I've been really annoyed at the lies pouring out of the Romney campaign. For example, the "welfare work requirement". He claims the Obama administration has eliminated it, when every major fact checking organization points out that is just NOT TRUE. NPR:
Republican Mitt Romney keeps saying that President Obama has gutted the law, even though every major fact-checking organization says the attacks are false.Even CNN.
[T]he essential goal of pushing welfare recipients to work remains in place. That's pretty much it. This is clearly not an effort by the President to kill off the welfare work requirements. That's why even some Republicans backed away. Governor Romney's claim doesn't work. And we rate it false.Why is he lying? Well, first of all a the NPR story tells us, because it works. It's a dog whistle to the right, hearkening back to the Reagan presidency where there was a myth of "welfare queens" (generally imagined as black women) pulling up in a Cadillac to collect their check. Or having more babies just so they could get the food stamps. The idea that a black president is siphoning money to Those People is part of the implicit racism that runs throughout the Romney campaign and the cynical New Republican party. And it's disgusting.
But Romney is supposed to be a man of great faith. A Bishop in his church, chosen by God. So should't he reject lies as beneath him and beneath his faith?
I mean, I grew up being told that lies were wrong. Honesty was a HUGE deal in my family, and wrongs were to be admitted. It wasn't just growing up Catholic with a Christian ethos (Thou shalt not bear false witness....) It was fundamental morality, like being a Girl Scout. Lying was a cardinal sin.
But apparently lying is a Mormon thing. From the Daily Beast:
[Brigham Young's gt-gt-granddaughter] Emmett says she thinks Romney’s biggest fault is that he has a “serious problem telling the truth. ….This kind of thing has sadly been a part of the church from the very beginning. Some modern apostles actually taught that it is not always the best thing to tell the truth if it interferes with preaching gospel.”
Emmett says the notion of “Lying for the Lord,” as it has been called, implies that teaching the whole truth about the church should be avoided. … [Ken] Clark, who worked as a teacher for the LDS Church Education System (CES) for 27 years....tells The Daily Beast, “Lying has become an institutionalized method of administrative control with the church….Every Mormon grows up with the idea that it’s OK to lie if it’s for a higher cause".Even Joanna Brooks, Mormon columnist at Religion Dispatches admits
[I]n some Mormon circles one does hear bitter accusations of “lying for the Lord,” and sometimes one does witness among Mormon people today the remnants of a deep-seated sense that telling a complete, straightforward story is not always good for LDS interests.
The most penetrating assessment of this Mormon cultural phenomenon comes from linguistic anthropologist Daymon Smith, who ties defensive communication mechanisms—telling outsiders one story in order to protect another version of the story for insiders—to Mormon polygamy and particularly to the decades in the late nineteenth century when federal prosecution of polygamy sent many Mormon men on the “underground.” …
Double-speaking on polygamy continues. I myself wrestle with it whenever I’m obliged to talk about Mormon polygamy in public. ….
Was I lying for the Lord? Or was I a regular Mormon struggling to tell a complicated story to a world that often reduces us to stereotypes? What should I have said?How about the truth? Messy, complicated, but.... well, TRUE.
It's quite something to think that Romney's mendacity is not in spite of his faith, but because of it. (I am sure that many good Mormons are disturbed by this as well--and as Brooks points out, many are clearly discomfited by other behaviors of their hierarchy. As with the Roman Catholic laity, I call on rank-and-file Mormons to SPEAK OUT.)
But regardless of its source, Romney's mendacity disqualifies him for the office he seeks. and it CERTAINLY disqualifies him from receiving my vote, or that of anyone else who values the truth.