Sunday, April 20, 2008

Four Speeches - Two Good, Two Bad

March 28, 2008 - Lead balloons don’t fly just because reporters say they do. In this presidential cycle we have now witnessed two such spectacles – Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Both gave speeches at critical campaign junctures, both were met with enraptured media applause, both patterned their deliveries after historical precedents, and both failed.

For Mitt it was JFK, and for Barack , MLK. Their three-lettered mentors probably feel let down, because neither protégé rose to the occasion. If Willard Mitt Romney and Barack Hussein Obama’s clutch-play opportunities connected, they may have become exalted and joined the ranks of those known merely by initials. But alas, it is not to be WMR or BHO.

The short and sweet of it is that neither Mitt nor Barack answered the question being asked. In Mitt’s case it was, “Why is Mormonism not a cult?” and, for Barack, “Do you support Jeremiah Wright’s hate-mongering?” If they had, things would look a lot different today. Mitt would be the Republican nominee, and Barack would have buried Hillary. But no, Mitt’s failure paved the path for Mac, and Barack may have handed it to Hill.

The reason that JFK’s “Don’t worry about my Catholicism,” and MLK’s “I have a Dream” speeches were so successful, is that they directly addressed the concerns of the day along with rising to rhetorical excellence.

With JFK the nation needed to be reassured that he would not be a pawn of the Vatican. For MLK the challenge was for Americans to be told that there was something more important than the color of a person’s skin.

On September 12, 1960, John F. Kennedy made the following points:

“I believe in an America where. . . no Catholic prelate would tell the president . . . how to act. . . I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”

Kennedy took the issue on directly, answered the question and put it to rest. That is why he succeeded. Concerns about Romney had nothing to do with the Mormon Church directing the presidency. No one was concerned about Romney’s patriotism, divided loyalties, or that he would be directed by Salt Lake City, rather they were concerned that his church was a cult.

Romney gave his speech on December 6, 2007, kicking it off with a memorable line, "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.”

Compared his situation to Kennedy’s, "Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts. . . ”

Played a straw man gambit, "Let me assure you that no authorities of my church. . . will ever exert influence on presidential decisions.”

Laid the groundwork for addressing the big concern, “. . . 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.”

Then dodged the question in an indignant manner, "There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution.”

And finally wrapped things up with some trademark pandering, "I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims.”

No wonder he failed.

On August 28, 1963 Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his most memorable address. His appeal was for equality and it was delivered in a day when that commodity was sadly lacking. Everyone at the time needed to be reminded of what our country stood for, and MLK rose to the occasion magnificently.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

If he had lived he probably would have seen it all come true. Unfortunately he was murdered and his torch passed to less reputable clergymen, such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright.

Since Obama sat under Wright’s tutelage for 20 years it made perfect sense to ask the question, “Do you support your pastors’ hate-mongering?” And so on March 18, 2008 Barack Obama responded.

He started off on the right track. “I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.”

If he would have stopped there and offered some tangible solutions the day would have been won. Instead he refused to do what wasn’t being asked, and threw in a false moral equivalency just for fun. . . “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother.”

Which laid the groundwork for justifying the Reverend’s remarks. . . “For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years.”

And finally shifted the blame in vintage liberal fashion. . . “Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed. . .”

It is too bad that MLK was not around to advise Barack, and JFK not available for Mitt. If they had, or if Obama and Romney gave more than lip service to their mentors’ speeches, the playing field would look a lot different today.


chuck said...

Bruce - your conclusion about Obama's opportunity is on-target. If he had denounced Jeremiah Wright's comments unequivocally, he could have "won the day." However, if Romney had done what had been requested, he would have buried himself even more quickly, because he would have made it clear to people that Mormonism IS a cult, with some of the wildest, far-out beliefs of any of the cults. JFK, MLK, and even Obama could fall back on truth - Mitt could not, because the truth about his faith is devastating.

Michael said...

Chuck, quoting you, "..Romney..would have buried himself...[because] MORMONISM IS a cult, with some of the wildest, far-out beliefs of any of the cults. JFK, MLK, and even Obama could fall back on truth - Mitt could not, because the truth about his faith is devastating."

