February 6, 2020

When a politician says he's "profoundly religious" and that explains what he is doing, do we shrink from the question of sincerity?

I'm asking the general question, which I've thought about a lot (having taught a course on Religion and the Constitution for more than a decade). But you know the prompt for my question, Mitt Romney's assertion:
"I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential... I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong."
When religion is used like this, does it silence critics? Does it cheapen religion? If you're skeptical and think he's parading religion, being sanctimonious, do you hold your tongue, because you worry that you'll look bad or offend some people if you question the sincerity of a profession of religion? Religion is a strong force, and it can motivate political decisions, but if your political argument is a religious argument, what can be said? Does the politician successfully put himself on the high ground, deserving admiration and fending off debate?

Now, Romney is different from a politician who says his religion gives him the answer to a particular question. He's only using religion to emphasize that he takes the oath seriously. Presumably, he means that for him, violating this oath would wreck his afterlife, so he needs to make this decision exceedingly carefully and without any element of hoping for worldly benefits. He then goes on to analyze the law and the facts and the arguments and to present his decision as based on what the oath said, and it's not as if the oath required him to vote the way God dictates.
[M]y promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.

I’m aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters I will be vehemently denounced. I’m sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?
That last question is very strange! It implies that a highly principled atheist would not follow the process demanded in the oath but would necessarily yield to the pressure of partisan politics. Only religion is enough to keep people on an honest, dutiful path?

That's a rather offensive thing to say about nonbelievers, yet you can see why he said it. He said it to vouch for his own profession of profound religiosity: Only a profoundly religious person would do X, I am doing X, therefore, I am profoundly religious.

Can we question the sincerity? Or must we stand back in awe of the great man? God help us if the answer depends entirely on whether you wanted to see Donald Trump continue as President or be out on his ass.

206 comments:

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tim in vermont said...

Profoundly religious, and coincidentally mixed up with Burisma graft and allowing my name to be dropped in Washington by Burisma’s defense team.

You know those guys who stoned that lady in Pakistan because she let herself get raped? They were “profoundly religions” too.

rhhardin said...

God is on my side.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Romney's claim that god and religion made his the proper decision clearly questions the faith and religious sincerity of those reaching a different decision. I do not question others faith based on their reasoned political decisions and resent my motives and faith questioned in this way.

Chris said...

I'm sorry, but a week ago Mittens was saying we couldn't convict without further witlessness, but then a week later, without further witnesses he says he has to convict. The man is a weasel. And to my lefty friends who now love Mittens, in spite of the binders full of women, the dog on top of the car, giving cancer to his poor employees, crazy magic underwear, and literally the second coming of Mormon Hitler - FUCK YOU.

exhelodrvr1 said...

You can question the sincerity if you can find other examples where he made what would seem to be the "wrong" decision (from a religious standpoint)

Quaestor said...

If God exists, He and He alone knows who is profoundly religious.

I'd like to hear Mitt dispute that.

rhhardin said...

Presumably, he means that for him, violating this oath would wreck his afterlife, so he needs to make this decision exceedingly carefully and without any element of hoping for worldly benefits.

Islam is always perfecting the next world rather than this one. Romney is a terrorist.

whitney said...

"Blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven."
Jesus

rhhardin said...

God demands that you do what you want to do anyway.

rhhardin said...

Jesus was nice to Judas and Benedict Arnold, as I recall the story. Only money-changers got the whip.

Wince said...

Exactly parallel to what I quoted in the previous Romney thread.

Most of all Romney’s moral posturing was at heart an attack on his fellow Republican senators.

The invincibly blind Romney can’t or won’t see his own sanctimonious narcissism.

rhhardin said...

Somebody check his underwear.

rhhardin said...

A look at Joseph Smith would suggest on its face that Mitt is insane.

Automatic_Wing said...

Someone was talking about Trump's schtick the other day day. Well, this is Romney's schtick. Look at me, look how moral and upright I am! I'm a man of faith and I have an exquisitely honed conscience!

Lurker21 said...

For somebody who is forever examining his conscience, Romney seems to be lacking some self-knowledge and immune to introspection in some ways. I can't quite say what it is that is missing, but there seems to be something Victorian about him. Like a figure out of Eminent Victorians, some 19th century British general or bishop, Mitt follows his path in life and moves in step with his own inner drummer, but doesn't see much of what other people see in the world - or in himself. He's "inner directed," but not always in a good way.

Mr. D said...

All the religiosity in the world won't help you understand temporal disputes if you start with a faulty premise. Romney's premise is that Trump's purpose was to subvert the election. Romney chose to believe Adam Schiff. That is an error. All the piety coming out of his piehole means nothing after that.

Diogenes of Sinope said:

Romney's claim that god and religion made his the proper decision clearly questions the faith and religious sincerity of those reaching a different decision. I do not question others faith based on their reasoned political decisions and resent my motives and faith questioned in this way.

That too.

tim in vermont said...

Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?

In other words, Trump’s an old man and may be gone sooner than you think losers.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Good column on ROmney
https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/05/romneys-entire-career-has-been-about-punishing-republicans-for-voting-for-him/

rhhardin said...

A lot of people notice in Sunday School that these stories make no sense at all, but you do learn the cultural narratives, which is good.

You can use them for faith or humor later in life.

rhhardin said...

Prodigal Son ejected as old tweets come to light.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Arthur Schwartz tweet:

"Why didn’t @MittRomney’s God move his conscience when he went from pro life to pro choice & back to pro life for his political career moves from Mass to Utah? He loved the gays in Mass and hates them in UT. Someone tell that fraud to keep God out of this."

Smerdyakov said...

When Reggie White became a free agent in 1993 he proclaimed that, as a religious man, he would sign wherever god wanted him to go.

I remember a wag on TV saying god would tell Reggie to go where there was the most money.

rhhardin said...

Analyze it as the McCain trick. Grandstanding is everything. For McCain it was the hero act, for Romney it's the deeply religious act. The important part is get everybody mad at you.

Trump ruined McCain's act too.

gilbar said...

Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience

then, Why did he Do it??

Curious George said...

Chris Murphy D-CT said it was amazing "That speech will stand up for centuries." Really.

rhhardin said...

Moral uprightness is always subject to the awl of the zinger. Hence Trump.

"No man's plenum is impervious to the awl of God's will," Barthelme original.

MadisonMan said...

When someone says "I am profoundly x" my usual reply is "What's profound about it?" I've yet to hear a cogent reply to that simple question.

Lance said...

Interesting question. Based on the title of this post I was expecting some kind of hypocrisy to be discussed, but I am happy that, that isn't the case.

My personal thought is that if someone uses their religion as a justification for their decision on a moral matter then they are opening themselves up to be attacked on whether they live up to the moral ideals of their religion. It also opens themselves up to the question of whether this decision was a moral judgment or whether it should be a legal pragmatic decision in which a person's morals may get in the way of the law, e.g. Scalia's legal stance on free speech and the burning the American flag versus his moral stance on the issue.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

For Trump haters, they must be assumed to have only the highest motives; their shit doesn't stink, and they have a lab working on a new human body without an asshole. Trump, on the other hand, must be assumed never to have high motives. I still say Romney is making plans for his funeral: the big cathedral, bipartisan, many expressions of love .....

stevew said...

His expression of his profoundly religious motivations is used as a shield against criticism of his so-called decision to judge impartially and vote without partisan bias. I would also argue that he is using it, and his oath, to dodge responsibility for his vote. As for consequences he may suffer as a result, yeah, just like Jesus on the cross he is.

Not here, but out in public I would be reluctant to question his sincerity and religious convictions, that's not something polite people do.

rhhardin said...

If one recalls the truth whence all the others flow, God's absolute goodness and his absolute ignorance of evil, sophisms will collapse of their own accord. At the very same time there shall collapse the rather unpoetic literature which relied upon them. All literature which debates the eternal axioms is condemned to live only off itself. It is unjust. It devours its liver. The novissima Verba make the snotty third-formers smile haughtily. We do not have the right to question the Creator on anything whatsoever.

Lautreamont

rhhardin said...

Augustine said thinking the best of people rather than the worst was soul-saving. Doesn't affect them, it affects you.

That's some other religion.

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rory said...

