Re: I refuse to be lectured on religion by a man with no soul

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I really believe this stuff, but I'll govern as though I don't

The man's just talkin' 'bout public reason, Labs.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:25 PM
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I love the way Muslims are always washing their hands

If only it were true.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:28 PM
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My honey and I were just the other day debating the merits of creating a bumper sticker that read:

Muslims do it five times a day!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:30 PM
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We couldn't quite figure out how numerous the ironic-hipster-Muslim population was likely to be, though.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:31 PM
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1: To go all earnest, compare: "I will argue for policies based upon reasons which people will or will not find acceptable independent of their conception of any deity and what that deity requires" with "I will not be motivated by my conception of some deity and what that deity requires."


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:31 PM
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Romney, btw, has been a great disappointment.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:31 PM
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Ygelsias has more, as do Kleiman, David Brooks, Pharyngula, Rauchway and Laden.
One of these things is not like the other.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:31 PM
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Brooks's column on this was apparently pretty reasonable. Yglesias quotes it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:32 PM
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7: "Laden" isn't Osama.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:35 PM
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While I accept the broad point about public reasons, I think Romney's way of putting it gives it the appearance of unthoughtful platitude.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:35 PM
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As time goes on it becomes clear that Mitt Romney's utterances are completely unmoored from concerns about truth and are governed instead only by consideration of what will earn him some political advantage

There can't be anyone in MA for whom this hasn't been crystal clear since 2002 at the latest. During his gubernatorial campaign this seemed to me to be common knowlege even among his hardcore supporters (who simply forgave it in him). He didn't and doesn't appear even to make an attempt to hide it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:38 PM
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Wouldn't it be great if Mittens and his five little kittens chose "Jesus is Just Alright" for their campaign song and then drove around the country blasting it out loud from a chartreuse microbus?

And wouldn't it be even more awesome if Ron Paul got his blimp?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:39 PM
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"It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America - the religion of secularism."

Oy vey es mir.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:39 PM
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Hmm. Bad views + insincerity: better or worse than bad views + meaning them?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:40 PM
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"unthoughtful platitude" --- what a shocking thing to find in a speech by a politician!

I don't really get what everybody is so worked up about -- it was a stupid and offensive speech, but if we chose any random speech by any of the Republicans wouldn't we find as much or more that would offend us?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:40 PM
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4: I don't think it has to be that large. I'm not a Muslim, but I'd buy it. (Well, I don't have any bumper stickers on my car, but you get the idea.) It doesn't sound bigoted at all, unless any joke at all that mentions an ethnicity/nationality/belief system not your own is offensive. Would a Muslim be bothered by the bumper sticker's implication that they are pious, or the implication that they are virile?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:41 PM
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I can't stand Romney, and I think his speech was absurd and predictable. That said, the premise that compelled Romney to deliver this speech - the notion that Mormonism is somehow weirder than "normal" Christianity - is utterly laughable, and I wince every time I read one of Matt Yglesias's long posts insisting that really, the intricacies of Mormon theology really are important to consider in evaluating his candidacy.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:42 PM
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Wow. David Brooks was better than I thought he would be.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:43 PM
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stras gets it exactly right.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:45 PM
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the notion that Mormonism is somehow weirder than "normal" Christianity

That's not it. The notion is that Mormonism is different enough from mainstream Christianity (not "weirder than") that Romney can't reasonably claim to bear the standard of the Christian Right.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:47 PM
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the premise that compelled Romney to deliver this speech - the notion that Mormonism is somehow weirder than "normal" Christianity

Where are you getting this? The premise was that many people likely to vote for a Republican presidential candidate are turned off by Mitt's Mormonism and no more.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:47 PM
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Stras never gets it right! You know who does? Hugh Hewitt, that's who.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:47 PM
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7: Yes, I did not like Yglesias's bright idea about how as a Jew, the only religious people who offend him are people who claim to be Jews but aren't actually Jews. This is the thinking behind not just Christians saying Mormons are infidels pretending to be real Christians, but Christians saying that anyone outside of their 1-million-person sect is an infidel pretending to be a real Christian.

And is he really offended by Jews for Jesus? No, I don't think so. How is that worse than Jews who are also secularist unbelievers and call themselves Jews, like him?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:48 PM
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7: s/b 17:


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:49 PM
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17. I agree with stras in that any bigotry that has to be directly addressed by any candidate is against "American" principles. There is plenty to dislike about Romney without making it about his being a Mormon. But I think he was right to do it, just as Kennedy did.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:49 PM
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And is he really offended by Jews for Jesus? No, I don't think so. How is that worse than Jews who are also secularist unbelievers and call themselves Jews, like him?

I'm quite certain he is offended by Jews for Jesus. Most Jews, secular or religious are. It's worse because they proselytize. Which, admittedly, is a different issue and not really relevant to the analogy he was making.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:50 PM
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What did people expect to hear? Romney's Areopagitica? Citations to newly discovered archaeological evidence of chariots and bronze weapons in Missouri? A ringing defense of the families-are-sealed-forever-yet-everyone-becomes-the-god-of-a-separate-universe cosmology? A "here's a giant middle finger to the people I want to vote for me" speech?

In other words, what novelty did you expect from the man who thought it would be a popular decision to reintroduce capital punishment to Massachusetts?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:51 PM
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No, the LDS is in a worse epistemological position than mainstream Christianity, isn't it? I mean, Mormons believe the mindbending things that orthodox Christians believe plus some extra mindbending hypotheses about gold plates and Jesus' North American appearances, right? A conjunction of implausible claims has a probability less than that of the least likely conjunct.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:51 PM
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And is he really offended by Jews for Jesus? No, I don't think so.

You don't? Why not?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:51 PM
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Okay, sorry, 26. I didn't think anyone took JEws for Jesus seriously.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:51 PM
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Everyone takes Jews for Jesus seriously. They're generally considered a major threat to mainstream Judaism. (Personally I think this is overblown, but I'm definitely in the minority on that.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:53 PM
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That's not it. The notion is that Mormonism is different enough from mainstream Christianity (not "weirder than") that Romney can't reasonably claim to bear the standard of the Christian Right.

And in this context "different enough" means "weirder than." Again, see those Yglesias posts, where Yglesias the Jewish atheist tries clumsily to fumble around with Christian theology to prove that Mormonism can't possibly count as Christian ("the stress on Gethsemane rather than the crucifixion"? Does anyone honestly believe Yglesias gives two shits about what Mormons think about Gethsemane?) It just feels gross.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:55 PM
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We had a whole huge discussion of J4J. One big thing about it is that it's not a spontaneous, grass-roots organization of Jews who have found Christ and converted: it's a evangelical-church-funded organization largely made up of Christians by birth devoted to converting Jews. That's not exactly the issue under discussion, but it is what makes J4J skeevy in my opinion.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:56 PM
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I've been assuming for the last little while that Sausagely keeps nattering on about how Mormons aren't Christians as a form of trolling.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:56 PM
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I don't know that I take Jews for Jesus seriously, but I do find them incredibly fucking annoying and obnoxious.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:57 PM
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Well, non-Jews don't take Jews for Jesus seriously. If I asked ten of my friends to guess how many people they thought made up the entire "Jews for Jesus" movement, the estimate would probably be around five thousand, publicized by the media because it's such a silly concept.

"unthoughtful platitude" --- what a shocking thing to find in a speech by a politician!

I don't really get what everybody is so worked up about -- it was a stupid and offensive speech, but if we chose any random speech by any of the Republicans wouldn't we find as much or more that would offend us?

What did people expect to hear? Romney's Areopagitica? Citations to newly discovered archaeological evidence of chariots and bronze weapons in Missouri? A ringing defense of the families-are-sealed-forever-yet-everyone-becomes-the-god-of-a-separate-universe cosmology? A "here's a giant middle finger to the people I want to vote for me" speech?

In other words, what novelty did you expect from the man who thought it would be a popular decision to reintroduce capital punishment to Massachusetts?

Thank you for your cutting-edge cynicism. The issue here is the use of the media. Ordinarily the offensive and stupid things said by Republicans are ignored by the media as if they were so much background noise. In this case, the Republican announced that he was going to do something Republicans don't usually do -- make a very important statesmanlike speech that would settle the doubts of people who think he is crazy or evil. However, he didn't do anything vaguely similar to that, and yet the media is acting like he did. Maddening.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:57 PM
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32: Your second sentence is both false and completely unrelated to your first sentence.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:59 PM
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The early Christians were just Jews for Jesus. I don't see why anyone is offended by anybody else who peacefully pursues non-hateful religious beliefs.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:59 PM
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We had a whole huge discussion of J4J. One big thing about it is that it's not a spontaneous, grass-roots organization of Jews who have found Christ and converted: it's a evangelical-church-funded organization largely made up of Christians by birth devoted to converting Jews. That's not exactly the issue under discussion, but it is what makes J4J skeevy in my opinion.

Yeah, this is the main problem with J4J specifically from the Jewish perspective. It's generally lumped in with other Evangelical proselytizing to Jews (and there's a lot of it). The general issue is complicated a bit because there are actually Messianic Jewish congregations not affiliated with J4J.

And I still agree with stras.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:59 PM
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Does anyone honestly believe Yglesias gives two shits about what Mormons think about Gethsemane?

Precisely. It's classic Internet geekery: "see, the belief system is all laid out in these articles, and this logic is incompatable with that logic, and so hey presto, Romney gets a +3 Family Values and a -6 Christian Doctrine."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 12:59 PM
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And in this context "different enough" means "weirder than."

I think they are separable claims. Many people believe Mormonism is weirder than Christianity; many people believe that Mormonism is different than Christianity. Some people take a short-cut and prove the second belief with the first, but that's not necessary and it's not how Yglesias is doing it.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:00 PM
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And in this context "different enough" means "weirder than."

There's some kind of valid point to be made along those lines. Maybe I missed it in this speech, but I'm pretty sure it's in others -- Romney is running on his 'faith'. We need a person of 'faith' to lead this county -- no atheists or other weirdos need apply. Once he's making a bigoted appeal to people of [mainstream] faith to vote for him as opposed to the heathen, it seems legit to point out that the bigots he's appealing to are likely to consider him outside the fold.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:00 PM
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My understanding of MY's point is not that the theology of Mormanism is weirder per se, but that it's weird to posit a bunch of miraculous events in a time and place with newspapers, etc.

Romney's shout out to JC and attempt to minimize the other theological diffrences is probably undercut by those "Order Your Free Book of Mormon" commercials from the LDS.


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:01 PM
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36: right-- the point is to take the speeches and the positions more or less at face value and stop the irritating pundit game of going meta. I'm bored with that game & I'm finding it increasingly unhelpful.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:01 PM
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We need a person of 'faith' to lead this county -- no atheists or other weirdos need apply.