Chuck, may I ask by what manner of study or scholarship, or serious belief system, or whatever, that you so aggressively assert such an infallible opinion?

IMHO opinions, especially those implied to be infallible, not inthe least based on a single fact or fact source share the same level as treacherous and malicious gossip.

Michael in Cincinnati, Ohio

jchanlon said...

Uhhhhhhhhhh dooode... (I spelled intentionally incorrectly) Mikey! SIRIOUSLY!!! Just because you can spell a high level venacular doesn't mean you know the words, NOR do you even have a clue as to what you are saying. Just reading the Bible especially the N.T. would give enough examples that they are as close to the truth as the "Jahovah Waccos".
I choose not to be diplomatic/rude with my objective comments because If jesus was objective he would have NEVER accopmlished his mission.

jchanlon said...

Uhhhhhhhhhh dooode... (I spelled intentionally incorrectly) Mikey! SIRIOUSLY!!! Just because you can spell a high level venacular doesn't mean you know the words, NOR do you even have a clue as to what you are saying. Just reading the Bible especially the N.T. would give enough examples that they are as close to the truth as the "Jahovah Waccos".
I choose not to be diplomatic/rude with my objective comments because If jesus was objective he would have NEVER accopmlished his mission.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hawkins, I believe you have failed to provide a cohesive explanation of Mr. Obama's positions. Simply put, he has a basic distrust or even hatred of white people which is incredibly divisive. This has been disclosed in (1) a radio interview after the “race speech” where he claimed that all white people are “bred” to be afraid of blacks; (2) his "bitter" comments; (3) the preaching of his pastor in the Afro-centrist church to which Obama has belonged for 20 years and (4) his wife's statements ("never been proud of this country") and writings. Obama’s divisiveness was amplified when he labeled all blacks as poor at the end of his “race speech” and tried to align them and poor whites against “rich white people” along the lines of John Edwards’ populism. Further, Obama has never disavowed most of what Wright preached. For example, he has not disavowed Wright’s claim that the U.S. is always at fault when it acts assertively or that Israel is wrong in its controversy with the Palestinians. Obama’s positions are antithetical to this country’s (1) continued attempts to overcome remaining racial divisions and (2) interests in a time of war with radical Islam.

Paulette Harris said...

Honestly you people! I can't for the life of me understand why a person claiming to be even half educated would fall under Mormon beliefs or Obomas (yes, msp)pastor. I purposely spelled this wrong. I have no respect for either man or Mitt. I want truth from my future Pres. OOPS! I guess that leaves Hilary out too. Truth:As a writer,I am having difficulty Capitalizing the "M" on mormon!

The Bible needs to be read in its entirety to understand the truth.
And yes, according to the description in the dictionary,of what the word cult, means....mormonism is a cult. The mormons have a completely different viewpoint of who they think Jesus is. Any educated person can pick up a dictionary and the Bible and read the truth for themselves. Why do we Americans get so lazy as to have someone always hand feed what they think it is??? Beats me.
In my opinion...God gave us brains to use.
Having been in the State of Utah for some time as a "unbeliever" of Mormonism, I can tell you that what you see is not what you get. That is surface shine paid for. Trick question....Why do you think Mitt was so intent on letting you and all the news stations know that there are two different Mormon faiths now??? Do you even know what I am talking about? Pologamy of course. The mormon church is the morman church and I don't care how many times the SLT prophets and leaders "fix" it to fit the changing times, it was started by a person using the occult to get his answers, yes, I said occult. Go study the history of the good believers of a lie.
Both these candidates are scary people.
Sorry, Michael, I couldn't agree with Chuck more. You better study up on what these two beliefs represent. It isn't a burning in you bosom that's gona get you into the levels of heaven.
This isn't gossip, just plain facts sir. (I love Bill O'Reilly) :)
Thanks for letting me vent on this subject. Watch out people, our ignorance is dangerous and we have a responsibility to give the next generation the truth.
Michael, how can you even ask such a question of Chuck such as this? I'm sorry, maybe you were raised in such a cult and simply don't know better.
Chuck, hats off to you for being brave and stepping up to the plate.
I don't care anymore whether I get into trouble or not. I am an old Grandmother who is educated and care about the future generations.

