Saturday, December 15, 2007

Carnival of The Libertarians #1

Welcome to the first "Carnival of The Libertarians" !
I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of submissions, covering almost every topic that matters in the Libertarian worldview. Here we go....


Allan Wallace presents We Need New Questions - school success posted at - The BFU Journal - documenting the creation of a new type of college, saying, "Have we asked the right question about the failures of formal education?" BFU stands for "The Bastiat Free University". Go there. Learn. Prosper.

Shaun Connell presents Intellectual Ownership posted at The Rebirth of Freedom Foundation, saying, "The Rebirth of Freedom Foundation explains why intellectual ownership is philosophically and realistically impossible. It just doesn't work."

Limited Government

Ian Welsh presents Cell phones are essentially spies in your pocket. And now cops don't need a warrant to use them. posted at The Agonist This is some good stuff. Worth considering now that most people wear or carry some form of "transmitter" all day.

blewsdawg presents Drug Warriors - Please Try To Justify This - Please! posted at InFrequently Asked Questions, in which Blewsdawg asks why it's necessary to shoot 90-year old women during drug raids. Good question.

Charles H. Green presents How To Get Your Industry Regulated, in 6 Easy Lessons posted at Trust Matters, saying, "Be out of control and deny it! No one will notice!" This is one of the best of the bunch. FYI....getting your industry regulated helps keep out competitors, allows you to jack up prices, and develops friends for your industry in government. All these things are great for you and your regulated buddies, but bad for consumers.

Holly Ord presents Purity and Integrity...Balls posted at Menstrual Poetry, where Holly gets worked up over Abstinence-Only education requirements. And some stuff that's kinda creepy.


Law, Legislation, and Lunacy: The Evility of Lou Dobbs posted at Law, Legislation, and Lunacy, features the redundantly named L, L, and L folks hammering my favorite Protectionist Doofus, Mr. Lou Dobbs. of the Castro News Network. I selected this one as a possible "filler" entry before I knew this Carnival would have so many entries. Couldn't bear to part with it.

Rickey Henderson presents This Week in Media Malfeasance... posted at Riding with Rickey, which is some sort of Not By Rickey Henderson blog. But whoever this guy who isn't Rickey Henderson is, he's irritated by all the right things....

Jon Swift presents Journalism 101 posted at Jon Swift, saying, "I think it would be helpful if bloggers knew the 20 basic "Rules of Journalism" so that they won't pester Joe Klein and other professional journalists too much about journalistic ethics in the future."


Doug Ragan presents The Two Faces Of Hillary posted at I'm A Pundit Too, saying, "Hillary Clinton has been on every side of every issue since she started her campaign in 2000. She is clearly Pro-abortion, but depending on which crowd she is talking to, she can switch to a candidate that is working towards the day when no abortions are performed."


Shaun Connell presents Capitalism posted at Reason and Capitalism, saying, "America was founded upon the individual capitalist spirit, the idea that people should be free to make agreements and do their business with minimized political turmoil interrupting their productive actions. The businessman was seen as a man who took on the wild and domesticated it, a man who took raw resources and made them into products that benefited society, the man who bettered his world, the man who conquered his world. He was seen as a creator, as a heroic, productive individual."


Shaun Connell presents The Philosophy of Liberty posted at The Rebirth of Freedom Foundation, saying, "The Rebirth of Freedom Foundation explains the key concept of libertarianism -- the philosophy of liberty. A must read for all those interested in political issues."

Judy Aron presents Andrew Napolitano at Future Freedom Foundation Conference posted at Consent Of The Governed, saying, "This is a video clip that everyone should see and hear."


Caveat emptor posted at Cafe Hayek, is another favorite from the gentlemen at Cafe Hayek. If you have a Libertarian bone in your body, you have to check out this site. This particular post is about the U.N. overestimating the Aids crisis, but the parallels with the Global Warming, excuse me, Climate Change Industry are obvious.

