Dec 06 2007

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Romney Redefines Freedom to Include Religion

Posted at 2:00 pm under Politics, Religion, Society, atheism

Romney discussed his candidacy and religion today,…. sort of. He mostly made numerous vague statements and managed to brush off comparisons of Mormonism to other Christian groups.

The most rhetorically shrewd part of his address was his mention of freedom:

“Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.”

In other words, you cannot be truly free without religion.

Mormonism prescribes many of these “cannot without religion”–you cannot be truly happy, you cannot be truly free, etc.

Here’s how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints views freedom, in the words of LDS General Authority, Elder Enzio Busche:

My dear brothers and sisters, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many new members, specifically when they come from countries other than the United States, learn for the first time the true dimension of the word freedom. Freedom for most people of the world means “freedom from” the absence of malice or pain or suppression. But the freedom that God means when He deals with us goes one step further. He means “freedom to”—the freedom to act in the dignity of our own choice.

Let me summarize this point. Non-Mormons, new Mormons and especially foreigners who are new to the church don’t get the whole truth about freedom.  These folk know what they may be free from but not what they’re “free to.” The probability is that American Mormons who are not new to the church know about freedom best.

It’s this concept of “free to” that appears in Romney’s quote as well when he says, “Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God.” But do not be led to think that by “act in the dignity of our own choice,” they mean that we can do whatever we choose. The word dignity is there for a good purpose, and it’s tied in with Jesus Christ (as you will see below).

Also don’t be fooled into thinking that the mighty genius of Romney come up with this concept. The Mormon church has numerous writings on this topic. Here is how freedom to and freedom of choice are defined by Mormons, in the words of the same LDS General Authority, Elder Enzio Busche:

As we open our hearts to the message of God’s truth, as it was restored in our time, we begin to understand why there was, and still is, so much misery, pain, suffering, and even starvation. In the same dimension as we are learning to accept the revealed truth in our own life, our faith in the living Son of God will grow, and therefore we will receive spiritual gifts of heretofore unknown capacity. We will learn that nothing is impossible for those who believe in Jesus Christ. False bondages will be loosened. Narrow thinking born in tragedies of false traditions will disappear.

In conclusion, Romney’s words are almost perfectly in line with his church’s teachings that one cannot be truly free without Jesus Christ, because only religion can open one’s soul to allow communion with God, and release the bondages false traditions keep us under.

For example, if you have a glass of wine with your meal you are not truly free because you allow a false tradition to bond you. If you choose to express your love for someone of the same sex you are not truly free because you chose to bond yourself in something ungodly.

If Romney replaced Jesus Christ in his speech with a generic term of “religion” he did it for political reasons only.

He said, “I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers — I will be true to them and to my beliefs.”

So, if he is to be true to his beliefs he would have to say that Jesus Christ brings freedom (to) , however, that would exclude all other non-Jesus religions from being able to bring freedom (to).

My final conclusion is that Romney is throwing empty, yet Mormon-influenced rhetorical language hoping to create some “ethos of Romney” and convince the religious folk of America that he’s a freedom and religion loving guy, and he’s non-threatening and he just only sees the similarities in people, not the differences.

The notion that freedom and religion can’t exist one without the other is a fabrication stemming from his church’s moral teachings. And his church’s teachings are nothing but an attempt to manipulate the concept of freedom of choice, by saying that Jesus gives one the freedom to choose what Jesus says is right, and that’s the only true freedom.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Romney Redefines Freedom to Include Religion”

  1. Dane Andradeon 07 Dec 2007 at 12:26 pm 1

    I wouldn’t say he redefined it to include religion, rather, he redefined it as religion. Far worse.

  2. Manaon 07 Dec 2007 at 1:34 pm 2

    Dane, you are right. I meant it as “included religion in the freedom equation.” But yes it is far worse.

