John Wayne is the Duke. Elvis is the King.

John Wayne's Holster: December 2007
John Wayne's Holster
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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Mitt Romney Has His “JFK moment”

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is currently seeking the Republican nomination for President. In today’s political climate, any Republican Presidential candidate holding out any hope of winning the election must have the support of the Evangelical Christians. The Evangelical vote is crucial because they make-up about 23% of the electorate, according to polling data from 2000 and 2004.

One would hope that, in our “modern times”, one’s religious denomination would not be a major factor in determining his/her electibility. Sadly that is not the case. This is a big problem for Mitt Romney. As you may know, Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – otherwise known as Mormons.

Evangelical Christians have expressed great concern in sending a Mormon to the White House. Some of the so-called “concern” is based on unfamiliarity or rumors. For example, many Evangelicals (as well as the electorate at large) still associate Mormons with polygamy, despite the fact that this practice has been outlawed by the LDS church for generations. There is also a vague bias against Mormons because they come off to many people as being “weird”. However, bias of this type probably does not represent a major problem for Evangelicals. Rather, most Evangelicals base their opposition to Mormons on theological and doctrinal grounds.

In an effort to clear-up any confusion that may exist, Romney recently gave a speech at the Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University. The purpose of the speech was to dispel some of the concerns Evangelical Christians may have in electing a Mormon as President. The transcript of the speech can be found here.

On the surface, the Evangelical's opposition to Mormons may seem strange to many Americans. After all, both Evangelicals and Mormons share the belief that Jesus Christ is their Savior. Both groups believe that the Bible is the Word of God. And both share many of the same religio-political values.

So what’s the big problem with Mormons?

For starters, Evangelicals consider Mormonism to be a cult that has perverted Christian teachings. These differences are not issues of superficial importance, but concern matters of faith and doctrine, particularly as they relate to Jesus, salvation and the afterlife. Particularly troublesome to Evangelicals is the Mormon doctrine of Eternal Progression.

The doctrine of Eternal Progression can be summed up by the following LDS axiom: “As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become.” In other words, Mormons believe men can evolve (not in any Darwinian sense) into Gods.

The basic teaching of Mormonism can be summed up as follows:

Mormons believe that the cosmos is composed of innumerable planets which are ruled by countless gods who once were human like us. On one of these planets, a spirit child named Elohim was conceived. Elohim evolved into a god, and lives with his many wives on some planet near a star called Kolob. Elohim and his wives produced countless spirit children through endless rounds of Celestial sex. Two of his spirit children were Jesus and his brother Lucifer.

As part of celestial plan, earth was built and the spirit children were sent there to learn good from evil. The ambitious Lucifer wanted to take power for himself, but was overruled by a council vote in favor of Jesus. A furious Lucifer defected and took many spirit children with him and organized a revolt against the righteous, who were lead by Jesus. The spirit children who fought bravely against Lucifer and his demons were rewarded by being born into Mormon families on planet earth. To see this plan through, Elohim and one of his goddess wives took the forms of Adam and Eve – thus giving rise to the human race. To prepare the way for the appearance of Jesus on the earth, Elohim had to skedaddle back to Kolob in order to have physical relations with the Virgin Mary. Then Jesus the Mormon was born. To be honest, I am not quite sure as to the nature of these “relations” and how it worked out that Mary remained a virgin. Anyway….

Jesus then grows to adulthood, during which time he is said to have taken several wives, and by them fathering a number of children. Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, is one of his descendants. Following the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus came to the Americas to establish the Mormon church. The records of these events were written on golden plates and buried somewhere in New York state. 400 years later, the plates were discovered by Joseph Smith, who brilliantly deciphered the plates by sticking his face in his hat and receiving a communiqué from God Himself.

According to the revelations given to Smith, a Mormon may become god-like himself by simply following a rigid set of financial and moral requirements, and by performing secret temple rituals. The rituals themselves must be carried out while wearing the Mormon underwear in order to be valid. Only then can one hope to prove their worthiness and thus become gods themselves. As gods, they can then rule over other planets and spawn new families throughout eternity.

There you have it. Anyone familiar with the beliefs of Evangelical Christians – or your everyday run-of-the-mill Christians for that matter – can clearly see where doctrinal conflicts arise with the Mormons. For Evangelicals, these differences are irresolvable. Evangelicals consider the Mormon beliefs to be downright illogical, far-fetched, and beyond ridiculous. Only one thoroughly brain-washed by a cult leader could believe such nonsense.

For starters, who in their right mind could possibly believe that we are the spawn of extra-terrestrial beings from the Kolob star system. Everyone one knows that God made Adam and Eve out of dust and spit (Gen 2:7). Adam and Eve gave birth to several sons: Cain, Able and Seth (Gen 4:1-25). Cain killed Abel. Being that there were no other unrelated women around, Cain and Seth must have had relations with their mother. That makes us the incestual spawn of our earthly (not extra-terrestrial) mother and brother, unless of course one of their unnamed sisters (Gen 5:4) was lying around. Either way, it all sounds pretty hot to me! In addition, this Kolob nonsense can be dismissed just using common sense. After all, we have all seen Spielberg’s E.T. and the pictures from the UFO crash at Roswell, and we don’t look anything like extra-terrestrials.

Moreover, no sensible person believes that God would actually reveal himself to Joseph Smith by talking through his hat. Everyone knows that the only way to communicate with God is to go out into the desert heat for 40 days and nights, eating only locusts and wild honey. When you finally become delirious and God is ready to speak to you, He will appear to you in the form of blazing shrubbery. Only then will you know that the voices you hear eminate from God Himself.

