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Mormonism, Religion, and the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election
March 19, 2012 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Religion and Presidential Elections: (video from the C-SPAN Video Library) On March 13, 2012, panelists at Boston College discussed Mormonism and the role of religion in the context of the 2012 Republican primaries and American politics generally. The video is about an hour long. Kristine Haglund comments about the discussion on By Common Consent.
posted by The World Famous (39 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
But, but, I thought it was Santorum, the Catholic, who wants to destroy the separation between Church and State... With his main primary opponent waving Religion in our faces, doesn't that automatically make Romney's Mormonism a LOT less of an issue? (Is it addressed in the video? If not, I'm gonna tl;notwatch)
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:40 AM on March 19, 2012


But, but, I thought it was Santorum, the Catholic, who wants to destroy the separation between Church and State

They all do.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:41 AM on March 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Is the second link supposed to have anything but her apologizing to angry blog comments?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:51 AM on March 19, 2012


It has a helpful link... to the first link.
posted by nicwolff at 11:54 AM on March 19, 2012


Is the second link supposed to have anything but her apologizing to angry blog comments?

I'm sure she and the other contributors to that site would have liked it to be something more. So yes?
posted by The World Famous at 11:57 AM on March 19, 2012


...the role of religion in the context of the 2012 Republican primaries and American politics generally.

To paraphrase Gandhi: I think it would be a bad idea.
posted by DU at 11:59 AM on March 19, 2012


All else being equal, I think it's pretty refreshing to see a Mormon candidate getting taken seriously as a presidential candidate, and that most (I think?) of the religion-angled criticism of another candidate isn't because he's Catholic (instead of Protestant), but because he's nutty. Now, do I want either of these candidates to become president? Not by a thousand miles. Do I think either of them will win? Again no, but I'm glad to see that their status as Not Mainline Protestants isn't the obviating factor.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:05 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


What bothers me about Mormons:
they baptize dead gays and Holocaust dead assuming this is a good thing for the dead. But those dead and those who love or loved them are never able to prevent this. Mitt R. has not the guts to say this is not right.
I was very annoyed when I discovered that not long ago Anne Frank was baptized a Mormon.
posted by Postroad at 12:28 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anne Frank was baptized a Mormon.

IIRC this has happened at least a half dozen times; I don't doubt it's happened even more often and the general public is simply unaware.
posted by elizardbits at 12:30 PM on March 19, 2012


@Postroad:

There is a movement of atheists who postmortally convert Mormons, if that is any consolation.
posted by Renoroc at 12:36 PM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why non-Mormons get upset at the retro-baptism. It's a bunch of Mormons basically praying for the well-being of people they cared about or think highly of. It's like getting mad at someone saying "God bless you" after you sneeze.

Thanks for the video, gonna watch it tonight. I don't think we've seen America really come to grips with how it views the idea of a Mormon president. Some polls show that even Republican primary voters are mostly not aware that Romney is Mormon. I don't think it's going to ultimately matter much in the primaries, since he's already almost clinched the nomination, but I think that someone, somewhere will make it an issue in the months before the general election. And I don't think anybody really knows how America will react.
posted by skewed at 12:41 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Skewed, can you point me at some polls that show what fraction of respondants were aware of Romney's religious affiliation? My own googling about this failed.
posted by jepler at 12:52 PM on March 19, 2012


I don't understand why non-Mormons get upset at the retro-baptism.

Because it's fucking offensive to people who were murdered because of their religion.
posted by elizardbits at 12:57 PM on March 19, 2012 [21 favorites]


Postroad: " I was very annoyed when I discovered that not long ago Anne Frank was baptized a Mormon."

For whatever it's worth, they apologized for it. One has to wonder if they would have bothered to come clean if no one had noticed.
"Whistleblower Helen Radkey, a former member of the church, told the Huffington Post that she discovered Frank's name on a database open only to Mormons, where the Jewish girl who died at age 15 was listed as "Completed" beside categories labeled "Baptism" and "Confirmation" with the date February 18, 2012.
...
The Huffington Post described Radkey as "a Salt Lake City researcher who investigates such incidents, which violate a 2010 pact between the Mormon Church and Jewish leaders."

