Theological fire under all that smoke

Second Coming2 01It’s about the theology, of course, not the politics. There are plenty of Catholics, Orthodox, evangelicals and mainiline Protestants out there who plan to vote for Gov. Mitt Romney or who can contemplate that issue without getting into discussions of heaven and hell.

There are, of course, many believers out there who are also a bit miffed that people are saying they are bigots if they have trouble buying into the decades of public relations work proclaiming that Mormons are now officially part of mainstream Christianity (as they clearly are part of mainstream American culture). By the way, how many people on the political and religious left are planning to reject Romney because of the content of his religious and moral beliefs? Just asking.

But the press is absolutely positive that this is all about the dreaded fundamentalist Christians and the fundies alone. Heck, even Peggy Noonan seems to think that and offers an off-the-record quote from a Romney aide to back that up.

Thus, Stephanie Simon’s crisp Los Angeles Times news feature on the Romney speech ends with this provocative passage about the people who still struggle to embrace the Prophet Joseph Smith and his unique revision of ancient Christianity:

When a candidate “believes things most Christians believe to be heresy — doctrinally, just plain wrong — that poses problems for [voters'] comfort level,” said David Gushee, an evangelical theologian at Mercer University.

But Mormons counter that they accept the same fundamentals as other believers — namely, Christ as savior. And they say it’s unfair to brand Smith crazy.

“The foundational story of Christianity, that [Christ] was raised from the dead, is also not rational,” said Scott Gordon, president of a Mormon theology group called FAIR. “We consider ourselves Christian. What right do you have to say we’re not?”

Well, Trinitarian Christians have the same right to say that Mormons are not Christians as the Mormons have the right to make the case that they are. That creates sparks, of course, but that’s the reality.

So it is striking, as Simon notes, that Romney — laying at least one vague card on the altar — did a bit more than hint at this reality in his speech. He admitted that the Jesus Christ of Mormon faith is not, according to creedal Christians, the Jesus Christ of traditional Christianity. That is a positive step forward in making peace with the people who want to vote for him, or are seriously considering voting for him, but want to see him be more candid.

Here is the top of Simon’s story, which is dead on target:

In a much-anticipated speech about his Mormon faith, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney avoided discussing theology — except for this: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind.”

That is an accurate statement of Mormon belief, and with it, Romney could claim common ground with evangelical Christian voters. But as he noted in the very next sentence: “My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths.”

Holy Trinity 250That’s a start.

Romney knows, of course, that his faith’s teachings about Jesus Christ are sharply different from all other streams of Christianity. In fact, he knows that his faith’s teachings about the very nature of God and, yes, the gods, are different than traditional Christianity and its understanding of the Trinity.

That’s the whole exaltation issue, which is the pivotal theological issue for Catholics, the Orthodox, evangelicals and mainliners. I discussed this long ago, drawing on my discussion of that issue with two of the 12 apostles at the top of the Mormon chain of command, in which they candidly discussed the issue of exaltation and the reality of multiple gods. Or flash back to this discussion in Time.

Simon offers a brief but provocative summary of some of the issues causing this conflict:

The nearly 6 million Mormons in the United States consider that translation, the Book of Mormon, a holy text, on par with the Bible. Its theology has some striking elements:

Mormons hold that God and Christ have physical bodies. They believe that man can become God-like after death, a concept called ultimate deification. They also believe that heaven has more than one tier; only those baptized and married in a Mormon temple can achieve the most exalted realm.

The only question is the choice of the term “God-like.” If that is the Mormon teaching, today, that would be a major change in doctrine. That would, indeed, be a huge story.

Meanwhile, does any of this have anything to do with going into a voting booth and pulling a lever?

For millions of people, it does not. For millions of people, it may. For some, it clearly does.

Simon did readers a service by helping them understand a few of the key issues at the heart of this media storm, which is not over. And Romney did what he had to do. He at least hinted that he knows there are people who can respect his faith, and respect him, while knowing that their beliefs are radically different. Let’s hear it for true, informed, tolerance.