This is the fundamental flaw (especially with the scare quotes), but I don't know how to fix it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:01 PM
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Stras, JM, I've taken Yglesias to be nattering on about what reasons religious right voters might have to perceive Mormons as not Christian. I'm open to having misread these posts, I guess, but I don't think I have.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:02 PM
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On Jews for Jesus: I agree that they're skeevy, as per 33. That said, if you convert to a religion without being sequestered in a camp where they cut you off from friends, family and protein sources, it's really your own damn fault, so I've not much sympathy for the argument that Jews for Jesus - or any other religious organization trying to convert Jews - represents an existential threat to Judaism. They want to convert you? There's an easy defense - don't convert.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:03 PM
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Jews for Jesus is a special case, an organization that was founded specifically to proselytize while knowingly calling itself something it isn't.

If there was a real branch of Judaism that took the known aspects of the faith and added reverence for the Orishas of Yoruba lore, I don't think your average secular Jew would be offended that those people called themselves "Jews", even if he personally considered them to not be Jews. But a religiously devout Jew would find it offensive.


Posted by: anonymous because generalizing about people other than myself | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:03 PM
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34: I don't think he's trolling, I think he's trying to talk about the political implications of how the evangelical bloc is likely to view Romney's faith. That question seems to me to be one that could flip hard in either direction -- conservative evangelicals could decide that Mormonism is a religion that shares their values, and that Romney's Mormonism means he's to be trusted; or they could decide he's a crazy cult member. But to talk about how the evangelicals are going to react to him, you have to talk about theology.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:04 PM
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I've taken Yglesias to be nattering on about what reasons religious right voters might have to perceive Mormons as not Christian

That seems to be primarily what he's doing, but it's pretty clear from many of his posts (though not this latest one particularly) that he also agrees with those reasons.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:05 PM
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anonymous because generalizing about people other than myself

new rollover text.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:05 PM
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46: At some point I think Yglesias's Mormon posts turned from "this is why Mitt Romney won't get the nomination" to "this is why Mitt Romney isn't supported by Christian conservatives" to "this is why Christian conservatives shouldn't support Mitt Romney" to "Mitt Romney is insulting our intelligence by pretending to be a Christian." At some point it left the realm of the usual horserace tooling around and became kind of offensive.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:06 PM
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But to talk about how the evangelicals are going to react to him, you have to talk about theology.

Okay, but a better way to figure out how evangelicals are going to react to him might be to ask some evangelicals. Yglesias doesn't appear to know any, so he can't really do that, but all this talk of theology is in some sense beside the point politically.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:07 PM
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50: Recalling that these same people would probably percieve (aiui) the majority of world-wide christians as not meeting their definition of christian, it's hardly a stretch.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:08 PM
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I still agree with stras. 47 and 52 are dead-on.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:08 PM
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14:

Hmm. Bad views + insincerity: better or worse than bad views + meaning them?

I honestly don't care whether Romney means it: the arrival of open talk in the political arena about the separation of church and state as problematic bodes quite ill ... yet I thought as I listened to excerpts from the speech yesterday: Fucking dumbasses we are, if we didn't acknowledge just how badly skewed the American electorate has been for some time with respect to its Christianity.

Whether Romney himself means it is irrelevant: his listeners (according to his pollers) do.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:09 PM
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Recalling that these same people would probably percieve (aiui) the majority of world-wide christians as not meeting their definition of christian, it's hardly a stretch.

Sure, but why should Matt Yglesias agree with them about this? He doesn't agree with them about anything else.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:09 PM
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Also: much, much worse than "Jews for Jesus"? "Completed Jews."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:10 PM
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w/d, the basic form of the Sausagely post on LDS and Christianity is something like this:

1. Evangelicals object to Romney's religion.

2. But, hey, look at these credal differences.
3. Logically, Mormons aren't Christians!
4. Not that it matters to me, Wehttam Sausagely, atheist Jew.
And then the comment section erupts in nasty, nasty attacks on Mormons, some justified mind you. (But the Mountain Meadow Massacre? C'mon, find some new scandal please.) I used to pipe up every once in a while to express my opinion that doctrine isn't always the best way to measure how religions are lived in the world, but I got bored with it. There's always some other poor soul who pipes up and gets ignored or attacked.

Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:11 PM
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Stras, what's offensive about Yglesias' progression? I can't shake the notion that you're reading "Mormons are weird" into Yglesias' statements, and he really isn't saying that. He is saying that Mormons have significant theological disagreement Christians, that's it.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:12 PM
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Hm, I seriously screwed up that formatting. I meant to preview, honest!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:13 PM
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man, i loved the fact that he cited john adams twice.

here is adams himself, a consistent deist, getting in a double-whammy whack at both christians and jews in a letter to jefferson:

"The Europeans are deeply tainted with prejudices both Ecclesiastical and Temporal which they can never get rid of; they are all infected with Episcopal and Presbyterian Creeds, and confessions of faith; they all believe that great principle which has produced this boundless Universe, Newton's Universe and Hershell's universe, came down to this little Ball to be spit upon by Jews; and until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world."

to think that the great deist "principle" came down to the "little ball" of earth is just blasphemous, an offense against the true conception of our deist god.

but to think he was spit upon by *jews*? man, that's not only blasphemous, that's, like, totally gross.

yeah, a real pillar of the judeo-christian establishment, adams.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:13 PM
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Fair enough. I don't know what he's up to either.

Whatever he's trying get at is missing the important point, I think. Until (if?) the country gets serious about seperation of church and state, these issues are going to distort politics in fucked up ways.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:14 PM
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"Mitt Romney is insulting our intelligence by pretending to be a Christian."

I think it's more "Mitt Romney is insulting the intelligence of evangelical Christians, the ones who care about who's a Christian, by pretending to be a sort of Christian they'd find acceptable." And Romney really did seem to do that in the speech.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:14 PM
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63 to 57


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:14 PM
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Mormons really do worship Jesus, you know. He wasn't lying about that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:16 PM
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13--
"Oy vey es mir."

no, no, no. since we're all one big happy judeo-christian family, what we say is "oy vey maria".


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:16 PM
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Where I personally get irritated by this stuff is that if your yardstick is theological differences, than the overwhelming majority of my Christian friends aren't Christian. I know lots of liberal Episcopalians who don't believe in hell, for instance, or who reject large chunks of the Bible as irrelevant or apocryphal. But they still call themselves Christian and worship Jesus Christ and stuff. And I figure if you get to the point where you're regularly praying to Jesus Christ and you think you're Christian, you're probably a Christian, no matter how weird you are by conservative evangelical standards.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:16 PM
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He is saying that Mormons have significant theological disagreement [with] Christians, that's it.

That's it? That's to concede the hardline definition of "Christian" as excluding Mormons, which is the problem here. Mormons---and even ex-Mormons---get a little pissy about being told they're not Christians, especially when the persons doing the line-drawing isn't particularly religious or invested in religion.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:17 PM
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For example, I am trying to figure out how to avoid Christmas Eve at my grandmother's house (besides utterly failing in my quest to get proper ID, that is), because I do not want my honey to have to sit through my grandmother's rather peculiar---but Christian!---Christmas Eve ritual of bringing out a cake with candles and singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:20 PM
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I don't give two shits about whether the LDS is doctrinally different than Christianity if the conversation isn't about theology. When that's the subject of the conversation, personally? yeah, I find some aspects of LDS theology even more mind-blowingly odd than the more sober Protestant or Catholic Xtianity. But that's got nothing to do with political validity unless I'm trying to gauge how likely it is that a demographically significant section of likely Xtian voters will judge LDS theology to be too weird for them. For the most part, many conservative Christians have demonstrated their ability to ignore stuff like that if they think the candidate is enough of an aspiring theocrat otherwise. (And honestly, theocracy is an LDS speciality in Utah: Romney could probably pitch himself as the only guy representing a Christian denomination that has actually had its hands on the levers of political power in a sustained way in the United States.)

For myself, Mormon, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, pagan: it's all fine by me, whatever a candidate's personal religion, if the position on the relationship between political power and religious conviction is one I support. What seems especially noxious about Romney's speech is that he pleads for religious tolerance, but specifically brackets off the secular position as intolerable; asks for no one to judge a candidate by his religion, unless that religion is not highly theological Christianity; promises not to let his faith influence his decisions as President but then promises that many of his decisions would in fact be an expression of his faith. All of that is major fuck-you-Mitt stuff. Kennedy (or Ted Sorenson) at least had the ethical and political consistency to say, "It's none of your business where I go to church, America, and that's the way it should between all of us as Americans. And I promise you that the Pope will not be making the decisions in my White House because I promise you that religion is not one of the principles on which I make decisions." The moment Romney has to explain his faith and beg for tolerance should be the moment where he recognizes the wisdom and sanity of the establishment clause, not the moment that he sucks evangelical cock with all the enthusiasm of Ted Haggard.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:22 PM
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That's to concede the hardline definition of "Christian" as excluding Mormons

I shouldn't have said "Christians," I should have said "evangelical Christians." Is it still offensive if the issue is framed that way?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:22 PM
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I worship Mormons.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:23 PM
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Where I personally get irritated by this stuff is that if your yardstick is theological differences, than the overwhelming majority of my Christian friends aren't Christian.

Rrrr. The thing is, here, I think you're just mistaken about the relative doctrinal differences between a conservative Baptist and a liberal Episcopalian, and between the same Baptist and a Mormon. You can say doctrine is unimportant, but if you're talking about people who think it is important, then you need to talk about it.

That's to concede the hardline definition of "Christian" as excluding Mormons, which is the problem here. Mormons---and even ex-Mormons---get a little pissy about being told they're not Christians, especially when the persons doing the line-drawing isn't particularly religious or invested in religion.

This is a reasonable thing to get pissy about, but again, what's under discussion is how bigoted evangelicals (presumably the non-bigots won't care) are going to react to Romney. The whole subject could reasonably be off limits as too bigoted to endorse by discussing, but if it's to be discussed, then how invested the speaker is (as opposed to what he knows about the doctrines involved) shouldn't matter, should it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:25 PM
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71--
"the moment that he sucks evangelical cock with all the enthusiasm of Ted Haggard"

that's over the line, tb, and you're just displaying your bigotry.

there is no evidence--none--that haggard was more enthusiastic about evangelical cock than about non-evangelical cock.
so far as i recall from contemporary reports, he was extremely catholic in his tastes. nay, even ecumenical.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:26 PM
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71:

I don't give two shits about whether the LDS is doctrinally different than Christianity

What seems especially noxious about Romney's speech is that he pleads for religious tolerance, but specifically brackets off the secular position as intolerable;

Thank you. Let us please get off the question of doctrinal comity.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:26 PM
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I worship Santa, because when I was six my parents made a terrible mistake and told me that Jesus was the imaginary one who was really your Mom and Dad.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:27 PM
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And exactly what 71 said. Romney's trying to suck up to evangelicals while remaining bigoted about atheists, and the interesting question is whether he's going to be able to sweet-talk the bigots into thinking of him, but not those nasty secularists, as one of the family, or if the doctrinal differences will get in the way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:28 PM
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I worship Mormons.

I worship Heebie.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:28 PM
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The thing is, here, I think you're just mistaken about the relative doctrinal differences between a conservative Baptist and a liberal Episcopalian, and between the same Baptist and a Mormon.

Seriously? The priest at my partner's old church didn't believe in the soul, believed that the crucifixion was unnecessary, and believed that the "kingdom of heaven" was a state that humans were supposed to bring about on earth, not a reward in the afterlife. Are you seriously telling me that James Dobson has more in common with that guy than he does with Mitt Romney?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:29 PM
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Lots of born-agains don't think that your average Episcopalian is Christian.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:29 PM
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Seriously? The priest at my partner's old church didn't believe in the soul, believed that the crucifixion was unnecessary, and believed that the "kingdom of heaven" was a state that humans were supposed to bring about on earth, not a reward in the afterlife. Are you seriously telling me that James Dobson has more in common with that guy than he does with Mitt Romney?

I think that guy has a lot more in common with Romney than either one has with Dobson. For example, Dobson doesn't think all religions are equally acceptable.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:31 PM
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78: they deserve each other.

is Romney considered a credible threat to win or otherwise determine the outcome of a general election. He's a wanker, and only of interest in that context for me.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:31 PM
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Romney's trying to suck up to evangelicals while remaining bigoted about atheists, and the interesting question is whether he's going to be able to sweet-talk the bigots into thinking of him, but not those nasty secularists, as one of the family, or if the doctrinal differences will get in the way.

Yes, this is the issue, but the way to determine if the bigots are going to vote for him is not to read snippets of the Book of Mormon and decide from your armchair that it sounds inconsistent with evangelical Protestantism, but to ask actual evangelical Protestants if Romney's Mormonism is a problem for them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:31 PM
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78--

also--and i think this is part of yggles point--the evangelicals are trying to suck up to a mormon, while remaining bigoted about atheists.

and when the christian right says atheists are unacceptable for public life, the claim that it is based on doctrinal grounds, i.e. their not believing certain things.

but mormons also do not believe some of those very things that are alleged to be disqualifying of atheists.

so part of the point of digging into the theological minutiae is to say, "wtf? when you're trying to discriminate against liberal atheists, you say it's the doctrine. but then when a non-liberal mormon comes along, whose doctrines are really almost as far from yours as atheists are, you get all big-tent and doctrine-doesn't-matter on us. it's starting to look like maybe it's more about politics than religion for you guys".


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:31 PM
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71 is correct. I just realized that people aren't realizing that the only people who deserve to be offended by Romney's speech are secular people. Truly religious people can decide for themselves whether they like Romney's idea that any religion is fine as long as it isn't secularism.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:32 PM
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81: True, but questioning the Christian-ness of liberal Christians isn't a mainstream practice the way it is, apparently, with Mormons. I haven't seen lengthy Yglesias posts talking about how liberal Episcopalians are insulting people's intelligence by tricking them into thinking they're Christian.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:32 PM
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Born-agains, Ba'al Teshuvas, my brother with his yoga/california fanaticism, proslytizing atheists - what IS it about recent converts that is so fucking annoying? Are we picking up on their insecurity and over-compensation?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:34 PM
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is Romney considered a credible threat to win or otherwise determine the outcome of a general election.

Yes, of course. He's the corporate candidate and the corporate candidate wins most primaries and most general elections in the US.

He's a wanker, and only of interest in that context for me.

This is probably the right way to think about it. Thinking about electability is a waste of time unless you just want to educate yourself about the conventional wisdom. I hereby retract the first part of this comment.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:35 PM
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80: The priest at my partner's old church didn't believe in the soul

Okay, you've just described an atheist, not an Episcopalian, who wasn't expelled from the church because Episcopalians are relaxed about disciplinary matters. But that doesn't have anything to do with Episcopalian doctrine -- there is, I'd bet anything you like, at least one church-going Southern Baptist just as atheistic as your priest. If we're talking about the sects' theologies, the Episcopalians and Baptists are much closer to each other than the Mormons.

(Another way to think of it. Take your bigoted Baptist. He's going to feel a closer kinship to an Episcopalian the more intensely invested in and adherent to traditional Episcopalian theology that Episcopalian is. He's going to feel more alienated from a Mormon the more intensely invested in and adherent to traditional Mormon theology that Mormon is.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:35 PM
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87: On the other hand, a U.U. type isn't trying to swing the evangelical vote by claiming brotherhood, as far as I know. Not that I think Yglesias is doing a particular good job of it, but I see the point he's trying (again and again ...) to make


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:35 PM
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is Romney considered a credible threat to win

He should have been, but it seems like he's fucked it up by waffling all over the map and behaving in general like a borg.

what's under discussion is how bigoted evangelicals (presumably the non-bigots won't care) are going to react to Romney

Um, ostensibly. I don't really see a lot of "well, Hillary Clinton actually does have rather wide hips!" out there on the Democratic side; everyone knows that's offensive.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:35 PM
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87: That's because there is not currently a liberal Episcopalian seeking the endorsement of hardline evangelical Christians.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:35 PM
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Mitt Romney is insulting the intelligence of evangelical Christians,

This is a long Republican tradition, and evangelicals don't seem to take offense. In fact, it's kind of doing the fundies a favor, by letting them think that one of the political parties really does represent Jesus. They might have to ask themselves some hard questions otherwise.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:36 PM
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87: Are you kidding? It doesn't come from the left, but "liberal Christians aren't really Christians" gets tossed around all the time. Obama got hit with it, Dean got hit with it... where have you been, Stras?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:37 PM
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So I read somewhere that in some versions of the Divali holiday, the Goddess Lakshmi leaves presents for children at night, and I started thinking about what it would take to show that Hinduism and Christianity actually share the same core, rational belief, because Santa Claus = Lakshmi.

See, the beliefs of Christian children and Indian children are different de dicto, but actually the same de re.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:37 PM
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UU's aren't Christians, soup. The claim wouldn't get too far.

(As a denomination, that is. There are individual UU's who call themselves Christians, as well as UU Jews, UU Hindus, & etc.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:38 PM
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so part of the point of digging into the theological minutiae is to say, "wtf? when you're trying to discriminate against liberal atheists, you say it's the doctrine. but then when a non-liberal mormon comes along, whose doctrines are really almost as far from yours as atheists are, you get all big-tent and doctrine-doesn't-matter on us. it's starting to look like maybe it's more about politics than religion for you guys".

But this was already obvious back when right-wing protestants put aside their long-held differences with Catholicism to form political alliances with right-wing Catholics. Remember that Catholics used to be "not real Christians," too - and still are, to the Jack Chick fringe.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:38 PM
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,i>as well as UU Jews, UU Hindus, & etc.)

J-UUs, HindUUs, etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:39 PM
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97==>91


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:39 PM
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Um, ostensibly. I don't really see a lot of "well, Hillary Clinton actually does have rather wide hips!" out there on the Democratic side; everyone knows that's offensive.

Here, I'm giving atheist Jew Sausagely the benefit of the doubt based on his secularism. I can't imagine that he's actually concealing any theologically-based distaste for Mormons that he doesn't have for members of any conservative religion, including evangelical Christians. His ostensible purpose looks to me like the only plausible genuine purpose.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:40 PM
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Are you kidding? It doesn't come from the left, but "liberal Christians aren't really Christians" gets tossed around all the time. Obama got hit with it, Dean got hit with it... where have you been, Stras?

Yeah, but like I already said a couple posts upthread, this sort of accusation doesn't come from liberals like Matt Yglesias. That is, the accusation that liberal Christians aren't real Christians has typically been limited to the right wing; it's not a mainstream view. Dismissing Mormonism as not authentically Christian, however, is clearly a bipartisan pastime.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:41 PM
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98--
that it has been obvious to you and me for a while does not mean that there is no need to say it repeatedly.
and that's why i think matt is doing something reasonable and justified.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:42 PM
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Not to wrench this off the topic of Romney-bot 5000, but following Tim Burke's comments, isn't the general "public reasons" argument just bogus? In the public sphere, we are all inclined to advance all sorts of not-easily-derivable moral positions: we should treat people equally, you shouldn't be able to sell your vote, etc.

I personally am a big believer in various approaches to rationally derive these principles: Kant, Aristotle or (yeeech) utilitarianism. Not everybody agrees, of course. And even if we stipulate that some moral philosopher could ultimately give a convincing justification, it's just not the case that 99% of the people articulating moral freighted views could provide deeply reasoned grounds for them. The idea behind the public reasons project seems to be that when John Secularist says: "we should treat people equally because it's humane (or because it leads to economic efficiency)" this is a public reason, and admissible. But when Martin Luther Monotheist says "we should treat people equally because God made us brothers" this is a no-fly zone. Dubious, no?

Of course, we look for the assurance from politicians that they don't hold too many "primitive" values that we don't share. But unless we are *very convinced* of the efficacy of rational debate, it should matter less whether these primitive are underwritten by a religious tradition, a cultural tradition, or reason alone.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:42 PM
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Liberals don't spend time dissecting those charges because they are politically uninteresting and irrelevant. It doesn't matter what right-wing extremists think about Obama's religion; it sure does matter what they think about Romney's.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:43 PM
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104--
yeah, i think that would wrench things pretty far off topic.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:44 PM
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I can't imagine that he's actually concealing any theologically-based distaste for Mormons that he doesn't have for members of any conservative religion, including evangelical Christians.

Actually, he's come out and said that he thinks Mormonism is weirder than other religions because it makes various historical claims that can be readily disproven, while Christianity and Judaism only make absurd claims that are physically impossible. Which only shows that Yglesias is ignorant of the various historical claims made by Christianity and Judaism that can be readily disproven.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:45 PM
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My problem with Romney isn't that he's a Mormon, it's that he was CEO of Bain Capital. Why do people keep electing successful corporate climbers to public office? Half the problem with the U.S. is that the executive branch seems to think of citizens as employees. Inconveniently, you can't fire them, so if they step out of line all you can do is gas them or tase them. Or put them in for-profit prisons so your friends can make some money off them. The qualities that bring success within corporations are respect for hierarchy, loyalty to immediate superiors, willingness to conform, secrecy, the strong desire to monetize everything, and total indifference to the actual well-being of anyone but shareholders. The Republican party thinks it's Microsoft, and wants to crush the competition. Also we're all fucked./McManus]


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:46 PM
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Pwnd yet again by strasmangelo, which isn't something I often say.

He's going to feel more alienated from a Mormon the more intensely invested in and adherent to traditional Mormon theology that Mormon is.

