Just a few words about Mitt Romney's speech Thursday,
As a Southern evangelical Christian woman who believes Mormonism is a strange cult (are the prophets Joseph Smith and Mohammad really all that different, if you take jihad out of the picture?), I nonetheless would have no problem from a personal perspective if Mitt Romney ends up being elected President next year.
That's not to say I'll ever necessarily vote for Mitt. It's not to say I wouldn't either. Rather it means that I won't get all wigged out and move to New Zealand if he wins.
While Mitt's speech was designed to address and sway one target audience, and one audience only Thursday----conservative Christians like me who are supposedly concerned, even alarmed at his Mormonism---in the end it left me extremely cool. And relieved at the same time.
Cool in the sense that he made a straw man out of his candidacy being a referendum on religious tolerance in America today, which I don't buy for even a minute.Religious tolerance in this country has reached high art and at times has gone over the edge as far as I'm concerned. And relieved because the idea that he might talk about any doctrinal tenants of Mormonism and the details of his personal beliefs in the political arena seemed inappropriate and completely uncalled for to me. In fact I cringed when I first heard he was going to make a religious speech of any kind.
Frankly, I don't think he should have ever made the speech in the first place. And the fact that Mitt thought it either necessary or advantageous to the forward movement of his campaign, as JFK once did, gives me pause.
No matter how much he, or outspoken evangelicals, try to make religious tolerance an issue for Mitt, in the end his candidacy for me will either sink or swim on the issues of homeland/ border security, immigration reform, the War in Iraq(to a lesser extent), Roe vs. Wade, tax and health care reform. I also reserve the right to discern which candidate I think has the most character, integrity and ability to lead this nation wisely in the next four years. While I would always prefer someone who's just like me, in the end, I reserve the right to vote for a Church going candidate or an agnostic/atheist if I so choose.
Mitt is accomplished and experienced enough that he can stand on his own two feet as a candidate and not be judged to any great degree by his Mormon faith.
If, however, it were one of the Flying Imams running for President, God forbid, then that would be a completely different story and one in which I'd vote for a healthy dose of religious intolerance and righteous indignation, whatever that says about me.
Many of my evangelical brothers and sisters may have a totally different take on Mitt's religious affiliations and beliefs. They certainly have the right and responsibility in this country to sort if out for themselves, as I do, and base their support on whatever criteria they deem important to them.
So let the campaign continue. And let Mitt put the mantle of religious intolerance behind him and win or lose, as he will. I like the way Tony Blair recently stated his religion was a source of comfort and inspiration while he was PM of England. But he kept it to himself for fear of being considered a religious nut.
Let's see if Mitt can do the same. And Mike Huckabee too.
Speaking of the flying imams, a man who has known these clerics for years, tells it like he sees it and puts their behavior on and with U.S. Airways in well thought out perspective. These imams---to no one's great surprise---have been honing their victim consciousness for a long, long time, and waiting for a moment in history when they can make a public display of their gleeful victimhood. My response to such nonesense? They need a good dose of religious intolerance and righteous indignation from me. Who do these clowns think they are, anyway?