nothing to lose and Santorum is off guard because he firmly believes Romney is precluded from discussing his own faith. But the reality is that, in the context of the Religious extremism and Christian hegemony being espoused by Santorum, Mormonism may by comparison look like the very essence of freedom of religion in the promised land of America. 

    But if Romney jumps on the band wagon of distorting the contraceptive issue as one about freedom of religion, I will never again say one kind word about the man, especially not---that he is Christ-like



    I do share your belief that:

    Romney looks normal and even generous.

    But, the key word is 'looks'.  I think he's just more adept and practiced in playing the role he realizes is needed to provide contrast and obtain his goal.

    What bothers me even more about 'Myth' than the rantings Rick, Newt and Paul indulge in, is that I always get the sense he is hiding his true persona, beliefs and agenda.  At least with the others, as outlandish and twisted their stances are, they leave little of their dogma for us to seek out.

    His actions are those of a bully who uses money and status to achieve his objectives. He practices 'the end justifies the means' as evidenced by flip flopping his stances on issues to suit the current audience, by putting forth media ads with half truths and falsely attributing words and actions to whoever his target is at the time and the list goes on.  

    While I shudder and fear any of the four horsemen attaining the office of POTUS, Romney is the one that concerns me the most, because not only is he aligning himself with other bullies such as the Koch Bros., but I don't believe we really have seen or heard the real Mitt, only Myth.


    Thanks, Aunt Sam. Between the two, obviously I think Santorum would be the most dangerous. But it takes a religious bigot like Graham to create sympathy in my mind for Mitt Romney. The conventional wisdom is that Romney is precluded from the subject of religion, which is why Santorum is going for broke on the subject. I'm not so sure that Santorum's over-reach isn't opening doors for Romney. 

     I don't believe we really have seen or heard the real Mitt

    So you suspect his four years as governor of Massachusetts were just a charade where he was hiding his real intent once he got to be president?.

    Really, I don't understand your reasoning in believing this. If we can't trust a resume that includes very recent service as a governor of US state, what can we trust in judging a presidential candidate? I can understand thinking this about someone with only legislative experience, because we haven't seen them govern. But geez, a state governor hiding his real governing intent for four recent years? Aunt Sam, it really strikes me as Illuminati- level conspiracy theorizing, and really makes me wonder if  you suspect him of not showing his true intentions because he is a Mormon. No other reason makes sense, precisely because he was the governor of a large state from 2003-2007.

    I was simply telling what my feelings are, no conspiracy theory accusations.  

    I don't trust him for some of the reasons I mentioned.  He makes me uneasy partially because he keeps changing his stances, he doesn't own some of his actions or those of his surrogates and it's obvious he cannot truly relate to the 99% (imo). 

    I read carefully many factual reports about how he began cleaning up his financial records (beginning 2007) for a WH run in 2008 and again in 2010.  Also he did not fully disclose all financial accounts/data on the financial disclosure forms mandated for this POTUS campaign.  This also concerns me.

    You are making assumptions about the basis of my comment that are not accurate nor referenced.  We are all entitled to our opinions.  If you want to assign anything else other than what I've written and stated elsewhere, I'm not sure why or what prompts you to do so. 

    Ricky really believes in what he is saying. I remember him saying these things in the 90's and I could not figure out what Pennsylvanians were thinking when they put him in the upper House!

    Ricky could declare war upon 1.5 billion people; destroy our national attempt at health care; water down Medicare and SS, wipe out Medicaid and SSD and our educational system; fire two or three million government workers and god knows what else! Especially if he had both Houses of Congress in his pocket.

    Newt believes in Newt and that is about it.

    Newt is scary because one day he could propose new computers in all poor people's schools and the next day he could drop a nuke on Iran with no provocation!

    Paul certainly believes in what he is saying (and much more that is racist and disgusting but he knows enough to shut up about those things nowadays) But Paul aint gonna be nominated and because of that fact a lot of young libertarians will not vote repub this year. Which means that Paul may be of great benefit to rational people.

    So no wonder Mitt 'looks' rational.

    We could at least trust in the fact that Mitt is a liar of the first order.

    So I have no argument with your post at all!


    Thanks, Mr. Day. But I thought you might argue whether Franklin Graham is like Cotton Mather or not. 

    Mitt Romney is looking Christ like

    Only if you think Ward Cleaver shaking his head at the latest exploits of Lumpy and Eddie is Christ-like. Every day in every way, flip flop though he may on actual issues, I am more convinced that Mitt has vowed to not diverge from playing the grownup Dad, even if it means he loses the primary. That is the main thing he will not flip flop about, that he is Dad.

    A side issue-- on Cotton Mather in 17th century Mass. I've seen you use this analogy before, and it puzzles me, because I know you're well read on history. Maybe I'm not up on the latest, but already back in like the 1960's, historians had pretty well thrown away the sterotype of the Mather's as stereotypical witch huntin' hellfire scary guys as like, slander. (There really isn't much equivalence to be found in modern day right-wing Christianity and Puritanism in general, mho, they are extremely different. Puritans don't do rage, for one thing.)

