Two bad events in the past week: Romney's pathetic attempt to be Kennedyesque, and Huckabee's claim that God has caused his climb in the Republican presidential candidate race.
Let's take Huckabee first:
Huck claimed that his rise in the polls had "only one explanation," divine intervention. So apparently all of the following are true:
- Huckabee recognizes that without divine intervention he is incapable of convincing voters he's a good presidential prospect.
- God is overriding free will by directly changing the minds of voters.
- God personally likes Huck more than the other candidates.
The first one I'm tempted to agree with, and I think time will prove it true.
The second just reveals that he hasn't really thought about his claim. (Note: Huck's a Baptist, not a Lutheran, so free will as a theological issue really does matter.)
The third reveals his astounding arrogance. He's claiming the mantle of God's favor for himself! Therefore, a vote against him must be a vote against God. Don't get too near him, les the lightning strike you, too.
As for Romney, whose whole speech can be read here, he set a whole new standard in hypocritical pandering. While he was attempting to be Kennedyesque (referring, of course, to one of Kennedy's very few good moments), Romney got it all wrong. He tried very hard to argue that the details of his religion didn't matter, but then went out of his way to emphasize the one and only detail he thought conservative protestants would agree with him on, pointedly noting
"There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.
He thereby implicitly admits that the details of his religious beliefs do matter. But not any of the other details!
My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance.
And he also made it clear that he thinks that being religious is in fact a requirement, unless we want to lose our freedom.
Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.
Other bloggers have noted the logical idiocy of his statement--clearly freedom does not require religion, or the states in the U.S. with lowest church attendance, like Oregon, would be less free than those with higher church attendance, like those in the South, when in fact you have a broader base of rights in Oregon than in, say, Mississippi (or for that matter, Utah). But more disturbing is the thrust of the claim--if you don't elect a religious person to the presidency, you will lose your freedom. Romney is imposing a religious test.
Kennedy, in contrast, said,
neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test--even by indirection.
To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsent: "Governor, you are no Jack Kennedy."