07 December 2007

Mitt's fit

Everybody's chatting about Romney's try at a Kennedyesque speecher yesterday in which he attempted to stem the exodus of evangelicals to the Huckabee camp by assuring them that he too, loves authoritarian religion because all authoritarian religion is basically the same thing.

Wait, what? Let's see:

It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it’s usually a sound rule to focus on the latter – on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.

What Romney is attempting to do, of course, is convince the conservative Christians that his Mormon beliefs are irrelevant because, while they have theological differences, they share the same values of practical application. You'll notice how similar this sounds to a point this blog frequently makes about the relationship between fundamentalist Christians and Muslims. Indeed, in another surprise, Romney even invokes the other "M" word himself.

I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims.

That's oddly syncretic, and doesn't seem like it would appeal to people who despise syncretism as an evil above all others. But the old guard of the Christian Right ultimately values political power more, and they realize that splitting votes between Huckabee and Romney ultimately benefits the distrusted Giuliani. Some of our elders can even remember a time when fundamentalist Protestants thought Catholics were the great insidious enemy infecting America, necessitating the aforementioned speech by Kennedy which Romney imagines himself emulating here. I suspect they could even make nice with Muslims, if there were an election at stake.