Give a listen, as Mr. Robinson favors us with his omniscience:
Here's the money quote, if you want to skip the video:
“I certainly didn’t mean to offend anybody, especially Mr. Santorum. But it was in a discussion of his views, and, you know, which I consider extreme, and Santorum himself who is a cultural — culture warrior extraordinaire, whose faith — and we all appreciate someone of deep faith — but it is — it is extremely deep, and it’s a kind of faith that some people, I think, are going to be… if not surprised by… at least want to know more about.”The context? Robinson was walking back -- ish -- his remarks about Santorum's grieving over his newborn who died shortly after birth. As for the rest of his comments, Robinson lunged forward with a sword.
Santorum's religious views are "extreme," Mr. Robinson pronounced. "They're offensive and objectionable, and so totally wrong." Santorum, he declared, "is a guy who should never become president."
At last we have a religious arbiter. Why has no one alerted the Pope?
So, Mr. Robinson could you try on another one for size, and tell us whether it is also "totally wrong"?
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."
-- Brigham Young; March 1863 Journal of Discourses 10:110
(Psst: speaking of the dead, did you know Mormons baptize living people in the name of, and to save, the dead? Why no comment on this, Gene? Is it just too weird for you?)
True, Robinson did criticize Obama's longtime pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. But he was really decrying Wright's "egocentric" derailment of Obama's campaign, not attacking (much less, ridiculing) the merits of Wright's religious convictions. Convictions like:
“Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.”
—James Cone, whose words were cited on Rev. Wright’s church website.
But why not, sir?
Isn't that determination racist in itself, Mr. Robinson? Vilifying Hillary Clinton -- simply because she was born white -- is racism in its most invidious, evil form. Surely you find these beliefs totally objectionable and offensive, as well. So please, sir, explain your silence.
Fact is, Santorum's religious beliefs are no more or less worthy of our scrutiny than Obama's. Or Romney's. Certainly Mormonism, like Black theology, is "an extremely deep kind of faith" that people "want to know more about." Count mine as an inquiring mind.
Years ago when I was a young lawyer, I worked for a Mormon. He was a lovely man: kind, thoughtful, decent, and utterly devout. He could never be alone with a woman at any time, for any reason, no matter what (unless she was his wife).
As an example, we once settled a case at the courthouse, just before trial. Being the baby lawyer on the matter, I was saddled with all the boxes of documents and I'd parked miles away. He'd gotten a spot right there at the courthouse curb, so I asked him for a ride. But he couldn't take me to my car because his religious beliefs prohibited him from being alone with me -- even briefly, in plain view, in broad daylight, in a bustling downtown.
So yes, I do wonder: could Romney meet Condoleeza Rice alone in the Oval for an emergency 3AM briefing? Or might he decide it's just easier not to have a woman in his cabinet at all?
In asking these questions, I'm not questioning Romney's faith. Absolutely I believe Romney is a devout Mormon. But I do want to know the tenets of his faith. What do Mormons believe? How is it wrong or unfair to ask whether Romney's religious beliefs would affect his cabinet appointments or any other decision that touches me?
There's nothing anti-constitutional or discriminatory about it (notwithstanding Kenneth Starr's poorly-reasoned, pastry puff piece to the contrary). Mr. Robinson pretends the other extreme, purporting to pick on Santorum's religion because gosh, his faith is so "extremely deep" and "surprising" that we "want to know more about it."
Talk about "pious baloney." Is Obama's faith not also deep and equally interesting? Or Romney's? Mr. Robinson's gobsmacking gander deserves some sauce:
"One reason the world’s best and brightest still want to come here is that the Constitution protects freedom of worship. No matter what the prejudiced purveyors of anti-Islam vitriol might say, this guarantee covers Muslims just like everybody else."But no matter what the prejudiced purveyors of anti-Christian vitriol might say, this guarantee doesn't cover Catholics -- at least in your book -- now does it, Mr. Robinson? Because they are not free to practice their religion if they also seek public office, are they?
And perhaps Robinson is right. I say we examine and meaningfully discuss -- not summarily diss and dismiss -- the religious beliefs of all the candidates. Questions about a candidate's beliefs are not off limits, or taboo, nor do they "offend the Constitution." If a Christian Scientologist or fundamentalist Muslim were running for president, would anyone seriously argue we should all stay dumb and mum?
We absolutely ought to be asking about an office-seeker's religious beliefs and whether and how those views would affect his decisions in office. There's nothing offensive about it, and don't let anyone -- not even Ken Starr -- persuade you otherwise.
Now, I'm no fan of Rick Santorum. But the hypocritical Mr. Robinson reaches new heights of viciousness when he executes a selective Catholic smack-down -- under the guise of, "meh, I'm just informing voters about a 'weird, dead-baby grieving story'" -- as he labors to keep Obama's religious views under lock and key.
But God bless Mr. Robinson anyway, even if he is just an attacking little meringue.
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