"judging the president"

He was supposed to be judging a case. That's the tell.

rhhardin said...

A lot of religious arguments can be settled with a duel.

tim in vermont said...

Mitt Romney@MittRomney
Affirmation of the #ParisAgreement is not only about the climate: It is also about America remaining the global leader.


Pass it in the Senate then, or shut up about your conscience and the Constitution.

It’s just a way to claim absolute authority for your own thinking, Mitt. I thought you were at least smart, but now I see that even that is not true.

tim in vermont said...

"Wow, that got anti-LDS really fast.”

Blame Mitt. Jesus. said “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s’ Mitt said that he has absolute knowledge of right and wrong.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

That's a rather offensive thing to say about nonbelievers

Non-believers always say that, but if there is no transcendent being then free will is an illusion. You do what your genetics, culture, and environment lead you to do. There is no "good" or "evil."

That said, Romney is just using religion to justify what he was going to do anyway. God wants me to do this, it has nothing to do with what I want to do, though I do want to do it.

David Begley said...

“that I put my personal feelings and political biases aside.”

Mitt has TDS. His vote was personal.

rhhardin said...

The Scottish verdict "lavvy heid" is always available.

Narayanan said...

Which of the many oaths is he talking about?

Harsh Pencil said...

In my life I have known many seriously (or profoundly) religious people. Many seriously devout people. And each of them very good people who walk the walk. And NOT ONE would ever describe him or herself as seriously religious, profoundly religious, or devout.

Karen of Texas said...

"When religion is used like this, does it silence critics?" That is the goal, but it often gets turned into an own goal because politicians are hypocrites.

"Does it cheapen religion?" Yes, because politicians are hypocrites; their hypocrisy is  used to paint all who claim the same religious  mantle with the same, broad, hypocritical brush. Also, if I hear one more time, "But you're a Christian. How can you justify voting for such a vile, vulgar, awful man and still claim to be a Christian?"...

"If you're skeptical and think he's parading religion, being sanctimonious, do you hold your tongue, because you worry that you'll look bad or offend some people if you question the sincerity of a profession of religion?" I don't worry because there is always the hypocrisy with which one can have some fun.

"Religion is a strong force, and it can motivate political decisions, but if your political argument is a religious argument, what can be said?" Stop being a hypocrite. Here, let me give you some examples of the hypocrisy.

"Does the politician successfully put himself on the high ground, deserving admiration and fending off debate?" No. If anything he deserves scorn and mockery - because of his hypocrisy.

You know, we elect Representatives to represent the people in their home district/states over issues that come before the governing body. That means that a Representative should vote on issues in accordance with the majority wishes of those they represent - not in accordance with their personal faith values. How many of them even know what the majority of their constituents feel about the issues? Senators, though, miiight get a free pass on "what a majority of my state peeps want" because they are supposed to be a deliberative body, weighing and trying to balance the hot-headedness of the peons. They might invoke their religion in a more deliberative manner. However, since we started directly electing them? They, too, are subject to we, the people.

mkduck said...

Isn't he saying that we have to question the character of every other Senator, since every other Senator voted with his/her party?

Senator Manchin, for instance, may have believed there was not enough evidence to convict, but his character/principles were not strong enough to vote "not guilty". Or, Senator Collins may have believed in her heart that the evidence to convict was there, but she just didn't have the character, the faith, the moral backbone... of Mitt Romney.

Senator Chris Murphy claimed it was a speech for the ages, but I'm left wondering if Chris Murphy (and every other Senator) was really just taking the easy way out.

Temujin said...

I think it's used as a shield to hide behind. I am religious, in my own way. I don't go to church regularly. I don't read the Good Book- unless its a new book by Leif Enger. (his latest one is another good book).

But I do respect people and their own religious practices. We all have our own set of morals, based on how we were brought up, and what ticks inside of us. Religion plays a part, but let's be realistic- being 'religious' does not connote moral behavior.

He did what he did because he hates Trump. And because his personal morals found something to grab onto to meet the hate he has for Trump. The more I've seen of Mitt over the years, the more glad I am that he lost.

Lurker21 said...

Yes, it does sound pompous or pretentious when someone uses the word "profoundly" in reference to themselves. Etymologically it's just the French word for "deep" taken over into English.

Like a lot of borrowed words it's come to have an elevated, pompous sound, but maybe French words come more naturally to Pierre Delecto than Anglo-Saxon ones.

Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.

Read that sentence of Mitt's again. Doesn't it sound like it comes out of the nineteenth century? That's not necessarily a criticism - or praise either - but the difference from the way politicians speak now is hard to miss.

Chris said...

@ Lance, Not anti LDS, Pointing out the Hypocrisy of the left, whom not a few years ago hatted Mittens for those very things, but now claim he is the greatest.

Lance said...

Using a moral measure for impeachment doesn't seem entirely out of line to me and a lot of Senators stated that what President Trump did was morally wrong. Hell, the entire Clinton Impeachment was mostly a moral judgement on the President and anyone profoundly religious there should have voted for impeachment.

But let's be honest, Senator Romney is thinking about 4 years from now. His political calculation is that when he is up for re-election or running for President again in 2024 this will be looking better or forgotten/forgiven.

Chris said...

I mean for fucks sake, just a few years ago a lefty friend was claiming that Mittens was going to put women in chains and literally send jews to the gas chamber if elected, and this morning they are calling him an incredibly brave and wonderful human being for voting against trump.

Laslo Spatula said...

It is a good thing for Mitt that God agrees with him so often.

I am Laslo.

Lance said...

@chris

Okay. I misread it as you using anti-LDS tropes to attack Romney's morals. I see that it can also be read ironically.

Karen of Texas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

The profoundly Religious folks were Jesus's opponents too.His response to their silly games is in Mathew 5:33-37 where He spent 5 verses in the Sermon on the Mount to order them to cut the crap about their keeping of their oaths. In the final verse Jesus sums it up and orders them to let their yes be yes and their no be no and that anything else is from the Evil One. That's why the Georgia Courts do not require a witness make an oath to God, but permit only an affirmation to tell the truth.



exhelodrvr1 said...

Laslo,
Actually, it's a good thing for God that he agrees with Mitt so often.

rhhardin said...

It's not anti-LDS. It's mockery.

That's a woman's move. Mockery of women gets called misogyny. They don't know any better.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Karen,
"That means that a Representative should vote on issues in accordance with the majority wishes of those they represent "

Not necessarily - that would mean that whatever the majority favors will always be voted in. There has to be some level of "sanity check" by the Senator/Representative on doing what is right. (However they define that.)

rhhardin said...

I gather from the odd curve of my tall antenna out back there there's ice today. Hell has frozen over.

Sydney said...

When anyone tells me they are profoundly religious I assume they aren’t. Especially politicians.

DKWalser said...

I'm tired of making excuses for Romney. Because we share a common cultural background, I used to think I had some insight into his world view. The best I can come up with is Romney fundamentally misunderstood his role in this farce. It appears that he was judging the President's actions and, finding them wanting, he voted to convict. Many of us make a similar error when confronted with something that affronts our sense of right and wrong. We think that by answering the question is this thing right or wrong, we've determined whether it should be legal or not. Whether something is legal (or should be legal) is a separate question from whether that thing is moral. Too often, the two questions are conflated.

In Romney's case, he seems to believe his oath bound him to ignore how the charges against the President were brought before him. In so doing, he rewards the House Democrats denial of due process to the President. He also ignores the question of whether this is a proper use of the impeachment power. All he focused on was whether Trump's call was 'perfect'. Plenty of his Republican peers in the Senate found much of what Trump did objectionable, but they didn't find it impeachable. They were able to put the charges against Trump in their proper context. In that context, the actions of the House in bringing the charges were a far greater danger to our Republic than were anything Trump was alleged to have done.

For some reason, Romney cannot see that. I believe he is sincere. Other than TDS, I have no explanation for his blindness. What I cannot explain I cannot trust. I no longer trust the man.

iowan2 said...

The left is desperately trying to make this a yuuuuge deal that the vote to remove is bipartisan. While carefully ignoring the fact that there was never any chance that more than a few Republicans would join the Democrats in purely political hit job.
As McConnell correctly point out in his Senate speech before the vote. Schummer gave up the true purpose of putting the Nation through impeachment. Schummers political maneuvering to take control of the Senate. President Trump did nothing wrong and was never going to be removed from office.

