Tuesday, October 23, 2007

That's me in the corner ....

I just watched Mitt Romney's interview - or at least a 10-minute portion of it - on CBS's Face the Nation. The focus of it is Romney's Mormon faith and what role it plays in his life as a political candidate. Okay I get that. The man's running for president. But my impression of him was that he is obfuscating.

Several times in the interview he uses a contrast between his faith and his values. He says things like people might be concerned about his faith, but when they look at his values they would agree with him.

As the interview continued, I got the idea that Romney is using the word "values" in the sense of "what is important to me," i.e. don't steal, don't cheat, be honest in business, deal evenly with people, etc. But the word "faith" is reserved for his belief about the nature of the universe, is there a God and how to relate to Him.

The question that came to mind is "when did faith and values become different things?" Should not our faith inform - and if I can use the word - dictate our values? Or is faith something that is reserved for Sundays or Saturdays or Fridays, but the rest of the week we live by "values."

The problem with that kind of thinking - in my opinion - is that it separates faith from the everyday. Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments were to love God with everything (heart, mind, soul, strength) and to love our neighbors as ourselves. The majority of His teaching dealt with everyday issues - things we would call "value judgments" - not with just how to know God or relate to him. Jesus even went so far as to say that if we don't forgive others their trespasses, God will not forgive US!

Mitt Romney gives a good speech. He looks a little like Max Headroom, but he and his family paint a pretty picture. But I am not really comfortable with any candidate making the dichotomy between faith and life. All of life is a work of faith, or none of it is. Either we believe or we don't.

It almost reminds me of someone who says they are "trying to quit smoking" while they have a cigarette dangling from their mouth. A person either smokes or they don't; decide which you are and BE that.

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