And the press? Long ago, a Mormon press aide told me that he thought journalists should consider describing members of his church with this term — “Mormon Christians.” It’s hard to put that in a headline, but it would work nicely in news reports.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://paganmonist.blogspot.com/ Copper Stewart

    I would be on the political left, and while I’m not for any sort of institutional religious test, an informed electorate should be aware not only of cultural differences stemming from doctrine and practice (they should not assume a false similarity), I am more concerned about the ability of believing Mormons (or other British Israelists) to represent Jewish and American Indian constituencies. More than most religions, Mormonism raises questions about what the candidate believes to be true about American history and American identity, genetic and spiritual. The Book of Mormon presents a racialist history that most consider manifestly false. A mythic understanding of these texts would not be a problem for me; a literalist understanding would prevent me from trusting his epistemological methods.

  • http://www.msu.edu/~chasech5 Christopher W. Chase

    I confess I don’t understand why ultimate exaltation should be an issue for other Christians and especially Orthodox ones. Christianity, especially Orthodox Christianity, has had a doctrine of Theosis since Athanasius and the Church Fathers. Christian perfectionism dates back at least to the Second Great Awakening, the origins of Wesleyanism and Charles Finney Grandison, if not earlier–it doesn’t originate in the LDS either. The language of the different creation stories in Genesis (especially the use of the Hebrew term “Elohim”) has often been read as “the Gods” in Biblical criticism. Its one thing to have laypersons question and challenge who gets to be an authentic member of a religious community–this happens in every religion all the time. But if there is going to be a political smackdown among media sources, religion journalists should be able to challenge dubious assertions over “heresy” that are as much about political boundaries as theology. And where was all this sound and fury when Henry Paulson, one of the most powerful members of the Christian Science community, was nominated to be Mr. Bush’s Secretary of the Treasury? Is Christian Science theology any less ‘radically different’ than the LDS? I don’t recall any media stories paying attention to Mr. Paulson’s religion at all–they were rightfully concerned with his experience at Goldman-Sachs.

    Perhaps one of the most telling commentaries on this issue came from a New Hampshire GOP voter this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition. After the journalist cited recent polls about a third of America unwilling to vote for a Mormon under any circumstances, the undecided voter responded that at least as many people wouldn’t vote for Senator Hillary Clinton under any circumstances either. Leave it to the voters to provide context when the journalists won’t, I suppose.

  • http://orthodoxinparsonsks.blogspot.com/ Will Harrington

    Christopher.

    The reason we Orthodox Christians do not accept exaltation is because it is not the same as theosis. Theosis is the idea that we become like God, but not in substance. We remain creations, we remain human, even as we take on the qualities of God. The usual example is a piece of iron in fire with iron being us and the fire being God. We take on the qualities of the fire (heat, incandescense) but we remain iron (yup, for all you blacksmiths its not a perfect analogy since if you get it hot enough, fire burns like a Fourth of July sparkler, but no analogy is perfect and the saint who came up with it wasn’t a black smith). Ultimate exaltation, on the other hand (if I understand it right) would erase the fundamental substantial difference between God and humans. That difference makes it heresy. Its taking only part of Orthodox teaching and running with it while ignoring the rest which is pretty much the literal definition of heresy. Hopefully the explanation is helpful, I don’t expect to convince you, just inform.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Chase:

    Again, there is a difference between seeking union with a singular Godhead and the concept of evolving to god status, oneself, with one’s own unique creation, etc. If the teaching has changed, that is a huge story.

    Note the details in that exchange with Time magazine. That’s a classic look into the issue.

    And I agree with you that the media is inconsistent in HEARING the religious questions that are often asked behind the scenes related to politics. The whole game changes when (a) it’s the White House and (b) it’s the religious-right era GOP.

  • http://www.msu.edu/~chasech5 Christopher W. Chase

    tmatt wrote:

    By the way, how many people on the political and religious left are planning to reject Romney because of the content of his religious and moral beliefs? Just asking.

    To be fair, that portion of the electorate voted for a Jewish vice-presidential candidate in 2000, so I think its clear that not being a Christian (at all) is not a stumbling block for them. That is the difference, I think.

    As for perfectionism, psuedo-polytheism, feminine divinity, and divinization of humanity, I would simply say that there are ample precedents for each in the history of Christianity, from Methodism to the book of Genesis to Mary as the Theotokos, the “cult of the saints,” to the German Lutheran and other Protestant Mystics. The theological combination may be unique, but the individual components are certainly not. I still contend that the Time story and almost all other media treatments of Mormonism are simply buying into and assuming a shallow vague Protestantism as somehow the discursive Christian norm–while wondering about God the Father once having been a man–van Biema could have simply reflected on the fact Christians already believe that Jesus Christ did the very same thing. And that Athanasius was discussing this long ago.