Ralph L said...

More I's per sentence than BO, but also more complex sentences.

Lance said...

I love how Republicans are suddenly so happy that Obama got re-elected in 2012.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

But let's be honest, Senator Romney is thinking about 4 years from now. His political calculation is that when he is up for re-election or running for President again in 2024 this will be looking better or forgotten/forgiven.

Which proves he doesn't understand the realignment going on right now. He thinks Trump is an aberration and things will go back to "normal" after he is gone. But, even if that is correct, he has no hope of capturing the Republican nomination. His above the fray statesman act is stale.

cacimbo said...

He no doubt believes what he is saying. He can not accept in his heart that he is doing this to be a nasty vindictive bastard, it does not comport with how he views himself. I suspect this statement was for the 60% of Mormons in Utah who put him in office - not people like me.

iowan2 said...

I call bullshit on Romney's faux angst concerning his vote. His vote was always meaningless. His vote was not going to affect anything. Nothing. Its like my vote on what shade of white to paint the hallway. No matter what research I do, my wife and daughter will make the final decision. Romney will not go down in history for anything. All history will make of this last few months is the Democrats collosal circle jerk of a botched impeachment inquiry. Lots of light and noise. Zero substance. Which as you think about it, defines Romney

Birches said...

The last paragraph also carries the implication that Mike Lee, who also practices Romney's religion, gave in to the pressure. Mike Lee sent out a tweet saying those who voted for removal were "Very Wrong." I don't think he would have done that if he didn't feel like Romney was disparaging him.

That's what bothered me most about his little speech. There wasn't enough acknowledgment that people of good faith could come to a different choice. It was, "Hey look at me! I'm the courageous one." Nope.

GatorNavy said...

Clown nose on; clown nose off. That is what I think when Romney talks about his faith. Where was his faith when he relentlessly pursued a high position in the Trump administration? He is merely a garden variety mendacious hypocritical politician, nothing more. History will not be kind to him and those of his ilk.

tim in vermont said...

"It is a good thing for Mitt that God agrees with him so often.

That had me giggling.

MikeR said...

"Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?" I think all he means is that the consequences for him in politics are entirely negative, and therefore he must be doing it for the right reasons. "my oath before God demanded it of me" is just his way of saying that, not that atheists can't also do things for the right reasons.
As for his argument: Is it perfectly clear that he only loses by this decision? What about a desire to be revenged on a President that he has clashed with before? What about a major increase in his creds with the other half of the country? I think the way he is playing this - to Republicans "I could do no less than vote my conscience, sorry if you disagree", and to Democrats "I will vote with you when I think it's right" - is likely to have the result that Republicans will be annoyed with him but not really hate him, and Democrats will now love him.

Ryan said...

We absolutely can and should question is psychology, at least.

In 2016 Romney gave a famous scathing anti-Trump speech at U of U where he called Trump a phony and fraud, among other things. Romney has never liked Trump. His appeal to "muh conscience" and "much religion" needs to be put in context of his preexisting disgust for Trump.

Lurker21 said...

They say people only use the word "frankly" when they are lying. Or that the word "social" in front of another word translates to "not": "social justice" = "not justice."

Maybe it's similar with "profoundly" really meaning "superficially" or simply "not."

Sebastian said...

"Only a profoundly religious person would do X, I am doing X, therefore, I am profoundly religious."

LOL, as they say on the intertubes.

"I was not wrong."

Mittens, buddy, being profoundly religious doesn't mean you're not an a**hole.

SDaly said...

He is Mormon. Being “profoundly religious” for him means that someday, he will get his own planet to run. Mitt is pissed off that it is not Earth.

traditionalguy said...

I suspect Romney is keeping an oath.But it is his oath to the Global Money launderers that financed Bain Capital to launder their profits from drug and child trafficking Cartels. Those masters are DJT's #1 target. So Mitt is being loyal.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I think the way he is playing this - to Republicans "I could do no less than vote my conscience, sorry if you disagree", and to Democrats "I will vote with you when I think it's right" - is likely to have the result that Republicans will be annoyed with him but not really hate him, and Democrats will now love him.

Ninety percent of Republicans support Trump. They are already angry with Romney. Now they hate him with the burning fire of a thousand suns.

MayBee said...

What I wouldn't like, if I were casting my vote, is the implication that I am breaking my oath to God by voting to acquit.

Anonymous said...

"When religion is used like this, does it silence critics? Does it cheapen religion?"

Depends on the "user" and what he's using it for, doesn't it? Sorry, but the "here I stand I can do no other, God help me" script is for great men and great events. A tool employing it in a low farce is cringe-inducing drama-queening.

Unless Romney is a great deal less intelligent than one gives him credit for being, it's impossible to think this wrestling with his conscience is sincere. (Unless the man is such a tool by temperament that he has reached brain-numbing levels of denial and delusion.)

Beasts of England said...

Why would anyone think that Mitt is deeply religious - because he says so? He’s a liar and a hypocrite, and hiding behind faith to justify his decision is intellectually offensive.

roesch/voltaire said...

What religion allows one to question the king, in this country we can only claim the religious views when deciding for whom we are willing to bake a cake, or the right prayer breakfast to advance the righteous.

tim in vermont said...

I am starting to believe that rhhardin is right. That Romney just believes whatever Sunday school stories he is told, whether by Miss Crabapple, or the press.

tim in vermont said...

"Unless Romney is a great deal less intelligent than one gives him credit for being,”

His slip is showing.

roadgeek said...

I suspect God prefers a Christian who doesn't shout their religion from the treetops. Matthew 6:6 states that "..But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you..."

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Mitt’s moral preening lost me when he declared himself a “severe conservative” in 2012 and then folded like an origami Mormon when manhandled by Candy Crowley. Who on God’s green earth calls themself a ”severe conservative” sincerely? He is an historical footnote now: the only Senator ever to vote to remove a President of their own party. The single solitary example. His name will be like Aaron Burr, more stained by his act than the object of his opprobrium. Like Benedict Arnold.

MayBee said...

Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?

People do crazy stuff all the time for their own purposes. THisis the same argument people made on Christine Blasey Ford's behalf.

Leland said...

The phrase "voting my conscience" is a tell. It is a well tested comment that suggests while others vote for selfish reasons, the utterer is voting for more profound and deeply held reasons. It's bullshit and wrapping the bullshit with a religious cloak only soils the religion.

Romney's vote was political, and the price he'll pay is political, and he's trying to get a discount on that price by abusing his religion.

Cassandra said...

Ann, two points:

re: ...That last question is very strange! It implies that a highly principled atheist would not follow the process demanded in the oath but would necessarily yield to the pressure of partisan politics. Only religion is enough to keep people on an honest, dutiful path? That's a rather offensive thing to say about nonbelievers...

While I can't understand Romney's reasoning (!), I don't think it's a fair reading to say he's implying atheists wouldn't place anything above partisanship. Romney's faith demands he follow his conscience. For him, duty to God "trumps" all other imperatives, but that doesn't imply there are no other imperatives (loyalty, duty, love of country, justice, integrity).

I think the point he was attempting to make is that he's deeply conflicted.

(2) I've been disappointed in Romney, but I don't know many Christians who serious believe faith makes them infallible. Part of faith is accepting that all humans are deeply flawed, and it's only through faith/God's grace that they can hope to transcend their nature.

David Hume had it right: Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.

No matter the lofty rhetoric we use to rationalize our actions, most of us decide with our gut, and then employ reason to justify doing what our gut tells us to do.

I expect it really is as simple as that. People respond to Trump in such a visceral way. I don't know why, and frankly don't really care. DJT doesn't set off my alarm bells as much as Antifa and the Kavanaugh hysteria and the Democrats' refusal to accept the 2016 election.

My gut tells me that if we don't stand up to them, we're going to see a lot worse than the past few years.

Anonymous said...

r/V: What religion allows one to question the king, in this country we can only claim the religious views when deciding for whom we are willing to bake a cake, or the right prayer breakfast to advance the righteous.

Yes, it's terrible how Romney was hauled into court, fined, and threatened with jail for "questioning the king" (lol).

(When was the last time r/V posted a comment that wasn't thuddingly stupid?)