Ya know, Mormon theology doesn't really work like this. The "every righteous man will be a Jesus for his own planet" business means very, very little, even for deeply religious people: it's a faraway receding goal of almost-impossible perfectability. Most Mormons I know heard about this doctrine for the first time at school: nobody ever talks about it at church. Ever. Maybe it's something that's important in Temple practices, but I don't know much about that.

Most garment-wearing Mormons I know are pretty pragmatic about the holy underwear, too: it's what's done, it's part of the ritual of adulthood, they get used to it, and they occasionally get embarrassed about it. I've never even heard about folkloric "garments stop bullets" stuff, although I'm sure it's out there somewhere.

When I was a kid into theology, nobody at church could answer my questions. They just weren't interested in it. That wasn't what being Mormon meant to them. So it's really, really odd to see all of these doctrinal points brought up by sorta cynical observers and flattened, as though each were of equal relevance to a Mormon life.

I knew a Mormon major Presidential candidate was going to be a wild ride, but I never really expected that by the end of it Mormons would be considered more marginal.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:47 PM
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108 is right. Also, when did the various liberal bloggers swallow whole the "Romney is the least-bad Republican" line? Because that seems to be treated like gospel among the usual Tapped crowd without any serious argument in its favor.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:49 PM
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109--
but again, jm, the question is: who put doctrines into the limelight?
and the answer is: right-wing, theocratic republicans, when they started erecting religious tests for office and saying that atheists need not apply.
once they have put them in the lime-light, then doctrines, to quote karl rove, are fair game.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:49 PM
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25: he was right to do it, just as Kennedy did.

TLL, He would have been right to do it, if he had done it as Kennedy did. Instead, he did pretty much the exact opposite of what Kennedy did, in that he demanded a bright-line religious test for holding the presidency. Romney explicitly endorsed a religious test for the presidency - he just wanted to make the case that he passes the test. It's despicable and un-American.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:49 PM
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110--
so tell us a republican who is less bad.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:50 PM
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109: Ya know, Mormon theology doesn't really work like this. The "every righteous man will be a Jesus for his own planet" business means very, very little, even for deeply religious people: it's a faraway receding goal of almost-impossible perfectability.

I don't think this contradicts what I said, though. You're saying that the doctrinal differences aren't a big thing for most Mormons, and that makes perfect sense to me. But the political question is whether the sort of evangelical Christian who votes based on perceived religious kinship is going to view the doctrinal differences as a big thing, and that turns on how Baptists or whoever think about their doctrine, not about how Mormons think about theirs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:52 PM
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108: Is exactly correct.

It seems that in American politics as currently instantiated, it is vitally important that you can say a few catch phrases, and maintain the premise of a `faith' in some minimally plausible way. It doesn't seem to be at all important that you instantiate the tenets of the faith you proclaim in any meaninful way, either personally or publically.

Who was the last genuinely religious President? Carter? He's hardly held up as an ideal these days (although I think generally respected in his post-presidential life -- what's that joke about the best ex-president?)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:53 PM
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"see all of these doctrinal points . . . flattened, as though each were of equal relevance to a Mormon life"

Great phrasing, JM.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:53 PM
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109: I think part of the problem is that a lot of this discussion is taking place among pundits (like Yglesias) who've never been religious, and don't really realize that the intricacies of a religion's particular theology don't really matter to that many people. I kind of doubt that my grandmother really believed that the wafer and the wine literally transform into Jesus's body and blood, but I don't think she spent too much time worrying about it - it was just important that she and her friends and family go through the ritual together on a regular basis.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:54 PM
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Actually, he's come out and said that he thinks Mormonism is weirder than other religions because it makes various historical claims that can be readily disproven, while Christianity and Judaism only make absurd claims that are physically impossible.

This is an interesting insight into Sausagely -- a 19th Century newspaper has greater epistemological status than a 21st Century physics text.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:54 PM
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It's despicable.

Indeed.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:54 PM
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118: He still visits Unfogged every now and then, right? Someone should call him over here.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:56 PM
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the intricacies of a religion's particular theology don't really matter to that many people.

I really do think this gets overstated. Sure, there are a lot of people who go to church for the donuts, but there are a lot of people out there with a strong attachment to doctrines that they believe are empirical facts about reality. (At all sorts of levels of sophistication, of course -- someone might have strong attachment to doctrines while being wrong about the doctrines of what they believed to be their religion were.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:57 PM
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118: Well, to be fair, Mormonism also makes physically impossible claims. So it's an additive impossibility.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:57 PM
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109: My experience is that most people in most religions aren't particularly interested in theology, any more than they are interested in metaphysics or epistemology. Really doctrine is a small part of what religion is about.

Even the people who get all up in arms about doctrine are rarely actually interested in theology. Mostly, they are looking to justify their prejudices and in love with the feeling of power granted by arcane knowledge.

That said, I find theology fascinating, and hope someone develops a doctrinometer, which can quantify exactly the distance between Mormonism, the southern Baptist convention, and the Catholic magisterium. We just need a good name for the unit of measurement.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:58 PM
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so tell us a republican who is less bad.

Wondering who's the "least-bad Republican" is bizarre and pointless exercise, like asking how many Laffer curves can dance on the head of a pin. They're all horrible; who cares if one is slightly smidgenly less horrible than another? I want more liberal pundits to start asking who's the least bad Democrat.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:58 PM
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Who was the last genuinely religious President?

Clinton was a regular churchgoer. Who knows what's in anyone's heart, but there's no reason to think he wasn't genuinely religious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:58 PM
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We just need a good name for the unit of measurement.

A "rev."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 1:59 PM
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Wondering who's the "least-bad Republican" is bizarre and pointless exercise, like asking how many Laffer curves can dance on the head of a pin. They're all horrible; who cares if one is slightly smidgenly less horrible than another?

Fair enough. In that case you shouldn't say you think someone was wrong for saying Romney is the LBR.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:00 PM
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That said, I find theology fascinating, and hope someone develops a doctrinometer, which can quantify exactly the distance between Mormonism, the southern Baptist convention, and the Catholic magisterium. We just need a good name for the unit of measurement.

Leaps of faith!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:00 PM
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Even the people who get all up in arms about doctrine are rarely actually interested in theology. Mostly, they are looking to justify their prejudices and in love with the feeling of power granted by arcane knowledge.

Very nicely written.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:00 PM
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123--
"we need a good name for the measurement."

one credum, many creda.
("credum" abbreviates "credo quia absurdum").


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:00 PM
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but again, jm, the question is: who put doctrines into the limelight?

Many here are too young to remember that Mitt's father was a credible presidential candidate. No one at the time took the slightest interest in his religion--his campaign fell apart because he tried to change his position on Vietnam. How far we've come.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:00 PM
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122: Well, to be fair, Mormonism also religion, by definition, makes physically impossible claims


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:01 PM
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Mormonism has the problem of being invented recently when there was a paper of record. It's easy to get around this problem with many other religions: it was written a long time ago, as a poem, in another language, by people with a different culture, may have been intended as allegory. It's a little harder when people can see you make the changes right there as opposed to having to figure out in which Egyptian dynasty there was a slave revolt.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:02 PM
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Many here are too young to remember that Mitt's father was a credible presidential candidate.

I grow weary of people in public life trying to vindicate their fathers' ambitions.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:02 PM
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125: Sorry, I should have made that statment stronger ... I meant `genuinely religious president', rather than president who happened to be religious. It was bad terminology

Perhaps I was just to young to remember Carter properly, but my impression was that he was up front about his religous convicitons informing his political convictions (and he was up front about that). Clinton seemed happy to keep them seperate (insomuch as that can be made sensibe). Bush Jr. and Reagan always struck me (rightly or wrongly) as `religous' as a matter of public persona, and Bush Sr. I don't think I really have a good read on.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:03 PM
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Sure, there are a lot of people who go to church for the donuts, but there are a lot of people out there with a strong attachment to doctrines that they believe are empirical facts about reality.

But they believe in that theology because it's part of the package the religion offers them, and that package includes the other stuff that really is affecting, like a sense of purpose, community, tradition, etc. I promise you no one has converted to a religion because the theological dogmas of that religion actually were totally persuasive over the theological dogmas they were raised with - people join a religion because it offers them a place to go and something to feel that they don't think they can get elsewhere, and they join the religion that best provides that feeling. You can call it "going to church for the donuts" if you'd like, but that's why anyone goes to church at all.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:03 PM
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But the political question is whether the sort of evangelical Christian who votes based on perceived religious kinship is going to view the doctrinal differences as a big thing

There's something rather indecent about rolling this meta-bigotry around on one's tongue over and over again.

Some people say that Hillary Clinton's large hips will turn off male Iowan primary voters! Joining me now are three experts to talk about Clinton's gigantic hips....

Some Democratic analysts are concerned that the widespread perception of Barack Obama as a Muslim may negatively impact his Presidential chances, seeing as the same people who believe Obama to be a Muslim believe that Muslims are jihadist scum. Joining me to discuss whether Obama is a good Muslim or jihadist scum are four scholars on Islam and terrorism....


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:04 PM
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so tell us a republican who is less bad.

Scrounging around in a barrel for the least-rotten apple only makes sense if you are starving to death.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:05 PM
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it was just important that she and her friends and family go through the ritual together on a regular basis

I honestly don't get this. Why's it important, if you don't believe?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:05 PM
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I don't believe you can make that promise. Look, I'm as much of a secularist as you are, possibly more so if you have any beliefs at all. But what you're saying here is that everyone who thinks of themselves as religious knows it's all bullshit in their heart, and I'm not convinced of that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:05 PM
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I think 114 is right, and I think Romney knows it. He's certainly not presenting himself as someone who merely needs to say that he's Mormon and expect that most of his listeners will think that he's their brand of Christian. I doubt most of them could enumerate the doctrinal differences, but they've probably heard 'not really Christians' in some form most of their lives.

128: one climacus, two climaci. "Clim" for short.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:05 PM
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I promise you no one has converted to a religion because the theological dogmas of that religion actually were totally persuasive over the theological dogmas they were raised with

My exbeforelast did this. Suck it, Strasmangelo!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:06 PM
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I promise you no one has converted to a religion because the theological dogmas of that religion actually were totally persuasive over the theological dogmas they were raised with

This is incorrect. I'll agree it's not likely to be widespread, but it does happen.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:07 PM
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But what you're saying here is that everyone who thinks of themselves as religious knows it's all bullshit in their heart, and I'm not convinced of that.

That's not what I'm saying at all. What I'm saying is that the benefits a religion says it provides to its members (a way to the eternal paradise of heaven through the sacrifice of Jesus, the son of God, for instance) is different from the benefits it actually provides to its members (a sense of community, purpose, tradition, etc.). A devout member of a religion will no doubt fervently believe the dogmas and doctrines of his or her religion, and if you ask them what they're getting out of Christianity or Islam or what have you, they'll give you the theologically correct answer. But I don't think that's what they're actually getting. And I don't think this is a controversial view in the least.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:10 PM
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My exbeforelast did this. Suck it, Strasmangelo!

