And now, back to your regularly scheduled ranting

Mitt Romney can go fuck himself.

I resent, personally and deeply, the suggestion that as an Atheist, I am not an American. That as an Atheist, I do not deserve freedom.

Seldom have I heard more ludicrous propositions than “freedom requires religion” or “religion requires freedom”. Historically, religion has often been the enemy of freedom, the enemy of free thought and free expression. Historically, religion survived in the face of dictatorship and despotism, when it wasn’t being used as the tool of dictatorship and despotism by men with aims far more temporal than spiritual.

The only thing that requires religion is the need to believe there’s more to reality than reality itself. Freedom does not require the filter of deism. Freedom requires no filters. Freedom means the freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion. Freedom means the right to say something as patently offensive and divisive as Romney’s statement. And it means my right to call him on it.

Almost 50 years ago, when John F. Kennedy spoke about his religion, he spoke of tolerance for all beliefs, not just his own. He cast opposition to his candidacy on the basis of his religion—on strictly because he was Roman Catholic and not for any regard to his plans, proposals, actions or statements—as bigotry.

He was right.

Now, another Massachusetts politician has designs on the White House, and this one is calling on intolerance and bigotry and division to catapult himself forward.

One does not need to be an Atheist to represent me in our government. One does not need to be a Jew to represent Jews. One does not need to be a Hindu, a Wiccan, a Unitarian, a Baptist, a whatever: one just needs to respect our diversity of belief and thought.

Mitt Romney does not. He’s made it clear that if you’re not religious (and let’s be honest here, you know and I know he means specifically Judeo-Christian religious), you’re not American. You don’t deserve your freedom. He doesn’t represent you because you don’t deserve representation.

So, Mitt Romney can go fuck himself. At least Mike Huckabee is honest about where he’s coming from—I can respect that, even as much as I’d dread a Huckabee presidency.

My governor, a Democrat, is a Methodist minister. My governor has also done more to clean up the state government than any of his pious-mouthed predecessors or detractors in the party opposite, and he’s done it without referencing some divine entity every ten words. I can respect that. What a candidate believes is their business, and as long as they make decisions based on the needs of the state and civil society and the facts on the ground over the needs and philosophies of their one particular sect, they can believe in the Great Green Arkleseizure for all I care.

Nor should they care whether I believe in God or the Great Pumpkin or nothing at all.

Because that’s the nature of civil society. That’s the nature of freedom.

Something Romney and his ilk shout the loudest about, and understand the least.

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17 comments so far

  1. dragonscholar on

    Now THATS a rant man.

    I thought it was a ridiculous, appaling, and stupid speech. It was essentially an attempt to kiss the ass of the religious right by deciding “hey lets gang up on the secular,” forgetting secular society is the concept that keeps us from being either in a bunch of religious conflicts, OR in the grip of state-sponsored religion.

    He wants tolerance for being a Mormon, but apparently won’t tolerate some people’s beliefs, or the very society that LET HIM BE A MORMON by having some religious tolerance.

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      Exactly. What Romney was saying to the christofascist wing of the party was “Hey, I know you don’t like me, but I’m really just as narrow-minded as you are!”

      ‘Course, the irony is that the real true “believers” don’t consider him one of them and never will and will instead vote third party or not at all if he’s the choice presented.

      I love watching the cracks slowly form and meet… :)

      • dragonscholar on

        The cracks are huge, but this is exceptionally sad. He’s LITERALLY throwing his fellow Americans under a bus, when HES the religious minority. Its bizarre and sad and pathetic. He’s a suit and a haircut, that’s it.

        I have a lot of problems with the Dem candidates. But I’ll take any of them over the Republican lot.

        And frankly, I hope this shatters the Republican party into at least two, possibly three – the libertarianesque, the party of war, and the religious right.

        • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

          I think you’re looking at two parties coming out of this — the neocons aren’t enough to be their own party, they’d rather be the think-tank that pulls the strings. Ultimately, you’re looking at a party of the “religious” right-wing theocrats, the plutocratic economic libertarians, and then a third, larger party that’s the long-silent “rational Right”, classic Goldwater/Ford/Eisenhower Conservatives who have been run roughshod over by an extremely well-organized and very vocal minority who’ve hijacked their party. Interestingly enough, there is now a Republican Leadership Council, partly spawned by Christy Todd Whitman’s “It’s My Party Too” movement, whose aims are identical to the DLC: to drag the party centerwards and away from the fringes.

