Romney refuses to bash Muslims because as a Mormon he knows what it’s like to be an attacked minority (says Eli Lake)

on 19 Comments

Writes an anonymous friend:

Eli Lake and Bob Wright have a fascinating discussion at bloggingheads. I’m only a dozen minutes into it, though I’d imagine the whole thing makes for interesting viewing. But I had to clip this and send it to you. For the first bit, Bob and Eli are discussing Lake’s TNR piece about the foreign policies of the GOP candidates. This was of course the piece where people kept telling him that Frank Gaffney was Michele Bachmann’s for pol adviser. And Wright and Lake get talking about whether the anti-Sharia people are crazy or just cynical.

Lake says at some point that what the anti-Sharia crowd is saying is that basically Islam and America are irreconcilable. If you go to part 2, 10 minutes in or so, you’ll get a rundown of where the various people stand on this issue — whether all Islam is bad or just a small radical piece of it. Lake notes that TPaw [Tim Pawlenty] got some mileage out of the former description, and so obviously does Bachmann. Rick Perry does not, because he’s friends with Agha Khan, and then — and this is the most fascinating part — we get to Mitt Romney.

LAKE: I also don’t think you would hear it from Mitt Romney. And the reason you wouldn’t hear it from Mitt Romney is because Mitt Romney’s a Mormon, he understands as a Mormon what it’s like to be part of a minority sect that is often attacked. And I’ve heard — I couldn’t report this — but I’ve heard that Mitt Romney is very aware and attuned to making sure that his rhetoric does not attack Islam as a religion, but a sect that he calls radical Islam.

I bring this your attention because Eli Lake’s description of why Mitt Romney is not an anti-Sharia crazy who seeks to smear the entire religion of Islam is that he is part of a persecuted minority. Well what the hell, then, are all the Jews like Pamela Geller and Gaffney’s deputy David Yerushalmi and so on and so on ad nauseum? The explanation given by Lake for why Romney’s not a Muslim basher should apply in spades to Jews. Why doesn’t it? (You always say that Zionism dumbs down the Jewish intelligence.)

Weiss note: I think this is also about empowerment. Jews are by and large empowered. Yes a lot of us still have outsider consciousness, and identify with Muslims on that basis, but even Roger Cohen’s invocation today of this imperative in Jewish life is based on a 1920 anecdote. Empowerment changes consciousness. Or as the Greek tragedians might say, Geller and the neocons are hubristic.

19 Responses

  1. DICKERSON3870
    August 21, 2011, 1:39 pm

    RE: “Wright and Lake get talking about whether the anti-Sharia people are crazy or just cynical.” ~ anonymous friend

    MY COMMENT: I think they’re crazy,
    crazy in love,
    crazy in love with themselves (narcissistic)!


    (excerpt) Quiverfull is a movement among some conservative evangelical Christian couples chiefly in the United States, but with some adherents in Canada,[1] Australia, New Zealand, Britain and elsewhere.[2] It promotes procreation, and sees children as a blessing from God,[2][3][4] eschewing all forms of birth control, including natural family planning and sterilization.[5][6] Adherents are known as “quiver full”, “full quiver”, “quiverfull-minded”, or simply “QF” Christians. Some refer to the Quiverfull position as Providentialism,[7] while other sources have referred to it as a manifestation of natalism…

    SOURCE – link to

  2. Proton Soup
    August 21, 2011, 1:48 pm

    i think the usual sort of excuse you will get goes along the lines of jews keeping to themselves and being isolationist, not evangelical like islam. so that when the guys up in new square try to burn aron rottenberg out of his home for praying at the wrong place, this is called an “internal matter” and therefore should not be compared in any way to sharia. of course, fundamentalist mormons are often pretty isolationist as well, but with much less respect for the sovereignty of their lands.

    • Mooser
      August 22, 2011, 1:02 pm

      “fundamentalist mormons”

      Now there’s a beautiful contradiction in terms, if I ever saw one.

  3. yourstruly
    August 21, 2011, 2:12 pm

    empowerment changes consciousness? so does equality.

  4. PeaceThroughJustice
    August 21, 2011, 4:21 pm

    Congrats to Wright for conducting a discussion of foreign policy which manages to avoid mentioning Israel for the first 50 minutes. But in the last 10 minutes he can’t help himself, and increasingly the discussion becomes a heated one essentially about Lake’s view of Israel’s interests. (Although it’s interesting that Lake trys hard not to actually mention Israel when he’s condemning Iran’s “support of terrorist organizations.” Can it be he’s actually afraid of being taken for a tribalist? If so, maybe sites like Mondo actually are starting to have an effect.)

    (Is it me or was there a really creepy vibe in the wrap-up of the show. Talk about bad chemistry!)

  5. RoHa
    August 21, 2011, 7:00 pm

    I’m no fan of having religious law (Islamic, Jewish, Catholic, or Parsee) running as an extra law system in any country. There should be one law for all.

    That said, I think some useful ideas can be gleaned from those legal systems. I have heard that Sharia law has some useful ideas on finance law.

    • Citizen
      August 22, 2011, 5:49 am

      Islam has a very long tradition against usury.

      • Chaos4700
        August 22, 2011, 9:57 am

        Catholicism used to have one. My own family is just about phobic when it comes to accruing debt, and I suspect that tugging myself towards at least a zero balance instead of a negative one has been what’s kept me afloat personally through this economic crisis we’re trapped in. But I don’t think there are many in my community with that attitude anymore, and are not all that well off to show for it.