  • http://www.msu.edu/~chasech5 Christopher W. Chase

    The reason we Orthodox Christians do not accept exaltation is because it is not the same as theosis. Theosis is the idea that we become like God, but not in substance…Ultimate exaltation, on the other hand (if I understand it right) would erase the fundamental substantial difference between God and humans. That difference makes it heresy.

    Thanks for offering that insight, and I think I can clarify something. Heresy is simply the name the victors in a theological debate give the losers, historically speaking, whether we are speaking of Christianity, Islam, or even Neo-Confucianism. But I think you are missing the crucian element of Mormon exaltation–the “eternally progressive” component. Current humans could never become identical with God or the substance of God—because as humans divinize–so does God further and more completely divinize–God is necessarily always one step ahead. no human will ever approach God in perfection, because God is already infintely more perfect and will always remain so. Are Orthodox Theosis and Mormon Exaltation the exact same? Or course not. Are they both simply different variations on the same theme? Yes. Are any religion journalists even entertaining this notion–or considering it? Not that I have seen. :)

  • http://www.msu.edu/~chasech5 Christopher W. Chase

    Sorry I forgot to credit and block quote that… my daughter is busy grabbing my attention :)

  • Jerry

    By the way, how many people on the political and religious left are planning to reject Romney because of the content of his religious and moral beliefs? Just asking.

    I vote with Thomas Jefferson who said:

    “It doesn’t matter to me whether my neighbor believes in one god, 20 gods, or no god. It neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket.”

    To pick up another comment along the same lines:

    When a candidate “believes things most Christians believe to be heresy — doctrinally, just plain wrong — that poses problems for [voters’] comfort level,” said David Gushee, an evangelical theologian at Mercer University.

    I agree with Jon Meacham who said on PBS Newshour last night

    I think to vote against him because of his religion, to vote against him because of the label, of the sign outside the church he goes to, is quite un-American. It’s as un-American as trying to coerce faith or make someone go to any kind of church.

    So to answer Terry’s question: I don’t care what Romney’s religion is nor for that matter what he does in his bedroom and with whom. I care about his policies.

  • http://www.msu.edu/~chasech5 Christopher W. Chase

    Finally, I would add that for those religion journalists and others who can’t get over the idea of Joseph Smith and additional scriptural canon—consider the Seventh-Day Adventists–who not only have a additional prophet–but one who was a woman. Prophet Ellen G. White’s writings are also considered canonical in Adventism, along with the New and Old Testaments. Yet has anyone ever objected that the current 7th Day Adventist chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Barry C. Black, is somehow not a Christian? Have any religion journalists even thought to post the question?

  • Torin

    Romney did not stand against intolerance. Instead, he simply asked that it not be directed against him, a man of faith. You can be intolerant, but do it to them, over there. They’re even more different. i.e. secularist and atheists.

  • Brian Walden

    But I think you are missing the crucian element of Mormon exaltation—the “eternally progressive” component. Current humans could never become identical with God or the substance of God—-because as humans divinize—so does God further and more completely divinize—God is necessarily always one step ahead.

    Christopher, I know almost nothing about Mormonism, but I find this statement interesting. Are you saying that God changes and that he was once less divine than he is now?

    Also, in post #6 you make a lot of claims about what others believe without taking into account what they claim to actually believe – which is exactly what you’re complaining about others doing. I can’t speak for the other groups you mentioned, but the statement that the Catholic/Orthodox beliefs of Mary the Theotokos and the cult of saints set a precedent for “psuedo-polytheism, feminine divinity, and divinization of humanity” demonstrates your lack of understanding of the nuances of the Catholic and Orthodox faiths. Please continue to explain your own faith, I’d love to learn about it, but don’t misconstrue others.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Chase:

    The Adventist question is spot on.

    There actually HAVE been changes within Adventism that made it possible for members of that faith to embrace traditional Christianity and vice versa. There was a moment, for example, when they jointly met with the Billy Graham Assoc. and determined that the church’s theology on basic salvation issues had changed enough to work with Graham on crusades.