Shaun Connell presents Huckabee a Conservative? posted at Reason and Capitalism, saying, "Huckabee is not a supporter free economies, instead he supports restrictive and high-taxed economies." (Also, he was a Fundamentalist Preacher for years....for which he has yet to apologize.)

Environmental Issues

Timothy Moreland presents Protecting the Environment: The Answer is Freedom posted at timmorelandonline, saying, "How the free market can do a better job than the government at protecting our environment."

Wenchypoo presents The Scam That is Global Warming and How it’s Making People Rich (L-O-N-G) posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket. This post doesn't belong in Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket. It belongs on a billboard beside Al Gore's house.

Property Rights

blewsdawg presents Why You Should Care About the Liberty Dollar posted at InFrequently Asked Questions. If it's legal to own gold, and legal to make products from gold, it should be legal to make coins from gold. Things are worth what people will give for them. Guess whose "dollar" is worth more, and fluctuates based on Market Demand rather than the whim of the Fed? But guess who hates competitors?

Judy Aron presents Liberty Dollars Under Attack By US Government posted at Consent Of The Governed, where they, too, are aware that Uncle Sam hates a competitor.

Ron Paul

Michael Bass presents Ron Paul, Ben Bernanke, and the Federal Reserve posted at Debt Prison. Ron Paul wants to put us back on the Gold Standard, whereas Ben Bernanke wants to continue arbitrarily expanding and contracting the money supply.

Bill presents Ron Paul wants to Abolish the Federal Reserve posted at Queercents, saying, "The Federal Reserve has been getting a lot of attention in the last few months. With the recent housing meltdown and market volatility, it’s hard to miss the articles in the financial press. Some have blamed the Fed for causing the housing bubble, and others have argued that the Fed should take action to provide some relief. Meanwhile, one of the 2008 presidential candidates, Dr. Ron Paul, has long argued for abolishing the Federal Reserve and returning to a gold standard of the kind used around the turn of the century (as opposed to the Bretton Woods system which was in place from 1946-1971). Would that really restore financial stability to the economy? Volumes have been written on this subject, but Bill tries to summarize his views without reciting every monetary theory in existence."

:: Suzanne :: presents if you watch just one Ron Paul video, let it be this one posted at :: adventures in daily living ::

Aahz presents Applied Anarchy: Why Anarchists Should Vote For Ron Paul posted at Philaahzophy, saying, "The title pretty much speaks for itself. I'm still working on the followup article - Why EVERYONE Should Vote For Ron Paul ;)" I believe that Aahz wants to host the next Carnival of The Libertarians. I'm probably going to host one more before sendings it there, (since Aahz was first to ask. ) Should Aahz be trusted with this thing? Please comment below....


Carole G. McKay presents Truth or Consequences posted at McKay Today, saying, "A new take on leadership, citizenship and the Preamble to the Constitution." Carole does a great job here - reminds us that the Government is not "them", but "us".


kcawley presents Get Organized, America posted at Life, the Universe, and Everything, saying, "As debts go up, how are we compensating? Some of the major reasons the debt numbers keep climbing and the economy is sinking, and some motivation and a starting point for people to get involved and stop the crash from coming."

Erich Engelbrecht presents Democratizing Politics posted at Innovation Politics, in which Mr. Engelbrech goes to a conference in Austria to explore the possibilites of "People's Democracy" rather than "Representative Democracy". As he states at the end of his post, there will be problems with the media having too much power should this come into being....

Freedom of Religion, or from it

Stephen Littau presents Atheist Atrocities? (Part 1 of 3) posted at Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds, saying, "part 3 of the series deals more with libertarian and Objectivist issues than the first 2. Post which ever part of the series you like." I think you should read all of it. Plus Mr. Littau has the best assortment of links I've ever seen in one place. Fearless Philosophy is a great site.

2nd Amendment

Phil B. presents An Analysis of Reasons for Allowing and Denying Gun Ownership « Phil for Humanity posted at Phil for Humanity, saying, "Is the political and personal security of gun ownership more important than or less important than the public safety of gun control?"

