August 29, 2012

"I was Episcopalian, he was a Mormon," said Ann Romney, and Ross Douthat says that was "straining to make an affinity sound like an impediment."

Douthat lumps Episcopalians and Mormons together. He's got a big theory about it. Mormons are the WASPs of the West or something. Douthat isn't talking about the religious aspects of these religious groups but "a communitarian spirit and a flinty work ethic, and an attitude toward their own success that mixed self-effacement and noblesse oblige."
Her best line evoked generations of reticent, public-spirited Brahmins: “Mitt does not like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point.” The same was true of her strongest passage:
No one will work harder. No one will care more. And no one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live.

44 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

Douthat has long seemed like a lefty playing at rightiness. "[Ann Romney's speeches'] weakest sections were the ones that affected a common touch, waxed saccharine about true love and momhood, and pretended that her husband was something other than a born-and-raised aristocrat."

Douthat should douse the Dowdiness and write his true thoughts.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Mormon = Episcopalian?

I'll bet Rowan Williams doesn't think so.

PS What is so "Brahmin" about not bragging about yourself and good deeds you've done? It used to be an American virtue - at least before the Democrats began nominating sociopaths for President.

Anybody remember "the tall, silent stranger" from Westerns?

Gary Cooper?

Jimmy Stewart?

netmarcos said...

Meh, but that is a bitter bunch in the comments section over there.

DKWalser said...

I'm not sure what it's like on the planet Douthat is from, but here on planet earth, Religious affiliations can be significant impediments to marriage. That was more true when Ann and Mitt were dating than it is today. Still, there are many Catholics who will not marry outside their church. The same is true of many other faiths -- Mormons, Jews, Muslims, etc.

bwebster said...

I was raised Episcopalian, though our family largely stopped going to church when I was in elementary school due to parental work schedules (Dad was in the Navy, Mom was a nurse). I converted to Mormonism (on my own; only member in my family) at age 14. Not sure I see much affinity between the two. In fact, my observation over 45 years is that there's a much greater affinity between the Catholic and Mormon religions, which is why the LDS Church has grown so heavily in Latin America and the Philippines.

Also, my understanding is that Ann joined the LDS Church before she and Mitt married (remember, she was still in high school when they first met). ..bruce..

raf said...

Still, there are many Catholics who will not marry outside their church. The same is true of many other faiths -- Mormons, Jews, Muslims, etc

Unless the "outsider" converts, which, of course, Ann Romney did.

Revenant said...

I was raised Episcopalian (it didn't take). It bears no resemblance to the LDS.

Episcopalians are like a half-step away from deism, these days.

The Crack Emcee said...

Sigh:

"a communitarian spirit"

Translation: No outsiders.

"a flinty work ethic"

Translation: No outsiders.

"an attitude toward their own success"

Translation: No outsiders.

"self-effacement and noblesse oblige."

Translation: No outsiders.

Man, I can't wait - supplement sales (to each other) multi-level marketing schemes, and Del Taco franchises, from sea to shining sea,...

wyo sis said...

Everything Ann Romney said about womanhood and motherhood and the struggles of early married life rang true to me.
If it didn't ring true to Mr. Douthat it's because he hasn't experienced it or doesn't know people who've experienced it. But assuming it didn't happen just because he doesn't see it makes me think he's distorting Mrs. Romney's meaning for reasons of his own.
I thought liberals were supposed to be ever so thoughtful and considerate of other people's choices.

mesquito said...
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mesquito said...

Why don't Mormons get any proggy credit for their pioneering work in the area of Alternative Lifestyles.

And really, it would be pretty goddam hard to find an Episcopalian parson who could offer a coherent and vigorous argument against polygamy.

Robin said...

The WASPs of the West? I've got nothing against Mormons but that's a stupid line in so many ways.

YoungHegelian said...

I heard a weird story on the BBC World the other night that this was the first presidential election in American history where there wasn't a WASP on the ticket.

Obama's black.
Biden & Ryan are Catholics.
And Romney's Mormon.

I thought --- "What a minute. Maybe Brit. no-longer-Anglicans don't think the Mormons are Protestants, but judging from the responses to our no-holds barred comment exchange on if Mormons are really Christians chez Althouse, I thought the Mormons thought THEMSELVES to be Protestant."

So, you Mormon readers, do you consider yourself to part of the Protestant tradition?

richard mcenroe said...

All I know about Mormons is they usually make good neighbors and squadmates.

All I know about modern Democrats is, not so much.

cold pizza said...

White, kinda. Anglo-Saxon, kinda, too (not counting the large Swede converts). Protestant? Mormons are the Anti-Protestant. WASAP! WASAP?! WAAAAASSSAP?! -CP

richard mcenroe said...

Mesquito, with-it Episcopalian ministers think mixed-sex marriages are passé...

Michael said...

Crack. You are a fucking moonie dude. Leave us the fuck alone. They need to move you out of the goddamn airport. Fucking yacking lunatic Moonie! Stop please.

DKWalser said...