    You have perfectly made my point. That was a story.

    If Mormon theology on the nature of God and Christ and exaltation have changed, then that would be a major story. Of course, the change would have to be openly discussed and aired out.

    Jerry:

    So the editor of Newsweek is now in charge of saying how Americans are supposed to line up their religious beliefs and political actions? When did Americans lose freedom of conscience?

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Oh, one more thing.

    When I asked about liberals rejecting Mormonism, please note that I said:

    By the way, how many people on the political and religious left are planning to reject Romney because of the content of his religious and moral beliefs? Just asking.

    Note the word “moral.”

    One of the reasons the tensions between evangelicals and Mormons are so interesting is that their beliefs are so SIMILAR on hot moral and cultural issues.

    That has to be a problem on the left, correct?

  • http://aconservativesiteforpeace.info The young fogey

    Mormonism is a no-longer-Christian offshoot, the Islam of Western Christianity specifically 19th-century Protestantism (which is why they’re part of mainstream American culture).

    Calling it Christian makes as much sense as calling the head imam of Iran a non-Nicene Orthodox.

    None of this should matter politically. The president must obey the Constitution and the Mormons’ leaders have told them they must as well.

    I object to Romney on political principle not his non-Christian religion.

    I understand that Adventists are Christians. Jehovah’s Witnesses, like Mormons, are not – they’re a revival of Arian Christology. The Worldwide Church of God when Herbert W. Armstrong was alive was not Christian either but now it is. Oneness Pentecostals – denying the Trinity – arguably are not.

    Other than those I think all the commonly called Protestant denominations are Christian.

    Orthodox theosis is different from Mormon deification – the first is union with the one and only God; the second is becoming a god in your own right with a planet full of worshippers.

  • http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct David Neff

    Terry writes: “Meanwhile, does any of this have anything to do with going into a voting booth and pulling a lever? For millions of people, it does not. For millions of people, it may.”

    CT’s totally unscientific online poll yesterday and today asked “Should presidential candidates explain their religious beliefs?”

    58% chose the response, “Yes. Religious beliefs affect policy.” And another 7% chose “Yes, I decide how to vote based on a candidate’s religion.” Less than 10% chose a straightforward “No” option. There were another 23% who fell into a “only to straighten out the record,” category.

    So that’s 65% of people who came to CT’s website who gave a clear yes to the idea that a candidate’s religion somehow influences their vote. I take that to indicate a fairly strong disposition among American evangelicals.

  • Jerry

    One of the reasons the tensions between evangelicals and Mormons are so interesting is that their beliefs are so SIMILAR on hot moral and cultural issues.

    That has to be a problem on the left, correct?

    I can only speak for me and perhaps a very few others. As I said, I care about his policies. So I want to know what policies he would put in place to implement his beliefs and the impact of those policies on those that disagree with him. But considering that he’s running on the right wing side of the house, that would naturally be an issue with the left just as someone on the left causes the right discomfort. That’s not news.

  • http://aconservativesiteforpeace.info The young fogey

    One of the reasons the tensions between evangelicals and Mormons are so interesting is that their beliefs are so SIMILAR on hot moral and cultural issues.

    That has to be a problem on the left, correct?

    I think that does explain some of the tension between the two groups but don’t think it applies to Romney historically. I understand he won in Massachusetts by being socially liberal in his politics. Now he’s re-branding, trying to play the Mormon card to win the religious right’s votes (because ‘their beliefs are so SIMILAR on hot moral and cultural issues’).

    Which may explain the big speech.

  • Ivan Wolfe

    They believe that man can become God-like after death, a concept called ultimate deification

    What the he[ck] is “ultimate deification”?

    As a Mormon, I have never, ever heard that term used. Deification, yes. All the time. But “ultimate deification”? Where on earth did that come from?

    I like tmatt’s use of the term “Trinitarian Christian.”

    Perhaps from now on, we should always add an adjective to the term Christian. Perhaps that would end the debate.

  • http://www.apostasyconnection.org Gloria

    I just love it when folks argue over what is definitely going to happen after our death. I must remind you, only one person that we know of ever came back from death to tell us about it.

