Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Off Topic Tuesday: I Am Intolerant
As for why that is, you will have to ask someone else. From where I sit a Perry presidency is one I would expect to be little different than George W. Bush ‘take two’. It doesn’t help that he’s not “society”. Observers will note that Sarah Palin was not, is not and never was popular with the Republican Party leadership either. Probably because she didn’t go to an Ivy League university and (more importantly) as Governor of Alaska she went after corrupt Republicans -and turning on members of your own party is the one unpardonable sin in their book. Now, none of this is to say I think Palin or Perry would be great presidential leaders but it bothers me because this is not how the system is supposed to work. Both parties do it but the Democrats (with their “Super Delegates”) are at least more honest in how they go about thwarting the will of the people. The Republicans are more subtle and, again, you can turn on the TV and see it right now. Turn on Fox News any night of the week (like tonight Oct.10) and you can see Ann Coulter explain how Perry is worse than Romney, you can see Laura Ingraham outraged by the fact that some Baptist preacher said Romney wasn’t a Christian (guess what Laura, the Catholic Church you belong to doesn’t either), you can see Dick Morris (I almost wrote dot com with that) and Sean Hannity agree on how Romney is being treated terribly unfairly. And, again, on Sunday you could have watched Chris Wallace basically call Rick Santorum a racist for saying he doesn’t think guys wearing neon-pink t-shirts that say “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used To It” should be allowed in the military.
I know that to non-religious people, any religion seems a little crazy. I get that, but the Mormons are A LOT crazy. These are people who believe that their founding “prophet” found Egyptian tablets buried in his back yard -in the *United States*. These are people who believe that Native Americans are Jews, that Africans are some kind of cursed demon-people, that God is an American (they think the Garden of Eden was in Missouri), that Jesus and Satan are brothers, that God has a lot of wives, that one day all good Mormons will become gods of their own planets throughout the universe and, best of all, these are the people who believe they are protected by their magic underwear. I don’t know why, but in that whole litany of insanities there, the one most people I talk to always ask me to verify is the part about the magic underwear (like *that’s* the most crazy thing). I’m not making any of this up, you can look it up for yourself.
So, I am intolerant and you may all want to keep a safe distance from me until I can serve some time in “tolerance camp” with the South Park guys but, -just my opinion- I would be a little uncomfortable with someone who believes that Indians are Jews, dead people can be baptized, that an angel gave a guy from Vermont a golden book and magic glasses to learn the part God “left out” of the Bible, or pretty much anyone who believes they wear magic undies having control over the United States nuclear arsenal. I don’t care who you are -that stuff is crazy. Yet, it is not only the craziness. I can handle a great deal of craziness and there are people I admire who were probably certifiably insane (myself not included …I mean, I am certifiable, I’m just not terribly fond of myself). However, the Mormons cannot even be consistent with their craziness. Their ‘divinely revealed truth’ seems to keep changing and always at a time when, coincidentally I’m sure, it happens to benefit them politically. There are two glaring examples of this; the Mormon attitude toward polygamy and toward Black people.
As most probably know, the Mormons used to practice polygamy (and many still do, just not the “official” church). Not only did they think it was acceptable, they thought it was the best way to do things, in fact, it would help you on the way to becoming a god yourself. The founding “prophet” of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, had 44 “wives”. His successor as leader of the Mormon religion, Brigham Young, had 55 wives and fathered 56 children. Yet, we all know that the Mormons take great offense today if you bring this up and they will stress that it is wrong to have more than one wife and that they no longer practice polygamy. What changed? How did it go from being the short-cut to divinity one day and totally wrong the next day? Well, the U.S. was not going to let Utah join the Union if they continued to allow polygamy, and the Mormons were in a tight spot and really needed to join the union, and as luck would have it their supreme leader received a new, divine revelation that “god” was, I guess, just kidding about what he had said before and that polygamy was wrong. So, they repudiated the practice and were able to join the United States.
Then there is the case of the Africans. Black people were allowed to become Mormons but could never join the priesthood, could never enter the Temple and even after death would continue to be slaves in Heaven. This was because, in the mind of Brigham Young, all Black people were the cursed offspring of human-demon hybrids that lived before the Flood of Noah (however that was supposed to have worked). So, I cannot imagine many Black people feeling very welcome in the Mormon religion. But, yet again, this time-honored article of Mormon faith was finally cast aside when it became politically expedient to do so. The ban on Blacks in the priesthood lasted until 1978, by which time the Civil Rights struggle had ended for the most part, everyone tended to look down on racist policies and the Mormons were left being the odd man out. They had also, by this time, become powerful enough and accepted enough to start wanting to run candidates for office and no one would vote for a member of a “church” that basically said “Blacks need not apply”. So, once again, the leaders said to forget all about everything everyone had said about race up until 1978, that was all wrong but what they were saying now was right and that was that all races are equal and Blacks can be priests and all the rest. Nothing to see here, move along people.
Each of these things are terrible, but their awfulness is compounded by their inconsistency. It was okay to have a lot of wives (in fact you couldn’t gain the highest place in heaven without being married) until it was not. It was okay to discriminate against Blacks -until it was not. I would say their god doesn’t seem all that omniscient to me but, they do believe Adam was god, that god wasn’t always god but that god started out as a man just like us and one day became god and if we are all good Mormons we can become gods too. Given that, perhaps we should expect the god of the Mormons to be a little imperfect.
So, that is my objection to the Mormons and why I am officially deemed “intolerant” by the Mitt Romney camp. Again, there are plenty of other problems that I have with Romney but if they want to make an issue out of religion, so be it. If they want to call me intolerant because I won’t call Mormons Christians there isn’t one thing I can do about it. That is how I feel. I don’t know any Mormons personally, but I know people of various religions that are perfectly nice, decent folks with whom I agree on many things. I’m sure it would be the same with Mormons, I just don’t agree that they are Christians. So according to Mitt Romney and Fox News I am “intolerant”. If any of you would like to join me in the realm of the intolerant, simply re-read this post (keeping in mind I made none of this stuff up -my imagination is not that good) and then ask yourself if the religion described here bears any resemblance whatever to Christianity. Do that, and you just might find yourself to be “intolerant” as well.