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Mark Hemmingway at NRO has made an excellent case as to why we NEED “voter education ads” otherwise known as “negative ads” or “contrast ads”. I can’t even begin to capture the essence of this the way Mark does, so let me highlight the best of this article. But it’s one that needs to be read in it’s entirety when you have a chance.

It’s hard to determine what kind of stunt Mike Huckabee was trying to pull when he unveiled his proposed negative ad against Mitt Romney for the assembled media on Monday. He did so not, of course, before he oh-so-magnanimously explained to the assembled press that he was above negative campaign tactics and had pulled the proposed ad from Iowa TV stations.

Was this dissembling a disingenuous tactic proposed by Huckabee’s occasionally shifty campaign manager Ed Rollins? Or was it the Baptist preacher evincing a sincere desire to not be pushed into running a dirty campaign? The media was certainly credulous about the stunt, though I think Mike Huckabee’s motivations are almost beside the point…

…As far as I can tell, there is nothing wrong with them. And yet, the stigma is so bad that the Romney campaign has insisted on referring to their Huckabee attacks as “contrast ads.” That’s a fairly cowardly description. Make no mistake, the impetus of the ads that Romney has been running recently in Iowa is to tear Huckabee down rather than build Romney up. The better euphemism would be that they are “voter education ads.” However off-putting the aesthetics of such ads are — with their unflattering black and white photos and dissonant piano chords — negative campaign ads are just about the only occasion voters are offered any real facts or substantive information about a candidate…

…However, somewhere along the line, the media and the electorate at large have become comfortable with the idea that people interviewing for the toughest job in the world should not be judged in relative terms. Instead, elections have become rather like pageants — candidates are allowed to make their case individually, but are not permitted by the rules of etiquette to go after one another. It’s as if they think they can sashay down the catwalk, hoping that guest judge Erik Estrada is impressed enough by the interview segment in which they rattled off their five-point plan to partition Iraq and share oil revenues, to overcome the lackluster score from their trumpet rendition of the theme from Star Wars in the talent competition. That last bit may seem like a joke, but Huckabee showed up on Leno the night before the Iowa caucuses playing his bass with The Tonight Show band. Bootsy he is not, but it was still a shrewd move. Remember when Bill Clinton went on Arsenio and played saxophone and George W. Bush started speaking Spanish on the campaign trail? The media astonishment was comparable to coming home and discovering the family dog was in the middle of weatherproofing the deck…

The coarseness of American culture, manifested by even its cable news programs, is a topic of substantial commentary. Yet somehow the media has also accepted as axiomatic, the idea that negative ads somehow are offensive to the electorate at large, and especially the genteel Midwestern dispositions of Iowa voters.

Emphasis added:

If Huckabee won because Iowans are easily off-put by Romney’s negativity, we really need to do something about the primary schedule such that we aren’t stuck with Hawkeyes’ delicate sensibilities determining the leader of the free world in every election. Perhaps the national parties could be convinced with the right ad campaign: “Iowa … wrong on corn subsidies… wrong on winter weather… wrong on the Byzantine electoral selection process… WRONG FOR AMERICA!”

But obviously, Iowans — and others — can handle the truth that comes with negative ads. Otherwise they wouldn’t be so darn effective and politicians wouldn’t use them. That’s why, like clockwork, we turn on the TV every November and find ourselves staring at grainy photos of some schmuck in a suit angrily pointing his finger at us while randomly selected pejorative adjectives from local newspapers dissolve slowly on and off the screen.

More than anything, we say we want politicians to be honest. And yet, we make them smile through their teeth and pretend to like the other guy every election. Let them be honest about why they don’t like the other guy and we might get better leaders. But before we can demand honest politicians, perhaps we need to be honest with ourselves — about the fact we like and need negative campaign ads.

And let’s not forget, there is a hideous encouragement that somehow it is even remotely acceptable to declare open season by unethical or unconstitutional push-polling or other below-the-belt shadow campaigning. The sick attacks on Mitt Romney’s religion reveal a bottom-feeding baseness of the other candidates and their advisers, namely Mike Huckabee, Dick Morris, Ed Rollins, and John McCain that reveal the most disgusting enterprise of this country. This sadly has existed since the first religionists landed on the shore of this country. You would think this country has stopped burning people at the stake, but there is no doubt the practice continues virtually.

