Who cares about Mitt Romney's religion or what Evangelical Christians may think about Mormons? The debate over Romney and his Mormon upbringing should not be about arguing the fine points of Christianity, but to examine what are the likely consequences of a Romney presidency.
About Romney... He appears to be highly intelligent, motivated and a strong believer in "consultative" intervention.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of consultative intervention; it is simply researching a subject, presenting all of the pertinent factors, quantifying the risks and rewards, checking for unintended consequences and then making the best informed choice possible. Nothing wrong with that. Except that the methodology works best with a limited number of actual decision-makers, be they executive management or the board of directors. In the real world, this is a good thing.
However, in the government world, a world seething with hidden agendas, special interests, opponents looking to play "gotcha" and a recalcitrant change-resistant bureaucracy, the approach -- even if it yields a clear choice with provable results -- may fail due to that dreaded hobgoblin: politics. Not to mention the mighty powers of the special interest attorneys and an activist judiciary.
About Mormonism... There are generally four non-religious major concerns that Romney must address:
One: Secrecy -- The Mormon Church appears to be a close-knit society in which Temple access and rituals are closed to unqualified outsiders. Unlike Scientology, the Mormons do not charge for access to their teachings nor do they hide their version of the Word. They will freely and cheerfully welcome you to bible study and other community events with a welcoming smile. As for the Temple, certain oaths and rituals, it is not that much different from the the practices and rituals of the Masonic Temple. Coincidently, Church Founder, Joseph Smith was a Mason as were many of the initial Church leaders. Still, not a problem.
However, between the Clinton and Bush administrations we have witnessed an unprecedented degree of secrecy in the formulation and execution of government policy. One example is that of Mel Martinez who, while the Secretary of HUD, attempted to formulate mortgage rules without conferring with industry leaders or even Congress. The result: 40,000 comment letters and the shelving of the proposed "final rules." Had it not been for the secrecy and lack of consultation, many of the subprime practices that have led to today's mortgage industry meltdown may have been circumvented. But, we will never know -- because of the secrecy. Secrecy which is apparently being practiced to this day by HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson who, it is rumored, is ready to send a similar final rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget for their approval.
Two: Allegiance to Leadership -- Many Mormons are taught to obey Church leaders without open or public disagreement. The old saying "He may not be right, but he is Father" perfectly illustrates the concept. As with all past administrations, there is no doubt that Romney will name a number of appointees who are members of the Mormon faith to high offices within the government. These appointees may be known personally to Romney or "The "Church" and we need to know, in advance, if they will stand up to Romney when things turn tough.
Blind allegiance to leadership and secrecy should be concerns of every freedom-worshiping American citizen.
Three: Adequacy of response to the American Public -- Mormons traditionally are expected to spread the word by embarking on a personal "Mission," a religious "Peace Corp" if you will. During their training, most missionaries are taught how to deflect hostility and outright criticism of their religion with a smile. This can be summed up best by the advice of one church elder who said: "politely listen to what they have to say and then answer the question that they should have asked." For any observer of American politics, it is standard practice to "re-frame" the question to your advantage or to simply provide an answer to a question that has not been asked. Since this may be inherent in Romney's personal style, it seems to me to be fair game to ask Romney about his responsive attitude when dealing with the American public.
Four: Access to government records -- there is no doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has one of the finest computerized genealogy systems in the world. One must ask Romney if this computerized record-keeping might not be utilized and extended to various Administration data handling initiatives. To be noted: LDS genealogical information is available to all at little or no cost and is a great social benefit in researching one's ancestors.
Healthy lifestyles and family values...
Howard Hughes, the late FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, and various intelligence and law enforcement agencies have made it unofficially clear in the past that they had a preference for Mormon employees due to their clean living, family values and work ethic. Yes, there were bad actors that were Mormons -- but like all other large groups of people, there are bound to be some "bad apples in the barrel."
What can YOU do?
Realize that the Mormon view of religion and history is not that much different from the various beliefs of other religions which worship a deity and have their dogma and rituals. And all Churches and Fellowship Societies have their secrets.
Feel free to ask Romney questions which pertain to his possible ascendancy to the presidency. Questions about his leadership style and positions on secrecy, allegiance to authority, responsiveness to public inquiry and computer databases are all fair questions.
Personally, I do not believe Romney's style of "consultative intervention" will work in a large, slow-moving bureaucracy that has been highly politicized by the past few Administrations. But that is another thing that Romney needs to explain: how he can master the competing forces which have divided the Congress, the Judiciary and the American people to such an extent that political parties now resort to courting "fringe groups" in order to reach a political tipping point in their favor.
As for debating the fine points of comparative religions and whose bible is more correct, leave that to biblical scholars. As for debating the broad issues of the day and how America can move forward -- hit Romney with your best shot.
Recognize that there are so many issues that need to be raised with all of the candidates, that concentrating on one's religion or position on abortion is only a distraction at this point in time -- when issues involving healthcare, retirement benefits, immigration, the economy and the safety and security of the United States need to be immediately addressed in the opening days of the next Administration.
Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for personal power, prestige or profits.
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
It is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog! --Anonymous
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius