The EFM Feature
Patriotic, from Flickr user Homer Township Public Library, used under a Creative Commons license

Over the weekend, The New York Times ran an interesting piece by Jodi Kantor on the role of Gov. Romney’s religion in his life.  It was less interesting, honestly, due to what it revealed about Gov. Romney as opposed to what it implied about the mainstream media today.

As to Gov. Romney, there’s little there you didn’t know before reading it.  He used to teach Sunday school.  He tries to apply the tenets of his faith to his daily life.  He works hard.  He and Mrs. Romney pray about big decisions.  He’s big on marriage between a Mr. and a Mrs.  He believes God did shed his grace on thee, America.  He doesn’t cuss and only recently stopped using substitutes for profanity that sound funny in today’s culture (“golly” and the like).  He thinks personal virtue matters.  And so on.

Basically, the piece paints a picture of a man who’s a lot like the kid in the picture above this post:  He loves America and a lot of seemingly outdated values that used to be part and parcel of her, and he’s not afraid to show it, even when it earns him ridicule.  We knew that already.  And particularly from the perspective of a conservative evangelical, it paints a picture of a man for whom a faith with which we don’t agree manifests itself in terms of values with which we absolutely do agree.  We’re all in this together, guys.

And what about the media?  Well, this is something Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post got me thinking about.  Check out this line:  “He may have many reasons for abhorring debt, wanting to limit federal power, promoting self-reliance and stressing the unique destiny of the United States, but those are all traditionally Mormon traits as well.”  Ms. Rubin, who is Jewish, responds:

Now substitute a different religion: “He may have many reasons for abhorring debt, wanting to limit federal power, promoting self-reliance and stressing the unique destiny of the United States, but those are all traditionally Jewish traits as well.”

Zing!  It’s a good point.  I don’t necessarily see this piece as “rank bigotry,” as Ms. Rubin does–in fact, I think it’s more than reasonable to assess the ways in which a candidate’s faith affects his values and actions, if you do so intelligently–but the thought experiment she’s set up is a good one.  For instance, what would The New York Times call “traditionally evangelical traits?”

You guys respond in the comments, but here’s my entry:

There are many reasons then-Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) prevailed in the 2008 presidential election, but a main one, according to Charles Mitchell of the website Evangelicals for Mitt, is that too many Americans fell for a nice-sounding pitch from a smooth-talking messenger, despite the fact that he lacked credibility and ended up taking them for a ride.  These are, Mr. Mitchell said, “traditionally evangelical traits” that, oddly enough, ended up infecting the entire electorate.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Comments and Discussion

Evangelicals for Mitt provides comments as a way to engage in a public and respectiful discussion about articles and issues. Any comment may be removed by the editors for violating common decency or tempting flames.

23 Responses to Gov. Romney and “Traditionally Mormon Traits”

  1. RC says:

    Nothing new that I didn’t already know or understand. I would venture to say that every group of people, whether it be on a religious level, social level or a family level – all have traditions. And traditions normally shape people into what they are or what they may be. I say that Romney’s religion has done good on him and his family. Even though his religion is different theologically than other religions, still it is a part of who he is. I have no problem for who he is and how his religion has played an important part in his life and in the life of his family.

  2. Terry says:

    Good one, Charles. This whole deal about Romney’s religion–should he or shouldn’t he: talk about it; explain it; keep silent about it; or whatever else his MSM self-appointed advisers have in all earnestness suggested that he ‘needs’ to do–is frankly a lot of cackling about absolutely nothing. Romney’s past does not contain a single incident worth his opponents getting short-breathed and excited about.

    They’ve tried however, and pathetically so.

    First was a laughable (if you’re LDS) piece in the National Enquirer about Ann Romney ‘cheating’ on Mitt while he was serving a church mission in France. (She began taking an interest in a guy at BYU while Mitt was door-knocking in France.) Some political guy even opined in the article that the incident would have an effect on Romney’s campaign. It didn’t, of course. As a former Mormon missionary myself (1969-1971), I can tell you that ‘Dear John’ letters to Mormon missionaries from girls who have promised to stay single until the boyfriend returns from his mission are so common that they’ve become the brunt of jokes, rather than causes for concern.

    Then there was the Semus the dog story. A laughable diversion from politics, but which had absolutely nothing to do with Mitt’s qualifications as a future president. (The dog LOVED riding on the top of the car in the carrier. So one time he eats some turkey and gets sick and yadda-yadda-yadda. No political traction for opponents there.)

    A cheating Ann, a sick dog…both stories fizzled, so now we have the already dead-in-the-water bullying incident that Mitt didn’t remember happening because–as it turns out–it really didn’t happen. The sister of the boy who was supposedly bullied was unaware of any such thing. (A drastic haircut like Mitt supposedly laid on the kid would have been immediately obvious to family members.) Then the family of the boy expresses anger over their deceased son being used as a political object, and rightly so.