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Q&A with M. Russell Ballard and Quentin L. Cook

What the Mormon Church wants you to know

M. Russell Ballard, left, and Quentin L. Cook of the Mormon Church. M. Russell Ballard, left, and Quentin L. Cook of the Mormon Church. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Michael Paulson December 23, 2007

IT’S BEEN A tough few years for Mormons in the public square.

more stories like this

There was Jon Krakauer’s book about homicidal Mormon fundamentalists, and an HBO miniseries, “Big Love,” on polygamists, and a series of theatrical events, from “Angels in America” to “Confessions of a Mormon Boy,” that highlighted Mormonism’s alleged ostracism of gays.

And now, of course, there is the campaign of Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who is seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency. Although Romney is the fifth Mormon to seek the presidency, his arrival at a moment when there is enormous focus on the relation between religion and politics has surfaced a wave of negative sentiments and suspicion about his Mormon faith.

The Mormon Church, formally called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has watched the national conversation with considerable concern, and has recently embarked on an intensive effort to influence the way the faith is perceived. Among its efforts, the church has begun sending apostles – top level administrators of the faith – out to meet with the editorial boards of newspapers and magazines around the nation.

“Everyone knows why there is a national debate going on about Mormons right now,” the church says in a statement. “But over the past several months, we have seen an endless parade of ‘experts’ – from academics to pollsters to evangelical Christians and even journalists – commenting on, describing, explaining and expounding our faith. Too often, the Church itself is left out of that conversation altogether. We’d like to join it.”

Read more here.

from www.boston.com posted with vodpod

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Glenn Beck, a Mormon, walked into the biggest, political, pandering booby-trap of just about anyone other than Mitt Romney himself. You just have to have to read this transcript.

And of course Fox News, Hannity and Colmes has Falwell Jr. and some other Evangelical slime interviewed about Mitt’s speech. I have not seen ONE professor of Brigham Young University or other scholar of the Latter-day Saint Church interviewed on ANYthing LDS in the last couple of months. Further, Falwellian, took every moment of the interview to proselytize for his own church when the discussion was about Romney.

I’m with Glenn, this is about nothing more than ONE BIG AGENDA and the backlash will be enormous. Any bridges that might have been built between the Evangelicals and Mormons are being burned – and some several century old burnings, rapes, beatings, murders and tar and feathering wounds are being being ripped open. This now affects how I view my neighbors and fellow countrymen. I have no doubt that this country will divide in ways never thought imaginable.

We all know now what master the Evangelicals and their candidate, Mike Huckabee serve, and its not Jesus Christ. Every Latter-day Saint in this country would do well to get themselves to the temple. Remember who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. Let this put it all into perspective. We know what time it is.

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Just moments ago, Gov Mitt Romney addressed the nation from the George W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. It is history in the making.

Governor Romney’s “Faith In America” Address:

“Thank you, Mr. President, for your kind introduction.

“It is an honor to be here today. This is an inspiring place because of you and the First Lady and because of the film exhibited across the way in the Presidential library. For those who have not seen it, it shows the President as a young pilot, shot down during the Second World War, being rescued from his life-raft by the crew of an American submarine. It is a moving reminder that when America has faced challenge and peril, Americans rise to the occasion, willing to risk their very lives to defend freedom and preserve our nation. We are in your debt. Thank you, Mr. President.

“Mr. President, your generation rose to the occasion, first to defeat Fascism and then to vanquish the Soviet Union. You left us, your children, a free and strong America. It is why we call yours the greatest generation. It is now my generation’s turn. How we respond to today’s challenges will define our generation. And it will determine what kind of America we will leave our children, and theirs.

“America faces a new generation of challenges. Radical violent Islam seeks to destroy us. An emerging China endeavors to surpass our economic leadership. And we are troubled at home by government overspending, overuse of foreign oil, and the breakdown of the family.

“Over the last year, we have embarked on a national debate on how best to preserve American leadership. Today, I wish to address a topic which I believe is fundamental to America’s greatness: our religious liberty. I will also offer perspectives on how my own faith would inform my Presidency, if I were elected.

“There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us. If so, they are at odds with the nation’s founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator. And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom. In John Adams’ words: ‘We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people.’

“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.

“Given our grand tradition of religious tolerance and liberty, some wonder whether there are any questions regarding an aspiring candidate’s religion that are appropriate. I believe there are. And I will answer them today.

“Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president. Like him, I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.

“Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.

“As governor, I tried to do the right as best I knew it, serving the law and answering to the Constitution. I did not confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office and of the Constitution – and of course, I would not do so as President. I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law.

“As a young man, Lincoln described what he called America’s ‘political religion’ – the commitment to defend the rule of law and the Constitution. When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States.

“There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. 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.

“Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people. Americans do not respect believers of convenience.

Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world.

“There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? 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.

“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. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes President he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths.

“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. As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of life’s blessings.

“It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America, we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it’s usually a sound rule to focus on the latter – on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.

“We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong.

“The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation ‘Under God’ and in God, we do indeed trust.

“We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders – in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from ‘the God who gave us liberty.’

“Nor would I separate us from our religious heritage. Perhaps the most important question to ask a person of faith who seeks a political office, is this: does he share these American values: the equality of human kind, the obligation to serve one another, and a steadfast commitment to liberty?

“They are not unique to any one denomination. They belong to the great moral inheritance we hold in common. They are the firm ground on which Americans of different faiths meet and stand as a nation, united.

“We believe that every single human being is a child of God – we are all part of the human family. The conviction of the inherent and inalienable worth of every life is still the most revolutionary political proposition ever advanced. John Adams put it that we are ‘thrown into the world all equal and alike.’

“The consequence of our common humanity is our responsibility to one another, to our fellow Americans foremost, but also to every child of God. It is an obligation which is fulfilled by Americans every day, here and across the globe, without regard to creed or race or nationality.

“Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government. No people in the history of the world have sacrificed as much for liberty. The lives of hundreds of thousands of America’s sons and daughters were laid down during the last century to preserve freedom, for us and for freedom loving people throughout the world. America took nothing from that Century’s terrible wars – no land from Germany or Japan or Korea; no treasure; no oath of fealty. America’s resolve in the defense of liberty has been tested time and again. It has not been found wanting, nor must it ever be. America must never falter in holding high the banner of freedom.

“These American values, this great moral heritage, is shared and lived in my religion as it is in yours. I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbor. I saw my father march with Martin Luther King. I saw my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways to people nearby, and in just as consequential ways in leading national volunteer movements. I am moved by the Lord’s words: ‘For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me…’

“My faith is grounded on these truths. You can witness them in Ann and my marriage and in our family. We are a long way from perfect and we have surely stumbled along the way, but our aspirations, our values, are the self-same as those from the other faiths that stand upon this common foundation. And these convictions will indeed inform my presidency.

“Today’s generations of Americans have always known religious liberty. Perhaps we forget the long and arduous path our nation’s forbearers took to achieve it. They came here from England to seek freedom of religion. But upon finding it for themselves, they at first denied it to others. Because of their diverse beliefs, Ann Hutchinson was exiled from Massachusetts Bay, a banished Roger Williams founded Rhode Island, and two centuries later, Brigham Young set out for the West. Americans were unable to accommodate their commitment to their own faith with an appreciation for the convictions of others to different faiths. In this, they were very much like those of the European nations they had left.

“It was in Philadelphia that our founding fathers defined a revolutionary vision of liberty, grounded on self evident truths about the equality of all, and the inalienable rights with which each is endowed by his Creator.

“We cherish these sacred rights, and secure them in our Constitutional order. Foremost do we protect religious liberty, not as a matter of policy but as a matter of right. There will be no established church, and we are guaranteed the free exercise of our religion.

“I’m not sure that we fully appreciate the profound implications of our tradition of religious liberty. I have visited many of the magnificent cathedrals in Europe. They are so inspired … so grand … so empty. Raised up over generations, long ago, so many of the cathedrals now stand as the postcard backdrop to societies just too busy or too ‘enlightened’ to venture inside and kneel in prayer. The establishment of state religions in Europe did no favor to Europe’s churches. And though you will find many people of strong faith there, the churches themselves seem to be withering away.

“Infinitely worse is the other extreme, the creed of conversion by conquest: violent Jihad, murder as martyrdom… killing Christians, Jews, and Muslims with equal indifference. These radical Islamists do their preaching not by reason or example, but in the coercion of minds and the shedding of blood. We face no greater danger today than theocratic tyranny, and the boundless suffering these states and groups could inflict if given the chance.

“The diversity of our cultural expression, and the vibrancy of our religious dialogue, has kept America in the forefront of civilized nations even as others regard religious freedom as something to be destroyed.

“In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be certain of this: 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.

“Recall the early days of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia, during the fall of 1774. With Boston occupied by British troops, there were rumors of imminent hostilities and fears of an impending war. In this time of peril, someone suggested that they pray. But there were objections. ‘They were too divided in religious sentiments’, what with Episcopalians and Quakers, Anabaptists and Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Catholics.

“Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot.

“And so together they prayed, and together they fought, and together, by the grace of God … they founded this great nation.

