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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mitt's Millstone Dilemma

By Stephen Stone, President, RenewAmerica

In our previous installment on Mitt Romney and Mormonism, we looked at three of the most significant aspects of Mitt's record: his troubling pro-choice history, his singlehanded establishment of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, and his hand in the creation of Obamacare — a plan modeled, with Mitt's active encouragement, upon "Romneycare," with its un-American mandate requiring citizens to buy health insurance against their will.

Assuming that Romney supporters see these millstone-sized "negatives" as inconsequential, let's give these three issues a closer look, then assess the character of the man around whose neck these disturbing negatives weigh more heavily than anything else that could be said about the man.

As we do so, we'll hold Mitt's record up against the standards of God's Word — standards all voters should value more highly than the image-minded message of Mitt's campaign, or the specious arguments of his defenders.


Offending the "little ones"

In Matt. 18, Jesus said, "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (verse 6).

This powerful metaphor has many levels of meaning, all pertinent to our discussion of Mitt. The metaphor centers in doing right by "little children."

At least those little children "which believe in me." Let's look at that qualifier.

If we accept the words of John that Jesus was the very Creator who, "with God," made "all things" in the beginning and "was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (see John 1:1-17) — something Mormons (including Mitt) are trained to accept — then those who "believe in me" can broadly be said to include everyone at birth, from a Christian perspective.

Note that in Romans 1, Paul taught that all persons innately "know God" and "hold the truth" about Him, and thus "are without excuse" if they "[do] not like to retain God in their knowledge" (verses 18-23, 28). This suggests that no one is born into this world without some inherent "belief" in the reality of God, and His Son Jesus Christ.

Thus all little children deserve to be protected from those who would seriously harm them, given Christ's "millstone warning."

Ah, but what about the unborn? Are they part of the equation?

According to unique Mormon lore, based in the LDS canon, all of us lived "as spirits" with God in a "pre-mortal life," and therefore we not only share an innate belief in Him at birth, but actual knowledge of Him before birth.

For non-Mormons, the creation of the spirit (like the body) can generally be held to occur at the time of conception — and that spirit would possess the same intrinsic knowledge of God that Paul spoke of.

Either way, an unborn child can be presumed to qualify as among "those who believe in me" in Jesus' words about those who offend these little ones. That's certainly true if the unborn child is allowed to live — in which case its prior knowledge of God becomes evident and undeniable, not instilled for the first time.

Not meaning to split hairs, we're simply suggesting that all who approve of abortion, or enable it, are guilty of "offending these little ones which believe in me," and thus qualify for the "millstone about the neck" that Jesus cited in view of the seriousness of such wrongful behavior.

That would include Mitt Romney, who staunchly promoted "a woman's right to choose" to abort her unborn child throughout his political career — and signed into law provisions enabling that choice in his Romneycare plan after claiming to be pro-life.

Romney's actions — as opposed to his "promises" — led one writer for the National Catholic Reporter to suggest that, in reality, Mitt "has now succeeded to the title of 'most pro-abortion candidate' in history," surpassing even President Obama in facilitating abortion. The Catholic writer's reasoning is worth a read.

Mormon view of abortion as "harmless"

We should point out that as a "cultural Mormon," Mitt appears to share a belief widely held by fellow LDS members regarding abortion.

Mormon tradition supposes (without a clear basis in doctrine) that the unborn don't qualify as persons because their spirit is still in heaven with God before they are born, and since the union of body and spirit that defines a human being therefore doesn't take place until birth. By this logic, abortion is ultimately harmless, they believe, though disruptive of God's designs.

This helps explain Mitt's ambivalence when it comes to our nation's heated abortion debate. He sees little political importance in this "abstract" issue.

