Mitt Romney is running for president! Have you heard that? If you have, you're probably LDS. If you're uninformed and for him, you're probably LDS. If you're uninformed and an Evangelical, you're probably against him. If you're informed and anything else, well, make up your own mind.
Either way, he's an interesting character. Knowing his background, he seems about as squeaky clean as they come, but there's been a lot of hullabaloo about his religion, which some consider to be a "cult" (usually The Uninformed -- caps intended -- say this).
(As an aside, check out the Miriam-Webster dictionary definition for "cult" -- the first three definitions: 1: formal religious veneration : worship; 2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents; 3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents. By these definitions, anybody who believes anything could be considered to be in a cult ...)
John F. Kennedy was a staunch Catholic, who, when he was running for president, gave a wonderful speech about his religious beliefs and how he would not govern as a Catholic, but rather as an American. It's sad that such a speech couldn't stand on it's own two feet to prevent religion from ever being considered a litmus test to who can run for office.
Nevertheless, Mitt Romney this past weekend gave a speech that arguably could be considered a companion speech to the famous JFK speech that set the tone of religious tolerance in public office. If you have the time, feel free to read it, it's well-worth it.
His speech has spawned quite a bit of dialog in the public realm about the place of religion in today's politics, and to the rational observer, it seems as if Romney's stock has just gone up dramatically, particularly to those whose religious views typically are intolerant of those held by Mitt Romney.
One such article was quite funny, written by a favorite author of mine, Orson Scott Card, as he discusses the nature of God as viewed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (he being one of us). Feel free to read it here. I'm going to copy, verbatim, one section of text, which I thought was really funny. Let me preface this text by saying that I have had very similar and frustrating discussions with people of other faiths regarding the nature of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, that left me feeling frustrated and annoyed. To quote:
A line is perfectly straight and infinitely long. All lines in the same plane either touch or they don't touch. If they don't touch, they are parallel and they go in the same direction, infinitely. Those are the only two choices with lines in the same plane: They're either parallel or they intersect somewhere.
Now here's a theological argument between a traditional Christian (TC) and a biblical Christian (LDS):
TC: The Trinity consists of three parallel lines, which touch each other.
LDS: If they touch each other, they're not parallel.
TC: Nevertheless, they are parallel, and they touch. They touch at every point.
LDS: If they touch at every point, they're the same line. Not three.
TC: They touch at every point, yet there are three.
LDS: That doesn't make any sense. Lines can't be different yet the same, parallel yet intersecting. The words stop having any meaning when you say such things.
TC: That's because you have a finite, mortal mind, which cannot comprehend the nature of geometry.
LDS: That's just crazy. The Trinity is three lines, completely distinct, perfectly parallel, so they go infinitely in the same direction. That's simple, it's clear, and it's true. In fact, we've seen the lines.
TC: That's blasphemy! You can never see the lines! They're only imaginary!
LDS: Your lines are imaginary. The lines we've seen are real.
TC: Then you are not Geometers!
And that's where the discussion always ends.
Yep, 'tis true. The discussion always ends with disagreement, with myself scratching my head at the arguments to which I'd just been exposed. It's mind-boggling how sometimes and otherwise learned people can get so wrapped around the axle on these topics.
Anyway, I just thought it was funny.
Going back to the start of this post, though, I think that a person's religion really is quite important, as an amoral, irreligious person could cause great harm in public office. The Book of Mormon is littered with examples of times when a wicked ruler dragged his people down to destruction, and how a righteous ruler saved his people. The Nephites had a tradition of choosing righteous people to be their leaders, sometimes even when they weren't so righteous themselves. Doing so resulted in safety and security. It's a good lesson to keep in mind.