  2. equinoxx on

    Speaking as a lifelong Massachusetts resident, I wasn’t particularly a fan of Mr. Romney’s when ran against Ted Kennedy for the Senate. I wasn’t a fan when he managed to weasel his way into the State House. I’m not a fan now.

    I’m fair certain that I’m not the only Bay Stater who does not, and never has, considered Mitt Romney a Massachusetts politician. He’s a Michigander who came to Harvard, and wore out his welcome, but never left.

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      I expect when he ran for governor, it was as a centrist and not as a right-winger, am I correct? And of course now, to placate the powers that be in the national party, he’s going to go through the same public abasement poor Bob Dole had to in ’96. Which means the only thing we know for sure about Romney is that he’ll say whatever he needs to for personal political power–moreso than most.

  3. avon_deer on

    I only learned a few weeks ago that Bush snr said exactly the same things during his presidency. I was shocked to say the least. Although they might SAY things like that, can they actually act on their beliefs? I would have thought the constitution (still sadly lacking in my own country) protected everyone regardless of their faith.

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      In principle, yes, it does.

      In practice? Let’s put it this way: when California representative Pete Stark publicly announced he was a ‘non-theist’ this past March, he made history by becoming the first publicly-avowed Atheist in our Congress.

      Ever.

      He is believed to be the highest-ranking Atheist public official in the country.

      While the Constitution purports to guarantee freedom of conscience, our society is considerably less forgiving of such things. Remember, we got started by religious extremists your country threw out. ;)

  4. big_wired on

    That was a wonderful rant about one of the idiots in GOP nomination for president.

    Frankly, I’m hoping that party finally fractures and implodes, and they all pounce on one another and tear each other’s throats out.

    All we need is for someone to say something really stupid, which the GOP are famous for.

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      They’ve been doing that for years. What we need is for the media to treat it as a stupid thing to say for a change, instead of treating everything they say as reasonable.

  5. soundwave106 on

    Romney’s currently competing against Mike Huckabee, who is wowing rural Iowa with his “I’m a *CHRISTIAN* candidate” schtick. He’s not going to win, so I’m not sure why he played the God card so hard, but I guess he feels like if he doesn’t, he’ll lose.

    CNN had a general election poll recently. In head-to-head theoreticals the widest gap was between Romney *OR* Huckabee, and Edwards, with +22/+25 margins. This is a wider gap than others like Rasmussen, but still the biggest gap lies with the religious candidates. Rural Iowa may love that Bush-style religion, but it’s pretty clear that most of the nation is tiring of it, and if anything this may indicate some of the D candidates should pull slightly left. (Clinton and Obama, too, both pull a +10 or more advantage over Romney or Huckabee per CNN.)

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      He played the god card so early and so hard because he either hasn’t gotten, hasn’t read, or hasn’t understood the memo that most of the country isn’t where he thinks they are.

      Let him. The more lunatic a candidate the GOP runs, the greater the Democratic landslide and the more impossible for them to steal a third election in a row.

  6. gavinworld on

    I hate Romney more than I can describe, not least because the bastard did his best to prevent Greg and me from marrying. I’ve even considered making up a fake online persona so I can go on conservative boards and remind people of his flip-flopping in order to hurt his primary chances.

  7. jayteeone on

    In pronouncing his 4 freedoms FDR said freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, freedom from want. Our First amendment to the constitution states a freedom of religion, which should include freedom from religion. As you know I do NOT serve the church. I try to serve God, and my God loves you enough to allow you to not believe, why can’t my country and it’s leaders do the same?

    • The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester on

      Because it doesn’t “sell”. Because walking the walk is so much harder and so much less camera-friendly than just talking it. Because in today’s media, you don’t have to be, you just have to seem.

      And people wonder why I still would like to move to Canada. Because bigots like Romney — and Dumbya, and for that matter Coulter and Limbaugh and O’Lielly — are taken seriously.


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