Dana presents Thoughts on the Westroads Mall shooting posted at Principled Discovery. Dana runs an interesting Home Schooling site. She has some interesting things to say about Law, Gun Control, Society, and which higher power should we appeal to?

Duane Lester presents All American Blogger - I Have a Right to Affordable Health Care and a Sig Sauer P229 posted at All American Blogger, saying, "I originally wrote this for and had a great response on it. It is an article concerning how liberals have warped the meaning of the word "rights."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of the libertarians using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Why Isn't Gore Running?

Michael Hirsh of Newsweek asks "Why Isn't Gore Running?"

Duhhhhh......How did Mr. Hirsh get that job? Hirsh doesn't think this is really about the environment, does he? See below.

Click here for the reason why Al Gore isn't running......

Here's a fun trend to watch..... Google the phrase "Global Warming" in quotation marks. As of today, you'll get 24,100,000 hits. Do the same with the phrase "Climate Change", and you'll get 9,510,000 hits.

The Global Warming hits will continue to decrease, while the Climate Change hits increase. I'll probably do a tally like this every week.

Global Warming isn't going to happen in a significant way. Climate Change always happens. Like overcommitted bookies, they're laying off "Global Warming" action, and moving it to "Change".

Robert Crump is going to Afghanistan

Our friend Robert Crump has been called back to active duty. He'll be doing something with Special Forces in Afghanistan. We'll miss him.

EVERYTHING MUST CHANGE !....I AM THE "CHANGE" CANDIDATE !.....but i promise to leave all government programs intact....
I haven't been able to watch the most recent Republican or Democratic Party Presidential Debates because of family conflicts. That didn't sound right, did it???? Let's try again....the debates were getting repetitious, so I chose to hang out with my little brother and nephew visiting from Tennessee.
Most commentators believe that I've missed nothing. Rehashes of stump speeches, recycled laugh lines, and everyone trying to be the "change" candidate while leaving all the problems intact.....
Obama might just beat Hillary, even if he toked a few and snorted a few in college. He admits inhaling.
Mike Huckabee is going to surprise a lot of people.
Casual readers will be shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that Iowa's first caucus status has earned it the highest level of farm subsidies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

People are going to hell.

I know a preacher in Mississippi named Brother Bob. That's not his real name.

Brother Bob believes that God created the world, put a couple of people in it, one of these people sinned, and that made us all sinful. God then set up a system where people "atone" for their sins by sacrificing small animals to God. See the book of Leviticus for excessive details.....

Judging by the biblical prohibitions against the practice, people sometimes went overboard and even sacrificed their own children. (You don't make laws against spitting on the sidewalk if nobody has ever spat on the sidewalk.)

The sacrificial system didn't work out very well.

Brother Bob believes that God is all-knowing. Therefore God knew from the beginning that 1) the first people (Adam and Eve) would sin, and 2) the sacrificial system wouldn't work.

Brother Bob believes that God had a son. God sent the son to earth to teach and preach what God really wanted for us to do: Be decent to each other. Love God. Love your neighbor. Kick over the money-changers' tables in the temple, throw out all the sacrificial animals.

That was enough to get God's son killed. Cruelly. Horribly.

God's son rose from the dead. It turns out that God's son was intended to be the perfect sacrifice for everyone. All you have to do is believe that God's son, in his death, was the atonement for our sins.

If you fail to give your assent to this doctrine, you will eventually die in a state of sinfulness, and not be allowed to enter paradise. Instead, you will be tortured in a lake of fire for eternity. Torture beyond any length of time Hitler, Stalin, or Mao could accomplish.

That seems extreme - torture for eternity because of disagreeing for 70 years (or less) with the story outlined above. But that's the narrative that defines Brother Bob's life. If you met Bob, you would probably like him.

I know another man that I'll call Mike. He's a semi-homeless man that we sometimes help feed. He shares those same beliefs with Brother Bob. He quotes scripture without ceasing, and he's been institutionalized a few times for "religious mania". If you were to meet Mike, you would probably avoid him after the 2nd or 3rd encounter.

