Sunday, September 24, 2006

Romney Gets Grilled by Anti-Mormon

Here is an interesting article emailed to me. Not sure on the link so I have provided it in it's entirity.

It's interesting to see how most Christian Conservatives will distance themselves from someone like the lady in this article.

Romney grilling 'in bad taste'
By LEE BANDY (Charleston, S.C.)

The quarterly meeting of the S.C. Republican executive committee Sept. 16 ended on a sour note when one of its more prominent members cornered Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and grilled him about his Mormon faith.

It was not a pretty sight, according to witnesses.

Romney, a possible Republican candidate for president in 2008, was in town to address the state executive committee.

Cyndi Mosteller, chairwoman of the Charleston County Republican Party, one of the largest GOP organizations in the state, came armed with a bunch of material — and questions — about the Mormon church.

The incident only underlines what could become an uncomfortable debate over Romney's faith if he runs for the White House. The issue will be on the table in South Carolina's early primary contest, where roughly 35 percent of GOP voters are evangelical Christians, many of whom view Mormonism with skepticism.

Mosteller, an evangelical, said she especially was concerned about the church's attitude toward African-Americans and its stand on polygamy.

The Mormon religion was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830. Today, it is one of the fastest-growing faith groups in the United States. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, it is known formally as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mormonism's short history has been tumultuous, with an early embrace of polygamy, which it later renounced. Still, Mormons grapple with their polygamous past.

It has been almost 30 years since the Mormon Church lifted a ban that kept black males from the church's priesthood.

Brigham Young, who succeeded Smith as church leader, wrote that God put a curse on Cain — a "flat nose and black skin" — for killing his brother Abel.

Mosteller said the issues of race and marriage concern her. She fears they could become campaign issues and hurt Republican chances.

She had planned to ask the questions in an open committee session, but Romney nixed that idea by ending his short address with a final "thank you."

The governor then proceeded to meet with the media for about 15 minutes.

Enter Mosteller.

Sensing trouble, Romney aides hurriedly ushered reporters out the door.

Afterward, Mosteller said the governor did not answer any of her questions. She described the meeting as "very tense."

Cindi Costa, a conservative Christian from Charleston and member of the Republican National Committee, waited outside the room. She earlier pleaded with Mosteller not to confront Romney.

"This makes me sick," Costa said. "Your personal faith is not game in politics. It's a private matter."

The Romney campaign said the governor is focused on seeing that S.C. Republicans get elected to office this year.

He has found Palmetto State voters "warm and open-minded." He shares their conservative values, said Julie Teer, political director for Romney's Commonwealth PAC.

On previous visits here, Romney has appealed to voters not to rush to judgment.

"They don't know what I believe necessarily — yet. But they will," he said in July.

For any evangelical who had doubts, Romney offered what amounted to a personal testimony. "From a religious standpoint, Jesus Christ is my personal savior."

Costa said Mosteller's questioning "besmirches her character. It makes her look hateful. This is not what we're about. The party does not give religious tests,"

"This is awful," said Spartanburg GOP chairman Rick Beltram. "I'm unhappy with Cyndi."

State GOP chairman Katon Dawson isn't pleased either. "She acted in bad taste."


Blogger Samuel's Bro said...

You know, some of that will be inevitable. I think the Romney people are prepared for that. I'm not really sure where the root cause for some of that comes from.

Most of the real friction I've seen against Mormons has come from people who are either agnostic, or athiest and have no tolerance for any kind of religious belief. They view evangelicals, and mormons in the same basket, so to speak.

Then there's the friction between evangelicals and mormons. That comes from, I think, certain books that are distributed throughout protestant churches talking about why certain religions are 'cults' or not true. Those books are harsh against mormons, catholics, jehovah's witnesses, and a handful of other churches. I think that comes from a desire for pastors, and clergymen of various sects, to have some rational reason to persuade their congregation not to switch churches. These pastors don't want to go to the effort of learning what specific religions actually believe, and end up reading certain books that kind of trash other religions. This amounts to a kind of outsourcing of the religious research to the people who write these books. Books like Kingdom of The Cults sell a lot of copies because they claim to have other religions figured out, when in reality they smear other churches and paint an inaccurate picture.

Agnostics look at that kind of friction and conclude that all religous people are bigots.

The reality is usually the opposite. Barry Goldwater was a very tolerant individual. He didn't freak out when his daughter got an abortion. He had a gay nephew who he showed love and respect to.

And when you look at earnest conversations between thoughtful people of different religions you see that for the most part, civility, and mutual respect reigns. A good example of this is the book 'How Wide The Divide'.

I think we'll see more and more with Romney, that ordinary Americans like the guy. They don't care if he believes in the gold plates, or noah's ark (or if he believes both or neither).

Ordinary americans, me included, care that Mitt Romney is a thoughtful, articulate, trustworthy, smart candidate.

Mitt Romney supporters should take the position that John Kerry took back in 2004. "He says Saddam, you say Osama."

They say 'Gold Plates' 'Magic Underwear' or 'Polygamy', You say 'Took Massachusets from a 3 billion dollar deficit to a budget surplus without raising taxes.'

7:13 PM  

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