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Profoundly religious

Severely conservative

Those two attributes is what allows Romney to flip-flop positions (multiple times) on the key issues of the day.

rcocean said...

Romney is such a fake. The Impeachment was a political act, there was no crime broken. Impartial doesn't mean you put "Politics aside". How can you? The whole trial is politics! This is NOT a criminal trial. There is no "Beyond a reasonable doubt".

47 D's voted in lockstep to find Trump guilty. 228 House D's voted in lockstep to impeach trump. Were they impartial? Of course not.

daskol said...
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Fernandinande said...

This superstitious egomaniac was never POTUS, and never will be. Yay!

daskol said...

Mitt gives a good speech. Thing is, he's been giving speeches for a long time. One need only refer back to prior things he's said to assess his sincerity: he's faked it before, so no reason to think he's not faking it now. I hope this era of performative leadership, where giving the appearance of propriety and sincerity and virtuousness is treated as the real thing, is on the way out. We have a collective memory now, and we can see his present virtue signaling alongside his past virtue signaling and consider that alongside his performance. I used to think he was a good man because he was so good at giving the impression of being a good man. Mitt is providing cover for himself with this move: he's insulating himself against the attacks will be leveled at him by Trump and supporters, whether it's opprobrium or investigations of him or his family. To believe otherwise at this point is naive.

mockturtle said...

Tradguy @6:54 is on the right track. One can be 'religious' about anything, e.g., exercise. The term implies a ritualistic attitude and activity. In spiritual matters, it emphasizes the activities of the worshiper rather than on the sovereignty of God.

Derek Kite said...

Romney got the plaudits of the writers of the Atlantic.

The word for using religiosity as a political badge is sanctimonious.

My question in all this is quite simple. The whole fuss was about Trump exposing the Biden family influence peddling scheme. Washington went off the charts nuts, how dare he, this is terrible, awful, even criminal. The horror is bipartisan.

I haven't seen this level of reaction since the last time I parked in a bureaucrat's parking spot.

In other words, selling influence for favors is common practice. US foreign policy isn't advancing freedom and democracy, it is getting your useless son into some lucrative position that can be milked.

Wasn't another name connected to this Burisma thingy? Kerry if I remember correctly.

Are all never trumpers in on this game? I'm thinking the turn from Soviet collapse to a visceral hatred from Putin might have something to do with this, and the venn diagram between those who had lots to say and do with the post Soviet Russia and Never Trumpers shows a remarkable match.

I have this suspicion that we will find out much more about this before November 2020. This is an issue that creates visceral disgust among voters.

rcocean said...

I found so many things annoying about Romney' speech. Its the classic elitist, egomaniac, way of exercising power by an elected official. The American people will vote in 10 months, why not let us decide? Romney just blew that off. What about the people of Utah that Mittens represents? Of Romney doesn't care, he's looking out for his place in history. He has the same contempt for the people that Bush II, and McCain did.

He's also saying, "Look at me. I voted impartially. I looked at the facts. God commanded me to". Implication: every other R didn't.

jnseward said...

Apparently Mitt's "profound" religiosity enables him to read minds and discern hidden motives. I too am profoundly religious and can read minds and when I read Mitt's I discover that what he believes to be profound religiosity is in fact demonic possession.

MeatPopscicle1234 said...

The Pharisees and Sadducees were also VERY RELIGIOUS, and yet Jesus said,

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean."

Judging by his actions, Mitt Romney is a fake Christian who thinks too highly of himself...

rcocean said...

Here's why Romney voted Guilty:

1 The President asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.
2 The President withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so.
3 The President delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.
4 The President’s purpose was personal and political.

No 3 is just wacko. Ukraine is NOT at war with "Russian invaders".
No. 4 is unproven and mind-reading.
No. 1 is wrong. Biden is not a political rival. He won't be till Biden is nominated.
No. 2 is wrong. The military aid was not "Vital". Ukraine is not under attack.

M Jordan said...

“Religious” is the exact right word Mitt is after but it surprises me he does not know it’s mostly a negative word in connotation these days. “Spiritual” is better, though that conjures up images of Marianne Williamson that I’m sure Romney would eschew. “Religious” conjures up different images, none very desirable.

My reading of the New Testament is that Jesus was actively against religion. He always sided with the non-religious. He was constantly under attack by the religious. But Romney doesn’t seem to have much of an ear for our language, culture, or essence.

I met an Indian/Swiss intellectual who refused to call himself a Christian due to the world’s negative connotations. He called himself a “Jesus follower” instead. I think he took it too far but he at least showed he has an ear for English, his fifth language.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

There is no implication in what Romney said for atheists, but there sure is for other believers.

rcocean said...

Finally, by his own words Romney found Trump's defense unpersuasive. He found Trump guilty in his mind after Trump's defense failed - in his mind - to meet the charge. What Trump did warranted removal.

So why did he continue to support witnesses? He didn't need them. He lies in his speech and says he was hoping the witnesses would provide evidence that Trump was innocent. But Trump's defense team did NOT want witnesses, so how can that be true? Its the House Managers that wanted more witnesses. Romney wanted more witnesses to drag the trial out - so he could damage Trump. Just like Chuck Schumer.

Derek Kite said...

Romney got the plaudits of the writers of the Atlantic.

The word for using religiosity as a political badge is sanctimonious.

My question in all this is quite simple. The whole fuss was about Trump exposing the Biden family influence peddling scheme. Washington went off the charts nuts, how dare he, this is terrible, awful, even criminal. The horror is bipartisan.

I haven't seen this level of reaction since the last time I parked in a bureaucrat's parking spot.

In other words, selling influence for favors is common practice. US foreign policy isn't advancing freedom and democracy, it is getting your useless son into some lucrative position that can be milked.

Wasn't another name connected to this Burisma thingy? Kerry if I remember correctly.

Are all never trumpers in on this game? I'm thinking the turn from Soviet collapse to a visceral hatred from Putin might have something to do with this, and the venn diagram between those who had lots to say and do with the post Soviet Russia and Never Trumpers shows a remarkable match.

I have this suspicion that we will find out much more about this before November 2020. This is an issue that creates visceral disgust among voters.

Howard said...

I think what Romney is really truly saying is that his decision to convict was inspired by his magic underwear being a little bit too tight in the crotch.

rcocean said...

People do the same thing with Romney that they used to do with McCain. Every criticism of MIttens has to be qualified with "Mitt is a nice guy" or "Mitt is an honorable man". With McCain it was always "McCain is a war hero, but.."

Who cares if Romney has a wonderful family and goes to Church on Sunday? He's a lying backstabbing, egotist. I'd rather have a divorced Politician who gets drunk on Sunday and is honest and respects the voters and the American people.

rcocean said...

You know who used to pray to God for guidance? Jeff Davis.

Birkel said...

He is severely conservative.
Adjectives!

Big Mike said...

Can we question the sincerity?

Not only do I question it, I laugh at Mitt Romney’s professed “sincerity.”

Francisco D said...

Is it written in the Book of Mormon that one should railroad their enemies?

Anonymous said...

M Jordan: "'Religious' is the exact right word Mitt is after but it surprises me he does not know it’s mostly a negative word in connotation these days. “Spiritual” is better, though that conjures up images of Marianne Williamson that I’m sure Romney would eschew. “Religious” conjures up different images, none very desirable."

I seriously doubt that "religious" has the mainly negative connotations to anglophones that you claim. To the intellectual you mentioned, yes. But "intellectuals" are a small minority of English-speakers, and live in their own universe of connotations and shibboleths.

"Spiritual" is not better, outside that particular universe. I'd bet that "religious" and "spiritual" have mirror-image negative/positive connotations for ordinary vs. intelligentsia English speakers.

Tommy Duncan said...

"Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented..."

From what I can tell the only meaningful evidence was the transcript of Trump's call with Zelensky. Everything else was conjecture, opinion and hearsay.

In order to justify the articles of impeachment the Democrats had to put some truly amazing spin on the call transcript. They invented motives, contorted facts, distorted events and pretended to be privy to Trump's innermost thoughts. Like Mulder and Scully on the X-files, the Democrats and Romney wanted to believe. But wanting to believe is not grounds for impeachment.

Howard said...

