No shortcut to reputation

Posted in Society at 12:46 by RjZ

U.S. conservatives, and their core of evangelical Christian voters, may now have to face up to the question of where we get our morals.

Can we trust Mitt Romney if he is a mormon, and not a “real Christian“? Christianity, along with the other monotheistic religions tells us that only God can see what’s in our hearts. Even the self-proclaimed lable of Christian does little to tell us how a person feels or believes. The best we can do is resort to what we’ve learned works over centuries of development: reputation. A Baptist preacher may wish to slander a popular religion by saying they do not share his faith and therewith imply they do not deserve our trust, but his slander is empty when applied to an individual. To name just one glaring example among so many others, Ted Haggard is a prominent Christian, but judging him on his declaration of faith alone leads us to believe he’s a good, reliable, family man. Looking at his reputation gives us a different, more accurate, story of a troubled drug dependant, repressed homosexual.

We know about as much about the Baptist preacher Jefrees.

Conservatives may choose Mr. Romney as their candidate for president in 2012. A good choice, as the middle will have little trouble with his religious views, and, unlike some of their more extreme choices, he may actually be able to win against Obama. The way the field looks today, if the republicans instead select someone else, like Rick Perry or Michelle Bachmann, the middle will likely abandon them, just as they abandoned McCain after his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate. Palin appeals to the evangelical base, but the middle will pick the president.

In order to choose Romney, though, the party will be forced to reconcile their silly assumption, that they can know the heart of a candidate by his religion, with reality. Reputations can be faulty and we can never predict exactly how someone will behave, but reputation is vastly more reliable than simple claims. Actions must speak louder than words; even if politicians hope it’s the last thing you will judge them by.

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