Suppose the widespread Mormon view turns out to be correct — and abortion does no lasting damage to the plans of God, even though the LDS canon is mute regarding such speculation. Abortion supporters and enablers would still deserve the proverbial "millstone baptism" for offending the little ones on tap to be born — whose God-ordained births have been disrupted, and God's plans for them at least temporarily shattered (or whatever else Mormon apologists undoctrinally surmise happens). Remember, Jesus said those who "offend" these little ones deserve serious consequences. Would disrupting God's plans for the birth of His "spirits" at His chosen time and place offend those aborted? We think so. Never mind the obvious offending of God that abortion supporters engage in by condoning such "choice."

Since there's no way to prove — doctrinally or clinically — exactly when a developing human being's "spirit" enters its body, biblical-based wisdom, prudence, and respect for God require choosing life, not death, as a consequence.

Tell that to Mitt

As is well-documented, Mitt Romney for years chose death for politically-expedient reasons — even persuading the Mormon church's highest leadership to give their blessing to his pro-choice position.

In our previous piece titled "Mormon 'Manifest Destiny,'" we ended with a citation from William Saletan's impressively-researched analysis of Mitt's pro-choice history. Here is what we posted:
    For a glimpse into the way Mitt and Mormon leaders have evidently collaborated in politics in the past, so we know what to expect in the future, consider the following excerpt from William Saletan's article "The Conversion." It describes how Romney obtained the approval of the church's highest leadership to profess to be pro-choice in his 1994 U.S. Senate run in Massachusetts: "Romney [told the Brethren that, based on a poll,] if he didn't frame his position as pro-choice, he'd lose. Many of the church leaders were unhappy with Romney's formulation. But if they wanted him in the Senate, this was the best they were going to get. "[Upon returning to Boston,] Romney talked [with] Judy Dushku, a Mormon feminist, [who later said]: "'I went to his office and I congratulated him on taking a pro-choice position. And his response was — Well they told me in Salt Lake City I could take this position, and in fact I probably had to in order to win in a liberal state like Massachusetts. ...I know that I have to take that position.'"
This shocking revelation about Mitt and the LDS church — which Saletan based in part on the book Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics by Ron Scott, a friend of the Romney family — is damning, if true.

It reveals that Mitt has little compelling allegiance to God, or His truths, as a power-seeking manipulator of the public mind. Whether he changed his position (but not his real values) when he became "pro-choice" (or later, when he claimed to become "pro-life in preparation for running for president) — is irrelevant. He's willing to say whatever he thinks will win elections.

As for the pragmatic leadership of the LDS church — these men cannot claim to honor the laws of God, value the lives of His unborn children, or respect the rightful needs of the electorate, if indeed they gave Mitt a green light to "take a pro-choice position" when he ran for the Senate back in 1994.

If the Saletan account is accurate, both Mitt and those high LDS officials who approved his charade are not just frauds, but evil-doers.

That's what the above account unmistakably signifies — again, if it's true.

Let me add that — as God is my witness — I have personally seen equally-unethical conduct by the governing LDS "Brethren" in the political arena, and I don't doubt that these men are capable of such calculating conduct, no matter their undoctrinal claims to be acting for God.

What the highest Mormon leaders did to destroy the 2008 presidential candidacy of Alan Keyes — which I organized and oversaw as CEO — as well as the candidacies of numerous other conservative candidates over the span of almost a decade, is indefensible, and I might add, fully verifiable. (For more on this unlawful behavior by the LDS leadership, see A Mormon Story.)

A word about Mitt's warranted excommunication

Many have wondered why Mitt Romney was able to avoid excommunication during the many years he advocated a woman's unequivocal right to choose abortion.

The church's official policy on abortion does not allow such advocacy — and warns that women choosing abortion face possible discipline. Those advocating, encouraging, or promoting abortion on demand — as Mitt did publicly for over a decade — would face similar sanction as enablers of such serious evil, one would think.

Of course, there's never been a more prominent public enabler of abortion on demand in Mormondom than Mitt Romney.

Yet Mitt's open advocacy of death was winked at by church officials. Such double-standard enforcement of the church's own rules supports the above allegation that church leaders agreed to let Romney advocate death as a matter of expediency, so he might have a chance to bring the church "out of obscurity" and into the American mainstream, in pursuit of its "divine destiny."