Your ex is wrong.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:11 PM
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unit of measurement
Rubes.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:11 PM
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137--
look, jm, the reason why these cases are not the same is because *i am a victim of this bigotry*. not the meta-bigotry we're discussing; the object-level, religious bigotry.
i and everyone else who was told by bush senior that we could not be real citizens because we were not christians.

this isn't just a game, or idle horse-race watching.

now, having been the victims of this sort of bigotry, we are asking: are the bigots going to keep it up? are they at least going to be consistently bigoted against *all* non-christians?
or were we the victims of political bigotry as well?

if you think hips are relevant, then here's how: imagine that you're a big-hipped black woman who has lost an audition on broadway, and they tell you it's because your hips are too big.
that's irritating and discriminatory.
but now imagine that the part winds up going to some white chick whose hips are even broader.
now you know that you were the victim not only of anti-fat prejudice, but straight forward racial prejudice as well.

you may find this conversation distasteful, but don't think it's meta because its for our amusement. it's meta because we're trying to discern the contours of the bigotry, and how many kinds are in play--and some of us have already experienced some of them.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:11 PM
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This is an interesting insight into Sausagely -- a 19th Century newspaper has greater epistemological status than a 21st Century physics text.

Brilliantly put, LB, and on the money for more than one liberal pundit. Look, these are mostly guys who did well in English Lit and maybe History, but shy away from the science. I have had actual real-live conversations with liberal pundits who say they don't find arguments for evolution by natural scientists or for the creation of the universe by physicists at all persuasive.

Which is the humanities-educated way of saying, "I didn't get it, and I don't like it, so I'll blame the argument instead of myself."

I think this is really appalling, but I also think I don't know what to do about it.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:12 PM
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144: This seems to boil down to "I, Stras, am an atheist, and therefore consider doctrinal matters unimportant. Whatever religious people think about their doctrines is unimportant because it's all false, and the only important thing about religion is the social effects." And, sure, I'm an atheist too. But the doctrines are important if you're talking about what religious people care about and think about, and what they're likely to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:14 PM
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actual real-live conversations with liberal pundits

Name names!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:14 PM
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142 & 143: especially if you allow for people who find that atheism is "totally persuasive over the theological dogmas they were raised with"


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:15 PM
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Don't worry slol, if the christian right has their way the only people who will understand science in this country two generations from now will be foreign graduate students. Then all those pesky arguments go away.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:15 PM
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Name names!

Ummmm... no.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:16 PM
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148--
eh, i don't think your description applies much to matt, any more than lb's original bon mot did.
there are standard theological ways of reconciling 21st century physics to religious doctrine; i think they're crap, but many religious people don't. matt probably met them while hanging out among philosophers, and so is familiar with the fact that 21st century physics texts are actually pretty weak rhetorical ammunition against believers.
that, i think, explains matt's relative weighting of the evidence, rather than any 'two cultures' snow job.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:16 PM
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Why's it important, if you don't believe?

Think of it like Thanksgiving. You don't have to believe in the bullshit about the first Thanksgiving to enjoy having the tradition of family gathering and going through the same rituals you go through every year.

This is something I think most American Jews get at an instinctual level. While I don't observe at all anymore, there's still something very powerful about traditional services to me; the sense of history I get from the practice of services is very powerful.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:16 PM
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148: Yeah, I know people like that too. (Although admittedly I take cosmology on faith. Natural selection I can follow, but the Big Bang and associated stuff for me is "Golly, I guess if smart people think it's true, I don't have any reason to think different." But that's not important.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:16 PM
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151: Yes, even moreso.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:16 PM
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154: Some religous doctrines are irreconcilable with science in any meaningful way, as far as I can see (young-earthers, for example).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:18 PM
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we are asking: are the bigots going to keep it up? are they at least going to be consistently bigoted against *all* non-christians?

What I am watching is the normalisation of the definition of LDS as non-Christians. What I am watching is "the bigots think Mormons aren't Christians, and won't vote for Romney because of that (boo!), but because I don't really care either way, I can say that Mormons really aren't Christians and not be a bigot."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:19 PM
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You don't have to believe in the bullshit about the first Thanksgiving to enjoy having the tradition of family gathering and going through the same rituals you go through every year.

Yeah, with the important difference that the bullshit about the first Thanksgiving is about meeting people who are different from you and not killing them, whereas the bullshit about most religions is meeting people who are different from you and setting them on fire.

I kind of like the friendly bullshit and not the unfriendly bullshit. Look, I was raised in no kind of religious tradition at all, but Linus's speech in A Charlie Brown Christmas still makes me cry.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:20 PM
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149: No, that's really not it either. Look, I've been religious, I've been to church, I understand the appeal of religion. That appeal is largely an emotional appeal. No one becomes a Christian because they stroke their chin one evening and say, "You know, this story about a triple-god being incarnating as a human and sacrificing itself to atone for the existence of a nebulously defined 'sin-nature' really does make more sense than the one about the prophet in the cave who takes dictation from an angel." They become Christian because they know Christians and see something admirable in them and their community and want to become a part of it.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:20 PM
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159--
i'd like not to be a bigot.
does that require me to positively affirm that mormons are christians?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:20 PM
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159: Isn't this distinction made problematic by the fact that for a lot of evangelicals most christians aren't christians? Would it be easier if `evangelical' was prepended in all the appropriate places?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:21 PM
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No one becomes a Christian because they stroke their chin one evening and say, "You know, this story about a triple-god being incarnating as a human and sacrificing itself to atone for the existence of a nebulously defined 'sin-nature' really does make more sense than the one about the prophet in the cave who takes dictation from an angel."

My exbeforelast did this. Suck it, Strasmangelo!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:21 PM
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the Big Bang and associated stuff for me

Try Alex Vilenkin's relatively recent book, see what you think.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:21 PM
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158--
agreed.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:21 PM
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My exbeforelast did this. Suck it, Strasmangelo!

You're still wrong.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:23 PM
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Yeah, with the important difference that the bullshit about the first Thanksgiving is about meeting people who are different from you and not killing them, whereas the bullshit about most religions is meeting people who are different from you and setting them on fire.

Yeah, but I kinda doubt that stras's granny was into burning the heretics. Although maybe I'm wrong and that's why he's so passionate about this.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:23 PM
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What I am watching is the normalisation of the definition of LDS as non-Christians.

If it makes you feel better, JM, from where I'm sitting they're all worshipers of a false messiah.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:24 PM
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160--
charlie brown's christmas! woo-hoo! a flag-ship event for the secularization of a christian culture.
hey kids--let's replace dogma with sentiment!
i'm all for that--in line with the jamesian dictum that the three most important rules of ethics are 'be kind; be kind; and be kind".

yeah, charlie brown. and the halloween special takes it even further--it pretty much says that faith is for suckers.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:24 PM
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but I kinda doubt that stras's granny was into burning the heretics

But this is my point: if you want to get together with your neighbors once a week, sing songs, and eat cookies, why don't you do it without the reassuring recitation of a creed that labels everyone else as a heretic who, if you don't burn them now, well, God will burn them later?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:24 PM
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Brilliantly put, LB, and on the money for more than one liberal pundit. Look, these are mostly guys who did well in English Lit and maybe History, but shy away from the science.

Alternatively, maybe they're just occasionally lazy, and take the closest argument to hand without looking at it to carefully. Or they're uncomfortable, for various reasons, with the source of their actual discomfort with Mormonism: they don't know all that many Mormons, and the ones they do know are a little too Very Brady Christmas Special.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:25 PM
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161: I disagree with this completely. The appeal of religion for many people seems to be be as you describe, and may even be why they converted (assuming conversion). This really doesn't seem to be universal though. Some people are just seeking answers. It's not about community, it's not about the people they see, it really is about them being ok with the world and feeling like they've made sense of it. I've even seen this is in teh face of active rejection of the community. In other words, your `Nobody ever ...' is just wrong. Some people do.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:26 PM
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I refused to be lectured by a man who had no sole, until I met a man who had no feet.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:26 PM
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170: Wow - that's actually the most brilliant contrarian reading of the Peanuts specials I've seen.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:26 PM
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There's been an argumentative slippage in this thread from whether or not the intricacies (or basics, really) of doctrine matter to many people to whether or not the doctrines motivate religious behavior in the first place, these are emphatically different. 117 and 121 are talking about the former, 136 and on the latter.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:27 PM
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Isn't the problem with Mormonism that they haven't had an Augustine and Aquinas come along to make the weird parts of the doctrine interesting and fruitful?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:27 PM
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159: What I am watching is the normalisation of the definition of LDS as non-Christians.

Tell me to back off or drop it if I'm being obnoxious, because I'm getting the impression that I'm somewhere either really close to or over the line, and I don't want to be a jerk. That said, why is this more than a vocabulary problem? There's a bunch of sects that are fairly closely doctrinally related: Catholics, Orthodox, most varieties of Protestant. And within that group, they'll mostly refer to themselves and the other sects as Christians (not always but usually). There are some other sects that are more doctrinally distant: Mormons, maybe Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists. And the sects in the first group are hesitant or unwilling to call the sects in the second group Christians.

For an atheist or a secularist, who's a Christian is entirely unimportant other than for social/political reasons. For believers, it's a matter of vocabulary and doctrine: someone in the first group probably uses the word Christian to refer to only that group, while someone in the second group probably uses it more broadly. What makes this more than a disagreement about usage?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:27 PM
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From a sheerly opportunistic and heartless point of view, I will be a little sad if Mormons start feeling like mainstream American Protestantism is totally down with the LDS, because I like the effect that this tension tends to have on Mormon politicians' appreciation of the value of the separation of church and state.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:27 PM
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165: I was a physics major at MIT. I've done a reasonable amount of reading, but I know when I've gotten to an argument that I'm not competent to evaluate, and in cosmology I'm there pretty fast.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:28 PM
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does that require me to positively affirm that mormons are christians?

It'd be nice if, as (I presume) neither an evangelical Christian nor a scholar of religious studies, you weren't invested in the question.

Would it be easier if `evangelical' was prepended in all the appropriate places?

It would help the conversation's politeness, but actually, Mormon beliefs don't exactly line up with the Nicene Creed, either. Last time we all talked about this, Emerson and I agreed in a quiet moment that Mormons were Christian heretics, a term which has the added value of reminding everyone that these are distinctions drawn by churches with the power to persecute.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:28 PM
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Yeah, with the important difference that the bullshit about the first Thanksgiving is about meeting people who are different from you and not killing them

Not killing them on that particular day, perhaps.

whereas the bullshit about most religions is meeting people who are different from you and setting them on fire

So by eating latkes last night, I endorsed smiting?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:28 PM
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171: This is why the Unitarians have the right idea.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:28 PM
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What makes this more than a disagreement about usage?

The part where infidels go to hell?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:29 PM
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173: I disagree completely too.