So, you Mormon readers, do you consider yourself to part of the Protestant tradition?

No. Neither Catholic nor Protestant, but Christian nonetheless.

cold pizza said...

Protestants, beginning with Luther and Calvin, broke off in protest from the Catholic (Roman, not Eastern Orthodox) church.

We Mormons see our church as a Restoration of the original Christian church, set up by Christ during His mortal life. There's so much more that we could expound upon, but I'll leave all that cultism aside for Crack to edumacate us all on. Again. -CP

ricpic said...

In her speech Ann Romney said something about the moms and dads across America sighing at the end of another hard day. I wonder...do the baby mammas and baby daddies across America sigh at the end of another hard day of being carried by the moms and dads across America?


YoungHegelian said...

We Mormons see our church as a Restoration of the original Christian church

Ummm, and Luther & Calvin & Zwingli & Hus didn't?

I'll take your word on how you see yourselves vis-a-vis the tradition, but you guys really need to get out more when it comes to Church history.

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

Crack. You are a fucking moonie dude. Leave us the fuck alone. They need to move you out of the goddamn airport. Fucking yacking lunatic Moonie! Stop please.

God, I love that,...

rcocean said...

Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ and is not a Catholic is a Protestant.

rcocean said...

Or Orthodox.

YoungHegelian said...

@rcocean,

Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ...

Ah, yes, but what is the nature of that Jesus Christ that we all supposedly believe in?

That's the rub, rcocean.

I don't know if you read the posting here from some months ago on whether Mormons were really Christian or not, but, if not, it's worth looking into.

There were quite a few Mormons weighing in on their side of the story, and a bunch of more mainline Christians (like me) not buying it. It was a pretty good exchange.

traditionalguy said...

Joseph Smith came up with Mormon Revelation in western New York near where the Erie Canal's comes into Buffalo. That was also a society governed by the Episcopal Church and its strong FreeMason organisation. So I expect there was a cross polination there in the 1800s.

ricpic said...

We were forty miles from Albany,
Forget it I never shall,
What a terrible storm we had that night
On the E-ri-e canal.

Oh the E-ri-e was a risin'
And the gin was getting low,
I scarcely think there'll be a drink
Till we get to Bu-fa-lo-o-o
Till we get to Buffalo.

David R. Graham said...

"Episcopalians are like a half-step away from deism, these days."

Looks that way, yes, but not really the fact. More like half step away from Arianism and Docetism, which puts them, in fact, close or even parallel to Mormonism. Mormonism is recent iteration of Arianism. Very popular anciently and today. Derives from traditionally florid Middle Eastern angelolatry. Pathological altruism in cascades of cloud castles and hollow eggs.

Episcopal Church today belongs to the international anti-American left. Romney and Mormons belong to the international pro-American left. That's also the difference between the Ds and the Rs.

cold pizza said...

YoungHegelian,
Ummm, and Luther & Calvin & Zwingli & Hus didn't?

We see a distinct difference between the Protestant Reformation movement of the 14th C. and the Restoration as espoused by Joseph Smith.

The early reformers (and we may as well include Wycliffe with Hus) were still acting initially within the Catholic tradition, and were trying to bring what they saw as corrupt practices of the Catholic church back into their interpretation of Bible doctrine.

Mormonism teaches that an Apostasy and a loss of of priesthood authority took place when the early church lost it's leadership, as apostles died faster than they could be replaced.

You want to lump us in as another Protestant sect? Fine, you're free to stick any label you want on us. Calling the tail of a dog a leg does not make it a leg. Any practicing Mormon you meet will categorically deny that we are an offshoot of any Protestant sect.

I'm not aiming to be flippent. I am a convert to Mormonism and I've been a student of LDS History for over 30 years (and have the FARMS books to prove it!)

If there were any alternate universe where CrackCultHouse wasn't raving, I'd gladly sit down with you over CokeZer0 (and whatever you drink) and discuss apologetics 'til the cows came home. Or got translated. -CP

ricpic said...

The women are kvelling for Paul (Ryan, that is).

Revenant said...

You are a fucking moonie dude. Leave us the fuck alone.

Monomania cannot be cured by yelling at it.

The Crack Emcee said...

cold pizza,

If there were any alternate universe where CrackCultHouse wasn't raving, I'd gladly sit down with you over CokeZer0 (and whatever you drink) and discuss apologetics 'til the cows came home.

ROTFLMAO!

Oh man, I've totally gotten under their skin! Hey David R. Graham, ask him where "reform Egyptian" fits in there, what an occult "seer stone" has to do with Christianity, or why Joseph Smith wanted to be called "the Prophet Muhammad of North America" ("Muhammad" doesn't sound very Christian to me,...) and carried the slogan, "“Either al-Koran or the Sword.”

You've "studied" Mormonism? Please. That's like someone "training" in homeopathy.