  3. Richard Leo Jacksonon 07 Dec 2007 at 11:47 pm 3

    I fail to see what any Mormon, given their religious philosophy, understands about true freedom–especially the freedom that comes from Christ. True Protestant Christians broke away from the Roman Catholic church on the issue of freedom. Freedom from a slavish system of works to gain favor with God. When one is shackled to a works oriented system of religion, like Catholicism, they never know how many good works they need to do to score points with God. There is no joy or freedom, only work, work, work, self flagelation, crawling on broken glass, etc… “The just shall live by faith” was the cry of the reformation. The key doctrine was that Christ not only died the death of His people, but also lived a life of perfect obedience to God’s law. By faith, according to Luther and Calvin, whatever we owe to God was earned by Christ. The law can no longer oppress us. This is called the doctrine of justification by Faith. By faith Christ’s obedience is our obedience. We are free from slavish fear to a God who is just waiting to condemn us. At Trent the Catholic Church anathamatized (cursed) anyone who taught this. In the Book of Mormon it is refered to as the “pernicious doctrine of Justification by faith.” Christians traditionally talk about being saved by grace apart from works. Yet Mormons and Catholics know nothing of this! Ask a Mormon missionary what grace is. The ones I’ve asked usually just look puzzled. In the Mormon book, A MARVELOUS WORK AND A WONDER, Elder Legrand Richards defines grace in this manner: God gave us the world TO WORK OUT OUR SALVATION on, a body TO WORK OUT OUR SALVATION in and the rules of the gospel TO WORK OUT OUR SALVATION by. [enpasis added by me.] Work, work, work. So much for Mitt’s idea of freedom. By the way, freedom of religion is promised in the constitution of the United States. freedom FROM religion is in the constitution of Russia. We all know how much freedom christians enjoyed in the gulags there. Religion does NOT need freedom to flourish. Atheism flourishes just fine in places like the Soviet Union. A poet once said, “Iron bars do not a prison make.” I would agree. Why? Jesus said, “If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.” No matter if they lock a Christian up, he is free on the inside. RLJ

  4. Atheist Revolutionon 08 Dec 2007 at 2:15 pm 4

    Romney Reveals Bigotry Toward Non-Theistic America…

    It is high time I weigh in on the recent speech from Willard “Mitt” Romney in which he demonstrated his willingness to pander to Christian extremists, his ignorance of the Constitution, and what sounds at least a little bit like a theocratic vision f…

  5. Dane Andradeon 09 Dec 2007 at 3:01 am 5

    “especially the freedom that comes from Christ”

    Richard, you will have to explain to me how a freedom comes from something else, be it divine, or earthly. I don’t see how such a perverse dichotomy, such as the concepts of heaven and hell, are to be considered a “freedom”. If a person, like myself, chose that Immortality was not desirable, where was I “given” this freedom to choose this? I believe many theists make the desire for their own eternal life elsewhere, to give credit to whatever deity they worship for “freeing” them of the responsibilities of this world. I don’t think that is a freedom. Freedom in Christ has always sounded to me like slavery.

    “We are free from slavish fear to a God who is just waiting to condemn us.”

    All Christian doctrine preaches that if we do not accept the “gift” of blissful immortality then we are in a sense rejecting god, and therefore choosing eternal torment. Again, I emphasize that I could never come to see this as a freedom. In the sense that immortality is a punishment to those who don’t desire it, you would be hard pressed to convince me that your God isn’t waiting to condemn me either way…

    “Atheism flourishes just fine in places like the Soviet Union.”

    The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. The supposed “atheism” of Soviet Union was a result of the official status as a secular state. More than a third of the population was Christian during this time. Atheism has never flourished. If atheism is the rejection of dogma of any kind, including the godhood status of leaders like Pol Pot, than humanity is hard pressed to find in it’s history a good model, except perhaps Rome and early America.

    If you lock a Christian up, he will have died thinking he is free. I have no problem with contained delusion.

  6. Manaon 09 Dec 2007 at 1:30 pm 6

    Dane said, “If you lock a Christian up, he will have died thinking he is free. I have no problem with contained delusion.” I think you’re on to something here. The internal sense of freedom is not what’s under debate here. Lock a Buddist up and he may feel just as free.

    The true test of freedom comes when we have to express freedom outwardly, and within societal interractions. So this concept of emotional freedom or “eternal” freedom through Jesus is irrelevant to the “state of freedom” or liberty that defines a society. It’s also irrelevant when it comes to equitable and just treatment of people. Just because internally one feels free that doesn’t mean that an injustice is not done upon them.

    Now, Romney is a candidate for the office of President, he’s not up for a walk on the Church of Latter-day Saints-owned downtown strip of Salt Lake City. Romney is standing in front of the most diverse nation as a candidate, so I expect he is talking about our society, our nation, not about his internal feelings. I’m very happy that he’s free through Christ but how is that going to assure the liberties of this very diverse nation?

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