It's not backstabbing Mittens stabbed Julius trumpius Caesar on the senate floor for the world to see. He proved that support for conviction was bipartisan. our little Lord Fauntleroy president was so upset he canceled press conferences because he didn't want to have to take any embarrassing questions.

Anonymous said...

rcocean: Who cares if Romney has a wonderful family and goes to Church on Sunday? He's a lying backstabbing, egotist.

Remarkable who and what some people will take seriously, isn't it? People whose flim-flam detectors appear to very precise over an extremely limited range, but otherwise woefully inaccurate.

bagoh20 said...

I'm sure the Spanish Inquisitors also considered themselves "profoundly religious". That Romney says he is proves nothing substantial to me. Religious people can be just as unreasonable, petty, and deluded as anyone else. They just feel more justified in it, which does not make it better.

rightguy said...

If your adversary says "I think we should handle this in a Christian manner", then you should reach in your back pocket and tightly grip your wallet.

michaele said...

Romney speech struck me as holier than thou and he used religion as a crutch to justify his decision. His vote to support needing more witnesses seems in contradiction to his subsequent accepting the impeachment evidence as strong enough to convict. it just doesn't pass the smell test.

Birkel said...

One out of 53 does seem reasonable.
Trump only has 98% support from Republicans.
99% from conservatives.

Annie C. said...

The church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.

tim in vermont said...

I have been watching Adam. Schiff’s speeches, and I think that this acquittal is going to be worse than the end of net neutrality and Y2K combined!

Howard said...

Everyone really needs to read at least just the first 25 pages of Steven pinker's the better angels of our nature.

He makes it clear and convincing case. The religions founded in the middle East or based on cheerleading of genocide rape slavery and mass extinction all ordered by God who quite obviously is in fact Satan

tim in vermont said...

:Julius trumpius Caesar on the senate floor for the world to see”

Except, Caesar died. So it’s looking more like seppuku.

Howard said...

Pinker gives you people who still believe a pass however by saying that the religious texts from the ancient world are a talismanand and are no longer really believed in any literal sense

rhhardin said...

Gott Mitt uns.

Nichevo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

I think that the recent didcovery of an asteroid hit on Gomorra was a historical fact that did in fact have many of the effects described in the Bible, made for a conception of a brutal and all powerful God on whose side you had better stay.

rhhardin said...

What a day, what a day, for an auto da fe.

Howard said...

Well Auntie Trump I am quite certain that mittens Mcgoody Two-Shoes will live a long healthy and happy life. I make no predictions for your man Beelzebub but I wouldn't wish his fate on any man. You can tell based on his countenance that his prostate is the gland controlling everything.

Supersize me, baby

Bob Boyd said...

I think you have to take professions of religious motivation on a case by case basis.

In this case, Mitt is full of shit.
The only question for me is, does Mitt believe his own bullshit?

tim in vermont said...

This is almost like a season finale.

Nichevo said...

But let's be honest, Senator Romney is thinking about 4 years from now. His political calculation is that when he is up for re-election or running for President again in 2024 this will be looking better or forgotten/forgiven.

2/6/20, 6:47 AM


You see, this is the problem for Romney. Trouble with being a cocksucking faggot is, even though you have done a wonderful job, used tongue and avoided teeth, worked the balls, tongued the anus, deepthroated, then received the load, sucked it all out like a water pump, swished, gargled, swallowed, licked everything up afterwards, and the one you serviced is still gasping with his eyes closed from the ecstasy you have given him while you make everything nice and clean with a warm washcloth...

When he opens then and sees you, he will still be filled with disgust, both for you, and for himself, for allowing himself to use and be used by one such as you. If you were good enough, and he is devious enough, he will try to speak softly to you in anticipation of future head; but you know, he knows, and boy, does anybody know who saw the two of you!

The deception need not be too deep; you didn't achieve your present (kneeling) position without a healthy dose of masochism and self-contempt. It's best that you not be humiliated too openly before others, though, so that you can still go to the best places.

(Ladies, this does not apply to you. In particular, remember the warm washcloth afterwards.)

But you see, Romney is a tool, a twisted mechanism who does not even know who he serves, let alone why. He's not even at the level of a fellator; more of a human Fleshlight.

The only difference between Willard Romney and Pete Buttigieg is that Romney is ostensibly opposed to the use of his mucous membranes for another man's pleasure. But if true, this applies only on the literal, physical level. Morally, he swims out to meet troopships. Enemy troopships.

Yeah, Lance, we're getting glad in hindsight that Romney didn't get elected in 2012. At least Obama was reputedly the pitcher, not the catcher. More to the point, Obama's betrayal was not like what Romney's betrayal would have been. Nobody expected Obama to love, honor, defend and protect this country. We would have expected it of Romney. We would have been sadly mistaken and terribly disappointed.

Plus which, the despond of Obama led to the glorious Presidency of Donald John Trump! As readers of Dracula know, we must wade through bitter waters before we reach the sweet.

tim in vermont said...

"You can tell based on his countenance that his prostate is the gland controlling everything.”

We know he takes Avodart. Fear not though, he will not live forever, and the like of his balls are unlikely to be seen again.

Howard said...

Yeah the Bible is full of geological history allegories revised and modified and also collated collected and lumped together as single stories. once the glacier started melting about 22000 years ago epic flooding became a frequent occurrence for the next 15000 years

Howard said...

I didn't know that auntie, I didn't need to know that I can't go and unsee your comment. It's time to go throw some kettlebells around

Nichevo said...


Blogger Aunty Trump said...
"Unless Romney is a great deal less intelligent than one gives him credit for being,”

His slip is showing.

2/6/20, 7:46 AM


I'm also decreasing the credit I used to give him for brains. Maybe he was just the "face" at Bain Capital, the glad-hander with the Rolodex. Not the thinker. The guy with executive hair a la Dilbert.

Bob Smith said...

I’m so old I remember when Mitt Romney was a dog torturing racist mysogonistic nazi thug. And that was only 8 years ago.

tim in vermont said...

Doesn’t the troll stylebook demand that you refer to his face as a “rictus” not “countenance”? Or was that just Reagan? Rictus is the grin of a hanged man, BTW.

Make a note of it.

choirmom said...

I hold a lot of suspicion for someone who is agonizing over a decision, then goes right out and schedules an interview with Chris Wallace to discuss it. One of the character traits of Jesus that we are to emulate is humility. All of the speech seems fake to me. Mitt Romney is always calculating what his words and actions will do - anyone D up for a nice anti-trump R running mate?

William said...

I don't think we should allow Romney to claim martyrdom among his many accomplishments. His vote was inconsequential and irrelevant. Perhaps it was made according to conscience or perhaps it was made to fit his animus against Trump. Whatever his motivation, his vote changed nothing....Okay, he'll catch some flak from Trump supporters, but that will be gainsaid by all the worshipful attention from the media and Dems. My estimate is that he's a net winner and not a martyr....The media will no doubt focus on some over the top barbs against him and portray him as St. Stephen, but none of this will affect his life span or personal wealth. In the end, it's just another meh moment in his bland life.

Anonymous said...

I have a rule: when somebody tells me they're a christian the first time I meet them, I never, ever, ever trust them after that. Don't tell me. Show me. I'll figure it out.

Wilbur said...

I suspect Fred Phelps thought himself to be profoundly religious.

Look, it's not difficult to understand this. Romney has hated Trump for the longest. This was his chance to fuck him, so he did.

Seeing Red said...

It’s hooey.

Koot Katmandu said...

Funny haha. When someone does something wrong they sometimes say the Devil made me do it. Here is Romeny saying god made him do it. Deranged about Trump is all I can say.

Unknown said...

He’s a traitor.

Anonymous said...

"Blogger Lance said...
I love how Republicans are suddenly so happy that Obama got re-elected in 2012."

New data often leads to new conclusions.

narciso said...

he's an investment banker, a Gordon gecko with a better suit,

hombre said...

So where does that leave those of us who are profoundly religious and who recognize politically motivated bullshit when we see it? Are we godless in the eyes of Mitt the Morman?

I don’t think so. I think The Federalist got it right when they pointed out that Mitt has spent his political career screwing the Republicans who voted for him and shifting his positions on “profoundly religious” issues like abortion. He’s a swamprat and a hypocrite who has by this lost his ability to deceive any but the mindless.