Brother Bob and Mike are my only acquaintances who believe Jesus died to save me from hell.

I repeat....Brother Bob and Mike are my only acquaintances who believe Jesus died to save me from hell.

I've known and met enough Christians to fill up Texas stadium.

But Brother Bob and Mike are the only people I've ever met who continually behave as if they believe it.

I'm not talking about morals or good behavior or being a good example to others. Morals, in the Jesus-died-for-my-sins atonement system, are almost irrelevant. (Please, please don't send me emails about how a changed outside reflects the change on the inside, or faith without works being dead....)

Bob and Mike live their entire lives under the assumption that those who haven't accepted Jesus as their atoning sacrifice are going to be burned for eternity. Neither of them can relax around you until they're assured you're safe. With Brother Bob, it comes across as caring. With Mike, it comes across as a ritualistic obligation.

I'm not saying that all the other fundamentalist Christians besides Bob and Mike are hypocrites. I'm saying that there's something jarring about professing a belief in an eternal punishment for refusing to believe something (while surrounded by people who don't believe it) and then sitting down to watch The Super Bowl, mow your yard, paint the house, take vacations, or even taking the risk of birthing children who could go to hell for eternity.

Somewhere, there's a disconnect that I've never understood.

If a house was on fire and you knew that there were children inside that you could safely remove from the burning house, would you not do everything in your power to get the kids out? Would inconvenience be an adequate excuse? Lack of training? Not feeling "called" to be a fireman?

How can someone then claim that the "unsaved" will be tortured forever, and not dedicate their piddling seventy years of life to "saving" them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

I've discussed this over the last 30 years with about a dozen individuals, all of whom could probably pass polygraph examinations affirming their belief in the story above. They claim to believe that Jesus was divine and atoned for us all, and all we have to do is accept his atoning sacrifice. A few of them continually invite people to their church, and occasionally go out of their way to share the Jesus story with others. They are serious about it. But they don't hesitate to go home and watch "60 Minutes" or play video games, while at the nursing home a few miles away people are dying and going to hell. People are sent to Hell forever and ever, while Christians play "World of Warcraft".

And please don't send me emails stating that God doesn't send people to hell because people send themselves to hell. My point remains the same either way. Some people don't see it as their job or their "calling" to convince anyone of the truth of the story. They see it as God's job to change people's minds. If that's the case, then God sends people to hell.

In my House On Fire analogy, that's a cop-out called "failure to render aid", isn't it? People get arrested for that, whether they have a "calling" to render aid or not.

So what am I missing? If I claim that aliens will dehydrate my brain if I ever take off my aluminum foil hat, my claim won't have much credibility to begin with. It will have even less credibility if I seldom wear my aluminum foil hat.

Maybe you disagree with every word I've written. You believe the John 3:16 business describes the purpose of the universe. If that's the case, why aren't you standing outside the synagogues and mosques explaining it to the "lost"? Why are you wasting a precious few minutes of your 70 years of life reading this?

Could it be that a theology has evolved that allows people to 1) condemn those who disagree with them, 2) ignore pain, suffering, and injustice because this life isn't important, and 3) give God all responsibility for who goes where in the next life?

Is there a possibility that the message of Jesus - Love each other, take care of each other - got hijacked?

I saw a video last week featuring a theologian named Culver Nelson who has crystallized a lot of this for me. Nelson hypothesized that Jesus hated the sacrificial system, and that's why he drove the buyers, sellers, money changers, and animal salesmen out of the temple. That's what got him crucified. But the early church was so conditioned by the idea of letting something/someone else atone for their mistakes, they simply projected their atonement system onto the life of Jesus after his death.

That would be one of life's great ironies, wouldn't it? Jesus lives his life trying to change the system, gets killed for sabotaging the system, and after his death everyone makes him part of the system.... We need a Kurt Vonnegut or a Tom Robbins to tell that story.

Maybe you believe the "atonement system/Jesus died for my sins" concept is necessary for anyone to call themselves a Christian. Perhaps you have to believe that people are going to hell at the rate of 50,000 a day. If that's the case, I can predict what you're going to do about it.