A word about my own unwarranted excommunication

At the same time that church officials were winking at Mitt's excommunicable advocacy of abortion on demand, I myself was persecuted by the highest church officials for refusing to abandon my work for national pro-life leader Alan Keyes, and for protesting that persecution when asked during "routine sustainings" for my opinion of it. (Again, take a close look at A Mormon Story, which chronicles more than ten years of such unlawful interference by the church with the political process.)

Eventually, the church excommunicated me for doing nothing contrary to church law, policy, or doctrine. In fact, after that devastating action — the culmination of years of unmitigated intimidation and threats by church officials — friends asked why I was excommunicated, and I honestly couldn't tell them — since I really didn't know, and since I was found guilty of no definable transgression, other than offending the "Brethren" for my refusal to "obey" their will in my political employment, and my refusal to "sustain" those who continually persecuted me and my family over that "disobedience."

I am speaking the truth.

In my book, I suggest that church discipline is often arbitrary, following no particular rules or policies beyond the capricious wishes of those who govern the church — in abrogation of the church's own doctrines and laws. That certainly appears to be the case regarding Mitt Romney and myself (and several others I'm aware of).

Making the similarity between Mitt and myself in this regard all the more interesting — sort of a prince and pauper comparison — consider that we were both born the same month and year; we sat behind one another for a week in the church's missionary training facility in Salt Lake when we embarked on our "missions"; I served my mission in his home state (Michigan), where his dad was the governor, and where I was assigned to the prominent cities of Detroit and Lansing; he and his wife Ann lived on the same block as I when I met my own wife when we were all students at Brigham Young University in 1970; and he and I both graduated from BYU in English in 1971 (when he was among the commencement speakers, and I was lucky just to graduate, being an independent-minded critic of the school's culture).

So, I've always been aware of Mitt's pursuits, and been intrigued by his favored status among his mentors in the church's hierarchy, while I have encountered increasing disfavor from the same bureaucratic pragmatists.

It's a comparison I find amusing — but not to be taken too seriously.

Offending the little ones by advocating gay rights

While Mitt's church-protected "advocacy of death" is nothing for anyone to wink at, neither is his longstanding, documented support for the gay agenda.

Not only did Mitt tell Ted Kennedy and a television audience in 1994 that he was more liberal than Kennedy in his pro-gay advocacy, but a revealing statement by Mitt recently surfaced from that campaign in which Mitt said Republicans need to embrace the homosexual movement.

According to CNS News,

    When Mitt Romney first entered the political scene in 1994, running for the U.S. Senate against Teddy Kennedy, he told an LGBT-focused publication in Massachusetts that he would be a more effective advocate for the interests of the "gay community" than Kennedy had been and that gays should support him because "the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party."
Asked by a reporter from the gay publication Bay Windows, "Why should the gay community support your campaign when Ted Kennedy has been a strong supporter of civil rights issues and the gay community?", Romney said,
    "Well, I think you're partially right in characterizing Ted Kennedy as supportive of the gay community, and I respect the work and the efforts he's made on behalf of the gay community and for civil rights more generally, and I would continue that fight," Romney said in an interview currently posted on the Bay Windows website.
He added — throwing in a distinctly deceptive angle:
    "There's something to be said for having a Republican who supports civil rights in this broader context, including sexual orientation," said Romney. "When Ted Kennedy speaks on gay rights, he's seen as an extremist. When Mitt Romney speaks on gay rights, he's seen as a centrist and a moderate. It's a little like if Eugene McCarthy was arguing in favor of recognizing China, people would have called him a nut. But when Richard Nixon does it, it becomes reasonable. When Ted says it, it's extreme; when I say it, it's mainstream. "I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party,"... "and I would be a voice in the Republican party to foster anti-discrimination efforts."
Known for making such avowedly liberal statements, Mitt also assured gays when he was later elected governor that he would favor their cause. He fulfilled this promise in 2004, when he instituted same-sex marriage in Massachusetts of his own initiative — without a mandate from the courts or the legislature, or authority under state law, to do so.