TJM said...

No, we are actually shrinking from the lying

Anthony said...

When religion is used like this, does it silence critics? Does it cheapen religion?

Politics cheapens everything it touches.

TJM said...

I still can't figure out Mittens "logic:"

Last week he voted for more witnesses because the Dems had not made their case, but this week he votes to convict with no more witnesses. He sounds like a very stupid juror

Charlie Eklund said...

Profoundly dismal, more like.

DarkHelmet said...

If Mitt wanted to be Bloomberg's choice of VP or Sec State . . .

Narr said...

I just got here and haven't read the comments on this or any other thread, so here's my fresh morning brewed take on Romney's question and the Prof's reaction.

The Prof is too touchy. I don't think what Romney asked implies what she insists it necessarily does. It may mean what she thinks, but it may instead (or also, motives are often mixed, right, people?) just be his faith/self-centered way of resolving his quandary.
It's not as if he's the first pol to do such a thing.

FWIW&TR, the Mormons I have known and worked with have been pretty pleasant, conscientious, and hard-working all in all.

Narr
Easy-going atheist

JAORE said...

Apparently Mitt's ethics does not include innocent until proven guilty. Same with every Democrat that voted for removal.

If you need MORE evidence (obviously to convict since the witnesses demanded are perceived as anti-Trump) that says you do not have the information needed to convict.

Even ignoring the cluck-up of the House procedure (no R witnesses, only Shiff approved questions behind closed doors, the protection (not covered by law) of the whistle blower, etc.)

An honorable person would have to vote not proven guilty.

Chuck said...

Blogger TJM said...
I still can't figure out Mittens "logic:"

Last week he voted for more witnesses because the Dems had not made their case, but this week he votes to convict with no more witnesses. He sounds like a very stupid juror


Let’s count all of the stupidities is this bit of prime Trumpism.

Romney May have — I know that I did — wanted additional testimony NOT because he required more evidence, but rather because others clearly did. I personally think that Meade and Althouse should be hearing many more witnesses.

The second point was made very effectively by Congressman Schiff: with Trump hiding evidence and blocking witnesses, all presumptions about them should run against the President, within whose control the evidence lay.

Your presumption — that Romney somehow believed that witnesses were needed because the allegations were lacking — is not supported by anything Romney said, or anything in the record.

Finally, in plain English; fuck Trump and his lawyers. Nobody in the history of jurisprudence tries to block witnesses and evidence that would exonerate them. Trump blocked evidence and witnesses who should be presumed to have been even more damning.

mccullough said...

Romney is just a rich asshole. He went into Private Equity to make a shitload of money because that’s what Mitt’s God wanted?

He sets up his 5 Sons to make more money because God Wants Us to Be Rich?

All public displays of religiosity are insincere. All of them.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Finally, in plain English; fuck Trump and his lawyers. Nobody in the history of jurisprudence tries to block witnesses and evidence that would exonerate them.

This is really simple minded. It's like something that a high school student would write.
Opposing calling witnesses or presenting certain evidence does not prove the defendant is guilty.

mccullough said...

Others did not require more evidence.

They all voted. No one abstained from voting because they could not make a decision based on lack of evidence.

That would be the principled thing to do if you thought more evidence was needed.

They are all full of shit.

And we are still waiting for The Senate to expel Bob Menendez.

mccullough said...

Where is the Irrefutable Evidence that Schiff has seen that Trump Colluded with Russia?

Schiff is full of shit like the rest of them.

It’s a game. Trump keeps winning. And Chuck keeps whining because his team sucks.

mccullough said...

Trump won.

Romney Lost. Schumer Lost. Schiff Lost. Pelosi Lost.

Chuck Lost.

mccullough said...

God wanted Mitt to become a Senator at age 71.

Mitt Is Important. God Needed Mitt

Lewis Wetzel said...

Which GOP senator wanted to be Trump's Secretary of State, but was rejected?
Mitt Romney.
Which GOP senator voted to to impeach trump based on his religious scruples?
Mitt Romney.

gg6 said...

I don't find the question of Romney's "sincerity" difficult to judge at all. In my perception, he is clearly a sanctimonious, narcissistic, virtue signaling fraud. I consider that putting it nicely.

Jupiter said...

If we take Romney seriously when he justifies his behavior by reference to his religion, we may reasonably assume that he will do whatever that religion requires. And knowing that, we should not vote for him unless we are Mormons. I am not a Mormon (the second m is silent in my pronunciation), but I voted for Romney in 2012. So I guess I don't take him seriously. Of course, his opponent was a dog-eating Communist Muslim whose wife could beat him in a fair fight, so there are degrees of taking seriously.

DavidUW said...

Mormon businessmen have all been shysters in my experience.

Megthered said...

Romney is a Mormon like Chuck Schumer is a Jew, only when it's politically convenient. Romney has a seething hatred for POTUS. He feels he shamed him publicly by not choosing him for Sec State and for Mitt having to grovel for an endorsement when he wanted the senate seat. Now I think the LDS powerbrokers are angry at Mitt for making Utah and Mormonism a laughing stock.

Narr said...

Where do you see atheists, Mary? Do you go to the zoo or what? Maybe they have a special section down at the county work farm?

Narr
See y'all in a few hours

Michael K said...

Trump blocked evidence and witnesses who should be presumed to have been even more damning.

I guess you guys are right. Chuck is not a lawyer.

iowan2 said...

I guess you guys are right. Chuck is not a lawyer.

It plain only taking points are posted. No personal analysis. Just regurgitated talking points.
A real lawyer would not constantly post things that contradict basic legal principles.

n.n said...

Religion is a moral philosophy, a behavioral protocol (e.g. a unified theory of "ethics").

That said, for better and worse, there has been great progress where people conflate logical domains, defer to mortal gods, and receive instruction from these human philosophers.

Martin said...

Somehow, despite invoking God, he makes it all about himself--which strongly suggests who his REAL God is.

Sam L. said...

I can, and DO, question his sincerity.

n.n said...

the LDS powerbrokers are angry at Mitt for making Utah and Mormonism a laughing stock

There is no need to indulge diversity... color judgments. Mitt is his own man, and his choices are not representative of principles held by Utah or Mormons.

Mamma Drama on the Hill said...

I appreciate it when anyone chooses to use language that is self-defining. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and believe what they say about themselves rather than what others say about them. I think it’s a little defensive to read any implications about others into his statement when he is only speaking about his experience. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well. We have been the targets of abuse and ridicule for nearly 200 years. For the most part we have cowered to this abuse and even defined ourselves using the abusive names others have given to us, such as “Mormon”. But that is starting to change. Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraging members to find their voice and stand up for themselves and their beliefs when others define them. So, from my member perspective, when I read his statement, I just hear a fellow member using his own voice and communicating in his own authentic way that he’s doing his best to follow his own conscience. And since I’m not God, I’m not going to pretend to know another’s mind and accept it at face value.

Leland said...

with Trump hiding evidence and blocking witnesses, all presumptions about them should run against the President, within whose control the evidence lay.

IOW, if the defendant doesn't take the stand or allow his spouse to testify, that should be assumed to be a sign of guilt and treated accordingly.

BTW, I just listened to Ted Cruz's podcast made just after the witness vote. This very argument by Schiff was used by Cruz and Graham to secure the votes of Alexander and Murkowski. Neither were interested in using the impeachment to then and there set precedent on the Executive Branch use of Executive Privilege.

The arguments the LLR think are winning increasingly become the actual losing argument.

mockturtle said...

From The Babyon Bee: "Mitt Romney, incoming senator for Utah and follower of Joseph Smith, lectured the nation in an op-ed Tuesday on the need to reject morally flawed leaders.

The man who has devoted his life to the teachings of a con artist encouraged the nation to examine its leaders to see whether they are worthy of our devotion and respect."

Darrell said...

God is strongly suggesting to me that Mitt is an asshole. I'll go with that.

Yancey Ward said...

They could have impeached Trump for his hair and Romney would have voted for conviction. His vote was never in doubt. His sole purpose for becoming a Senator was to vote for impeachment, he just thought he would be one of the people ousting Trump from the White House. The man is transparent. The funny thing is that all his newfound "friends" on the Left despise him more than those on the Right- no doubt they snicker to each other at the man's pomposity. Romney is the perfect fopdoodle.