    Now, it’s Bain Capital and let’s-blame-Romney because a steal mill declared bankruptcy two years AFTER Romney had left Bain to run the Salt Lake City Olympics.

    Whats next? Whatever it is that Obama’s political hit men come up with, it will be even more stupid and asinine as what’s come before. That’s okay, though. When you’ve got nothing about your own candidate to crow over, and your opponent is someone whose life is the definition of ‘squeaky-clean’, you have to run with what controversies you can get (or in this case, manufacture).

    I’m awaiting with my humor gene set to the max in anticipation of what they will come up with now. I just hope my humor gene can handle it.

  3. Irene Slack says:

    Why should Mitt harp about his religion? If anyone wants to know about it all they have to do is go on Mormon.org., You can see anything you want about us…. We are taught to honor others religion let them worship as they will….. Or better still see the missionaries . Yeh! our religion is different we go by the teachings of Jesus Christ, we are baptized by going down into the water, as Jesus was baptized, we can not keep sinning and keep confessing for our sins as some churches believe.. We are taught to be honest , caring for others and honor the teaching of Jesus Christ … What more would you want in a church?… we love the Lord.. Our people are not paid to preach as the Bible teaches . In our church they are all unpaid…… If you can show me a church that teaches all of Jesus Christ taught then I want to h ear from you… other wise I will stand by the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saint teachings , the full gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ……

  4. Phil says:

    Thanks for bringing up the NYT article, Charles. I actually was pleased with that article, and didn’t notice the part about the “traditionally Mormon traits” until you brought it up, and it is a valid point. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised with the article, especially coming from a very liberal NYT. It was a very refreshing change from the very negative hit piece on Mormonism that Maureen Dowd wrote a few weeks ago. I think that’s about as good an article as can be expected from the NYT. It is positive for the most part, and Jodi Kantor has earned my respect.

  5. Mr B says:

    “…too many Americans fell for a nice-sounding pitch from a smooth-talking messenger, despite the fact that he lacked credibility and ended up taking them for a ride. These are, Mr. Mitchell said, “traditionally evangelical traits” that, oddly enough, ended up infecting the entire electorate. ”

    As a convert to the LDS church I have thought about his subject a lot. Many groups, religious and non, put a lot of effort into outward gestures, marching, wearing ribbons, public prayers, even raising money for a cause but letting someone else do the work. Latter-Day-Saints are usually more comfortable with a shovel in their hands than a microphone. We are also not used to defending ourselves. We are taught to let insults slide (turn the other cheek) and focus on the work. I think this has been very hard for Gov. Romney to get used to. He learning though.

    Most politicians are great campaigners but are largely clueless when it comes to governing and thus allow their party bosses to direct them In Mitt Romney I think we will see a president who is an average campaigner but will really demonstrate his strengths and skills when it comes to running the nation.

  6. Eric says:

    In my opinion, Mitt is wise for avoiding talk about his religion. He is not running as a Mormon for president – he is running as a Republican for president. His hush hushness shows he is sensitive to the concerns of his constituents who would not want their children to be taught disagreeable religious doctrine from their president.

    That we Republicans have a Mormon nominee is a fun novelty of sorts. It shows that we are an inclusive party – one that welcomes all who will embrace our principles.

    On an unrelated note, I don’t own a Kindle. Is there a paperback copy of Why Evangelicals Should Support Mitt Romney (And Feel Good About It)! for sale anywhere?

  7. T.l.maloney says:

    As a Christian..which many of you say you are.. I am wondering if you like many others who claim to be Christian if you are planning to vote for Romney..?
    Consider the following.
    The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.[112] New introductions, chapter summaries, and footnotes. 1920 edition errors corrected based on Original Manuscript and 1840 edition.[113] from wikipedia.
    Now.. Romney is a Mormon and what does it say in
    Galatians 1:8-9
    After you read that scripture.. tell me how anyone, as a Christian could justify voting for Romney ??

    • Grace Jones says:

      corrections were made regarding spelling, etc. the meaning was never changed. Are you saying that because Mormons claim the Book of Mormon to be another Testament of Jesus Christ therefor they aren’t Christians? And assigned you the position of judge of what is in the hearts of others? Mormons believe that Christ is the Son God, He died on the cross for our sins, and was resurrected. Apparently you don’t believe that and preach another gospel?So you’d vote for a Muslim over a Mormon? That is sad!

    • Linda Sawyer` says:

      We CAN’T vote for Romney because Mormons do not believe that Jesus is Savior of the world, and in Matt. 12:10, Jesus says that if we are not for him we are against him. Our other choice for president is a Muslim, and they hate Christians and want to kill us. We have no one to vote for. We must leave this in God’s hands. He will provide! Amen?