Everyone who's ever actually tried to persuade me to join their religion was someone for whom it somehow answered all their questions about why things are the way they are. Their logic made no sense, but it made them worry less and feel more hopeful.

Also, this thread has finally indicated to me that "soup biscuit" and "strasmangelo jones" are two different people. I'm sure you're quite different but your comments are superficially similar.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:29 PM
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But this is my point: if you want to get together with your neighbors once a week, sing songs, and eat cookies, why don't you do it without the reassuring recitation of a creed that labels everyone else as a heretic who, if you don't burn them now, well, God will burn them later?

Because most people aren't brought up that way. And besides, this is basically letting the crazies set the terms of the debate; I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of "religious" people in this country are just like stras's granny (presuming, again, she's not into burning the heretics) and think of religion from a perspective of praxis rather than doctrine.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:29 PM
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and in line with 178--
my 162 was not supposed to be a gotcha question, but rather a sincere one: *do* you think that the avoidance of bigotry requires me to classify mormons as christians?
or maybe just not to have any opinion one way or another?
(which is probably what i have done most of my life).


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:30 PM
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but shy away from the science.

I thought Yglesias acquitted himself well in the recent discussion of Saletan and race science.

they don't know all that many Mormons, and the ones they do know are a little too Very Brady Christmas Special.

I didn't realize the Bradys were Mormons. That explains a lot.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:30 PM
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So by eating latkes last night, I endorsed smiting?

But latkes aren't religious, they're ethnic. Now, when you eat latkes while reading the Haggadah, you're endorsing smiting.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:30 PM
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So by eating latkes last night, I endorsed smiting?

I know I did!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:31 PM
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I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of "religious" people in this country are just like stras's granny

Ah, see, of course. But that's not what this is all about. Nobody disputes your right to get together and agree that the Jews are going to hell, if that's what floats your boat. (Though honestly, I don't think you should enjoy tax-exempt status because you have your coffee with your friends under cover of believing that the Jews are going to hell.) What I dispute is, your right to import your peculiar religious values into politics, where they get turned into laws that require all of us to act as if they believed in your religion.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:34 PM
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184: But if it's about whether infidels go to hell, than the doctrinal differences really do matter, no?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:34 PM
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190--
hell yeah! the smiting brings out the flavor!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:35 PM
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when you eat latkes while reading the Haggadah, you're endorsing smiting

You're also a tad confused about your holidays.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:36 PM
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You're also a tad confused about your holidays.

Not me, my grandmother. Basically, always latkes.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:37 PM
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It'd be nice if, as (I presume) neither an evangelical Christian nor a scholar of religious studies, you weren't invested in the question.

The investment in the question comes from a strategic interest in preventing a noxious political coalition from broadening rather than falling into disarray. Not that anything that's said here or at Sausagely's place will have the least effect on that outcome.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:38 PM
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But it's not as if the Maccabees had potatoes, is it?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:38 PM
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*do* you think that the avoidance of bigotry requires me to classify mormons as christians?

The way I see it is this: Mormons call themselves Christians and think of themselves as Christians. Who am I to say they aren't?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:39 PM
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197--
watch your mouth!
next you'll be telling us that the early christians didn't have chocolate bunnies.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:40 PM
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Aha! That's where I last wrote about this question. If I recall correctly, smarter things got said in the comments, or at least I profoundly hope so. But do notice, everyone, how goddamned long this debate has been going on without its contours having meaningfully changed.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:40 PM
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181: That makes sense to me, but I'm still having trouble aligning your complaint with my take on the thread. Which I haven't been following religously, so may have missed something.

My take was that there is one group (US style Evangelical Protestants) that are both a significant power withing the GOP today, and quite judgemental about what `Christianity' means, in that they will reject many, many people (most) who self identify as Christian. Beyond that, there is a candidate (M.R.) whose religous affiliation is Mormon. This candidate is trying to assuage the fears of the first group --- in essence he is arguing not that Mormans are Christians, but a narrower claim that he, as a Mormon, should be an acceptable candidate too them, as US style Evangelical Protestants, by arguing that they have more similarity than difference or whatever. Oh, and by declaring that secularism is bad, and they can all agree about that.

So this is only interesting from the outside because of any interest one might have in the election and Romneys chances. How he plays

I dont' care how the evangelicals take to him as a matter of doctrine --- I don't want him anywhere near the white house for reasons unrelated to religion (except for his unacceptable appeal to desecularization of the state). However, if I'm interested in seeing the GOP fail to maintain the executive branch, I can be interested in the dynamics in that party without involving any Mormon bashing of my own.

Well, on that last: my position is more a pox on all your houses. So the bashing is equally distributed.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:40 PM
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Ogged's exbeforelast wrote a book.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:42 PM
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198--
well, but by parity of argument one could say:
"The way I see it is this: many christians refuse to call Mormons "Christians" and never think of them as Christians. Who am I to say they are?"
so maybe it should be resolved by asking "who owns the rights to the term "mormon"?" but maybe by asking "who owns the rights to the term "christian"?"
(i'm at least clear on the fact that i own nusssing! nusssing!!)


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:42 PM
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198 might be saying that believing oneself to be a member of a religious group is sufficient to actually be a member. If so, I disagree. It might rather be saying that non-members aren't in a position to determine who is and isn't a member, but members are. I think I disagree with this too, but am less sure.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:43 PM
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203: In general I call people what they want to be called, and not what bigots call them.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:44 PM
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200: Huh. The thing is, this: Being reminded that Mormon doesn't get to mean "Christian" or "decent folks" without a trial period and a debate just offends me.

is kind of a piss-off. Because I don't have any credentials at all to be "decent folks": I'm not even a Mormon. From a secular point of view, it's hard not to read this as endorsing the whole 'people of faith' bigotry, so long as Mormons get to be on the inside.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:45 PM
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204--
from yesterday's thread, i think we can at least conclude that they are not doctrinal catholics. thank god for clarity from the vatican.
and they're probably not ethnic or cultural catholics unless they're really, really confused.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:45 PM
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It's actually a combination of doctrinal & not-doctrinal reasons. I am NOT Christian, & would not consider any "unbelievers are damned to hell religion," because of doctrine. But the reason I'm converting to Judaism (reform--according to the Orthodox I will never be Jewish) rather than becoming UU are primarily family/aesthetic/ritual/community/non-doctrinal. I would buy that for most people the latter set of things trump doctrine, but to say "nobody does it because of X" you have to actually get inside the heads of too many strangers for it to be very plausible.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:45 PM
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I can be interested in the dynamics in that party without involving any Mormon bashing of my own.

That'll do.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:45 PM
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someone might have strong attachment to doctrines while being wrong about the doctrines of what they believed to be their religion were

Romney's task is much harder than Kennedy's was. Kennedy needed to assure that he wasn't going to take orders from a Pope. When Romney says 'freedom requires religion' and that 'radical violent Islam seeks to destroy us', he's reassuring his intended audience that, yes, religious values are vital to the Presidency. Then when he declares 'I believe in my Mormon faith' we're right back to where we started. If he doesn't explain doctrine, there's nothing at all in his speech to change anyone's mind. People aren't going to be swayed by whether Mormonism is technically Christianity. Only by showing that the Mormon doctrine is friendly to Christian doctrine can that be done.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:45 PM
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205: In general, I call people by the name they choose, but not by every descriptor they choose.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:46 PM
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why is it so much harder in this area than other to realize 'people disagree'


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:47 PM
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206.---Yeah, rereading that I was a little squeamish because that was really poorly phrased. I think Matt Wei/ner shows up in the comments and makes some good points?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:47 PM
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I believe the Mormons are the future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they posess inside.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:48 PM
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214--
didn't crosby stills & nash sing a song about this?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:49 PM
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203: Also, are Catholics Christians? Because according to Jack Chick they aren't. So should we have a big debate about whether Catholics "count" as Christians? Because there are all these theological differences! I of course would only be interested in such a debate as a purely disinterested, dispassionate observer of the political process.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:49 PM
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There's some merit to 205, except for the fact that there are well-defined definitions that JM alludes to in 181 that some groups fail and some groups don't. This isn't a matter of deciding that people who like to fuck stuffed animals should be called "plushies", their preferred term, rather than "teddyfuckers"; this is a long-established term of art by which Cornell is in the Ivy League and William and Mary isn't. Per rfts' comment above, I wish Romney's response to this had been an acknowledgment that basing civic decisions on whether or not someone can truthfully recite the Nicene Creed is a shitty and un-American idea in a nation formed for "the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination". But I guess if he had that sort of reaction, he wouldn't be the Mittster.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:50 PM
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215: You're thinking of "Teach Your Mormons Well" (Their father's hell, did slowly go by).


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:51 PM
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I believe that heebie has had the most insightful comments on this thread. I also believe I have spent too much time here, and must leave.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:51 PM
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104 sounds like some process liberalism stuff wheres mcmanos when you need him ???


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:52 PM
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This isn't a matter of deciding that people who like to fuck stuffed animals should be called "plushies", their preferred term, rather than "teddyfuckers";

I defer to CareBear doctrine here.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:52 PM
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i thought she is hot
beautiful hair
http://www.pastormelissascott.com/index.html


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:53 PM
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203--
sure, baby, i think it's a live debate. catholics are idolaters, mary-worshippers, etc. etc.
my point in 203 was only to question whether your 198 was such a great argument (that was the 'parity' point).

and as to the political thing: if the theocons *rejected* a group that was many creda away from their views, allegedly on doctrinal grounds, but then *embraced* the catholics, despite their being more creda away, then i think it would be right to say: hold on there, rev. dobson: aren't you committed to the view that catholics are not christians? and aren't you revealing yourself to be full of shit now by accepting them as christians, when you rejected that other group whose actual view are closer?

so, yeah, bring it on.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:53 PM
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221: Most people don't call that "staring," but whatever floats your boat.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:54 PM
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209: Do you believe I've engaged in any?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:54 PM
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223: What?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:55 PM
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oops--my 223 was to your 216, which was to my 203.
zat help?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:56 PM
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I also really don't understand people trying to draw parallels between JFK's speech and Romney's. They are at cross purposes, nearly. It's a sad commentary on politics here that either were considered necessary by any significant number of people, for that matter. They are very, very different positions to take though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:56 PM
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In the interest of comity, why don't we just all agree that any organized religion anywhere in all of human history has been a force for evil?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:57 PM
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I also really don't understand people trying to draw parallels between JFK's speech and Romney's

But they both have good hair.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:57 PM
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why should thinking yourself to be something mean everyone has to take your word for it? isn't this like the guys in my suburban high school who thought they were thugs?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:58 PM
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229--
sifu tweety weighs the same as a duck!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:59 PM
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I also really don't understand people trying to draw parallels between JFK's speech and Romney's

But they both have good hair.