Mark Nielsen said...

n.n. (whose comments I always enjoy) says "There is no need to indulge diversity... color judgments. Mitt is his own man, and his choices are not representative of principles held by Utah or Mormons."

Indeed. There are several regular commenters here who are followers of the same religious tradition as Romney. I'm an irregular commenter who also shares that fate. I think that "profoundly religious" was just another profoundly inappropriate choice of words by Brother Romney. Same as "severely conservative". He opens himself up to abuse by using those kinds of labels. I don't think he's really comfortable with who he is (or what people will think of him because of who he is) and ends up saying stuff he thinks will win points, but instead wins nothing but ridicule.

Most of Mitt's Mormon constituents would consider themselves to be bound by the same religious obligations, yet most of them are furious at how Mitt voted. I'm sure they're also just as annoyed as I am that he would use his religious belief to justify his personal choice in this case.

hstad said...

Romney better check out his religion firts, before he uses it as an excuse for a personal vendetta. Always suspicious of religions being used in politics, that's why I hated Bush!

exhelodrvr1 said...

Chuck,
By your theory, if someone is innocent all evidence and witnesses should support the defendants innocence, so the defense should never object to any evidence/witnesses being presented.

RichAndSceptical said...

Romney hid behind his religion. I can't really see where God had anything to do with his vote. Either Trump was guilty or he wasn't.

LA_Bob said...

Lurker21 said, "For somebody who is forever examining his conscience, Romney seems to be lacking some self-knowledge and immune to introspection in some ways. I can't quite say what it is that is missing..."

This resonates with me.

I worked for a Mormon for a few years early in my career. From what I saw, he was in all respects a good, sincere man and a devout follower of his faith. He was was a CPA and had worked for a large international firm. He was well versed in the convenient ethics he had seen in the business world.

He told me repeatedly, Everyone has a price. He never suggested he was someone immune to temptation.

One thing I learned is how much pressure Mormons can be under to succeed financially. This man had six children and a stay-at-home wife. He honored his tithing obligation to his church.

Eventually, he selected Amway multi-level marketing as his vehicle for building wealth. He tried to recruit me into the business. My view is that multi-level marketing is a pyramid scheme and an inherently unethical approach to building a business. It relies on attracting recruits at an exponential rate. It greatly benefits the early adopters at the expense of later recruits. Somehow he couldn't see this.

I don't think my former boss was evil or crooked or even greedy. I think he was blinkered. In his devotion to his understanding of church ideals (in part, making the church wealthier), he could not see that he was compromising those ideals.

I think Romney, too, is blinkered. He is sincere in his conviction that he is sincere and believes he did the right thing. So, I can't call him a "weasel", because I think he believes, really believes, in his sincerity. But, I think he's wrong.

Equipment Maintenance said...

Each vote for conviction was a vote for civil war.

Jon Ericson said...

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ain't a Christian denomination.
You could look it up.

Dingels said...

So Romney is guilty of what the WASP said President Kennedy would do.

Jim at said...

He's about as profoundly religious as he is severely conservative.

Daniel Jackson said...

In the words of William Burroughs, The Junkie's Poet Laureate,

"If you are doing' business with a religious son of a bitch, Get. It. In. Writing. His word isn't worth shit, not with the Good Lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal."

Words to live by, sez he.

LA_Bob said...

Daniel Jackson,

That was a belly laugh!

Bruce Hayden said...

I want to apologize in advance to our LDS posters, many of you seeming to first time posters, or at least not frequent posters.

Like many gentiles who have spent time around a number of LDS (including working in two law firms that had large minorities of Mormon attorneys), as well as having spent the last twenty years with a woman who grew up in a place where over half her classmates in HS were from Mormon families (Henderson NV, where the Mormons, who ran Las Vegas lived at the time, lived for better schools). Her family would often get together with Mormon families, whose fathers would go onto prominence (including Harry Reid). My GF in college was similarly situated (from Elko NV). Their best friends in HS were mostly Mormon.

Several things stood out to them, and to a lesser extent, to me. One is Mormon cliqueiness. Those of us not of the faith are called Gentiles, with the same result we see with Jews (one of the guys on my wing freshman year is Jewish, grew up in SLC, and always thought it odd that he was considered the Gentile and not the Mormons he was living in the midst of). This comes across to us as being looked down at because we haven’t been saved, and they have. It’s not as bad now as when the family of the lawyer next door to me when I worked in NW NV were not allowed to buy supplies, when on the Oregon trail, and had to backtrack all the way to Nebraska to winter. Better than a century and a half later, that still rankles.

The other, more relevant here, is hypocrisy. My partner has pointed out that the only girls in her HS to get pregnant were Mormon, and most often managed shot gun weddings in the local temple before they showed too much. Because, of course, failure to marry in the temple meant a permanent stain of the reputations of both the girls and their parents (I learned from a couple I often had lunch with when first living in PHX, that the way it is supposed to work, is that if you are sexually active before marriage, you have to go through a period of abstinence and counseling in order to be allowed a temple wedding - which they went through, because he had been estranged from the church during his early 20s).

There is a joke, that if you have one Mormon along, you need to watch your beer, so that they don’t drink it all, but if you have two of them along they watch each other. I saw that in action when I worked in SLC. Two guys made partner, and we had a celebration. Trays of drinks were passed around - champagne for us gentiles, and fruit juice for the faithful. Except that I had had beers with a couple of the guys who picked fruit juice that day.

Combined with the hypocrisy that you sometimes see, there seems to be a double standard, where the more you make, the more you tithe, the less is asked of you morally. Somewhat akin, in my mind, to the practice of the RC church selling indulgences to the nobility prior to the Reformation. Romney, having no doubt fully tithed on his more than $200m fortune, is a major contributor to the church. Essentially royalty. A friend of ours, who possibly has tithed more than Romney, has one of the best wine cellars around. Not that this sort of hypocrisy is foreign to other faiths. Catholics criticize Calvinists for their belief that earthly wealth can be attributed to living a godly life, but are hypocrites as well, as was shown in The Godfather, where Michael, having just inherited from his father, paid all family debts by murdering those who had attacked or betrayed them, which appears to have started during the christening, while he was accepting the responsibility of raising his godchild in the church as a good Christian. Then after that leaving the church, with the soul of the godchild secured, he had its father, his brother in law, executed as well (BIL had been involved in the death of Sonny, Michael’s brother).

Let me add that there are a lot of very good LDS. I am just a bit cynical about rich Mormons like Romney.

Bruce Hayden said...

Romney May have — I know that I did — wanted additional testimony NOT because he required more evidence, but rather because others clearly did. I personally think that Meade and Althouse should be hearing many more witnesses.”

Of course, that was completely on Schifty, who failed to subpoena these additional witnesses, even after he bothered to get legal subpoena power.

“The second point was made very effectively by Congressman Schiff: with Trump hiding evidence and blocking witnesses, all presumptions about them should run against the President, within whose control the evidence lay.”

You need to reread what President Trump said, and that he was doing this to protect the institution of the Presidency for those who follow him in office. Congress has never had access to a President’s closest advisors for what the President said to or around him. This has been true for better than two centuries. There has been exactly one exception, and that was with Nixon during his impeachment. But by that point, a formal impeachment, giving the House A1S2 impeachment subpoena power, had been commenced upon a vote of the entire House, and a prima facie case of Obstruction of Justice, a felony, had been established. And, importantly, Nixon had been allowed to have counsel present at all of the interviews of his people in the White House, in order to assert Executive Privilege, when appropriate. None of this was present with Schifty: 1) no formal impeachment with subpoena power had yet to be voted out by the Entire House; 2) no prima facie case of a High Crime or Misdemeanor had been made (and never was); 3) No valid or invalid subpoena was ever issued to compel the testimony of these witnesses; and 4) the President was denied the Due Process right of having an attorney present during these interviews, in order to assert Executive Privilege. The unprecedented denial of the right by the President to have counsel present during the proposed interviews would have denied him the right to assert Executive Privilege, first asserted by our first President, George Washington. And denying the President the ability to contest this dispute in court, where it has frequently been litigated, but instead, attempted to completely appropriate the power of the other two branches, from one the most fundamental Separation of Powers issues faced by our Republic.

