Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Tue

27

Nov

2007

Inquiring Minds (Should) Want to Know
Tuesday, 27 November 2007 10:26
by Stephen P. Pizzo

Wednesday night Republican candidates for President will hold their own YouTube debate. Since those in the mainstream media we depend upon to ask the really important questions more often than not don't, we can only hope they let the YouTubers do it for us.

We can each make our own list of what we consider "important questions" the candidates are not being asked by reporters. But for me it's no contest. We've now experienced 7 years of God-talks-to-me, faith-based, Jesus-is-my-favorite-philosopher, science- smyence,  governance of George W. Bush. And look where it's gotten us. Which is why I really want to start getting some specific questions posed to any candidate, Republican or Democrat, who wears his/her faith like an American flag lapel pin and/or tosses around references to their "faith" as though it's some kind of UL certification of righteousness.

This Wednesday night, during the CNN Republican YouTube debate, Americans will get a rare opportunity to ask the candidates the kinds of questions reporters shy away from. At the top of that list are questions that plumb the depths of what candidates themselves claim they hold sacred — their religious beliefs.

Bush keeps telling us we have to take terrorists at their word, and act accordingly.Fine. Then let's also take the candidates at their word too. Let's listen to what they say the believe in and then connect that to the job they are applying for, President of the United States of America.

Overtly religious candidates, particularly Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, have been allowed by the media to flash their religious "gang signs" to like-minded voters without challenge, without digging, without context or exploration of the consequences that might flow should that candidate become our next leader.

Which is why I submitted a YouTube question for Mike Huckabee. I doubt it will be selected but I sure hope there are plenty more submitted by others. (See also: Mike Huckabee is Not a Sane Man)

I figured I'd have, at best, one shot at a YouTube question so it was hard to pick between Huckabee and Romney, the two candidates I think have gotten the away with the most god-pimping. Both men belong to Christian sects with core beliefs so out of the political, social, scientific and intellectual mainstream that it's breathtaking. But even more breathtaking is the media's refusal to confront them with pointed questions about those beliefs and how they would shape their presidency should the win.

Since Huckabee, a minister himself, adheres to the most fundamental of Christian fundamentalist sects, can we assume he would favor teaching the creationist's anti-evolution pseudo-science in our public schools? We don't know because no reporter has yet forced him on to explain his beliefs about creation on the record.

That lack of journalistic curiosity and courage is even harder to excuse in the case of self-described devote Mormon Mitt Romney. Mormonism (Church of Latter Day Saints, LDS) is, like Scientology, a belief system created by a modern-day "prophet," Joseph Smith. Unlike Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard who invented an entirely new school of superstition, Joseph Smith borrowed liberally from the old and new Testaments as well as mis-translated Egyptian papyrus fragments.

When those sources of inspiration failed to distinguish his sect from the dozens of Christian spinoffs, Smith simply made up entire civilizations complete with competing tribes living in city-states here and abroad, civilizations that archeologists say never existed.

Smith, a half-educated, failed treasure hunter, claimed he could translate ancient languages because he possessed a "seer stone." This mystic stone not only allowed him to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics decades before scientists were able to do so, but showed him where to find treasures his made up civilizations had buried during times of turmoil. Among those alleged treasures were the gold tablets off which he claims to have transcribed the Book of Mormon.

It's all pretty weird stuff if you can stick to it and read the whole BoM. (Mark Twain tried, describing the Book of Mormon as "Chloroform in print.") But, since Romney states he's proud of his faith then he should have no problem having his beliefs probed.

For example, does he really believe, as the BoM states, that that American Indians ("Lamanites" as described in the BoM,) were one of the lost tribes of Israel, and were direct descendants of pre-Columbian Judeo-Israelite colonists who fled to the American continent around 400 AD? Does he believe this central tenet of the Mormon faith? And if so, how can he believe it since DNA testing has proven beyond doubt that America Indians actually descended, not from Semitic lines ,but rather Asian and Eurasian linage? I want to hear him reason that one through.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamanite

Why is that important? Because it tells us a lot about a person's critical thinking and reasoning. And since the American presidency is an office that is often faced with reasoning through some of mankind's most potentially deadly matters, wouldn't you like to know how Mitt's mind works? Wouldn't you like to know how he navigates the world or real things with the spirit world he inhabits as a devote Mormon. I sure would like to know.

At the very least I would not want a fellow as president who actually believes that the ancestors of American Indians were, at any time in their history, a part of a worldwide Jewish Diaspora. I sure as hell don't want someone that gullible and — let's not mince words — - stupid, mucking around in Middle East politics. And I sure don't think we want someone who defend or otherwise rationalizes the absurd and entirely fictional version of human history making decisions about how we educate our children. (So, call me picky.)