My Left Nut said...

Michael, have you ever asked a mormon why the wife in a wedding ceremony is required to make a slashing motion across her throat? Have you ever asked them to explain why the church is STILL covering up details of the Mountain Meadows Massacre 150 years later? ( )Have you ever been allowed into their house of worship? Could you pray in a Catholic/Lutheran/Methodist/Baptist church?

Mormons are a cult. Sorry to burst your bubble Michael.

tobiasc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tobiasc said...

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists five different definitions of the word "cult."

1. Formal religious veneration
2. A system of religious beliefs and ritual; also: its body of adherents;
3. A religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents;
4. A system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator;
5. Great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book).

So... by definition, due to the arguable spuriousness of Islam, that is a cult, due to #4, scientology and christian scientists are cultists, due to #2, all branches of Christianity and every other major religion is a cult, and all you people who think that the ultimate truth is found in the most edited, censored and re-edited book in the world (all editing done by human hand) - the Bible - are CULTISTS by definition number 1 and 5.

The definition I see everyone using is: If I think it's weird, it's a cult.

All this snootbaggery about whose religion is better and more truthful is tribal cultist bickering. You can't argue the truth of a religion based on the words of the promulgator of the religion being considered evidence of truth - that's where faith comes in.

I'm an American, an agnostic, and I believe in freedom of religion - so long as the religion does not interfere with the human and citizen rights of its adherents or those who reject it.

Lani said...

I am sure there is a lot of confusion about "Mormons" right now. Mitt is not of the same religion as those in Texas in the news right now, who are led by Warren Jeffs, who is being Prosecuted in Utah right now. (In fact if he were he would be allowed to have a computer or TV.)

Anyone can attend a Service on Sunday at an LDS Church. They do not hide anything, or bunk up in a compound because "the world is evil".

I would challenge anyone who would like to know the TRUTH about the LDS church and what they believe to go to their website and read. I will give you a link to start with

I challenge you to read the whole page. It will also tell you the difference between the church and the illegal offshoot ( not members of the church) the FLD (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints) If these Men in Texas were members of the LDS church they would be excommunicated and prosecuted just as their Leader Warren Jeffs is right now in Utah.

As for "myleftnut"s comment,... I have attended many weddings and that has never been done. There really is no mystery to LDS marriages. They are no different than other religions. If the couple marries in the Temple, every one dresses in white as a sign of respect, for the Holy place we call a house of God.

It is sacred and only members that have "a clean slate", a recommend, (or "pass" if you will) from their Bishop, who has interviewed them, can enter and attend.

Even some of the Members of the church who are not in good standing are not allowed to go into "Gods House". Being a member is not enough. The Temple is considered Holy.

The couple will kneel across from one another leaning on a beautiful alter between them holding hands. The clergy who is performing the ceremony will speak and then leaning over the alter they will kiss, the wedding is over, the friends and family hug, and go out to the beautiful grounds to take photos. That's it.

You can visit this page and click on sealing room to see a photo and description.

As for the Mountain Meadows Massacre

The LDS church does not hide things....But we aren't the only church who has people who have sinned either. We are also very close with the Catholic churches and others and are saddened for the challenges of their sinning priests and the horrible pain and suffering of their members and their families.

I hope this helped at least one person understand more about the LDS church.

One more comment, a comment that is said with hatred is usually misguided and uniformed...Humans are afraid of what they don't understand and is the basis for the racial and religious prejudice in this country.

If we don't stand up and fight for why our Founders came here and built this country, for their belief in a greater power than themselves and the freedom to worship him and our Savior, for Liberty, Freedom, the pursuit of happiness. It will all be a loss.

jchanlon said...

tobiasc, I have a vaige idea about agnostic, but am basically ignorant. Can you explain this to me in your definition? thanks

jchanlon said...

lani, i ask you. why did my pastor inform a "elder" who was trying to pass out a "new" book of mormon, in trade after finding out he owned a version that came from the 70s'? Fact is this book has been edited many times. your hierarchy is awsome at damage control. take a bow.

jchanlon said...