    He says only that ‘In my father’s house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you’.. Any of us can speculate, and even believe what may or may not happen. The most we can “know”, or believe is that we had better be prepared and ready to go, if we want to spend any time with our Savior and his Father, the rest is speculation.

    I strongly suspect there will be a lot of eggy faces when we finally get where we are going.

    Gloria

  • Dave2

    Jerry quoted Jon Meacham with approval:

    I think to vote against him because of his religion, to vote against him because of the label, of the sign outside the church he goes to, is quite un-American. It’s as un-American as trying to coerce faith or make someone go to any kind of church.

    This is absurd. First, there’s nothing un-American about Christians being reluctant to vote for a Satanist. Or about Jews being reluctant to vote for a member of the Nation of Islam. Or about normal people being reluctant to vote for a Scientologist. Or a Heaven’s Gate member. Or a Mormon.

    Second, there’s a big, serious difference between (i) coercing faith and (ii) taking a candidate’s religious views into account when voting. The first is a clear, obviously un-American, violation of basic rights (Constitutional, natural, human). The second is a private decision you’re entitled to make that’s no one else’s business but your own. For Meacham to run the two together (in terms of un-American-ness anyway) is completely absurd.

  • http://blog.muchmorethanwords.com/?p=12 gfe

    They believe that man can become God-like after death, a concept called ultimate deification. They also believe that heaven has more than one tier; only those baptized and married in a Mormon temple can achieve the most exalted realm.

    Overall, I tought Simon’s description of the major differences was fair and highlighted the essentials.

    However, I’ve never before heard the term “ultimate deification” either, and most Mormons wouldn’t even use the term “deification” (although they might know what it means). The word of choice in LDS circles is “exaltation.” I think the idea of becoming godlike is as good a definition as any.

    The teaching on exactly what that entails isn’t all that clear (although there’s plenty of speculation). Most of the clearest doctrines about it are Biblical, actually, with concepts such as becoming partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), being holy and perfect as God is holy and perfect, and becoming joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). All these scriptural passages point to the idea of being godlike, although Mormons take the idea farther and perhaps more literally than other Christians do.

    I’d also point out that while the statement that “only those baptized and married in a Mormon temple” can qualify for exaltation is technically a correct summary of the church’s teaching, one goal of the church is (ultimately) to perform baptism and marriages by proxy for all people. Most Mormons I’ve talked to assume that means there will be a lot more people in the highest level of heaven who weren’t LDS in this lifetime than those who were.

  • Jettboy

    To add to a question asked about the nature of God for Mormons when others achieve G-d-like (to be honest, it is just a different way of saying becoming a g-d, but more doctrinally exact) status, G-d doesn’t become more G-dlike or gain more Power. What G-d gains is influence or as the Bible might put it Thrones and Principalities. And what do Mormon’s mean by becoming like G-d?

    It doesn’t mean getting your own world to rule or any such nonsense cooked up by enemies of LDS theology who put more importance in things that Mormons don’t themseleves. What it basically means is gaining the responsibility of Divine Parents. Besides that, what gfe said. I have yet to have anyone quote LDS Scripture or sermons that say anything more specific. In fact, it doesn’t even get mentioned in Church more than once a year if it shows up at all.

    One more thing. Mormons have NEVER said they were traditional, orthodox, historical, Trinitarian, etc. Christians or that they cared to be part of that group. The statement that, “Romney knows, of course, that his faith’s teachings about Jesus Christ are sharply different from all other streams of Christianity. In fact, he knows that his faith’s teachings about the very nature of God and, yes, the gods, are different than traditional Christianity and its understanding of the Trinity,” is a nonstarter. ALL Mormons know this. It is as close to a truism as you can get! What Mormons are demanding is that they be accepted as a kind of Christian. Many would take the label Heretical Christian or even False Christian if you are so exclusivist, anything other than non-Christian. Calling a Mormon non-Christian is to them a social and political statemet akin to libel. Why? Because to a Mormon any statement of Jesus is the Christ and Savior of the World is Christianity; and that includes the Divine Nature of Jesus. In this way Mormons are probably more universalist than Universalists. It is because of this misunderstood self-identification that silly comments such as the above quote in this paragraph simply makes no sense.