Maybe Romney would like to elaborate on the Mormon belief that when Christ returns to earth he will build a new Jerusalem. Where? Not on the West Bank, not even in the Middle East, but in Jackson County, Missouri! This new homeland will then serve as the seat of Christ's 1,000-year reign on Earth. Jerusalem in Missouri, imagine that! And then try to imagine a president of the United State who believes that. (I guess Jackson County Missouri can expect some big-ass earmarks during a Romney administration.)

During Bill Clinton's first run for President a student asked him,"boxers or briefs." It was viewed a humorous though frivolously question to ask a candidate for president since it had nothing to do with how he would preform in office. He said boxers, and now we can only wish he'd kept them on for his whole term in office.

Nevertheless, the same similar question for Romney would be more justifiable. It would go like this:

Mr. Romney, inquiring minds want to know, boxers, briefs or holy underwear?

If Romney wears these so called "temple garments" he believes they protect him from evil, and possibly even physical harm. Wouldn't you like to know? What if, just for comparison, a candidate believed that wearing garlic around his neck protected him from vampires? Would that be something you'd like to know about a would-be president of the United Staes? Well holy underwear is no less silly — and no less telling.

So, who's going screw up the courage and ask Romney? He claims he doesn't mind talking about his religion, so let's talk.

Yet reporters seem hindered by the notion that it's rude, or "intolerant" to ask critically probing questions about a candidates' stated religious beliefs. Well, that's just plain wrong. Sure it's rude to run around cross examining your generic church-going Joe or Jane Blow about their beliefs just because you disagree with them. But it's not rude or out of bounds when when candidates for high office volunteer such information implying that we should consider their religious beliefs a reason they deserve our vote. If so then we deserve to know exactly what those beliefs are and how they might shape a candidate's social and world view during his/her presidency.

But reporters have failed us badly in this regard. With the exception of one silly "hold up your hand if you don't believe in evolution" question in the first GOP debate we've gotten nothing out of the bible thumpers running for the GOP spot on the ballot. Allowing candidates to get away with their wink-wink, nod-nod, code-word assurances to religiously-like-minded voters without following up with probing questions, is nothing short of dereliction.

After all, that's how we got stuck with alleged born-again, George W. Bush. We got war against Muslim nations, we got perverted science, global warming denial and a condescending, Father Knows Best disdain for our basic freedoms. This time around I'd like us all to know exactly what we're getting when we vote.

But god forbid we should ask any "rude" questions to find out.

More from this author:
Predictions for 2007 (6339 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo The War: Jenna & Barbara Bush will not be part of their dad's troop surge. Ditto for any member of the Cheney clan. ...
White House Chess (5931 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo The Washington media spent the holidays trying to guess what the President's new plan for Iraq might be. Meanwhile in the...
Fine Mess You Got Us Into This Time (7476 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo At the moment all the focus is on what George W. Bush is going to do about the mess he's made of Iraq. But the larger...
New Lies Forward (5922 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo Well it's a new year, and you know what that means... time to update the administration's list of stated reasons for it's...
The GOP's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Scam (6434 Hits)
by Stephen P. Pizzo Traditional conservative, William F. Buckley was once asked how he would describe a “liberal.” He thought for...
Related Articles:
Some Things You Need To Know Before The World Ends (15684 Hits)
" Thank you for not putting a bomb in your luggage." "President Bush said the United States is still under the threat of attack ...
The Anti-Empire Report - Some things you need to know before the world ends (10636 Hits)
by William Blum The jingo bells are ringing "Who really poses the greatest danger to world peace: Iraq, North Korea or the United...
It's Election Eve, Do You Know Where Your Country Is? (7338 Hits)
by Frank Lindorff When you go into the voting booth tomorrow, here are a few things you need to think about. First of all, this is not a...
Dangerous Minds (12488 Hits)
by David Edwards "Our complex global economy is built upon millions of small, private acts of psychological surrender, the willingness...
Call me Ebenezer, but Christmas as we know it needs to go..... (5991 Hits)
By Jason Miller Bursting forth with renewed intensity, the “War on Christmas” is back in 2006. So just what...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (11)add comment

James Lightfield said:

0
Scientology: Fact vs Superstition
In your article, you incorrectly described Scientology. I'd like to clarify a point. (I've been a Scientologist for nearly 40 years and am not employed by any Scientology church or group.)