Not a damn thing.

I have a good idea who reads this blog. Brother Bob and Mike don't. They're too busy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thank God For Evolution

This is a link to the "Thank God For Evolution" website.
I repeat, there is a "Thank God For Evolution" website.
Enter at your own risk. You can get lost and spend days in there. A guy named Michael Dowd runs the site, writes books, speaks at churches, etc....
I suggest you start here . Skip the stuff about his travels. Hit all the other links. Watch the videos. Git yer perspective adjusted.
I never thought I'd live to see it. But then, I belong to a BAPTIST church where last year the deacon chair was a science professor who teaches evolution (and, incidentally, one of the greatest people I know....)
Perhaps we could bring this Michael Dowd in to speak one Sunday....

Thomas Sowell's List of Christmas Books

Thomas Sowell, who may be the smartest man alive now that Milton Friedman is dead, has given us his list of Christmas books.
I'll probably start with "The Prince of Darkness", Robert Novak's autobiography, and then take a stab at "Until Proven Innocent".
There's one other title that Dr. Sowell is too modest to mention. Once you've read it, you'll never listen to a phony debate, barroom argument, or Lou Dobbs (is there any difference?) in the same way. Thomas Sowell is probably the clearest writer on this or any other planet. I want to be him when I grow up. Or maybe Robert Novak, since Dr. Sowell would never call himself "The Prince of Darkness".

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another opinion on Mitt's Speech

I tried to be all deep and diverse and theological in my post about Mitt Romney's failed "Faith in America" speech.
Check this out for something completely different.
It's a blogger named Iowahawk.
You will see him on these pages again.

I've watched the speech online all the way through now, as opposed to reading the text. Romney looks like he could work 4 or 5 consecutive shifts in Disneyland's animatronic Hall of Presidents without breaking character. Or taking a break.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mitt Romney - "The Mormon Speech"

Last Thursday, after months of speculation, Mitt Romney finally gave the “Mormon Speech”.
Relative to other Presidential campaigns, Romney’s group had already spent more time defending their candidate’s religious beliefs - with some advisors debating whether a speech addressing the political negatives associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would even be necessary.
Former Baptist preacher, Arkansas governor, and current Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee then clarified things for Romney by gaining ground in Iowa with Evangelical Christians. Polling indicated that religion was an issue.
Voters needed to hear something, anything, that explained Romney’s belief system, and Romney needed to stop the bleeding.
In the meantime, pundits and commentators analyzed, dissected, and deconstructed JFK’s well-received “Catholic Speech”, a 1960 address to The Houston Ministerial Association, in which Kennedy assured a group of Baptists that The Vatican would have no control over a Catholic President. This Kennedy speech has gotten more attention in the last three weeks than in the last three decades combined.
This is because, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, 43% of likely voters will not consider voting for a Mormon presidential candidate. 19% of us aren’t sure what we would do. Only 38% would consider voting for a Mormon politician.
Therefore, 61% of us view the LDS church with enough negativity to possibly rule out all other positives associated with a Mormon Presidential candidate.
Kennedy had it easy.
So last Thursday, after months of buildup and with his political future at stake, Romney went to the Bush Library in College Station, Texas and said....
He talked for almost thirty minutes, and didn't say a thing.
The political statements Romney made were bland enough for the side of a Starbucks coffee cup: “We cherish these sacred rights, and secure them in our Constitutional order. Foremost do we protect religious liberty, not as a matter of policy, but as a matter of right. There will be no established church, and we are guaranteed the free exercise of our religion.”
That’s a beautiful, well-written phrase and Romney delivered it well, but it had nothing to do with his problem. Very few people believe that Mormons want to take away our free exercise of our religion. Romney's bigger problem was Huckabee taking away Iowa, perhaps because Huckabee can speak fluent Evangelical.
The diversity of our cultural expression, and the vibrancy of our religious dialogue," Romney said, "has kept America in the forefront of civilized nations even as others regard religious freedom as something to be destroyed.”
That can be read as an attack on Islamic fascism.
Most Iowans already dislike Islamic fascism.
The religious statements weren’t much more precise. Other than one sentence proclaiming Jesus as “the Son of God and Savior of mankind”, there was very little in the speech that would give offense at an Interfaith Prayer Breakfast.