As reported by WorldNetDaily during the 2008 election,
    Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes may not get invited to the televised debates but that doesn't mean he's going stay out of the fray... when he believes [others have] abandoned his party's values — particularly on the issue of same-sex marriage. On his campaign website this week, Keyes blasted former Gov. Mitt Romney for being "single-handedly responsible for instituting same-sex marriage in Massachusetts" for the way he responded to a state court ruling in 2003.
The article continues,
    "Most people are unaware of the way Massachusetts came to adopt same-sex marriage," the former Reagan administration diplomat said. "They think the state's Supreme Judicial Court forced it to happen. That's incorrect." "The court merely issued an opinion stating that, in its view, the existing marriage law was unconstitutional because it failed to allow persons of the same sex to marry," Keyes said. "The court then gave the legislature 180 days to 'take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of this opinion' — implicitly telling lawmakers to come up with a new marriage statute." Noting that the legislature did not act within the court-imposed 180-day window, refusing to let the judiciary infringe on its law-making powers, Keyes said the only reason same-sex marriage became the law was because of Romney's actions. "Mitt Romney pushed through same-sex marriage all by himself, in the absence of any authority or requirement to do so, having a complete misunderstanding of his role as governor and of the significance of the court's opinion," said Keyes.
Keyes then emphasizes,
    "The court never ordered him to act, nor did he have the right to act, since the legislature never changed the law. Romney claimed he had no other choice, but that's completely untrue."
The WND piece additionally cites constitutional expert Herb Titus — founding dean of Regent University Law School — as saying Romney "got it wrong":
    "What Romney did [was] he exercised illegal legislative authority," Titus said. "He was bound by what? There was no order...to do anything."
Again, the article quotes Keyes,
    "The appropriate course of action for Romney was to do nothing," he said. Instead, "as governor, he created, in essence, his own same-sex marriage rule and then enforced it — reportedly threatening local clerks with dismissal if they refused to comply with his executive order." And while Keyes called Romney's actions "catastrophic" and "among the most socially-damaging actions by a chief executive in our nation's history," their significance lay in the way he would operate as president. "The failure by Romney to 'say no' to corrupt activist judges in a critical controversy over 'separation of powers,' and his willingness to take unwarranted steps that exceeded his lawful authority, reveal the kind of chief executive he would be if elected president," Keyes said.
I have carefully examined Romney's actions in the matter, and find irrefutable evidence that Mitt did in fact single-handedly impose gay marriage upon his state, as many conservatives claim, and in turn upon the whole nation in a "domino effect."

Those who dispute the above facts typically resort to unsupportable or twisted logic in defense of Mitt — who to them can apparently do not wrong, no matter the public record.

Those made to suffer most

It's obvious that as the gay agenda continues its assault on biblical — and traditional — morality and family values, the innocent "little ones" are the first casualties.

The grip of clever "sexual orientation" programs in our schools, among other devastations, means impressionable children are forced daily to endure brainwashing in destructive behavior in the name of favored "tolerance" of the gay lifestyle.

Those small children adopted or raised by "same-sex parents" (an obvious oxymoron) are unquestionably tragic casualties of the capitulation of Mitt Romney and other liberal political figures seduced by the ungodly gay agenda.

As the family itself — long under assault from every direction — continues to decline in Americans' minds and values, with less and less children assured a God-centered upbringing at the hands of morally-committed one man/one woman married parents, we can thank above all Mitt Romney — sustained and supported by the leadership of the LDS church, which itself has long ago liberalized its own stance on homosexuality — for the ensuing chaos. (Click here, here, and here.)

Order in society hinges on strong defense of the biblical ideal of traditional marriage. Wimping out in the face of the seemingly inevitable advance of the gay rights revolution is the death of civilization. They certainly thought so in Sodom once the lights came on.