Scientology is NOT based upon blind faith or superstition. It is an extremely well researched path to making it easier to understand one's own spiritual nature (as an immortal being living well beyond one life time) and provide well researched problem solving methods to making it easier to resolve problems in life.

L Ron Hubbard's research and development is detailed in more than 5,000 publications and 3,274 lectures. His introductory book on Dianetics is posted on line for anyone to read:

http://www.dianetics-theevolutionofascience.org

Scientology is all-denominational and does not intrude upon an individual's personal path to God, whether as a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or any of the more than 2,400 religious practices on earth.

FREE SCIENTOLOGY COURSES

Anyone of any religion, race or nationality can evaluate in the privacy of his/her residence the effectiveness of Scientology life improvement methods by taking one -- or all 19 -- of the FREE Scientology problem solving courses. The course study material and on-line help are also free.

See: http://www.VolunteerMinisters.org and select On-Line Cavalcade ("a group of people traveling with a common purpose"), the on-line version of what is happening worldwide with teams of Scientologists teaching NON-Scientologists L Ron Hubbard's disaster and life improvement methods.

At the RESULTS page you can see & hear the praise these methods have earned from political, religious, social and judicial leaders as well as educators and emergency responders.

In a world of hatred and misunderstanding amongst people, I urge greater support for the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since 1995, Scientology has been the leader in making this once nearly forgotten document known. See the Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that it produced and for which received a standing ovation at the UN.

http://www.YouthforHumanRights.org

For more information about the UN's Declaration:

http://www.scientology.org/humanrights/
 
November 27, 2007
Votes: +0

Steve said:

0
...
You really missed the boat on Scientology. Do some homework at www.whatisscientology.org instead of relying on what you read in the newspapers. Bad habit for a journalist.
 
November 27, 2007
Votes: +0

Steve said:

0
...
You are completely misinformed about Scientology. Try getting factual information at www.whatisscientology.org instead of relying on what you read in the press, a bad habit for any professional journalist.
 
November 27, 2007
Votes: +0

Mary McConnell said:

0
Former Scientologist
You're on the right track Mr. Pizzo. Don't let the predictable Scientology minions distract from what you are saying. Scientology is a cult and someday we shall know how it was able to gain tax exempt status in spite of the US Supreme Court ruling Hernandez v IRS.
Even the St Petersburg Times is fed up with the charade, asking DSen Grassley to include the Church of Scientology in his list of 'prosperity churches' to audit, and rightfully so.http://www.sptimes.com/2007/11/12/Opinion/A_church_accounting.shtml

Cults are dangerous in numerous ways, one being that they give the appearance of being religious. Here's a sad tale from not so long ago, during a time when a mother named Ida Camburn contacted a certain Congreaaman to help her investigate Scientology because her son joined and cut off all communication with her.

Her hopes for help were soon dashed.November 3, 1977 HON. LEO J. RYAN of California , member of the House of Representatives was murdered in Guyana on Nov. l8, l978 while following up on the Jonestown Massacre. Congressman Ryan was gunned down at the airport in Guayana after inspecting Jim Jone's People's Temple, where shortly before, members drank kool-aid laced with cyanide, resulting in a mass murder.

"After receiving complaints lodged by relatives of cult members, Congressman Leo Ryan visited Jonestown on November 18, 1978 to investigate allegations of human rights abuses.

Congressman Ryan, a noted CIA critic, had authored the Hughes-Ryan Amendment, which would have required the CIA to disclose to Congress -- in advance -- details of all covert operations. The State department offered Ryan no answers or assistance, despite numerous inquiries.

"He arrived with U.S. embassy official Richard Dwyer, as well as some journalists. Among the reporters was Tim Reiterman, who had covered the Patty Hearst story for the San Francisco Examiner. In all likelihood, Ryan already suspected what was really going on at Jonestown.

That was when all hell broke loose.

At the airstrip, Leo Ryan soon became the first congressman to die in the line of duty, along with four reporters. (The Hughes-Ryan Amendment was killed in Congress soon afterwards.) The assassins were described by witnesses as "glassy eyed," "mechanically-walking zombies," and "devoid of any emotion."

Before the House of Representatives in 1977, Ryan quotes the testimony of John G. Clark, Jr., M.D.from the Harvard Medical School, as it was sent to Ryan by longtime activist, Ida Camburn: "I will state that coercive persuasion and thought reform techniques are effectively practiced on naive, uninformed subjects with disastrous health consequences. I will try to give enough information to indicate my reasons for further inquiries as well as review of applicable legal processes."