But what’s not to like about Mormons? What has offended the Evangelical Iowans? Donny and Marie Osmond? Senator Orrin Hatch? Senator Harry Reid? Trampolines? (Google the words “Mormon” and “trampoline” when you get a chance….) They generally work hard, have close-knit families, and a low incarceration rate.
One could mention the early Mormon church’s practice of polygamy. But no Mormon has ever rivaled the 700 wives and 300 concubines of King Solomon, now revered by Christians for his wisdom.
The Mormon church didn’t reverse some of it’s anti-black policies and doctrines until 1978. Yet many white evangelicals still worship in churches that remain segregated by custom if not theology.
Polygamy and segregation are two examples of the LDS church accommodating America’s legal system by altering doctrine to fit the larger culture. If these were all that separated Mormons from, say, Presbyterians, I don't believe that Romney would be threatened by Huckabee.

What are some of the remaining doctrines that make the LDS church distinctive?

There’s the life and significance of Joseph Smith. According to Mormon doctrine, Joseph Smith found some golden plates buried in upstate New York, carried them to his house, put a blanket across the room so no one else could see the plates, and put on a pair of magic glasses. With the help from these supernatural spectacles, Smith was able to translate “The Book of Mormon” to a neighbor. The neighbor, unlike Joseph Smith, had the ability to read and write.
The LDS church believes in a 3-tiered heaven. There’s a Celestial Kingdom, a Terrestrial Kingdom, and a Telestial Kingdom. They also generally believe in something called “Celestial Marriage”, in which marriages can be sealed for eternity.
Then there are the Temple Garments. (I could be giving offense by even discussing these here.) The Temple Garments are a set of sacred underclothing worn by LDS church members who have participated in a Washing and Anointing Ordinance.
"Baptism for The Dead" is one of the reasons that Salt Lake City is one of the world’s great places to visit for Genealogical Research. This is a practice where living individuals are baptized on behalf of the deceased. The church recently caused some controversy by posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims and perpetrators, including Adolph Hitler.
Then there are the LDS beliefs that Lost Tribes of Israel inhabited North America.
To many of us, these beliefs are, well, strange.
But do they compare well to the religious beliefs of others?
Let’s look at the beliefs of Christian Iowans, a category I could be lumped into if I lived in Des Moines:
Iowa Christians generally believe that God, an invisible being in the sky, made man out of mud. The man was lonely, so God made a woman from the man’s rib. This man and woman lived in paradise until a serpent tempted the woman to eat forbidden fruit, which allowed evil to enter us all, a condition known as "Original Sin". The man and woman were thrown out of paradise and an angel with a sword guarded the gates to prevent them from reentering.
The descendants of the man and woman populated the earth but they, because of Original Sin, were also evil. God decided to wipe out everyone except the family of a man named Noah, who was instructed to build a boat that could accommodate his family, plus every species of animal. Polar bears from the Arctic circle, penguins from the south, duck-billed platypi from Australia, and Chinese pandas were preserved from death by drowning by walking to Noah’s neighborhood and getting on the boat….


At the risk of growing tiresome, these are fundamental narratives believed by many Christians and Mormons. But outside of Creationist Museums in Kentucky, very few scientists spend much time using these narratives to explain the nature of Creation.
Some Christians and Mormons now see these stories as metaphor.
But others have an unquestioning belief in the veracity of anything Biblical.
And to avoid a false dichotomy, I should include the great middle section of humanity that isn't troubled by the historicity of Biblical narratives.
Science and Logic have made it increasingly difficult for other Christian denominations to turn up their collective noses at the stories of Joseph Smith finding golden plates in upstate New York. Does believing that Golden Plates were delivered to Smith by an angel named Moroni really require more faith than believing Jehovah delivered 10 Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai?
Does the Mormon account of Lost Tribes of Israel emmigrating to North America require a gullible suspension of disbelief, whereas a belief that our diverse languages originated at the Tower of Babel, well, that story is factual because "God said it, I believe it, That settles it"?

