Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Rant on Romney and Religious Fundamentalism

I was listening to NPR's "All Things Considered" the other day when they aired part of an interview with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The interviewer (Robert Siegel) asked about Romney's belief in the literal truth of the Bible, and Romney very slickly evaded the question while trying to make Siegel feel somehow dirty for asking the question. What follows is the feedback I provided to NPR:

Shame on Mitt Romney for trying to make Robert Siegel feel ashamed for asking a legitimate question and, by extension, trying to make NPR listeners feel ashamed for caring about the answer.

Does it matter to me which specific book(s) of the Bible a candidate takes more literally than others? Nope. But does it matter to me whether my vote supports someone who believes in superstitious hokum, to the exclusion of reason, logic, science, sense, and critical thought? You bet!

It's terrifying to me that Romney can, in one sentence, decry the "global jihad" that's threatening our way of life and in the next sentence say "My point is the Bible is the word of God". I hope I am not alone in seeing absurdity here.

Blind faith in religion is blind faith in religion, regardless of which particular religion is being used as justification. And it is dangerous.

Fundamentalists in the Middle East are out to destroy America. And fundamentalists in this country are out to win the White House. A fundamentalist led us into invading and occupying Iraq, destroying their infrastructure, and making our nation responsible (directly or indirectly) in the deaths of tens- or hundreds of thousands of innocent people there (depending on whose estimates you believe). That latter fundamentalist is also directly responsible for our country's loss of respectability in the eyes of much of the rest of the world.

It is absolutely legitimate for me, as a voter (and for Robert Siegel, as a reporter) to want to know just how trustworthy a candidate is in making important judgments of serious consequence.

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