Profundity in Texas

Mitt Romney – not surprisingly – says lots and lots of irritating things in that collection of platitudes and errors he offered up in Texas yesterday – at the George Bush I ‘library.’ It would be silly and otiose to analyze them in much detail – it’s not as if there’s any reason to expect the speech to be sensible or well-argued or grown-up or coherent. But there are some remarks that are so outrageous I just…

When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God.

It would be nice if it became his highest promise to his fellow-citizens instead.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.

‘Tolerance’ of course is only relevant when we’re talking about opinion. It’s silly to talk about tolerance when you actually want to get at the truth of something – tolerance comes in handy when the subject is a human invented story that people want to believe is literally true but realize they can’t actually demonstrate is literally true. It becomes a matter of ‘I’ll tolerate your myth if you’ll tolerate my myth and that way neither of us will have to confront the likelihood that both myths are just myths and not literally true.’ The last sentence is a terrific summing-up of that – religious tolerance is deep because it will tolerate anything – which doesn’t mean actually believing the anything is true. Except of course one’s own anything. Which is true. But the others aren’t. But it doesn’t do to say so when running for President. Twirl, repeat, twirl.

Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government…[W]e can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty…Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: we do not insist on a single strain of religion – rather, we welcome our nation’s symphony of faith.

Well here’s one American who doesn’t ‘acknowledge’ that liberty is a gift of God, and I’m reliably informed that there are others. And as for reason and religion being friends and allies – well the whole speech demonstrates why they’re not: it’s nonsense throughout, and blithely ignores (when it should ‘acknowledge’) its own nonsenicality.

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