Doing as Mitt has done for presumed electoral advantage is unprincipled, even immoral, to say the least. Christ's statement that those who "offend the little ones who believe in me" deserve a millstone around their neck and a plunge in the sea would clearly apply to the sell-his-soul-for-power Mr. Romney.

Offending just about everybody

Our final exhibit in our Romney millstone-measuring tour is the former Massachusetts governor's signature "accomplishment" — the creation of Obamacare.

Obamacare? Yes.

As we were just reminded, Obama patterned his socialistic, intrusive, enslaving healthcare plan after Romney's Massachusetts plan known as "Romneycare" — the centerpiece of which is a mandate for individual citizens to purchase health insurance or face penalties. (See "MIT Prof Who Advised Romney Says Romneycare, Obamacare ‘Same’," "Romneycare and Obamacare Are Identical," and "Romneycare Required Anti-Catholic Regulations Like Obamacare's.")

It's also recently come to light that Romney publicly lobbied Obama to adopt the Massachusetts plan nationally — a fact revealed in a 2009 op-ed Romney wrote for USA Today.

Not only does the resulting "Obamneycare," so called, endanger seniors — even threaten their lives with arbitrary rationing of care at the hands of appointed bureaucrats ("death panels") — but it includes such controversial, and death-dealing, provisions as citizen-funded abortions and abortifacients.

Those offended begin with the unborn and end with the aged and infirm — and include everybody in between. Obamneycare makes everybody complicit in the death of America itself, and harms not just the little ones, but all caring, principled, decent Americans.

That's quite a legacy for Mr. Romney at this point in his career, and he hasn't yet even become president.

To win the GOP nomination, of course, Mitt has assured voters he will "abolish" Obamneycare in a pandering — not principled — gesture. But he has nothing but words to back up such a sweeping promise. At no time in his past record as a candidate or elected official has Mitt ever shown that he will follow through on dismantling any major portion of the liberal-socialistic agenda. If anything, his record is one of facilitating that agenda — on one shallow pretext or another — accompanied by carefully-crafted public relations gimmicks to make it appear he "has no choice" but to go along to get along.

Here's a prediction:

If the Supreme Court upholds any part of Obamneycare, Mitt will leave that part in place, claiming "the court has spoken, and I sustain and support the law" — just as he has said in defense of Roe v. Wade.

If the Supreme Court goes even further and leaves all of Obamneycare in place, Mitt will completely drop his promise to dismantle the plan, on the same spineless rationale.

The man has little principled wisdom, and seemingly no sense of right or wrong — only an insatiable desire to maintain, and personally profit from, the march of liberalism and statism.

If you throw into the mix the fact that Obamneycare is projected to control one-sixth of the already-fragile U.S. economy, leaving that healthcare albatross to do its mischief will help usher in the final collapse of the nation itself, and with it, the rights and freedoms of all Americans.

Predictably, those who will suffer most will be the little children — the "little ones who believe in me."

Millstone, anyone?

But what if Obamneycare is struck down in toto?

Given credible reports that the five Republicans on the Supreme Court appear poised to strike down Obamneycare in its entirety, we might wonder if that outcome would help or hinder Mitt's candidacy.

My own view is that it would hurt Mitt — and help Obama.

Here's why:

The Supreme Court's widely-publicized three-day hearings into Obamneycare have already focused the unwanted light of day on Mitt's Obamneycare connection — by bringing this unprecedented government program to the forefront at a time Mitt would prefer its existence simply go away, especially after recent revelations of Mitt's role as architect and inspiration for Obama's healthcare plan.

Mitt is already a clear loser as a result of the publicity surrounding the court's review.

Should the court declare the whole bill unconstitutional, that would be as much a rebuke of Mitt as of Obama, who says he patterned his program on Mitt's "template."