If anyone was guilty of Abuse of Power and Contempt of another branch of government, it was, very clearly, Schifty and his House Dem enablers.

Let me add that this was gross hypocrisy on the part of Schifty and the Dems. During the SpyGate/FISA abuse hearings held by the Republicans during the previous Congress, the FBI sent an attorney along into the interviews of present or former FBI employees to prevent interference with the ongoing Mueller investigation. (It was only after the SC investigation was shut down by AG Barr, that the DOJ IG could do their investigation, that ultimately showed that the FISA warrants were illegally obtained, and that the Mueller prosecutors had aided in the illegalities). Whenever anyone asked about the Crossfire Hurricane investigation or Russian Collusion, the FBI attorney would object, and the member of Congress asking the questions would move on to another topic. Every time. Dozens of times even in the case of Lisa Page. The FBI, part of the Executive Branch, under A1S1 Oversight by both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees in both Houses, was allowed to protect its institutional interests, while the President, one of three coequal Branches of Government, and not subject to Congressional Oversight, was denied that right. Democrat Hypocrisy.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add that the reality of the second article of impeachment should have much better been titled “Refusal of the President to acquiesce to Congress usurping the roles of the Presidency and the Judiciary in determining Separation of Power Issues”. Much more accurate than “Contempt of Congress”.

n.n said...

Mark Nielsen said...

n.n. (whose comments I always enjoy)


Well, thanks. I try to avoid the bloc parties, so to speak, and am wary when they are held on color, not principled grounds.

Mark Nielsen said...

Bruce H: I nearly always enjoy your comments here. And I can believe a lot of what you say as an honest and understandable impression that might be given from some LDS cultural traits. (The "gentile" thing rings especially true.) But some of what you say here simply isn't true. I do not know a single member of the church that would try to get their pregnant daughter married in a temple dishonestly. Besides, when you were there, there would not have been a "local temple" in the Vegas area. You're probably confusing that with marriage in an ordinary church meetinghouse, with the ceremony conducted by the local Bishop. That certainly does happen, but it wouldn't have been in any way "sneaking" it through -- that's the most common alternative for when a wedding can't be done in the temple for one reason or another.

I've heard the joke about always inviting two Mormons to protect the beer -- but I always used to hear it about Baptists. It might make sense there -- I don't know, I've never been Baptist. But in my experience it doesn't hold for Mormons. There are plenty of Mormons who will have a beer with you, but generally not practicing and active ones. If someone is trying to actually live the faith (or even appear to live it) and yet has an alcohol habit, they'll do their drinking behind closed doors and not with you -- we're well aware of what the outside world expects us to be.

Finally, I won't say that your perception regarding tithe paying is an honest one. I can tell you, though, that in my experience it is wrong. There are no lower expectations for the well-to-do. My local congregation here (we call them "wards") includes everything from very poor to quite wealthy, but those distinctions play no part in our interactions. There may be groups of wealthy Mormons who think that way. I sometimes hear stories about it as well. But I've never seen it. When I was a graduate student my wife and I lived in Bellevue, Washington and our "ward" took in a very wealthy slice of town plus the little cluster of high density apartments where we lived. Our ward included a few corporate CEOs. Had Bill Gates been LDS he would have gone to church with us. Our little Plymouth Horizon was about the only thing in the parking lot that wasn't either BMW or Porsche. But those people treated us no differently than they did each other. We were invited to their homes for gatherings and given significant roles to play in the work of the congregation.

None of that is in apology for Senator Romney's behavior. His claim to be doing this because of his religious convictions offends a lot of us (I dare say the vast majority of us). Mitt needs to own his own decisions and live with their consequences by himself. Other Mormons aren't interested in being his shield here.

Stephen said...

Althouse wrote: "It implies that a highly principled atheist would not follow the process demanded in the oath but would necessarily yield to the pressure of partisan politics. Only religion is enough to keep people on an honest, dutiful path?"

It implies no such thing. What is says is that given the way religion and God function in my conscience can anyone think that I would have made a decision with so many bad consequences for me other than on religious grounds? That's not saying that only religious people make conscientious decisions with bad personal consequences. Just that that's how my conscience works.

It does not imply that principled people of other faiths, or of no faith, could not have put self interest aside, still less that they could not have reached the same decision on the merits. And indeed, Romney was careful to say that he believed that his colleagues had also reached their decision conscientiously.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Mark - thanks for your comments.

One question - can LDS marry in the church meetinghouse, with the woman pregnant from unwed sex? Or is that just in the temple? My partner claims, with a straight face, that maybe 1/5 of the Mormon girls in her class were pregnant before graduation, and were rushed into marriage. Her best friend’s sister was one of them, but without her father around, it was the mother who literally showed up with the shotgun. Because of the obviousness, that may have been a court wedding instead.

To the credit of your faith, she was abandoned by her husband, with five small kids at home. They never really went without anything, and a lot of that was due to the church. I have never seen anything like it. They supplied food and clothing when she and her family couldn’t afford them. She, of course worked hard to support her family, but five kids were a lot. Years later one of the girls traced down their father, but the one getting married wanted nothing of him, including inviting him to the wedding. She was bitter though (and no longer actively Mormon), and the relationship with my partner ended with her jealous rant over all the attention my partner got when she flatlined in the ICU, contrasted with her friend having a hysterectomy.

DKWalser said...

One question - can LDS marry in the church meetinghouse, with the woman pregnant from unwed sex? Or is that just in the temple?...

I'm not Mark, but as a former LDS Bishop, I can answer the question: Of course they can get married in a church meetinghouse! Many do.

The temple is another matter. To enter the temple you have to be living up to certain standards -- one of which is living the law of chastity. You do NOT need to be perfect (no one is), but you need to be 'worthy'.

Narr said...

Lord, please make me a Gentile among whatever believers I find myself.

Narr
Some of us prefer it out here

Mark Nielsen said...


Thanks for answering DKW.

The temple (and what it means to us) is probably something that is difficult for those outside the church to understand, and I can see why it would lead to some misunderstandings and, yes, some negative perceptions.

Thank you to most here for keeping this discussion above the gutter.

Mark Nielsen said...


Narr -- too funny!

Daniel Jackson said...

To continue an idea from the Junkie Laureate, William Burroughs, quoted earlier, I bring to the floor the recent divorce case of one Larry King and his wife, Shawn, as reported on Page Six of the New York Post. https://pagesix.com/2020/02/05/larry-king-says-26-year-age-gap-with-ex-wife-shawn-took-its-toll/?_ga=2.84488785.939261380.1580579167-1267820959.1552688533 [Page Six is the US equivalent to the UK Page Three but without the T&A]

King, 86, says the 26 year age difference with his wife, 60, is part of the problem; adds, "Also my wife is a very religious Mormon, and I’m an agnostic atheist, so that causes little problems.”

He added, “We overcame a lot, but it just hit a point where we didn’t get along.”

He continues,

"“I thought about what I wanted the rest of my life to be,” he told [People]. “When you’re 40 and there are moments of unhappiness in a marriage, you can overcome that. But it’s hard at my age. There is nothing worse than arguing. And I wanted to be happy.”"

Apparently, doing business with Religious sons of bitches (or, their mother), like Mitch or Shawn is especially difficult because The Good Lord is ALWAYS telling them how to fuck you on the deal.

What King means is there is nothing worse than arguing with someone who has God on their side. ALWAYS. Amen.

Rosalyn C. said...

I've never been in doubt that Romney hates and resents Trump for having won the presidency while Romney, who considers himself a far superior man, failed. To add insult to injury Trump pointed out Romney's failure, stating what we all saw, Romney choked.

IMO There is no way that Romney could ever accept being seen as or feeling subservient to Trump. So it's not that Mittens is insincere, he's a egotist. I'd have more respect for Romney if he said out loud that he despised Trump and couldn't get over it. Of course that has nothing to do with how deep his religious faith might be except that a deeply religious person accepts that he has flaws. He just can't help having personal flaws. What pisses me off is that Romney pretended to be an ally when he went to Trump tower to ask for the Secretary of State job and when he got Trump's endorsement for the Utah Senate seat. Romney's religious convictions don't preclude being a lying opportunist.

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