It is not my understanding that speeches may have hair. Doctrinally.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:59 PM
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The "News Analysis" of Romney's speech front page above the fold in the Boston Globe today was so absurdly, disgustingly fawning. I don't really understand what they were thinking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:59 PM
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Can we discuss Arianism tomorrow? Just to let y'all know I'm reading. I once told somebody that asking me if I was an atheist or agnostic was comparable to asking me if I was Arian or Theophysite. Jackmormon & Emerson agreed that Mormonism was a Christian heresy. Mighty white of you.

LB above about Sausegly granting more creedence to a 19th century newspaper than a 21st century science book is one of the more interesting comments. Of course Lincoln's assassination is more "true" than evolution. Truth is political.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:59 PM
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In the interest of comity, why don't we just all agree that any organized religion anywhere in all of human history has been a force for evil?

Because that's banal.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 2:59 PM
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227: No, I just couldn't make out what you were trying to say.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:00 PM
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But it's not as if the Maccabees had potatoes, is it?

You have no idea how pissed I was when I realized that THERE WAS NO CORN in Judea and Samaria. To my mind, that meant it should be a-ok during Pesach.

Also related: why I think chicken parmigiana should be kosher.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:00 PM
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Nothing worse than banal evil.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:00 PM
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236: banal like a fox!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:00 PM
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225.---I don't think you've consciously engaged in any, no. In 69 I did take sharp exception to a piece of poor phrasing, but that was because I was being generally cranky about a discourse that's going around (like a bad cold).

As per 217, yes, Mormons do actually fail the generally accepted doctrinal test for mainstream Nicene Christianity. Still, I prefer "Christian heretic" to "not Christian." Calling Mormons heretics is sufficiently judgmental that most people who aren't actually working for Inquisitorial bodies might just hesitate about their authority to use the term.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:01 PM
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Heretic like a fox!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:01 PM
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i'm somewhat simpathetic to the desire to keep 'christianity' to mean something pure and requiring some sacrifice to obtain. Lots of organization have specific ways to denote membership and have unpleasant initiation rituals or annual rites.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:02 PM
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What I dispute is, your right to import your peculiar religious values into politics, where they get turned into laws that require all of us to act as if they believed in your religion.

That's not where I came in. You were asking why stras's granny (who, I'd still like to emphasize, we don't know wants to burn the heretics) was attached to the practice of religion while not believing.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:03 PM
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242--
it's a good thing for you that i'm a firm believer in the theory that the repetition of non-funny things can make them funny.
(at least when other people do it.)


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:03 PM
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As per 217, yes, Mormons do actually fail the generally accepted doctrinal test for mainstream Nicene Christianity. Still, I prefer "Christian heretic" to "not Christian."

I think it's a nice piece of phrasing, and I'll teach you the heretical Unitarian secret handshake if I ever run into you.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:03 PM
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So. Is Adam Kotsko Christian?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:03 PM
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In French, Mormons would be called la renard, and they would be hunted with only their cunning to protect them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:03 PM
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heebie is a bigot! heebie is a bigot!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:04 PM
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Some days I think I might convert to Unitarianism. I like the unknowability of their vague, heretical doctrines, and of course the music's great.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:05 PM
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And 248 explains why it's OK that Romney dodged the draft.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:06 PM
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220:I apparently missed 104, darnit. Was reading a survey of 20th century German political theory this morning, so I would have good ammunition against liberalism if I could remember any of it. Kelsen, somebody named Kelsen. Rechtstaat.

One thing I got was how uncomfortable many of us are with ruling or being ruled. "The Law Rules" The People Rule" "The State, which is above Law & Nations, must rule."

Nah, you rule or are ruled by other people. The abstractions are worse than irrelevant.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:06 PM
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250--
huh? j.s. bach was a unitarian?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:07 PM
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Some days I think I might convert to Unitarianism. I like the unknowability of their vague, heretical doctrines, and of course the music's great.

We sang "Baby Beluga" and "Love is Like a Magic Penny" and "Dust in the Wind".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:07 PM
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241: Ok, I like to check. I don't think I'm bigotted that way, or rather I recognize I have certain knee-jerk negative reactions about organized religion, but don't really discriminate between them this way. I try to keep my prejudice more finely tuned than that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:07 PM
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251: It's okay for everyone to dodge the draft.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:08 PM
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So, did the speech achieve its purpose or not? I think it did, but one must wait for the preacher men to give it the official OK.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:08 PM
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heebie is a bigot! heebie is a bigot!

The biggest!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:09 PM
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254--
oh for crying out loud.
could you just do something tasteful and worship moloch instead?
(that way you could eat your babies *with* beluga.)
but really--if there is any excuse for switching religions, it is in order to trade up to better music.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:09 PM
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okay, say next year I convert to Judaism in a manner that is recognized as valid by Reform, Conservative & Reconstructionist Jews but not by Orthodox Jews, because I do not promise to keep kosher, destroy Amalek, or to comply with Jewish law or the 613 commandments in general. Say I have some kids, & also don't have them go through the Orthodox conversion process & have them visit the Christian relatives at Christmas, but otherwise raise them in a way that's indistinguishable from how my reform Jewish husband was raised. Do you see why it might piss me off for a people to explain to me how they're not atheists & don't have a dog in this fight, but obviously my kids aren't really Jewish?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:09 PM
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desire to keep 'christianity' to mean something pure and requiring some sacrifice to obtain

Wouldn't you have to go rather far back for historical precident?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:09 PM
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252: Rule of Law of course isn't an alternative to rule by men or women. Anyone writing as if it is is wrong. But it's far from an irrelevant abstraction, it's a better form of rule by men or women.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:09 PM
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260--
i assume you mean: "how they *are* atheists & don't etc."


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:10 PM
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The Unitarian churches around here have great, rather pricey recital programs. I'm doubt they're all free to card-carrying Unitarians, but I did think that the services would have good music.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:11 PM
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263: yes.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:11 PM
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265--
in that case: yes.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:11 PM
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Unitarians are generally famed for their terrible singing, I'm afraid.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:12 PM
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267--
for which they suffer eternal damnation.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:13 PM
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267 - We believe that each person can determine for themselves what it means to be on key.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:13 PM
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260: I can see how that could piss you off. I can't see how it relates to the speech.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:14 PM
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David Frum says:

To be blunt, Romney is saying:

It is legitimate to ask a candidate, "Is Jesus the son of God?"

But it is illegitimate to ask a candidate, "Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?"

It's odd how this issue is bringing out the sensible side of insensible conservatives.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:14 PM
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yeah, I've heard bad things about Unitarian music. Above average Sunday school, though.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:14 PM
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257: So, did the speech achieve its purpose or not? I think it did, but one must wait for the preacher men to give it the official OK.

I 'm glad you asked - via Hugh Hewitt (via 22) the answer is objectively yes. And who coud argue with his evidence?

Mitt Romney threw a long ball today and scored. There can be no objective argument against that conclusion. Why? Because Romney is running for the GOP nomination, and his remarks, both in delivery and substance, were lavishly praised by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, and James Dobson, not to mention Mark Steyn, Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:14 PM
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Unitarians are generally famed for their terrible singing, I'm afraid.

So I'd have to fall back on the appeal of the vague, heretical doctrine? Huh. I'm not sure that's really worth waking up early on a Sunday.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:14 PM
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270--
not the speech. yggles reaction to it, as well as the reaction of some of the unfoggedetariat.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:15 PM
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104:"isn't the general "public reasons" argument just bogus?" Yes, Rawls was a nincompoop.

Just kidding. Need to read some more Rorty. Umm, okay we can all settle our differences with baseball bats...or we can have pillow fights with amorphous abstractions. The argument has no more objective validity or value as argument as a street riot or sleepover. People are not moved by reason. Violence not as nice as cuddling.

But if you take a pillow to a baseball game you better look and act really tough.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:15 PM
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262. "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread."
-- Anatole France


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:15 PM
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Huh. I'm not sure that's really worth waking up early on a Sunday.

See, you're already thinking like a Unitarian!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:15 PM
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My favorite description of UUs (cribbed from George Will, of all people) is that they believe in one God at most.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:16 PM
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270: some people didn't seem to understand why JM objected to the idea that Mormons aren't Christians.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:16 PM
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I like that quote too.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:16 PM
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we can have pillow fights with amorphous abstractions.

Sounds hott.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:16 PM
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275: Ok, gotcha.

274: I suspect it's more a matter of picking the right congregation. I used to live down the street from one very near to a university with a big music school. They had some very good voices who may have primarily shown up for the singing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:16 PM
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279--
which is weird, given that unitarianism had a really strong and intellectually vibrant kick-off in the early 1800's in america.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:17 PM
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279: I quipped that once to a person I'd just met, when the topic of UU came up in conversation, and she quasi-lectured me about Wicca-ism. Jeez, lady, small talk much?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:18 PM
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238: Because chickens don't lactate?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:18 PM
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280: Yeah, I missed that subtext buried in the conversation I read as `why Evangelicals will/won't consider Mormons to be Christian, and does it matter to GOP voting patterns'


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:18 PM
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Wait, one God at most? I'm not ready to get that conventional.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:18 PM
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283.2

good lawyers pick their jury.
great lawyers pick their congregation.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:19 PM
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284 - why is that weird?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:20 PM
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285--
heebie, you come well e-quipped.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:20 PM
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great lawyers pick their congregation.

this has a depressing ring of truth.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:20 PM
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286: Got it in one.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:22 PM
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I believe that there are either no gods or infinitely many gods. Where does that put me?

Oh, yes, supposedly working.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:22 PM
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290--
because it has descended into an intellectual mush, and a bit of a joke. (i mean, aside from the singing).
it had more promise back when.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:22 PM
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the early 1800's in america

Was a very weird and wonderful time for new religions of all sorts. However, the Unitarians came out of England. Yes, they flourished in the US (in Boston and NYC, particularly), but it's no Burnt-Over District religion.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:23 PM
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So I've been googling around trying to figure out just what it is that Mormons believe about the trinity, and I've run across a site that suggests that an "infinite regress of gods" is at least compatible with conventional Mormonism.

Two questions: (1) Is that true? and (2) How cool is that?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:26 PM
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293: I know! What is that?

Sephardic Jews can eat corn during passover, I think. I decided that I was as Sephardic as I was Ashenazic, & had tortillas.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:27 PM
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297 not necessarily just to JM.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:27 PM
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I belonged to a Unitarian youth group in the mid-to-late 80s. For no particular reason except that all the punk rock kids did. It didn't do all that much for me except hook me up with a better dealer.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:28 PM
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294: That violates the zero/one/inifinity law.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:29 PM
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It's a weird argument, but it seems to me that the word "heretic" is historically meaningful enough that it makes sense to agree that Mormons are heretics by the standards of almost all American Christians who believe in heresy at all (i.e., all non-ecumenical Christians). Catholics, most Protestants, and Greek and Russian Orthodox all share a lot of doctrine, and Mormons reject a lot of it and also have innovative beliefs unheard of in the old days.