Will voters make that connection in the aftermath of such a momentous judgment? We'll of course have to see — and we can expect the Romney campaign to spin Mitt's culpability into unrecognizable mush. Conservative leaders — and candidates — however, will not likely be so polite, or dishonest. Expect Mitt to emerge as the notorious originator — as well as vocal proponent, via his op-ed urging Romneycare nationally — of a repudiated national healthcare plan detested by most Americans.

As for Obama? He could well emerge stronger than ever with the specter of Obamneycare no longer dogging him — unlike Romney. The president is a master at turning even his biggest failures into plusses, thanks in large measure to the cheerleading of the Democrat/liberal media.

Voters will no longer fear him, and will possibly "forgive" him for his Obamneycare mistake. Not so Mitt Romney — at least in the minds of conservative Republicans, the "base" of the GOP, who will abandon him, McCain-style, in November if he comes out of the Tampa convention as the nominee.

Gullible GOP leaders

These overriding facts regarding Mitt Romney leave moral conservatives to shake their heads in amazement at the list of major Republican figures who've endorsed the establishment's skid-greasing of the wholly-unacceptable Mr. Romney — whose chief qualification, from the get-go, has always been his exceptionally deep pockets (he reportedly spent $50 million of his own money when he ran in 2008), and his resulting ability to attract others with deep pockets in a mutual quest for power.

In all honesty, how can any self-respecting, freedom-loving, Constitution-minded "conservative" endorse such a preposterous enterprise as the candidacy of Mitt Romney?

Considering Mitt's demonstrated lack of credibility, principle, and political accomplishment (one that rivals the pre-2008 record of Barack Obama), such "sell-out" by big-name conservatives is more than disconcerting. It makes us wonder if these influential public figures feel accountable — to the electorate, to our nation's posterity, to our forebears, and to God Himself.

It's tempting to list the names of those conservative leaders who've let America down by coming out publicly for Mitt, but I decided against it. Suffice it to say that, surprisingly, some are affiliated with the Tea Party movement, the still alive-and-well grassroots revolt that Mitt has all but written off or ignored. Such endorsements are profoundly disappointing. They're an affront to informed voters.

We're left to ask —

What back-scratching rationalizations led these GOP leaders to jump on Mitt's two-dimensional bandwagon that conspicuously lacks the third element of Reagan's famous formula for uniting Republicans: moral conservatism?

Countercultural Kool-Aid

Imagine, if you will, the BYU campus where Mitt walked as a student in the late sixties, along with thousands of other well-groomed Mormon young people, including myself.

Spreading across the campus at the time was a heady, optimistic, New Age mix of Mormon tradition and "postmodern" existentialism, relativism, pragmatism, and do-your-own-thing self-centeredness, much like the cultural upheaval going on elsewhere, but more subtle, and more pretentiously "idealistic."

No riots or take-over of buildings, mind you — just deep undercurrents of an emerging new culture.

And while the BYU administration watched in fear as much the same thing was going on at other campuses, students at BYU had the implicit sanction of the LDS church — and those willing to sign the school's Honor Code and keep themselves outwardly "unspotted from the world" were free inwardly to delve deeply into the revolutionary counterculture that took hold of the BYU environment from end to end in those years.

I was there, and I witnessed countless other students unwittingly give in to the enticements of the Hegelian dialectic — upon which Marxism is based — that overtook not just BYU, but America itself in that era of our nation's history.

Did Mitt drink of the Kool-Aid that flooded our nation in those years, while adding to it his own Mormon perspective? He later came out for abortion-on-demand, then signed into law pro-abortion policies; he endorsed the gay agenda and instituted same-sex marriage on his own in Massachusetts; and he helped create the economic, medical, and unconstitutional monstrosity known derisively as Obamneycare. For doing so, he's a prime candidate for the Millstone Award, in my judgment.

But you be the judge. You're the voter — entrusted by God to vet and vote intelligently, with an eye to His Word and Will.

Just keep asking yourself: How could any discerning person fall for Mitt?


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