Like many people, I have been following the ongoing GOP presidential campaigns with increasing levels of amusement, horror and amazement. Mostly I’m amused by how gullible people seem to be (accepting statements as truth regardless of whether they are factual or even logical), horrified by the rampant sexism, homophobia and jingoism that abounds in the GOP’s rhetoric, and amazed at how the current administration is under attack for things it has not done. But of course this emotional roller coaster is par for the course with media election coverage, even if the past few months seem to have taken things up a notch.
But I was very struck by something said by Mitt Romney recently: that President Obama is trying to convert the country to a “new” religion: the religion of secularism. And that this desire to establish secularism as a religion is related to President Obama’s passing the Affordable Care Act which requires employers to provide preventive health care services, including birth control.
Okay, let’s leave aside the fact that Romney, being a Mormon, should not be throwing stones at alternative religious paths. Despite how well he’s performing in the primaries, I’d have to chalk that up to the scary qualities of his running mates and not any redeeming qualities he possesses. He must know he has a “religion problem” and is trying to abate it by going after President Obama, who is an avowed Christian (when he’s not busy being a secret Muslim).
Leaving aside Romney’s apparent penchant for lobbing a first strike in an area where he himself feels vulnerable, I take issue with his bumbling use of terminology. Secularism is not a religion, Mr. Romney. That’s kind of the point.
What’s more, the notion that President Obama has some kind of religious agenda is simply laughable in the wake of all the hyperbolic morality spewing from the lips of people like Rick Santorum, who seems to think the Bible explicitly states that gay marriage is wrong (it doesn’t) and that it insists using birth control is somehow tantamount to child murder (it doesn’t, and it’s not).
Look, if you’re going to say things, at least show some attempt to use your words appropriately. Secularism means an absence of religion, or a skeptical attitude towards religion, it is certainly not in and of itself a religion. And accusing the President of establishing a “religion” that doesn’t support religious views, looks mighty desperate. I keep waiting for the Mormon thing to become a problem. We’ll see.