Oct 19 2011

Carlson: Passing the test

Published by at 9:03 am under Carlson

carlson
Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

The “chattering” class of political pundits and prognosticators is in full lather these days offering uninformed assessments regarding former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s prospects for winning the presidency given that so much of the GOP base today is comprised of self-described Christian evangelicals.

For these folks, most of who are in the south, Mormonism is a cult, not a religion. Some experts think over half the delegates to the National Republican Convention in 2012 will be self-professing evangelicals. Polls show only about 20 percent of this core base of the GOP could vote for a Mormon to be president.

Much is being written since a prominent Southern Baptist pastor with ties to Texas Governor Rick Perry charged that Mormonism is a cult, not a Christian faith. While the self-anointed political experts commenting on this may know something about analyzing polls, most are uninformed when it comes to actual knowledge about Mormonism.

Permit this pundit a few observations.

First, Governor Romney can win the 2012 presidential election for the simple reason that a desire to retire President Obama will trump all concerns regarding his religion. Regardless of one’s political bias, most objective perspectives would concede that so far Romney’s campaign strategy has been smart, well-implemented and soundly executed.

He has been the “steady Eddie” of the field, staying focused on his message that he is the most qualified to lead an economic turn-around by virtue of his business background as a turn-around artist. Exhibit A is the Salt Lake Olympics but he has other examples to employ.

When asked about his religious beliefs he wisely directs the question to the LDS communications office in Salt Lake.

Secondly, if Romney wins the Republican nomination he selects African-American businessman and former pizza executive Herman Cain as his running mate. Cain is the perfect antidote to anyone who charges a person is not voting for the President because deep down he or she is really a bigot.

Cain also reinforces Mitt’s message about his campaign being all about business leading the way back to economic growth by creating the jobs needed to generate more spending by consumers. Additionally, Cain’s “9-9-9” proposal for tax reform and revenue generation will continue to attract attention and analysis.

Third, there is an answer to the challenge represented by the charge that Mormonism is not really Christian, which, once the public internalizes, will decrease concerns and needless anxieties. A little background.

Many of my summers as a teenager were spent in and around either Pocatello or Salmon working for uncles who ran the respective National Laundry and Dry Cleaner businesses. Naturally, I frequently was socializing with members of the LDS church, both “jacks” and committed practitioners.

Being good proselytizers, those in the latter group would almost always ask if I had read the Book of Mormon if I started to question or opine on some aspect of their beliefs. While pursuing my B.A. at Columbia I took a minor in Comparative Religion, and for my senior year, last semester I had a class of independent study wherein I could pursue a topic and produce a research paper if approved by the class instructor.

I chose to study Mormonism and proceeded to read the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, The Doctrine and Covenants, University of Utah professor Thomas O’Dea’s book The Mormons, Fawn Brodie’s biography No Man Knows My History: the Life of Joseph Smith, and a dozen other books.

My conclusions were that devout Mormons are fine practicing Christians in the sense that by their actions, their care for their neighbors, their emphasis on family, their living for others to the point of self-sacrifice, they have internalized the gospel message of Jesus Christ. They are true practicing Christians and no one should challenge their contention that Christ is their Savior.

This is a sociological ethic that deserves nothing but praise and commendation.

The theological ethic is something else that for me defied logical analysis. Replete with contradictory and controversial concepts, there was no other conclusion a logically inclined person can draw.

But faith is not necessarily all logical – indeed, faith often requires a suspension of logic and an embracing of the mysterious. As such, Mormonism is a unique American religion. To call it a cult displays ignorance and denigrates unfairly.

The issue for the voter to assess is not whether Mitt Romney wears the undergarments Mormons in good standing wear. It is rather whether his religion reinforces values critical to assessing issues and reflects a solid commitment to ethics as he weighs the hefty matters that confront a president. Mitt Romney easily meets indeed passes that test.

Share on Facebook

One response so far

One Response to “Carlson: Passing the test”

  1. DeterminedVoteron 21 Oct 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Mormonism is a Cult.
    They do not believe in the Trinity so they cannot be a Christian Faith.
    It is not possible to categorize the LDS Faith as a Christian faith. They may be nice folks, but they are not Christians.

Share on Facebook

 


The latest tv ad for Idaho gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff.

 

Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press.
Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95.
See the FIGHTING THE ODDS page.


 
JOURNEY WEST

by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)

 

 

NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

How many copies?

 
THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


 

    Top-Story-graphic-300x200_topstory8
    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM

    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here