If any of you have watched the news at all in the last few months, it might not be a surprise to you that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. In fact, it's pretty much the only thing a lot of people now about him and his candidacy. It's practically what he stands for. What may actually surprise a number of you though, is that during the second GOP debate, we watched Mitt Romney apostatize himself from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Moderator Brit Hume (of Fox News fame) laid out a 24 esque hypothetical terrorist scenario about ticking time bombs and mass death in American supermarkets. He then asked, and we're paraphrasing here, "If a group of terrorists connected with the bombings, are captured in Florida and then sent to Guantanamo Bay for interrogation, should we torture them if they have information about future attacks?"
John McCain answered (again, paraphrasing): "I was tortured in Vietnam and it was grossly inhumane. If those roles were reversed, and we as Americans were the ones torturing, we would lose all respect and dignity. We don't torture people. And besides, the people you torture would just end up telling you what you wanted to hear and not necessarily the truth."
His response was answered with stone cold silence from the audience.
To paraphrase Rudy Giuliani: "Yes! Do whatever you have to do to those people to get them to talk! Whatever necessary! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11! Remember when I was there, in New York, on 9/11?"
The audience erupted into applause.
Then it was Mitt Romney's turn. This is his exact quote:
"You said they're at Guantanamo? I'm glad they're at Guantanamo. I don't want them on our soil. I want them at Guantanamo where they don't get the access to lawyers that they'd get when they're on our soil. I don't want them in our prisons, I want them there. Some people say that we should close Guantanamo, my view is: We outta double Guantanamo."
The audience burst into thunderous applause.
He then finished: "Enhanced interrogation techniques need to be used."
So Mitt Romney has it out for habeas corpus? He's against due process of law? He's all about torturing human beings? We'd bet his excommunication letter is coming in the mail faster than those sent out to all those Mormon feminists who supported the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. I mean if the church excommunicates women for wanting equal rights, then a pro-torture, anti-Constitution church member is totally screwed.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there is something called the Articles of Faith. It's sort of like a Mormon version of the Ten Commandments. The 12th article discusses the need to obey, honor and sustain the law (the Constitution). Advocating the denial of basic constitutional rights (which Americans deeply believe are unalienable and God-given) is in direct contradiction to this article. The 13th article also calls for members to be benevolent, virtuous and good to all men (emphasis added).
I fail to see where torture (whoops, sorry, we mean "enhanced interrogation techniques") fits into benevolence, virtuosity or being good to anyone.
In The Book Of Mormon, which is another book of scripture used by Mormons, it is claimed that Christ came to America following the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection and preached to the people here. According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus is said to have taught the following:
"And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy, but I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.
That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven."
And then in an alleged revelation to Joseph Smith, Christ said:
"And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me."
Despite George Bush and Alberto Gonzales' recent best efforts, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the constitutional right of people to seek writs of habeas corpus even when declared enemy combatants.
Mitt Romney's statements and political standings fly in the face of so many teachings of the church he claims active allegiance to.
We've also noticed that every pundit, analyst and news maker in the world wonders whether or not his Mormonism is going to affect his candidacy.
Personally, we really don't care if he's a Mormon. We know plenty of Mormons (one of us (Steve) is Mormon and went on a church mission) and they run the gamut of scholars and saints to zealots and morons so the "Mormon" issue really isn't a big deal. They consist of good and bad people just like any other organization, religious or otherwise.
The problem with Mitt Romney, in our minds, is his willingness to say anything to get elected. Including renouncing the teachings of the church he's become such a national role model for.