Coercive persuasion is antithetical to the First Amendment. It contains aspects which could be interpreted as constituting the illegal acts of fraud, false imprisonment, coercion, undue influence, involuntary servitude, intentional infliction of emotional distress, outrageous conduct, and other tortuous acts.

L Ron Hubbard's Use of the "Confusion Technique" to Induce Hypnosis in Scientology "
http://www.lermanet.com/

"Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder, in order to deflect criticism about scientology being a cult, described Jim Jones people's temple as a mainstream christian church, that the Nazi's were in fact a cult was not mentioned."
http://www.lermanet.com/house/destructive.htm

There's more than meets the eye about how Mormonism will be influencing Romney and Americans need to know before they go.
Thanks for the very good article.
 
November 27, 2007
Votes: +0

Terryeo said:

0
Separation of Church and State
We don't elect political leaders for religious purposes, thank God. Our founding fathers separated Church and State. If you want religious leadership Steve, then help us all. Look elsewhere than politics. Government is big business, therefore we elect practical leaders and we don't question them too closely about their personal, religious beliefs. We don't ask them, "Do you believe John: 3,16 is accurate" and we don't require their religious devotion.
 
November 27, 2007
Votes: +0

Luana said:

0
Boy, is that boring....
An actually OK written article is drumming up the usual crowd of any-Scientology spammers who are cutting and pasting their link list in the comment section, which gets Scientologists on the plan now doing the same, and after a few postings it becomes hard to find out what the original article actually was about. Moderator, are you there????

 
November 27, 2007
Votes: +0

Russell said:

0
...
As an educated, believing Latter Day Saint, I am thoroughly disappointed with YOUR lack of journalistic curiousity and YOUR analytical ability. Don't throw stones from glass houses.

You've provided a pretty caricature of the Latter Day Saint faith. You've done no apparent research (or you've fooled Latter Day Saints like myself into thinking you haven't) and you understand nothing of the nuance behind how we view the Book of Mormon. You're so far out of the mainstream of educated Latter Day Saint thought that it's breathtaking. You've not critiqued my religion--you've critiqued a cartoon that exists in your mind and your mind alone.

For some reason, I'm not inclined to waste ink on trying to convince otherwise. I've tried several times before, and the best response I get is: "You must be an exception." Since I'm pretty sure I know more Mormons than you do, I feel quite safe in saying that I'm far closer to the mainstream of LDS thought than you are. So if the author of this article wants to rid himself of such ignorance and learn something about how educated Latter Day Saints really view their own faith, I encourage him to do so...I'm all ears and ready to engage in a sound, civil dialogue. In the meantime, give journalism a good name and stop engaging in sound byte argumentation.
 
November 27, 2007
Votes: +0

JD said:

0
Stop flapping at the gum...
Guess I'll have to add Stephen P. Pizzo to my list of people I consider to be bigots. Too bad...
 
November 28, 2007
Votes: +0

Hesadanza said:

0
Broken 3 rules
Krister Stendahl once said that there are 3 rules you should use in interfaith discussions:

1. If you want to ask the question what a religion believes, ask them. Asking their critics or enemies is a breech of the commandment, "thou shall not bear false witness."
2. Compare bests with bests. Often people will show their own religion as it is at its best, and make caricatures of the others.
3. Leave room for holy envy. Is there something, anything, that is respectable in the religion?

I think you have broken all 3 rules.
 
November 28, 2007
Votes: +0

Stephen Pizzo said:

0
Reply.. of sorts
Are things metaphysical are suspect... or should be. Religion has been the cause of more death and suffering than any political or financial philosophy. It's potentially dangerous stuff, and should be treated accordingly. And if that makes me a "bigot," then I will take that risk, particularly in picking the person who wants to become my (our) next leader.

Thanks to everyone for the lively discussion. (BTW, Some of the most acid dripping emails were not posted here by emailed directly to me, and they were all from those "non-bigot" god-fearing folk..

Have a wonder holidays.
Steve

 
November 28, 2007
Votes: +0

Russell said:

0
...
"Religion has been the cause of more death and suffering than any political or financial philosophy."

Please tell me that you're pandering to a secularist base...please...

You're not telling me that you're downplaying the Holocaust, Stalin's purges, Mao's great leap forward, the Armenian genocide, the Rwandan genocide, the Guatemalan Civil War, indeed, most wars of the 20th century (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia-Timor, Indo-Pakistani War) and countless other all in a cheap effort to demonize religion?! These wars all had political power and territory as their founding goals. To say that religion caused any of them would be to just revise history...it would require ANY faith we have in the existence of objective history.
 
November 29, 2007
Votes: +0

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top