Your boy, Joseph, made it up, man. Be an adult and accept it. Your "people" are the greatest collection of marks in the history of flim-flam, and that's saying something. You don't like scrutiny because you don't want your delusions destroyed, but that requires I go along with them, too, and that's not going to happen. I hate what JS has done to you as much as what you're trying to do to me - tell me:

Have you ever considered that's what's happening? That by accepting a fraud, you're trying to engage me in one? Seems like a pretty selfish and shitty thing to do, but that's the essence of the con.

No, I don't think you've ever thought about anyone else, in the context of your "belief," in your life.

I mean, YOU EVEN STUCK YOUR FUCKING BOOK IN THE BIBLE.

If that's not a symbol of over-weening arrogance, then we're going to have to rewrite the definition in the dictionary,...

cold pizza said...

*sigh*

I mean, how can one argue with Crack's sword of logic when it's wielded so cuttingly?

Well played, Crack. -CP

Borepatch said...

True story: I was on a business trip to Paris, and out withe my European colleagues when somehow religion and America came up. Everyone had had some wine and the Europeans started yucking it up about Mormons and their wives.

I mentioned that I had gotten married in a Mormon church, and that my sons' great great grandmother had been the fourth wife, and that she had lived the rest of her life as a widow after Utah outlawed polygamy to join the Union.

There was silence around the table for a minute. I waited for them to say something, because they had made the jokes.

I grew up Episcopal, and married a Mormon girl. Their (and Douthat's) bigotry wasn't directed at me, but it was directed at my wife, her family, and my sons.

Douthat doesn't have the slightest idea what he's talking about. There's absolutely no comparison in how people react to you when you tell them that you're Episcopal and when you say you're Mormon.

I'd say that he's an insufferable prig who is way too impressed with his supposed intelligence (and blinded to his actual ignorance), but that would not be Christian of me. Then again, I'm Episcopal, not Mormon.

So Ross Douthat ia an insufferable prig who is way too impressed with his supposed intelligence (and blinded to his actual ignorance).

P.S. I don't like Mitt Romney much, either. And after all, that was Douthat's point, right?

Bender said...
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Bender said...

Then again, I'm Episcopal, not Mormon.

Perhaps in all their "bigotry," they have some respect for truth.

Here is the curiosity of the mixed-marriage. You are Episcopal, not Mormon. Why not? Why not be Mormon? They are, indeed, quite different. They can't both be true.

So if you have not become Mormon, why not? And if you have not sought to have your wife become Episcopal, why not? Don't you want yourself and your wife to live in truth? Who is living the lie here, you or your wife?

Sorry to be so blunt about it, but by not becoming Mormon yourself, presumably because you hold it to not be true, it seems that you yourself are not all that far from those so-called bigots.

The Crack Emcee said...

Borepatch,

Do you know what I find fascinating? How, all of a sudden, everybody's a bigot - a word most haven't really encountered since "All In The Family" was on TV. All it takes is either serious questioning, or a declaration of dislike, and - BOOM! - out comes the 'B' word. How does that happen?

And we're all ignorant, too. It never ceases to amaze me how often I'm told I've got Mormonism all wrong, when I live in Utah, have discussed Mormonism with Mormon friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, own The Book Of Mormon - and have read it - along with hundreds of websites that are pro and con, and have watched, both, documentaries and Mormon-made feature films on the subject. All that, but somehow, unlike every other subject I've ever studied - and I've nailed down tons of religions and "spiritual" movements - this one, I am told, still eludes me. How does that happen?

And finally, as I talk about Mormonism, or even read about it, one word keeps coming up. It comes up so often I thought to look it up, even though I know what it means. That word is "ruthless." Here's the meaning:

Without pity or compassion; cruel, pitiless.

Is that a great word to have attached to a "religion" or what? Doesn't exactly gel with the "nice" and "wholesome" image Mormons are determined to project, does it? A people, always smiling, who will cut you off at the knees without a care? Jesus must be so proud. Romney is described in this article as a "ruthless" business man. Does that jibe with church teachings? And if so, how does that happen?

I have my theories, but I'd like to hear yours - or cold pizza's, since he can "discuss apologetics 'til the cows came home"...

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Kirk Parker said...

More evidence that Douthat has gotten infected with the dreaded MoDo disease.

Kirk Parker said...

"Anybody remember 'the tall, silent stranger' from Westerns?"

I'll go with "Blondie", if it's all the same to you.

Borepatch said...

Bender, thanks for entirely missing my point.

Crack Emcee, your point is a good one. Mine was that whether or not Mormons actually suffer from bigotry, it's absurd to say (as Douthat did) that they're some sort of socially privileged class.

The Crack Emcee said...

Borepatch,

Crack Emcee, your point is a good one. Mine was that whether or not Mormons actually suffer from bigotry, it's absurd to say (as Douthat did) that they're some sort of socially privileged class.

Generally, I would agree with you - I do agree with you - but, right now, they definitely look privileged in the hands-off media coverage they're receiving.

Matthias said...

I really like Douthat, but the idea that Mitt's being Mormon and her not being Mormon wasn't a road block is probably the most oblivious thing he has ever written.

-a Mormon