      • Mooser
        August 23, 2011, 1:02 pm

        “But I don’t think there are many in my community with that attitude anymore, and are not all that well off to show for it.”

        I know how it is. After we paid off the house, I almost had a nervous breakdown. Since we weren’t writing a check each month, I kept on expecting the real owners of the house to come back, kick us out, and bill me for the damage. Besides, without an oppressive load of consumer debt, what happens to your self-worth? In America, you are what you owe! And when people find out I don’t have an avaricious ex-wife chasing me for money (she had an unfortunate fall into a barrel of nitric acid) their contempt for me is complete.

  6. Citizen
    August 22, 2011, 7:55 am

    Not related but thought U might want to see and hear Beck, Voight & a Rabbi speaking at Beck’s rally in Jerusalem: link to

    Hagee says, “We are all Israeli!” a la JFK’s Berliner.

  7. Leper Colonialist
    August 22, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Good for Romney. I knew a tiny something of his dad had to have rubbed off on him.

    But let’s see if he can continue to uphold that belief under the inevitable barrage of criticism he’s going to be forced to endure.

  8. Mooser
    August 22, 2011, 8:32 pm

    Mormonism is a cult, not a religion. And the incredible credulity or outright cynicism needed to endorse Mormon beliefs makes them unsuitable for public office.
    Of course, Romney is rich, which may exempt him from any particular religious demands in the Mormon church.

    • Citizen
      August 23, 2011, 6:31 am

      Seems to me all religions are cults, same as all ideologies. Facts never get in the way of either type of obsession.

      • Mooser
        August 23, 2011, 12:51 pm

        No, not all religions are cults. Whatever you may think of religion in general, cults have certain defining characteristics, and Mormonism meets them all. Right off the top of my head (unimpeded by anything except a few strands of comb-over) I can think of several: Religions have mysteries or things which must be taken on faith. Cults have secrets. Religions ask for obedience to God or conscience. Cults require you swear obedience to people, and not consult your own conscience. Religions have what might be called myths or legends which may be literal or symbolic, and are usually very old. Cults require declaring belief in things which would challenge the credulity of an idiot, and that these things have happened recently.
        Religions stress the one-ness of mankind and the presence of God in all.
        Cults stress the difference in basic human qualities between members and others. (Latter Day Saints)
        Does your religion have aspects of a cult? Probably, since cults are, in the short run, much more profitable than religion.
        That, as I said, is right off the old pate, but there is lot’s more info on the web.
        Mormonism is a cult. The fact that it is a popular and sucessful cult makes no difference, there have been plenty of those. The credulity needed to accept it’s history and doctrines, its complete racialism (and a completely fantastic racialism, at that) and it’s demands for obedience, not to mention its absurd and terrible sexism, disqualifies Mormons from public office, in my opinion.

      • annie
        August 23, 2011, 1:29 pm

        good comment. thanks mooser

      • Citizen
        August 23, 2011, 5:06 pm

        Mooser, 1st, I don’t support any religion, and that includes Atheism. What U say appears to me to amount to mostly to timing, that is, old cults have become established; new cults not so much. I sure agree Mormonism is a cult. Christianity was once a cult too. And Islam. Judaism once was not a monotheistic religion. Reform Judiasm was once a cult too. Your distinction between mysteries and secrets does not meet the reality test. All religions require “faith.” That is the defining characteristic. I don’t think humans would harm humans any more without religion than with religion. Humans rationalize their choices. We’ve never experienced humanity without religion, cult or older forms. So that’s an open question which will never likely be tested. This is especially so since secular ideologies are just a version of religion as they always have their own god or gods, sacred cows, etc.

      • Mooser
        August 23, 2011, 7:29 pm

        Citizen, it’s a lot like driving a battle tank. If you want to become a Mormon, I won’t stand in your way.

        The difference between “mysteries” and secrets is pretty easy. You may not understand why a devout Catholic (or maybe you do, it’s just an example) benefits from confession and penance, it may be a “mystery” to you. But there is nothing secret about the process you can stand there and watch it all day. And the padre will be more than glad to explain it to you.
        Mormons have secrets, that is, places, rituals and information they swear not to divulge to outsiders. That process of making members, especially the non-adult, feel they have secrets which privilege them in some way over outsiders is very destructive.

        But, I’m fascinated! On what basis would you call Reform Judaism a “cult”. There may be quite a bit wrong with it, and of course, any group can make their particular bit of heaven into any kind of hell they want to, but on what basis would you apply the label “cult” to Reform Judaism?
        Anyway, if you Google “cult vs. Religion” you can get a pretty good overview of the subject. Except for the self-serving posts put there by cults, of course.

      • Mooser
        August 23, 2011, 7:36 pm

        But the subject does become very confusing at some point; cults can exist within religions, cults centered around people can exist within what otherwise is a religion. Cults can, as you say, over time become a religion, and religions can end their lives as cults. Or you can start out as a cult and grow into a full-grown horse’s ass!

        As for me, I live my life by the ancient priciples, the great ping and pong which it is expressed in the axiom which guides my every mis-step:
        Leave no Turn Unstoned!

      • Chaos4700
        August 23, 2011, 8:20 pm

        I don’t care to address religious issues but I take exception to the notion that all ideologies behave like cults. They really don’t. Peace Action doesn’t behave like a cult, nor does Greenpeace. Or Code Pink.

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