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  • This month's Rolling Stone has a several-pages-long exposé on the history of the Romney family in the context of the LDS Church, and a quick Google search shows that everyone from Ben Stein to Harry Reid to Whoopi Goldberg has, in some way, commented on Mitt Romney's religion and how it might affect his worldview and hypothetical presidency. Open up your Facebook feed and you'll probably see dozens of your personal contacts doing the same. America's preoccupation with the divine has again entered the public discourse in an area where it really didn't need to.

    I want to be very clear on the point that I do not support Mitt Romney - I think a Romney presidency could prove disastrous. A Romney administration would likely accomplish little aside from legislatively encouraging corporatism and predatory capitalism, and would be baffling when considered in the context of the United States' recent economic history. Large banks receive major bailouts while mortgage and student loan holders are allowed to flounder, and we elect the guy who founded Bain Capital? It would be like moving back in with an abusive spouse and agreeing to pay all the bills - it would show amnesia at best and Stockholm Syndrome at worst. Handing Romney the presidency would fail to make sense on a cultural ground completely outside the realm of normal left-and-right politics, but every time someone focuses on Romney's faith over his policies, they distract from that.

    For starters, Romney should not strike anyone as a guy who has to pray on his decisions. During his time at Bain, which consisted largely of draining companies of resources to pay for the Bain's own profits and bonuses, Romney had to act decisively on a more or less daily basis to maximize his firm's profits. He had to move fast and get shit done. Further, his time as the Governor of Massachusetts showed that he doesn't hesitate to act on items in his political agenda (including gun control and health care). I feel reasonably safe assuming that credit default swaps and assault weapons aren't covered in the Book of Mormon, so we can probably conclude that Romney is entirely capable of governing without falling back on his faith to make every little decision. It obviously comes into play in one way or another, however it wouldn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary. That means that the fact Mitt Romney happens to be mormon shouldn't be much more than a piece of trivia.

    Because Romney can make a pretty solid case that his presidency wouldn't be a mormon great awakening in the White House, any time those of us in the liberal sphere bring mormonism up, it looks like it's because we can't make any other arguments against him. That's obviously false; we can start with the general misogyny, homophobia, and racism of the modern Republican party, then cover Romney's desire to cut funding to schools while increasing military funding over levels the Pentagon has even requested, then land on the simple fact we are still lacking specifics on wide swaths of what his agenda would be if elected. Considerations like these are not only policy-based (and therefore much more relevant to the conversation), they're on topics that Romney doesn't have good answers for. The biggest favor anyone could do for Mitt Romney would be to talk about religion instead of poverty; doing so just gives him a slow one across home plate.

    That all said, the "tl;dr" here is knock off the magic underwear and polygamy jokes. They're irrelevant and unhelpful, and at this point completely worn out and unfunny.
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