Paulette. Thank you! very well done. capitalize the name of an idividual who doesn't give respect isn't worthy of it. I guess they need the real Jesus? rhetorical I know.

Eric said...

I surfed in here and fell into a sea of idiots. There are too many of you as I read the comments and I can't address you all individually. But, I just want to say that the article about which you all are commenting is just barely interesting. The comparison of the speeches is partially clever and entertaining. However, one of the major premises; that Mitt Romney should have explained something about his "cult" is preposterous. Tobiasc was correct to try and teach you people that the word "cult" by definition could include any church or religion. By the way, I spoke to dozens of people about that speech that Romney gave and I didn't find one person who wasn't moved by that speech. If you weren't moved and inspired, you didn't hear it as it was spoken. I believe it was absolutely brilliant. Romney always said that he was not going to fall into the media's trap to try and explain individual tenets of his religion. He correctly stated that that task should be left to formal representatives of the Mormons. Romney's desire was to talk about issues facing the country. To talk about beliefs, other than the fact that he is a Christian and accepts as his Savior the very same Jesus as other faiths accept from the New Testament -to talk about other beliefs would have been foolish. To get into such discussions with very ignorant people like jchanlon or Paulette Harris would have been a real distraction. Should JFK have had to explain the doctrine of the transubstantiated bread of the eucharist and that Mary is forever virgin? Should Barack Obama explain that the Jesus he believes in, the one from Black Liberation Theology as explained by Dr. James Cone is a black Jesus (more of a "different" Jesus than that one worshiped by the Mormons)? Why don't the rest of you folks explain to me how you believe that Jesus died and after three days he came back to life? And then did He die again? If not, where did He go? Anyway, I hope you all are intelligent enough to get my point.

Michael said...

On April 24, 2008 at 6:03 pm, Eric said, "I surfed in here and fell into a sea of idiots....Anyway, I hope you all are intelligent enough to get my point."

Aaaah, finally, someone with Thomas Paine type "Common Sense" and superior intelligence is able to divide the "Truth" from "Delusion" and write a well-founded opinion. Thank you.

Whoops, I also need to give some credit to tobiasc also for his (or her) post on April 24, 2008 at 7:58 am, which also appealed to my better senses.

JFYI, I am Michael (in Cincinnati, Ohio), the one that posted the second comment above on April 22, 2008 at 8:24 pm, which IMHO started the "ruskus" that followed.

Sarah said...

I have joined as I believe Obama as President of the US would be a disaster for America and the free world.

To my suprise I find anti Morman ( anti LDS comments ) What is it with you people ? Can you not see beyond the narrow minded misinformed nonesense you have been brainwashed with, and use your own intelligence instead.

Look into the actual beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints... which is the Church Mitt Romney belongs to, and find the truth at

Elizabeth said...

I applaud Sarah for her straight forward comments... I too have joined this site for the same reasons, and am equally appalled to find anti Morman/ anti LDS slurs... which by the way are rubbish, totally unfounded, and the product of misinformed stupid bigots.

Mitt Romney was a dream candidate for President of the US... it would be difficult to find another as qualified and capable to lead this great nation. It was not Mitts place to explain the beliefs of his church as part of his platform... anyone in the least interested can easily obtain answers to any of their questions from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints itself... just go to the source, dont be mislead by detractors and their sinister agendas.

Janadele said...

Thanks Michael, Sarah & Elizabeth, I agree with all your comments. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Australia, I followed Mitts campaign with great interest, and so became involved in the present turmoil of US politics.

It has become evident that Barrack Hussein Obama would indeed be a disaster for the world if elected as US President. Watching from afar, it would seem that if the voters had known at the time what has now become evident, surly he would not now be in the position he is. Obama is a nightmare... and yes Mitt was indeed the "dream" candidate. is a good place to start, for those who would like a simple easy to understand outline of Mitt Romneys religious beliefs

Michael said...