    The writings and docs just don't support it. Here's one nice example:

    A Father's Resolutions by Cotton Mather


    9. I will do what I can very early to beget a temper of kindness in my children, both toward one another and toward all other people. I will instruct them how ready they should be to share with others a part of what they have; and they shall see my encouragements when they discover a loving, a courteous, an helpful disposition. I will give them now and then a piece of money, so that with their own little hands they may dispense unto the poor. Yea, if any one has hurt them, or vexed them, I will not only forbid them all revenge, but also oblige them to do a kindness as soon as may be to the vexatious person. All coarseness of language or carriage in them, I will discountenance.


    I researched Mather's involvement in the Salem trials and hangings some time ago because I had come by a very early printing of Robert Calif's eye witness account of the hanging of a Salem Minister named George Burroughs. The account is of Mather refusing to believe the Minister's prayer and exhorting a wavering crowd to proceed with the hanging. As far as I found out at the time of my research, Calif's account had not been disputed. Within a year of the hangings most of the witnesses had recanted their testimony and I believe Mather might have done a lot of back tracking. Whether he spanked his children or not, I might have gone overboard on that. I'll try to find my other references.

    Your comments spurred some additional reading. Cotton Mather was as big a scary witch hunter as one can imagine. Here's a Cotton Mather quote related to Bridget Bishop, the first woman hung, a poor and friendless old woman. "She gave a look towards the great and spacious meeting house of Salem and immediately a daemon, invisibly entering the house, tore down a part of it."

    As to your thought that the original Puritans and today's religious right have little equivalence, here is a recent quote from Sheila Kennedy, who stated that there is a persistent minority who "...represent by religious fundamentalists like Bachmann and Santorum who use the word "freedom" in the older, Puritan sense of "freedom to do the right thing" and who believes it is government's job to tell us what the "right thing" is. To me, this perfectly encapsulates the core ot the religious right. Article was entitled, The Puritans vs. the Modernists. 

    Graham's comments today were textbook parsings of the "free grace" doctrines which have been argued by Protestant sects since the Bay Colony. It's based on the essential question of how do I know I'm saved and how do I judge whether you are saved.  The "covenant of grace" vs. "the covenant of works". Graham was, in a convoluted way, arguing that while Obama may be well intended he has not been saved---i.e., isn't under the "covenant of grace". Puritans believed, in their evangelical preaching, in the doctrine of free grace. They believed in a covenant between God and man whereby God drew the soul to salvation. And their special talent was being able to discern who wasn't under the covenant, a practice which Graham demonstrated today in his remarks on national television. 

     And their special talent was being able to discern who wasn't under the covenant,

    Hey, it's easy-peasy. no money, no grace

    Exactly, jolly! And that's why I don't think Santorum is equivalent at all; it's the populism thing. Mitt would make a far better Puritan! To me, Mitt is very like a Puritan. Which is why I always seem to seeing the old WASP tradition in him in so many ways.

    Where I think a lot of confusion comes in is that in the last few decades, evangelicals have started preaching prosperity doctrines. But they never used to, that's a new thing.

    God given prosperity, and a chosen elite is however something that Yankee Mayflower descendants (I know, I know, Pilgrims and Puritans are not one and the same, that's beside my point) have long believed in, they just felt it wasn't proper to talk about it publicly.

    The two still don't sync, however. The prosperity doctrines preached by evangelicals in corner store churches or in fancy megachurches are that if you just believe, no matter who you are, no matter how low, you can be blessed with riches too. That is not Puritan, far from it!

     you can be blessed with riches too

    Hey, if Jesus can be W's political thinker, he can be my stock adviser...(Now if I can just figure out what that crucifix-shaped stain on my wall street journal is trying to tell me...)

    Not to beat a dead horse, but it's funny you mention W. in this connection. He is a descendant of Anne Hutchinson or the Bay Colony. She pushed the "covenant of grace" to a new level, claiming that she knew who was and who wasn't "predestined". Kinda sounds like W. looking into someone's eyes and instantly understanding their soul. 

    And all that reminds me--I recall reading an article summing up recent scholarly research on the Salem witch trials in the last couple years. Where it was proposed, through close study of maps with the house locations, and arranging reports of what happened chronologically, and getting deep into contemporary land and property records, that the accusations and subsequent hysteria all really arose from disputes about property and related jealousy and vendetta. It was extremely interesting and very persuasive.

    Unfortunately, had someone with some power realized that at the time, probably wouldn't have helped much if it was vocalized. As crying witch then was worse than, say, someone in our time accusing the teacher neighbor that you hate of child sex abuse; it was more like crying fire in a crowded theater.

    Ha! Thanks for playing.

