The video is of off air remarks recorded by hidden camera with Romney discussing Mormonism with the radio interviewer. Much is being made play by Dawkins that “Romney really BELIEVES all that Mormon tosh. He truly BELIEVES it”.
By contrast he suggests that there is no proof that Obama really believes Christianity.
A key point here is that Romney mentions that Mormons should not impose their restrictions on others. He disagrees regarding abortion thinking the church should be more active. That flagged up for me.
If we are talking tosh, virgin births, second comings are up there with a heavenly kingdom on earth ruling in Missouri and Jerusalem. We might try to stack up what we regard as bullshit and say how high each stack is. The crucial thing is it is all bullshit. I might be more accustomed to one stack than the other so treat differently. Julia Sweeney in her stand up “Letting Go of God” makes the point of being used to the catholic story more than the Mormon, making the later easier to deride as made up nonsense.
Obama has made plenty of statements on his having faith and being tired of saying it is Christian:
I have a job to do as president, and that does not involve convincing folks that my faith in Jesus is legitimate and real. Faith can express itself in people in many ways, and I think it is important that we not make faith alone a barometer of a person’s worth, value, or character.
From the same article, that quotes the candidates’ answers to Rev Francis Wades’ e mail to them, Romney has this to say about the wall of separation:
Clearly, the boundaries between church and state must be respected, but there is a large space in which faith-based organizations can do good for the community in which they serve. In recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning.
(Quotes above taken from article here)
As a secularist I may favour Obama but Romney is not about to bring down the wall in one big whack. Rather, his social policies and economic plans are enough to put the x squarely by Obama’s name.
The proof of Obama being a Christian can be seen in having a bible with him when traveling which he makes use of, regular pray meetings, going out of his way to talk to Christian faith leaders, and attending different churches for regular worship. (see here).
Plus the biggest is that he was not brought up in any faith. His community work as a young man in Chicago made him view Christianity as a force for social justice. We could also state being an engaged Christian was also a smart move for a politician. In the absence of a mind probe the evidence suggests he does believe.
Dawkins saying no proof that Obama is a Christian is sadly putting him on the side that says Obama is a Muslim, or born in Kenya. The evidence to the contrary is there. It is not a flattering place to be in the political argument.
I think atheists/secularists have enough good reasons to vote for Obama. Maybe Dawkins is trying to herd more of the atheist vote for him, by what he says about him. Think there are other ways to do that then saying Obama is a Christian fraud, Romney sincerely believes in tosh so vote for the lier because only way Obama could be elected in the first place.
This really is not the way to change the world or encourage people to come out as atheists in American political life – which I know Dawkins wants.
This brings me to Christopher Hitchens who also said of Obama that he was not a believer:
Which makes me think this meme abounds: that a public policy favouring secularist principles cannot be the act of a real believer. This view is holding sway on Obama by some in the atheist movement. That polarising view has almost entirely removed secularists from the Republican base who likewise espouse the meme.
I find it disappointing when believers think you have to be an atheist to be a secularist. When secularists start to believe that I really am concerned.
Pluralism is a wonderful idea that is a necessary condition for democracy to function. Without a secular state religious freedom, and pluralism are compromised. Maybe we can focus on this after the election and perhaps one day “build up that wall” together.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog