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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/15/11

How Crazy is Too Crazy to be President?

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This seems as good a time as any to raise a question that grows in importance with each passing day:

How crazy must a candidate's personal/religious beliefs be before he/she is deemed too crazy to run the most powerful nation on the planet?

The far right has laid down its own disqualifying markers for liberal candidates -- ├'he├•s community organizer" and "he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism," or "he doesn't believe the unborn have a right to life," or "he's believes socialism is better than capitalism," etc. etc. yada yada yada.

So isn't it time the left start setting down its own disqualification markers?

Let's take this week's announcement by Mitt Romney's announcement he's running for the GOP nomination. Romney is a practicing Mormon and, if you think believing socialism holds the solutions to our nation's problems is disqualifyingly crazy, try Mormonism on for size:

"There is some  profoundly crazy stuff in Mormonism. The magic underwear. The retroactive baptism of the dead. Getting to be a god on your own planet after you die. The Garden of Eden being in Missouri. The foundational story of Joseph Smith reading secret magical golden plates through a magic hat. The baptismal font sitting on the backs of 12 cows. (Okay, fine, oxen. Still.)

The washings and anointings and veils and temple garments and secret handshakes and other highly ritualized pseudo-Masonic ceremonies. Lying for the Lord.

(No, really. Look it up.)

The casual shrugging-off of well-known, thoroughly documented facts of history and archaeology that contradict Church doctrine. The shameless, barefaced retroactive continuity, to the point of actually lying about the religion's history. ("Polygamy is not a central tenet of Mormonism, and it never was. Racial bigotry is not a central tenet of Mormonism, and it never was. Stop looking at the Book of Mormon. No, stop it. We'll tell you what our religion says, thank you very much.")

Mormonism loves to present a wholesome, clean-cut image of almost obsessive normality to the public... but when you scratch the surface, what you see is howling, chaotic lunacy. That assessment may seem harsh -- but if these ideas were presented in any context other than a religious one, nobody would be debating it." (Full Article: Are All Religions Equally Crazy?)

Yeah, yeah, I know...we're supposed to show respect for differing beliefs. Sorry, I don't, I can't and I won't. Because all beliefs are not equally worthy of respect, at least for anyone with an active, curious, sane, mind. Sure, some beliefs, while whacky, can be quaint and harmless. Such beliefs are not necessarily worthy of respect, but I can live with them, especially if those who hold these whacky beliefs don't start insisting they be encoded into law.

But other beliefs are simply so crazy they can't help but raise serious questions about the mental state of those who openly claim to they hold them dear. I mean, hey, have your read the Book of Mormon? I have, and let me tell ya...move over Alice in Wonderland.

Here's a "church" started by Joseph Smith, a guy whose financial shenanigans show he had far more in common with Bernie Madoff than Jesus, a guy who liked under-age girls in ways that would get him arrested today (or made Bishop in the Catholic Church)  a guy who taught that the Garden of Eden had actually been located in Missouri, and that American Indians were one of the lost tribes of Israel.

Smith knew all this because he claimed God showed him these truths through a hole in a stone (a Seer Stone) he found while digging a well one day.

Look, all I'm saying here is that we should start applying some modicum of sanity-vetting to candidates running for high public office. Because if, in what they say themselves is the most important part of their lives, their religion, they wholeheartedly believe things no modern, educated, sane person would believe, maybe they're not sane at all.

Would, for example, we elect someone president whose religion required they sacrificed a live goat or chicken in the Rose Garden every week? Would that be a belief-bridge-too-far? Would we be expected to sheep-like show "respect" for that one?

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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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