Friday, February 24, 2012

Too many Mormons

By Mustang Bobby.

It's posted as an "exclusive" on Buzzfeed:

In the compelling personal narrative that has helped propel Florida Senator Marco Rubio to national political stardom, one chapter has gone completely untold: Rubio spent his childhood as a faithful Mormon.

Rubio was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with his family at around the age of eight, and remained active in the faith for a number of years during his early youth, family members told BuzzFeed.

Rubio spokesman Alex Conant confirmed the story to BuzzFeed, and said Rubio returned to the Catholic church a few years later with his family, receiving his first communion on Christmas day in 1984 at the age of 13.

And...?  So what?

Well, apparently it complicates matters in his path to being the vice presidential candidate with Mitt Romney because according to the GOP prophets of fear, loathing, and bigotry, you can't have two people of the same faith on the ticket unless they belong to the right church.  Mr. Rubio states he is a Roman Catholic, which is now acceptable in the GOP, although to hedge his bets he's also attended the megachurch here in Palmetto Bay.  (Ironically, the Constitution only prohibits two people from the same state from being president and vice president.  Mitt Romney has lived in a lot of places, but Florida isn't one of them, so Mr. Rubio is good to go on that count.)

Mr. Rubio has enough baggage, including his somewhat interesting financial history here in Florida as well as his embellished story about his family's emigration from Cuba, that he doesn't need a revelation about his faith to make him problematic in the eyes of some political strategists.  On the other hand, playing fast and loose with other peoples' money and fudging his history to make him more appealing to hard-liners gets high marks on the GOP hypocrisy meter.  All he needs is an ex-wife that he dumped when she was in the hospital to hit the trifecta.

Personally (and to paraphrase the immortal Hawkeye Pierce), the instrument has yet to be invented that could measure my indifference as to what church a candidate does or doesn't go to in terms of deciding whom to vote for.  It shouldn't even enter the picture.  That said, any candidate who declares that his or her religious beliefs would be a deciding factor in the matters of state, be it economics, foreign policy, defense, or social issues such as reproductive choice or marriage equality is instantly disqualified in my book.  If they want to keep it private -- like silent prayer -- that's a different matter, but to use their faith and practice as their defense is a cop-out because it relieves them of the responsibility of standing up for their own views.  "I'm against gays getting married because my imaginary friend Jesus H. Reagan Christ said so" gets them off the hook instead of telling the truth: "I'm against gays getting married because the idea of two men in bed makes me all tingly with ... um, moral outrage."

It is kind of funny, though, to see the Republicans hoisted on their own petard of religious bigotry.  They've gotten enough mileage out of Barack Obama's secret Muslim tropes, and they're on the verge of nominating a man who, according to Franklin Graham, isn't even a Christian.  Now they're about to disqualify one of their rising stars because at the age of eight he and his family joined the Mormons for a few years.

That's their cross to bear.


(Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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