Jews are particularly offended by an attempt to alter the religion of Holocaust victims, who were murdered because of their religion, and the baptism of Holocaust survivors was supposed to have been barred by a 1995 agreement.
...
In addition, the parents of Holocaust survivor and Jewish rights advocate Simon Wiesenthal were posthumously baptized. Radkey found documentation of the baptism of the Wiesenthals two weeks ago while conducting regular checks of a church database. Jews have relied on the work of Radkey, a former Mormon, since 1999, although Mormon church officials have publicly questioned her motives for reviewing the database.
...
Radkey's recent monitoring also turned up a record for Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and several of his relatives."
More:
Researcher Helen Radkey, a former Mormon who revealed the Wiesenthal baptisms, said this week she found Frank's name in proxy baptism records dated Feb. 18, showing the ritual was performed in the Santo Domingo Temple in the Dominican Republic.

The Mormon church almost immediately issued a statement, though it didn't mention Frank by name.

"The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism," the Salt Lake City-based church said. "It is distressing when an individual willfully violates the Church's policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention."

Church officials did not return telephone calls and emails from The Associated Press on Thursday. A spokeswoman for the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam declined comment.
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on March 19, 2012


I don't understand why non-Mormons get upset at the retro-baptism. It's a bunch of Mormons basically praying for the well-being of people they cared about or think highly of. It's like getting mad at someone saying "God bless you" after you sneeze.

I think that's is exactly why non-Mormons get so upset about it. If the practice really isn't such a big deal, then it shouldn't be difficult to change it so that it doesn't offend sensitive groups. After all, it's quite easy to say 'gesundheit' instead of 'God bless you'.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:11 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


My last comment was angry and dismissive and likely unhelpful and deraily, sorry. Nevertheless, there are a handful of long, detailed threads with excellent explanations of both sides of the proxy baptism argument under the mormon &/or mormons tag.
posted by elizardbits at 1:15 PM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


elizardbits: "Nevertheless, there are a handful of long, detailed threads with excellent explanations of both sides of the proxy baptism argument under the mormon &/or mormons tag."

The Zenobia's Choice thread was educational. I reallyshouldn't have lost my temper in that thread, but The World Famous and jnrussell were beyond patient about answering everyone's questions. Worth reading.
posted by zarq at 1:25 PM on March 19, 2012


The elephant in the room about the GOP's failure to coalesce around a nominee is that the Republicans have historically been the party of white Protestantism, but the only even remotely viable Protestant in the Republican race is a keep-yer-laws-off-my-bong paleolibertarian who named his son after a Russian atheist.
posted by jonp72 at 1:44 PM on March 19, 2012


I hope that, if Mitt's the nom, Obama takes the high road w.r.t. the Mormonism thing. It would be pretty disheartening to hear Obama ramp up his descriptions of his Protestant faith to win over xenophobic voters.

I also hope that Obama wins, and I hope that Obama wins more than I hope he takes the high road.
posted by gurple at 2:07 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's like getting mad at someone saying "God bless you" after you sneeze.

No, it's like saying "STOP BEING A JEW" after you sneeze.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:43 PM on March 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh good gravy, not this again.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:10 PM on March 19, 2012


I hope that, if Mitt's the nom, Obama takes the high road w.r.t. the Mormonism thing.

I hope that, if Mitt's the nom, he takes the high road w.r.t. the Christianity thing.

Ah, who am I kidding.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:13 PM on March 19, 2012


The elephant in the room about the GOP's failure to coalesce around a nominee is that the Republicans have historically been the party of white Protestantism, but the only even remotely viable Protestant in the Republican race is a keep-yer-laws-off-my-bong paleolibertarian who named his son after a Russian atheist.

Remotely viable, you say? Why haven't I heard of this remarkable fellow?
posted by box at 5:45 PM on March 19, 2012


That's because you're using DuckDuckGo. You'd've heard of him if you'd Googled…
posted by Pinback at 6:13 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remotely viable, you say? Why haven't I heard of this remarkable fellow?

If you go to google.com and type in the name Ron Paul you will have...well you will have googled Ron Paul.

Sorry I couldn't resist.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:13 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn you Pinback. ;)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:14 PM on March 19, 2012


"Sorry I couldn't resist."

Yeah, neither could I. Sorry ;-)
posted by Pinback at 6:20 PM on March 19, 2012


I don't understand why non-Mormons get upset at the retro-baptism. It's a bunch of Mormons basically praying for the well-being of people they cared about or think highly of. It's like getting mad at someone saying "God bless you" after you sneeze.

