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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/20/17

The Serialization of The 15% Solution: How the Repub. Religious Right Took Control of the US: 1981-2022, Preface, Part 2

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Then we come again to Mitt Romney. Particularly interesting is his Mormon faith, discussed very little during the campaign, but which is the basic formative influence in his thinking about life and the United States (20). For those concerned with the central political issue of the separation of church and state and the ever-expanding intrusion of religious doctrine into the law and politics (that is, the subject of this book at its core), in a word: yes. According to Frank Rich, "[Romney's] great passion [his Mormonism] is something he is determined to keep secret" (21). It is well-known that many Right-wing Christians (usually referred to by the polite name "evangelicals" even though there are many evangelicals who are not right-wing) refer to Mormonism as a cult, and the evidence contained in the Book of Mormon 22) (see also 23) to the contrary notwithstanding, "not Christian." But such complaints generally don't make it to the national stage.

A New York Times article about Romney, Mormonism and his personal Mormonism also deserves mention (24). The information contained in it, drawn from friends, colleagues and fellow Mormon activists (and he is, or at least has been, a Mormon activist), raised some serious concerns. In historical Mormonism, the church and state were fully integrated in the person of Brigham Young. Of course, it has not been, on paper at least, since 1890 when Utah made its deal to join the Union. But the important point was, where did Romney stand on this question? As of this writing (August, 2012) he had not answered it directly. But what he did say in the vicinity of the question must give pause for thought to those of us concerned with maintaining that separation.

His Liberty University Commencement Address (25) of 2012 contained such phrases as: "Marriage is the relationship between one man and one woman," a definition that is derived from religious texts (and of course a definition to which the Mormon Church did not adhere until 1890, and at least one of his grandfathers had five wives, one of which was presumably one of his grandmothers [but those are other stories]). And "But from the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man." And "there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action." Rhetorically at least, he believes that the United States was chosen by God to play a special role in history, and that our Constitution was "divinely inspired." He has also professed the view that "America is the [Biblical] Promised Land." Finally, Romney prays frequently, feels that he has a direct connection to "God," and indeed engages in conversations with "God," asking for guidance in making decisions, even about matters of investment. Now, one would have no objection to Tevye talking with "God" in "Fiddler on the Roof." But for someone who would be President of the United States the questions do arise: what is the nature of these conversations; how often do they occur; what influence do "God's" answers have on his decision-making, does "God" accept the principle of the separation of church and state and if so, how does Romney find that his conversations with "God" are consistent with this principle.

Other Republicans and the "Supremacy of God"

As it happens, these references to "God" and his/her/its influence on the affairs of state are not confined to major Republican candidates for their party's nomination for the Presidency in 2012. For example, in 1996 Patrick Buchanan said: "We're on the verge of taking [the Republican Party] back as prelude to taking back our country as prelude to taking back the destiny of America, and when we get there, my friends, we will be obedient to one sovereign America and that is the sovereign of God himself" (26). But that's Pat Buchanan. Is there a higher authority on the role of the Higher Authority?

How about one of George W. Bush's two favorite Supreme Court Justices, Antonin Scalia, considered by many to be the representative exemplar for the Republican Religious Right? Beginning with a quote from St. Paul as his thoughts are represented in the New Testament, Scalia had this to say about the subject (27):

"'For there is no power but of God [St. Paul is said to have said]; the powers that be are ordained of God. . . . The Lord repaid --- did justice --- through his minister, the state. . . .' "[This was the consensus] of Christian or religious thought regarding the powers of the state. . . . That consensus has been upset, I think, by the emergence of democracy. . . . The reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it, but the resolution to combat it as effectively as possible [emphasis added]."

Justice Scalia is still fighting the dyed-in-the-wool religionists' battle against The Enlightenment which, ironically enough, was the inspiration of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Further, Scalia has said on more than one occasion that he thinks that there is some divine "authority" standing above the Constitution (28). His soul mate Clarence Thomas does too. Scalia could have written the book's "33rd Amendment" himself.

Of course there is no mention of such an authority, God or otherwise, standing above its precepts and proscripts in the Constitution itself, and it was written by the Founding Fathers to be the supreme law of the land. But Scalia is in a position to interpret the document and say "what it really means." So much for the Doctrine of Original Intent. Too bad I didn't have the above quote from Scalia at the time I wrote the book. I would have made it the rallying cry of the Republican-Christian Alliance as they proceed to use the Constitutional amendment process to destroy the Constitution and convert the United States into a "Christian Nation."

Finally on this point, like Mitt Romney, Pres. George W. Bush has been quoted as claiming something that Jefferson Davis Hague never did, even at the height of his powers: that he acts under the direct instructions of God. The quote came from what the leading Israeli daily Haaretz (29) stated was the transcript of the conversation of a meeting between Bush and the Prime Ministers of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas on June 25, 2003. No denial of its validity ever came from the White House. And so:

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
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