“In that spirit, let us give thanks to the divine ‘author of liberty.’ And together, let us pray that this land may always be blessed, ‘with freedom’s holy light.’

“God bless the United States of America.”

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Iowa Home schooler and Attorney, Justin Levan, can’t vote for Romney because he is “Mormon” and not “Christian”. You can hear the bigotry loud and clear here. This is quite interesting in light of the recent push-polling going on in Iowa and New Hampshire. To what lengths would enemies of Mormonism or supporters of Mike Huckabee or Rudy Giuliani go to destroy Mitt Romney?

What is fascinating is that this spurning hatred has existed since the Latter-Day Saint Church’s inception, and not one heinous effort has succeeded in catalyzing its demise. In fact, the Church grows at an unprecedented pace. I can attest, that from my own experience, their hatred and vicious attempts to stop my investigating the Church only served to witness to me that I was on to something profound. No one bothered me when I investigated other faiths. Satan isn’t interested in those he already has.

What is it about the Latter-day Saint Religion that so gets under people’s skin, they just can’t leave it alone? Like moths driven to a flame, they tirelessly attempt to “attack” and often trigger their own spiritual death pursuing their purpose. They speak out of two sides of their mouth: preaching “Christ’s love” on one day, but catechize hatred in their “cult classes” the next. Replace this week’s news on the push polling with the Jewish faith or Catholicism and you would never get such vile loathing.

This is out and out bullying. These are the people of our country who get great pleasure in tormenting and torturing others in a mob mentality. There are people of this country willing to holocaust their neighbors generation after generation.

Perhaps this is the greatest compliment a group of people could embrace – the persecuted, that is. The Bible reminds us of who we are and that:

  1. Matt. 5: 10-12, 44

    10 Blessed are they which are apersecuted for brighteousness’ sake: for ctheirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 Blessed are ye, when men shall arevile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of bevil against you falsely, cfor my sake.

    12 aRejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your breward in heaven: for so cpersecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    4 But I say unto you, aLove your benemies, cbless them that dcurse you, do egood to them that fhate you, and gpray for them which despitefully use you, and hpersecute you;

It is important the we remember who we are as we weather this storm. I look at how certain oppressed and exterminated groups are never allowed to be “re-birthed” into society as “whole” and a “restored” people. I’m thinking of Native Americans at the moment. I have to wonder if it is ever likely that a debased group can re-emerge into mainstream society. How does the world consider the Jews after the scourging of their nation?

It seems theirs and other groups, including Latter-Day Saints, must thrive by stealth avoiding the light of the campfire. These are the great and mighty beasts and men who have learned to live at odds with the “pioneer man” because of an inherent distrust and knowledge that this “pioneer man” exists only to destroy him for a prize or trophy.

The “pioneer men” are the brazen, unsophisticated frontiersmen who feed only on the audacious diet of the saloon mindset. No, the Anti-Mormon Evangelicals probably don’t drink or miss the spittoons, but as they stagger and swagger amongst each other; they feed off the ideas that they are somehow the zenith of our modern-day pioneer town. On the surface they pretend to be the Dudley Do-Rights but their exterminating posse has already been dispatched. Its only a matter of time before the attempt to tar and feather Mitt Romney will be executed.

This is the chance for history to rewrite itself. This is the chance for the Atonement to right centuries of wrong or a chance for our nation to make a major course correction. Will it be allowed to happen or will the Latter-Day Saint faith be forced to remain in bondage for another couple hundred years? Ironically, of all the faiths, it is the Latter-Day Saints and the LDS Church, who knows oppression more than most denominations. The Mormon Church has as its primary purpose the desire to restore the identity and dignity to those of the poorest of poor, the oppressed of the oppressed, in every corner of the world. The LDS Church breaks records for being the most responsive and restorative to any member of any society.

It is now the task of Latter-Day Saints to comprehend that the souls most in need of compassion and forgiveness, are those who spew the vilest of assaults. These are people who are indoctrinated in hatred. These are the people who were once persecuted themselves, but unable to recall their past and unable to forgive, they ignorantly huddle around the campfire rehashing one distortion and lie after another. Their lives are shallow and perverted. Without their hatred, they would cease to exist because the glue that binds them together would dissolve. And that is what terrifies them. And in the morning when the sun rises, light will be shed on their bogeymen. Their deluded paranoia will no longer define them. The scales will fall from THEIR eyes and they will be see things as they really are.

Pity them if you can; pray for them you must. It is staggering to think that wars are fought and civilizations collapsed over the mere perpetuation of the ideas of man. Wherever you stand on this issue, you are a part of His Story or history. What role will you play?

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