    How anyone can say, “that would be a major change in doctrine,” when they have no idea what the doctrine is in the first place is simply luudicrous. Maybe reporters and people on this very site should ask Mormons, before they come to any conclusions, what they mean. Obviously, Mormons aren’t very good at explaining themselves. I doubt what I said has changed anyone’s understanding, although I write because I hope.

  • liberty

    OK, I’ll be the one to say it… I do have serious reservations about voting for an LDS candidate. Primarily because I believe that the LDS church and it’s members are not respectful of other religions.

    For example…

    one goal of the [LDS] church is (ultimately) to perform baptism and marriages by proxy for all people.

    And right there is where the LDS lose me. If the LDS church and it’s followers were willing to respect other people’s rights to choose or not choose to follow their religion – great. But this baptism and marriage by proxy business is insulting and offensive.

    Before reading that the LDS church baptized Pope John Paul II after his death I would have been fairly neutral on the LDS church. Basically my position was – if you say you are Christian then I will take you at your word. However, upon learning of the baptisms for the dead I read more on the practices of the LDS church and I can no longer consider them Christian.

    I wouldn’t care if a presidential candidate were LDS if I truly believed that he and his church were capable of respect and tolerance for other faiths. However, I think that the baptism by proxy is just the most obvious example of what little respect they have for other faiths.

    In the end I *personally* believe that those who can affirm the Nicene Creed (filioque clause or no) are what I understand to be ‘Christian’. The LDS Church does NOT fit that bill. Your mileage may vary.

  • Palladio

    “Well, Trinitarian Christians have the same right to say that Mormons are not Christians as the Mormons have the right to make the case that they are. That creates sparks, of course, but that’s the reality.”

    I beg to differ: that is not the reality, or any reality, but just talk.

    The question is not whether anybody can call himself a Christian. Anybody can. The question is whether the claim is true. The Mormon claim that Mormons are Christians is not only false, but patently false, as even the most casual look at their beliefs shows.

  • http://www.nhreligion.com Stephen A.

    liberty, I just checked to see if my understanding of the Mormon’s baptism for the dead doctrine was correct and it was. Their baptisms for the dead are only valid if the deceased accept it. Here’s what they say on their site, lds.org:

    “Jesus Christ taught that baptism is essential to the salvation of all who have lived on earth (see John 3:5). Many people, however, have died without being baptized. Others were baptized without proper authority. Because God is merciful, He has prepared a way for all people to receive the blessings of baptism. By performing proxy baptisms in behalf of those who have died, Church members offer these blessings to deceased ancestors. Individuals can then choose to accept or reject what has been done in their behalf.”

    We can disagree with this interpretation of scripture and theology, but let’s not misrepresent it as if it makes the late Pope bow down and worship Joseph Smith or something. If the Pope is right, Joe Smith is likely in hell. If Joe is right, then the Pope gets a second chance. If they’re both wrong… well, you get the picture.

    On a personal note, I find it amazing that so many Christians praised Joe Lieberman in 2000 and many expressed their desire to support him, were he ONLY not a Democrat (psst…I’ve got a secret to tell you: he’s Jewish.) I know several non-Christians, some active in politics and some elected to office, who are more socially conservative than many Republicans I know, so I’m baffled by the hostility we’re seeing based on one’s personal belief systems. Especially when Romney seems to be a solid social conservative. Now.

  • Palladio

    “Baptism without proper authority.” As by the LDS. What individual accepts baptism after death?

    That Lieberman is a Jew is a secret to nobody. Judaism is not a cult. Christ was a Jew.

    Romney, cultist or no, far from being “a solid social contact,” melts upon contact, like most technocrats from the business world.

    How else did same-sex marriage come about while he presided over Massachusetts?

  • http://www.nhreligion.com Stephen A.

    Palladio, my point with Lieberman is that he is a non-Christian, and some Republicans are saying that they would NEVER vote for a non-Christian, yet they were ga-ga over Lieberman, who, as you say, is not a closet Jew, but it’s very clear that he is one. I find the religion argument against a candidate to be a rather hollow one, personally.

    Not sure what “melting” means here.

    Romney will argue that he didn’t approve of gay marriage (and that he was up against an overwhelmingly liberal state legislature) but some say he actually jumped the gun and implemented the judicial court’s decision before he needed to, and without complaint.


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