The theme of Romney's speech was the Diversity of Faith in America. I believe that he missed an opportunity for a different, more effective theme. He flew past it while making an unrelated point.
I'll try to make the point for him.
"There are some for whom these commitments (to keep church and state separate) are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers - I will be true to them and to my beliefs."
Now we're getting somewhere. The Faith of our Fathers....
I can understand that Mitt Romney believes in "Baptism For The Dead" much like I prefer baptism by "Total Immersion", while Hillary Clinton, as a Methodist, probably can make an argument for "Sprinkling", and Rudy Giuliani, as a Catholic, might say the same.
Our parents raised us this way. I have Methodist and Catholic friends who almost without exception were raised by Methodist and Catholic parents. My only Serbian Orthodox friend has Serbian Orthodox parents.
And we display a brand loyalty on these issues beyond anything the advocates of Ford or Chevy, PC or Mac, or McDonald's vs. Wendy's can imagine. To change camps isn't merely to change theological belief systems or to threaten our status in the next life - it's changing something more important.
To convert to another faith is to disavow what your parents have given you as a guide to life and the universe. To betray the The Faith of Our Fathers is to betray The Tribe.
I'm not suggesting that Romney should've thrown his Mormon convictions under the bus - distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than a personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts - but perhaps Romney would have been better served by a speech tracing Mormonism in his family, generation by generation, and how it has been a guide and aid for their obvious humanitarian, business and political accomplishments.

Non-Mormons would continue to think The Lost Tribes of Israel got no further than The Mediterranean. But more of them would have understood Mitt Romney and his loyalty to his church. We would be reminded that our own faiths have elements that are incomprehensible to outsiders, but we rely on these doctrines anyway.
They fit us so well because we were shaped by them.
Mark Twain had a lot to say about this in his forgotten classic "Christian Science", written at a time when Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Scientists were expanding as quickly as the LDS church is expanding today...."When I, a thoughtful and unblessed Presbyterian, examine the Koran, I know that beyond any question every Mohammedan is insane; not in all things, but in religious matters. When a thoughtful and unblessed Mohammedan examines the Westminster Catechism, he knows that beyond any question I am spiritually insane. I cannot prove to him that he is insane, because you never can prove anything to a lunatic--for that is a part of his insanity and the evidence of it. He cannot prove to me that I am insane, for my mind has the same defect that afflicts his. All Democrats are insane, but not of of them knows it. None but the Republicans and Mugwumps know it. All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats and Mugwumps can perceive it....(Mugwumps were Republicans who protested corruption by voting for Democrats. They changed tribes, so to speak, and were therefore insane.)

Twain goes on to list all the religious denominations that differ from his Presbyterianism, and then asks:

Why is he insane? I told you before: it is because his opinions are not ours. I know of no other reason, and I do not need any other; it is the only way we have of discovering insanity when it is not violent. It is merely the picturesqueness of his insanity that makes it more interesting than my kind or yours."

Mitt Romney, in my opinion, is insane. His LDS faith makes him so.

If Mitt Romney values his LDS faith like I think he does, then I'm insane for rejecting it.

Now that Mr. Romney and I have that out of the way, I'm free to look at his record as Governor of Massachusetts, his role in saving the Utah Olympics, and his ideas to fix our health care system.

Despite his obvious mental illness, Mitt Romney might make a great President.

Click Here for a previous rant about religious texts, written in a bad mood after a bad week of news from Iraq.

P.S. - Someone at the LDS church also believes that Mark Twain had good things to say about the nature of belief. On December 6th, when I went to a website called to locate the Twain quotes from Christian Science, the scrolling banner at the top of the page said "Click Here For A Free Book of Mormon".

Are You Smarter Than Kellie Pickler?