    Your link takes one to an article which repeatedly misspells "Arminian" as "Armenian", from which I conclude a certain lack of something.( beliefs stem from Jacobes Arminius, 1591, who was Dutch, nor Armenian)

    While I am also not a scholar, "Arminian-ism", is the opposing argument to predestination and "unconditional election", and having to do with "good works", is a dominant theme in Protestantism---from the time of the Puritans and Cotton Mather to the present day. 

    What the author was trying to get at is that the Puritans believed in predestination but from time to time tried to up the ante with good works. But too many good works would lead to "Arminianism". Even today "Arminian", is an epithet that one Christian hurls at another in disgust. As recently as last week an article emanating from the Southern Baptist Convention accused members of it's own church of dangerous tendencies in an article called "Calvinists are Encroaching". (Turns out there are two schools of thought on whether Calvin embraced Arminianism". The defense against this article came in the form of the argument that Calvin wasn't an Arminian. so, therefore it's o.k. to be a Calvinist in a Southern Baptist Seminary.

    The arguments of last week are a direct transplant from days of John Winthrop in the Bay Colony.

    Rick Warren, author of the "Purpose Driven Life", a book founded on the doctrine of "unconditional election" is not so dogmatic on whether "Arminianism" is a negation of unconditional election. 

    On old Cotton, I did a little checking myself. I did remember my studies correctly, Wikipedia has a sort of roundup of the mid-20th century scholarship:

    as well as getting into the 19th-century revisionism right above that.

    I think it's important to get oneself into the mindset of a small fragile insular community of the time, in a "new world" just starting to build itself. Where witches were believed to be a very real threat by most. And threat to their current lives and their eternal lives. And of a panic so much stronger than like of terrorists under the bed today. Mather at least tries to get a grip on this to make it in a rational legal and tempered proceeding. To our minds, his rules of evidence and beliefs area just as zany as some of the panicking young girls, but within his society he was actually being radical for trying to interject some reason into it.

    Earlier in the wikipedia entry reminds me of the smallpox innoculation controversy; I do remember reading on that and that is really where I got my strongest impressions of him. He was pro-inoculation, really pushed for others to look into it, argued that it was not against the will of God, and that was pretty radical. But I don't think you can jump from that to understanding him as an Enlightenment man like some of the later founders. People aren't there yet, their minds aren't making those kind of connections. Everything is spiritually and faith related only because there really isn't an alternative. But he is very open to changing rules! Going to the scriptures and looking and saying, you're all wrong, there's no prohibition against this or that there. Overall, as a preacher, he's much more into the general spirit of Christ's teachings, of kindness and charity and generosity, etc. That's quite forward for the time. When you take it to witches,  though, that's different, that's the devil right there on earth trying to get people, him you've still got to fight. At least he didn't go for vigilantism.

    I do find this interesting, though:

    Bachmann and Santorum who use the word "freedom" in the older, Puritan sense of "freedom to do the right thing" and who believes it is government's job to tell us what the "right thing" is. To me, this perfectly encapsulates the core ot the religious right.

    Kennedy is looking at what the current wingers have inherited from Puritan theology. But I still don't see a whole lot of good or usefulness in the analogy. In Cotton Mather's little world, there was no freedom of religion, it was basically already a theocracy where you were indeed told what to do by the government, if you wanted to practice another religion, go live someplace else under another government.

    I do not excuse Mather's complete involvement in the Salem trials by such things as his later views on innoculations.

     As for property rights, etc., it is clear that in George Burrough's case, witchcraft was indeed a cover for a vendetta against him by Mather and Putnam. Three out of the five members of the Court were members of Mather's church.Vigilantism would be too kind a word for what Mather did to Burroughs. 

    "Go live someplace else under another government" is equivalent to what Santorum is saying. 

    Martin Bashire just interviewed Craig Mitchell, the black minister who was part of the panel of five men in the Issa hearing.

    In answer to the question of whether he believed Onama is a Christian he gave the standard response that "He says he is." Moreover he wouldn't know unless he were to meet him and ask him questions. In fact, in his church, he would not accept the profession of faith of another person unless he was able to personally question them. 

    Even in the Baptist church I grew up in, there was never an inquisition of what one believed in when one "answered the call, walked down the aisle and accepted Jesus."  

    There is a consistent plan among the religious right clergy to deny Obama his birth, his faith and his legitimacy in the Presidency. 

    .......But if Romney jumps on the band wagon of distorting the contraceptive issue as one about freedom of religion, I will never again say one kind word about the man, especially not---that he is Christ-like....


    Sorry to break the news to ya, Oxy...

    Tonight's debate, Romney jumps on the distortion bandwagon regarding contraception.



    I know. I know. The guy has no moral fiber whatsoever and I have absolutely not one ounce of charity left for him.If there hadn't been some great contributions from Artsy and others I would just erase the damned post.  

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