Historically Mormons are Protestant heretics, like the Jehovah Witnesses and Adventists.

Maybe it's bigotry to vote only for Christians, but it isn't worse bigotry to refuse to call Mormons Christians. The whole point of doctrinal Christianity is that some doctrines are true and others not.

My ex-wife has flouted the Mormon church since about 1965 or so, but she's pissed off by the bigotry. She's weird about a lot of things, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:29 PM
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UU - the church for people who don't want to go to church but don't know how not to.

Next stop: The Ethical Culture Society.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:31 PM
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The Unitarians came out of Hungary and Poland. There still are hillbilly Unitarians and ancient hillbilly Unitarian churches in Hungary and Rumania.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:31 PM
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297: Genesis 1:2: "Goto Genesis 1:1"


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:33 PM
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Next stop: The Ethical Culture Society.

Someone once asked me if the Ethical Culture Society was a music venue with a funny name.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:33 PM
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300 also indicates a high degree of thinking-like-a-Unitarian.

296 - It's kind of a shame that the Scopes trial put a bullet in liberal-but-not-mainline Protestantism, as there's something fantastic about a religion that can make a well-known blarney purveyor and soulless New England political hack like Mitt Romney Bridgeport, CT, mayor Phineas Taylor Barnum write movingly and intelligently about his faith.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:33 PM
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297: "infinite regress of gods"

AKA "Turtles all the way around"?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:37 PM
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Balkin has a good line on Romney's speech:

"It is a little like a 1960s black civil rights leader arguing for racial tolerance by emphasizing how light skinned he was."


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:38 PM
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I've run across a site that suggests that an "infinite regress of gods" is at least compatible with conventional Mormonism.

It's at least compatible. However, the conventional Mormon view is that for this world, there is Christ and a little further behind him, his father.

The Unitarians came out of Hungary and Poland.

Do you mean the Moravians?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:38 PM
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"Turtles all the way around"

This is remarkably better than "all the way down."


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:39 PM
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306: [Ethical Culture Society] I don't think there are that many members left (unless it has grown recently), most are quite old, and they control some hot Manhattan real estate (and they have survived several challenges to their tax-exempt status) with the music hall thing going. So some good groundfloor opportunities for an ambitious young "ethical" person.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:43 PM
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312: Lots of famous people went to Fieldston, which I guess is now called Ethical Culture. But the school is still well enrolled, I think, if nothing else.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:46 PM
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Time for me to go talk to a notary public. Later, dudes!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:50 PM
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313: from Wikipedia:
The school ended its formal ties with the Society in the 1990s, although retaining its name and striving to maintain the ethical tradition of its roots. (get your Ethics right char for a mere $30K/yr )


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:57 PM
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315: Aha! See, I'm out of date.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:59 PM
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Sephardic Jews can eat corn during passover, I think.

That was another moment of betrayal, when I realized the rules were different for Sephardim than they were for Ashkenazim.

(Firefox spellcheck recognizes "Ashkenazim" but not "Sephardim"? Weird.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 3:59 PM
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317: They can also eat beans and rice.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 4:01 PM
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That was another moment of betrayal, when I realized the rules were different for Sephardim than they were for Ashkenazim.

Why would that be a moment of betrayal?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 4:01 PM
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Why would that be a moment of betrayal?

Because I'd been taught that the reason I couldn't eat corn during Pesach was because I was Jewish. To find out it was more complicated than that...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 4:13 PM
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Just to be clear, and to vindicate my grandmother, I meant that she served latkes during Passover, not that she read the Haggadah at Hanukkah.

See? Guilt.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 4:21 PM
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If chicken parmigiana should be kosher, you're halfway to this joke:

G-d: And remember Moses, in the laws of keeping Kosher, never cook a calf in its mother's milk. It is cruel.
Moses: Ohhhhhh! So you are saying we should never eat milk and meat together.

G-d: No, what I'm saying is, never cook a calf in its mother's milk.
Moses: Oh, Lord forgive my ignorance! What you are really saying is we should wait six hours after eating meat to eat milk so the two are not in our stomachs.

G-d: No, Moses, what I'm saying is, never cook a calf in it's mother's milk!!!
Moses: Oh, Lord! Please don't strike me down for my stupidity! What you mean is we should have a separate set of dishes for milk and a separate set for meat and if we make a mistake we have to bury that dish outside...

G-d: Moses, do whatever you want....


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 4:37 PM
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My question has been answered.

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2007/12/in-my-objective.html


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 4:56 PM
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298: The rabbis decided poultry looks enough like mammal meat that a passing observer might confuse them, so they're treated the same for purposes of kashrut. Fish, however, is obviously distinct.


Posted by: Bran Muffin | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 6:24 PM
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not that she read the Haggadah at Hanukkah.

I think that would be okay, as long as she wasn't simultaneously eating Haagen-Dazs.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 6:49 PM
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Am I permitted to read the Haggadah at Hanukkah if my reason for doing so is that it's gripping and I can't put it down?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 6:51 PM
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History of the Hungarian Unitarian Church

History of the Unitarians in England and American

Socinians in Poland

I'm a theology buff up to a point. That's why, even though I don't believe that stuff, it's clear to me that Mormons (along with Moonies, Witnesses, Adventists, and Unitarians) are heretics. It's sort of like knowing the rules of football without playing the game or even being a fan. It may all be bullshit, but to people who believe any of that stuff, the various sorts of BS are significantly different. (There are some ecumenical churches and doctrinally indifferent churches, but they're a small minority.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 6:54 PM
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327: True. One may recognize the profound worthlessness of Randy Moss without being well-schooled in football.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 6:58 PM
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Neener neener.
Best receiver ever, except maybe Rice. Maybe.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 7:00 PM
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Comparing Mormons to Baptists is not like comparing Baptists and Episcopalians. Mormon's wrote their own book, and according to Mormon doctrine, that book takes precedence over the New Testament. Kind of a big deal.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 7:39 PM
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With historical roots in the protestant reformation, UUism has at least as good a claim to being a Christian religion as Mormonism does. The main difference is that the Mormons added layers of theology, while Unitarian-Universalists stripped them away.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 8:08 PM
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UU has roots before the reformation...its not like it was a light bulb that couldn't go off over their heads till electricity was invented...its heretical but not creativly so...you might see this if african christians hadnt' goen muslim...all roads lead to rome...


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 8:39 PM
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Theologically speaking, yes, there are Unitarian roots in early Christianity. But as far as a denomination goes, I don't think there is any continuous line of Unitarian adherents that would links the modern UU church to anything prior to around the 16th century. Even the link between the American UUs and the Transylvanian
branch of Unitarianism are tenuous at best. Beyond sharing the same apostasy, there is very little in common.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 9:01 PM
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why is a continuous line important...each believer has their own experience of the divine...


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 9:07 PM
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Its only important in terms of tracing theological meme across a historical chronology. In terms of personal experience of the divine, you are right - its not very important at all.

My point was that the Unitarian meme pretty much died out and had to be recreated as part of the reformation, so I think that to claim "roots" of modern UUism prior to that is a stretch. Maybe it boils down to the question of what a "root" is?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 9:32 PM
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well in the sense that UU isn't really *different from what people used to call christianity and was inherent form the begining has a stronger claim than Mormonism.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 10:02 PM
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I thought the leap into heresy was not with the founding of Unitarianism, but with its transformation into Unitarian Universalism, which was in the US much and more recently.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 10:04 PM
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I do know an Armenian-American who belongs to a Unitarian Church here, at least in part because the theology is similar in part to that of the Armenian Church (misleadingly called the Armenian Orthodox Church even though they're heretics! Heretics! Heretics! -- specifically Monophysites.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 7-07 10:10 PM
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I know everyone's over at the Penthouse thread, but . . .

I thought the leap into heresy was not with the founding of Unitarianism but with its transformation into Unitarian Universalism, which was in the US much and more recently.

Nope. The U-U merger is extremely recent: 1961. Unitarians were called (and sometimes persecuted as) heretics beginning in the 15th century. People burned alive & etc. The heresy was believing in the "unity" of god rather than the trinity of father, son, holy spirit.

Universalism's main tenet was universal salvation -- less heretical, though enough persecution to drive some Universalists out of England to the States.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 8-07 8:58 AM
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327:John, it is for me kinda of a Kierkeggaard/Marxist thing, just to drop names uselessly.

Emotional committment changes the epistemology.
To a large degree, men cannot understand feminism, singles can't understand marriage, liberals cannot understand Marxism, atheists cannot understand religion. Visaversa & all that.

Others can think I am crazy, but part of me is scared of reading Keynes to the point I really understand him. Seems to me everyone who does so becomes a Keynesian.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12- 8-07 11:27 AM
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340--
"Emotional committment changes the epistemology."
yeah, i just can't understand this.

(s'okay, bob, no reply warranted.)


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 12- 8-07 11:55 AM
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1.) gswift in 330:

Comparing Mormons to Baptists is not like comparing Baptists and Episcopalians. Mormon's wrote their own book, and according to Mormon doctrine, that book takes precedence over the New Testament. Kind of a big deal.

Yes, exactly. I don't know whether I count as a liberal Episcopalian. Theologically, I think of myself as more moderate. I'm fairly traditionalist which is not to say that I'm at all right-wing. I'm not comfortable calling Mormons Christians, because they're not even close to being orthodox, and the Trinity is maybe the defining feature of orthodox Christianity. Quick googling reveals that Mormons believe that God, the Father, has a physical body. Also not consistent with orthodox Christianity.

And I do believe in Hell, of a sort, but there's no fire and brimstone there, so the Evangelicals would say that I don't.

2.) Separately, yesterday I was really tired and unable to concentrate on reading, but not sleepy, so I didn't get up when the McLaughlin group came on my local PBS station. Lawrence O'Donnell was on with Eleanor Clift, Pat Robertson and someone else I'd never heard of. Lawrence O'Donnell was visibly upset that the media weren't going after Mitt for his Mormonism, since it was clearly screwy and its founder was a crook. Pat Robertson even sort of said that some Evangelical Christian beliefs about the end times were kind of outlandish too. (Is he Roman Catholic?)

The interesting thing that O'Donnell brought up was the church's past racism in not allowing blacks to serve in leadership positions. O'Donnell got very upset about Romney's pharse "the faith of my fathers," becasue it seemed to him that this meant that (unless he stated otherwise) Romney was a racist until 1978 when the church told him to change positions. O'Donnell seemed to want a public renunciation of the past or a statement of a personal, individual repudiation of the racist past. Buchanan then said that Christians had owned slaves both in ancient times and that they brought slavery to America, not the Mormons, but it was still odd. O'Donnell was really, visibly angry.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 8-07 2:37 PM
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O'donnell is usually really smooth and confident. I have the mclaughin group video rrs feed though so i'll watch it next week when it comes out.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 8-07 5:42 PM
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