David Brooks, New York Times writer had this to say regarding Mitt Romney’s campaign speech. Before I forget, thanks to Doug Mataconis, Below the Beltway, for his article, The Problem With Our Civic Religion.
“In order to build a voting majority of the faithful, Romney covered over different and difficult conceptions of the Almighty. When he spoke of God yesterday, he spoke of a bland, smiley-faced God who is the author of liberty and the founder of freedom. There was no hint of Lincoln’s God or Reinhold Niebuhr’s God or the religion most people know — the religion that imposes restraints upon on the passions, appetites and sinfulness of human beings. He wants God in the public square, but then insists that theological differences are anodyne and politically irrelevant.”
That’s interesting to me as I always thought that God is unchanging and no respecter of persons, that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Almighty Author of Liberty and Founder of Freedom looked over the country during Lincoln’s time as well. Religion does not impose restraints upon man’s passions, appetites and sinfulness; rather, man’s willing obedience to God’s perfect laws provide a means whereby man may learn to live in such a way as to become perfect.
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34
If you look up the references to respecter of persons you find an explanation of its meaning, one that even non believers can understand.
“Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God. But behold, this people had rejected every word of God, and they were ripe in iniquity; and the fulness of the wrath of God was upon them; and the Lord did curse the land against them, and bless it unto our fathers; yea, he did curse it against them unto their destruction, and he did bless it unto our fathers unto their obtaining power over it.”
“For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.” D&C 1:35
The struggles of men are inevitable as the dawning of each day; how each individual deals with the challenges determines the eternal outcome, not the temporary state of poverty or prosperity allotted during this mortality. The Almighty, Creator, God the Father; call Him what you will, has not set limitations on mankind to prevent his/her enjoyment of the time spent in mortality. Boundaries are set in order to prosper His children in order that they might enjoy true happiness, the pursuit of happiness.
“O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?”
“Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.”
I never thought of God as a smiley faced entity, some kind of bumper sticker image, somebody who looked the other way while mankind ignored His basic rules of conduct. No, God surely is our Father in Heaven and like any parent must spend much of His time consumed in agony, His heart broken while watching the poor choices made by His children. There are times when he smiles down upon those who follow His admonitions, those who obey willingly and progress and achieve those character traits which all mankind was intended to achieve; but I am just as certain that God wonders why he left anyone after the flood, an ungrateful lot of offspring intent on doing things any damn way we want.
I’m not so sure Mitt Romney considers his religious differences as bland or politically irrelevant; to the contrary, Mitt Romney is willing to run as a presidential candidate placing before the voters his most basic beliefs, “take me as I am”.
I found Mitt Romney’s straight forward approach, a defense of his character in the face of incessant religious bias, to be a breath of fresh air among the many hypocrites attempting to fly under the radar of integrity.