Evangelicals who know the truth are utterly astonished at what fairy tales some people actually believe. But then again, Satan is the great deceiver. After all, wasn’t it Satan who planted dinosaur bones here to dupe us into believing in Darwin? And wasn’t it Satan whose powers were the guiding force behind the Enlightenment of Europe? And wasn’t it Satan who invented the Big Bang theory of creation? Don’t people realize that astronomical theories like that can’t be true because the world is only 6,000 years old? If Satan can do these things, surely he would find no difficulty in the tricking the Mormon’s into believing their fantastical yarns.

What will the gullible believe next?

As for Mitt’s speech, I think he made a good delivery. He manufactured his “JFK moment”. But unfortunately for him, it probably won’t be enough to sway the Evangelicals. Mitt is a Mormon! Regardless of what he says he believes, underneath it all he will always be a Mormon. As such, many Evangelicals don’t even consider him to be a true Christian - like Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and Ted Haggard. And even worse, many consider him to be one of Satan's disciples. So Mitt, don't get your hopes up.

I guess my dream of seeing Donny and Maria singing Morning Side Of The Mountain at the Inaugural Ball will remain just that – a dream.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Surely Bush Supports the Troops...Or Does He?

The current war in Iraq has been going on for over five years now. Despite some setbacks after major combat operations ceased in 2003, the US military’s recent troop surge is making significant progress. That being said, there are still many Americans who are fed up with the war and would like to see it come to end sooner rather than later. Moreover, many of the Democrats and a few of the Republicans vying for their party’s respective Presidential nominations have some version of troop drawback or outright ending of the war as part of their Presidential platform.

The Bush administration’s vision of the Iraqi War is somewhat different. Obviously, the administration (and many Americans) would like to see the war come to a successful conclusion. In an effort to drum up support for the war here in the US, the administration and its supporters have resorted to a tried and true strategy – playing the patriotism card.

As an essential component of the patriotism strategy, war supporters have waved their flags, adorned their cars with bumper stickers and ribbons, arranged for photo-ops with soldiers, visited the troops in the field, resurrected the ghosts of past military heroes, and provided us with an assortment of catchy and heartwarming phrases. Perhaps the most well known of these phrases is “Support the Troops”.

As we have all know, Bush has, on multiple occasions, publicly stated his support for the troops. And I for one would like to take him at his word. However, one must bear in mind that actions speak louder than words. I think most reasonable people would agree with this axiom. That being the case, it would seem that the President has a real problem on his hands. As commander-in-chief, Bush is responsible for the actions taken by the military, including administrative decisions made by the Pentagon here on the home front. Some of those actions are downright disgraceful and reprehensible!

Military service in this country is not mandatory, as we have no laws allowing for conscription. On the contrary, service in the US military is voluntary, as it should be in all free democratic societies. Fortunately, many brave souls among us have put their personal lives on the back burner and stepped up to the plate to secure our safety and protect our national interests. We owe our soldiers a huge debt of gratitude.

Unfortunately, many of our soldiers never make it home alive. And still more come back profoundly and irreversibly changed. Many are critically wounded in the field. As a result of these injuries, many soldiers can never return to a normal life. They may be hobbled or handicapped. Many have lost limbs or their abilities to hear or see. Surely the military would want to reward these soldiers for their loyalty by providing them will top-rate health care, and making sure that these soldiers receive military benefits. Sadly, the truth is just the opposite.

Wounded soldiers are typically brought home and treated in an military medical facility, such as the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. To be generous, Walter Reed is a second rate facility, mostly due to inadequate funding. The facility dates to a time prior to WWII and is currently in need of a major retrofit. Anyone visiting Walter Reed should not be surprised to find out-dated equipment, paint peeling of walls and ceilings, and floors littered with mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, and stained carpets.

Soldiers who are not able to return to active duty are typically discharged from the service and sent home. However, they are sometimes treated and a vile and contemptible manner. Last month, the case of Jordan Fox came to our national attention. Fox was seriously injured in Iraq when his vehicle was blown-up by a roadside bomb. Fox was knocked unconscious, injured his back, and lost the vision in his right eye. As a result of his injuries, he was unable to fulfill his military commitment. One would think that the military would reward Fox for his loyal service and for the life-changing sacrifice he made in the name of his country. Sadly, they did not. Shortly after returning home, Fox received a letter from the military demanding that he pay back nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case.

Many wounded soldiers are frequently denied benefits. According to a report in The Nation, US Army specialist Jon Town was injured while serving in Ramadi. Town was injured when a 107-millimeter rocket struck a target a few feet away from where he was standing. The rocket’s impact threw him to the ground, left shrapnel in his neck, and caused blood to spill out of his ears. As a result of his injuries, Town has struggled with deafness, memory failure and depression, and was declared not fit for combat and subsequently discharged. However, Town was surprisingly not given a discharge for his injuries. Rather, military doctors claimed his wounds were actually caused by a "personality disorder", which is considered a pre-existing condition. As such, the army was relieved of their responsibility to provide disability and medical benefits. And once again, Town’s case was not an isolated one.

Although Bush is not personally responsibile for these actions by the military, he is the commander-in-chief and it is his responsibility to stop it. If Bush really supports the troops as he claims to, he better man up and see that our military personnel are not treated like dogs in an animal shelter, and that they get the care in treatment they deserve.