On April 27, 2008, at 9:14 am, Janadele said, "Thanks Michael, Sarah & Elizabeth, I agree with all your comments. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Australia, I followed Mitts campaign with great interest, and so became involved in the present turmoil of US politics."

For my small part you are very, very welcome Janadele. As important as replying in kind to gratitude is, I think a far more important issue is that some decent folks with intelligent opinions finally came on board this blog. IMHO most, if not all, of the negative (and hateful) comments given above were from people with bigoted frames of mind and their kind produce nothing in this world but trouble. Many of them, while calling themselves "Christian", are the producers of social problems and are never otherwise part of the solution to social problems.

Mitt Romney was my overwhelming choice for President until it was necessary for him to suspend his campaign. The very fact that he is LDS was my primary reason. Although, I, myself, am not Mormon, I have been very interested in Mormon scripture for many years and have read it very often--the "Pearl of Great Price" being my favorite. Also, during my 59 years of life I have met many, many Mormons and have been closely associated with several. And I have never known one to be less than completely ethical and always above suspicion on any matter. Apostate LDS cults, such as the one "busted" in Texas a couple of weeks ago do NOT count, because ALL major religions and religious denominations have their "off-shoot apostate cults", which is no reflection on the normative body of believers.

I am now hoping that Governor Romney will be John McCain's VP designate and running mate.

You know, a whole lot of hateful or bigoted comments were thrown around above, and I don't think that a single one of those people posting such comments knows anything about factual about LDS, just hateful slogans put out by their respective chruches or religions or such. I would be willing to wager that none of them have ever heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir it's chillingly beautiful and highly inspiring American patriotic music, my all time favorite being "God Bless America." That music program alone should be enough proof for anyone that LDS stands squarely and firmly in America's corner and ideology of liberty, freedom, equity and pursuit of happiness.

Michael in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

neurogrrl said...

You guys kill me! You join a hate site and then complain about bigotry...look in the mirror.

neurogrrl said...

Michael said...

On April 27, 2008, at 6:34 pm, neurogrrl posted, "You guys kill me! You join a hate site and then complain about bigotry...look in the mirror." And at 8:52 pm, she posted this web site: wilthout any comment or reference as to its purpose.

Mmmm, seems the quality of the dialogue is falling again. I simply do not know what she means by "you join a hate site." I don't think that she even bothered to read the well-written article by Bruce Hawkins at the beginning of this blog. If she had, she would have certainly seen that Senator Obama received fair and even helpful remarks, just as Governor Romney had. The article is not "anti-Obama", as she seems to imply, it is pro-political strategy and Mr. Hawkins merely opined that both Governor Romney and Senator Obama hit "home runs" four times and "struck out" twice.

I think that the next time that she advises someone to "look in the mirror" that she first does so herself, to be certain that what she is about to do or write is "not deceptive from a political motive or agenda", which in "Dante's Inferno" probably ranks right around the same level as "bigotry."

Michael in Cincinnati

neurogrrl said...

As a matter of fact, I did read the "well-written" article by Bruce Hawkins but I was referring more to the comments below it.
The reason I posted the snopes site is that I reached Mr. Hawkins' article by way of, which exists specifically to spread vitriol about Obama.

Michael said...

On April 28, 2008, at 6:44 a.m., neurogrrl opined, "As a matter of fact, I did read the "well-written" article by Bruce Hawkins but I was referring more to the comments below it...I posted the snopes site [because] I reached Mr. Hawkins' article [thru], which spread vitriol about Obama."

Well I am pleased to hear that you did in fact read the lead article and I therefore was so very wrong in my presumption. I suppose you're sort of like me then, being an Internet Blog Geek, because of diverse and intense interest in just about everything, we sometimes have too many sites we visit and comment in that we fail to slow down and write with good grammer, especially clarity. It appears then that you too quickly lumped the "hateful opiners" with those of us attempting to raise the level of dialogue to something more decent.

Well, whatever, the "bigots" haven't been back for a while, and I suppose off somewhere else "opining their intense prejudices" where they can get away with it with other low-life people who won't turn their opinions back on them.

Michael in Cincinnati