  8. Bob says:

    I am afraid that by voting for Romney we exalt a cult and lose many young Christians to something that is so dishonorable as they stumble to emulate the President.

    • Nancy says:

      For both Bob and T.1.Maloney, I am a Christian and I will vote for Mitt Romney most happily. If you are worried about anyone emulating the President, this one might be a good one to start with. He’s still happily married, 18 grandchildren, 5 respectable children, worked his way up the ladder, hugely successful with no discernable vices. OR, the current President, who has been to church approx. 7 times in 3+ years and will not even join a church in Washington? His church in Chicago was frightening in the preachings that were publicized, the swearing about America, etc. So, if you’re worried about supporting Mitt Romney because his religion is different or someone might emulate him, I seriously encourage you to take a much, much, much harder look at the other choice. The President and his team’s attacks on religious liberty are unprecedented. For anyone of faith, I’d say they are making the choice very clear for us.

  9. Ed says:

    I have some questions regarding Mormonism and Christian support for Mitt Romney. Please note that I intend to respond with supporting quotes to any false or misleading answers given by any who respond.

    1. The Mormon or LDS religion teaches that they follow modern revelation and do not draw their doctrine from a reading of the Holy Bible. True or False?
    2. The Mormon/LDS religion teaches that all of post-New Testament Christianity was in error until God the Father and Jesus–two separate gods, appeared to Joseph Smith to set the record straight. True or False?
    3. The Mormon/LDS religion teaches that all are invited to come into the church and be baptized by authorized representatives of the gospel, and that those authorized representatives are all in the Mormon/LDS church. True or False?
    4. The Mormon/LDS religion teaches that the thousands of changes made to the book of Mormon were meant to correct minor errors such as spelling and that no meaning was ever changed. True or False?
    5. If the meaning was never changed, please explain why Joseph Smith was changed from the author, as printed in the first printing, to translator, as printed in subsequent printings.
    6. If the meaning was never changed, please explain why the words, “all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him” do not appear in the first printing and how that is not a significant change in meaning since it appears to be the institution of a fundamental doctrinal view of all Creation.
    7. Given 2 John 1:9-11 and Mark 12:28-37–which when read together teaches that Jesus taught that there is but one God and no other, that He was God, and that anyone who rejects the teachings of Christ is not even to be greeted by a Christian, otherwise that Christian partakes in the false ones wicked or malicious deeds, how do you justify True Christian (evangelical or otherwise) support for Mitt Romney for President, the use of GOP funds to promote Mormonism, and Liberty University’s choice of Mitt Romney to speak at commencement ceremonies?

    I would appreciate it if any responses did not accuse me of voting for a Muslim or supporting Obama, since nothing I have said would suggest that I intend to do either of those things.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Ed says:

      While awaiting approval of my prior post by moderators, I must clarify number 7. I said that Christians were not to greet those who reject the teachings of Christ, but I misspoke. I should have said that Christians were not to greet those who came as Christians who did not keep the teachings of Christ. I’m sorry if that caused any confusion as I assumed it would be clear to most readers of the Scriptures when I should have spelled it out for the sake of mutual understanding.

      • Ed says:

        While I continue to wait for the moderators to approve my comments, I have one more alteration to make. I stated that “all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him” did not appear in the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon. I stand corrected. It does appear. Sorry. But that only opens up another line of query since the quote I mention appears in chapter eight of the second book of Nephi in the 1830 edition and in the eleventh chapter in modern printings of the Book of Mormon. If all corrections to the text were minor, why the huge difference between the original and subsequent printings?

  10. Heather says:

    Ed…myself being a mormon, I appreciate your openmindedness and what appears to be a sincere desire to know the facts about our beliefs. We are firm believers in the Bible and believe it be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly…in fact our sunday school worship spends a great deal of time in studying the Bible. We believe that Christ established his church when he walked the earth and that there was a falling away or a great apostacy in which the teachings of his gospel were in fact lost or altered here upon the earth, which required a later restoration ..to restore the fullness of Christ’s gospel to the earth (the same gospel that he established in ancient times. I would highly recommend that you go to mormon.org as they have answers to many of these questions regarding our beliefs in more plainess than I can do myself. You can also look up the LDS 13 articles of faith and they explain breifly our beliefs as well. My second suggestion would be that if you truly want to know of our faith, please ask one of us or refer to the site I recommended…as you will likely never get the truth from someone outside our religion. Many claim that we are not Christians; however, the name of our church bears his name and I have a true testimony of Christ as being our savior and redeemer. I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Hope this helps and you find the answers your seeking. God Bless!

  11. Lee Stokes says:

    I tend to be a little more geeky than most. I started working in the PC business back in 1989 for a company called Novell.

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