Romney posthumously baptized his father-in-law who was a staunch atheist. Would the FIL have wanted this? Probably not. To me it just shows blatant disrespect for his FIL and for the dead. (not to mention as an atheist I just think it's wacky)

Other than that I don't have any more of an issue with Mormonism than I do with any other religion. I don't think Romney would otherwise be trying to impose his religion on the country so I wouldn't be worried about it if I were planning on voting for him.
posted by fromageball at 7:18 PM on March 19, 2012


Mitt Romney, December 2007:
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders - in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places.

And you can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion - rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith.
Barack Obama, January 2009:
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:37 PM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Religious freedom has more to fear from religious zealots and literal interpretations than from any other threat.
posted by Brian B. at 9:59 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


"No, it's like saying "STOP BEING A JEW" after you sneeze."

Boy, does that get you your own seat on the bus.
posted by klangklangston at 11:06 PM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that Rand is short for Randy which was shortened from Randal. Maybe he likes the Objectivist associations? Perhaps not.
posted by ericales at 12:47 AM on March 20, 2012


Huh. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I am a bit disappointed that nobody seems to have watched even a few minutes of the video before commenting.
posted by The World Famous at 11:34 AM on March 20, 2012


One of the panelists mentioned that Glen Beck is a Mormon, and another asked if Rush Limbaugh was too. The answer was "No", and then Kristine Haglund commented "Maybe when he's dead."

Kristine Haglund is now my favorite Mormon. Ever.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:22 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I am a bit disappointed that nobody seems to have watched even a few minutes of the video before commenting.

I watched about five minutes. It might be interesting for a Mormon or Catholic in a "Look, they're talking about us on the internet" sort of way.
posted by Brian B. at 11:54 PM on March 20, 2012


I watched about five minutes. It might be interesting for a Mormon or Catholic in a "Look, they're talking about us on the internet" sort of way.

Given the tendency of people on MetaFilter to discuss the same issues discussed by the panel, but without much actual factual basis or insight (see, e.g., some comments in this thread), I thought it might be interesting to some of those people to hear what actual scholars have to say. The discussion of the implications and significance of the question of whether Mormonism is "Christian," for example, has insights that I don't think I've seen here. Sigh. Oh well.
posted by The World Famous at 9:51 AM on March 21, 2012


It was an interesting panel, but it ranged rapidly over quite a few different issues — there wasn't one central point for people to discuss.

It's also asking a lot for people to devote an hour to watching a video without a compelling reason. Providing a transcript lets people quickly scan to see if it's worth checking out the full video.

As for the discussion here — unsurprisingly, proxy baptism really pisses people off immensely. If Mormons really are as pragmatic as claimed, that practice will disappear in 10-20 years.

There's probably also and element of "a plague on all their houses". Yes, a discussion of whether or not mormonism is christian could be really interesting, and it was a nice glimpse into the question. But this was billed as a panel taking in the 2012 election, and if someone is telling me they sincerely want the question of who is or is not a real "Christian" injected into my politics, my elections, and my government, I've got some really foul sentiments and unpleasant historical antecedents all queued up and ready to roll.

All that aside, I'm glad I watched it, so thanks for posting it. Kristine Haglund does look like a very interesting religious thinker, and I'm glad to have her put on my radar. Also, World Famous, I want to explicitly thank you for pushing the point of Mormon diversity. I've seen you do it multiple threads, and it's finally sunk in with me. I appreciate the effort.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:32 AM on March 21, 2012


Huh. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I am a bit disappointed that nobody seems to have watched even a few minutes of the video before commenting.

I watched (well, listened to) the whole thing after verifying that the second link was reactions to the first (since I would rather read than listen). I appreciate her first hand perspective on Romney. If there's something you'd like to see talked about here, long video-only wide ranging expert panel commentary doesn't tend to do that IMO. It's hard to grab on to without framing. Since it's extempore it doesn't have the coherence or structure which lends itself to saying "this is the bit I want to talk about more."
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:34 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll also note that her apology in the second link "Argh–must we? Can I note again for the record that I’m terrible at extemporaneity? Time to start that blog called “What I Wish I Had Said.”" also made me not want to overthink the video.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:38 PM on March 21, 2012


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