Romney Criticized For Hotel Pornography

stolen from street prophets:
by pastordan

Okay, so it's not what you think. ABC News reprints an article from AP's Glen Johnson:

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, who rails against the "cesspool" of pornography, is being criticized by social conservatives who argue that he should have tried to halt hardcore hotel movie offerings during his near-decade on the Marriott board.

Two anti-pornography crusaders, as well as two conservative activists of the type Romney is courting, say the distribution of such graphic adult movies runs counter to the family image cultivated by Romney, the Marriotts and their shared Mormon faith.

"Marriott is a major pornographer. And even though he may have fought it, everyone on that board is a hypocrite for presenting themselves as family values when their hotels offer 70 different types of hardcore pornography," said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, an anti-pornography group based on Ohio.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a leading conservative group in Washington, said: "They have to assume some responsibility. It's their hotels, it's their television sets."

More below the fold.

This story is like a cornucopia of factoids and angles. For example, did you know that the reason your local Super 8 carries "Cheerleader Fantasies 55.2" is that the skin flicks subsidize the rest of the cable television in your room? Thank Ron Jeremy the next time you're watching the local weather on the Ohio Turnpike.

Almost as fascinating: Mitt Romney - Willard Mitt Romney - is named after J. Willard Marriott, the hotel chain's founder.

And oh, yeah: Romney blames porn for the VTech shootings:

"Pornography and violence poison our music and movies and TV and video games," Romney said May 5 during a commencement address at Regent University, the evangelical Christian school run by Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson.

"The Virginia Tech shooter, like the Columbine shooters before him, had drunk from this cesspool."

Show me a young man who hasn't drunk from that cesspool, and I'll show you a...well, never mind.

As for the angles: the obvious one is that the Religious Right has decided to stick a shiv in Romney's campaign. People like Phil Burress and Tony Perkins don't have a spontaneous bone in their bodies. Somebody chose to do him dirt.

Why is a bit murkier. They might be afraid of Romney's cash and good looks, or they might distrust his Mormonism or his born-again conservatism. It might be even simpler than that. It could be that that they're plumping for another candidate, or that they're using this as a convenient lever to push the anti-porn campaign. (See here for dark speculation that this is part of a coordinated campaign to dump Mitt in favor of Fred Thompson. If Dobson apologizes for questioning Fred's Christianity, we'll know the theory's a winner.)

Whatever the cause, it's remarkable that the AP's Johnson gives the criticism so much ink. I actually had to stop at the end of the article and remind myself that this wasn't a press release from Focus on the Family. Except it was - pieces of it, anyway. Other portions seem to be a rewrite of a post by David Brody.

It's a bit of a mystery why this story is coming out now, as it's been floating around since June or so. I suppose back in June, the only Thompson in the race was a Catholic dogged by rumors of infidelity. Now that we might have a fake prosecutor join the real (cross-dressing) one, it might be time for Dobson and his pals to make their move.

It's a bigger mystery why Johnson would choose to carry this kind of water for these people. It's one thing to round up the scuttlebutt for reader's consideration. It's quite another to pass it on without a shred of analysis. What's his angle?

Assuming that this is the Religious Right sticking it to Mitt, it signals the possibility of trouble down the road in the Republican coalition. Romney is nothing if not a representative of corporate conservatism, and let's face it, porn means millions. If they're really intent on pressing this line of attack, they're signaling their willingness to put principles above profits.

Ordinarily, that would be a commendable stand. In this case, it's bound to be a source of friction within the Republican party. If I didn't know better, I'd say this was a bit of payback for all the times the corporate wing sold out the religious wing over the years.

You see what I mean about this being a cornucopia? I do believe it's a horn of plenty, and filled with nothing but popcorn. Pass the butter, please - unless it's been used in a Marriott movie...

Pee Ess: as if all this weren't bad enough for Willard Mitt, check out this poll from NBC: 65% of registered voters say they'd go for a Mormon candidate from their own party. But only 35% say that America is ready to elect a Mormon. Translation: unless the landscape shifts dramatically in the next six months (think about Romney's rivals being discovered in bed with a dead girl or a live boy), you can pretty much stick a weenie fork in his campaign. Between the mullahs' opposition and the grassroots uneasiness, Romney has a heck of an incline before him.


Funny stuff

All religions have bizarre mythologies, but the Church of the Latter Day Saints seems to have more than its fair share. My friends in the Southern Baptist Convention don't consider Mormons to be Christians at all.

They do.

Or at least the ones running for president do.

Many Christian Denominations

Do not consider Mormons Christians, and it's a significantly higher number than the number of denominations that don't consider Catholics Christians.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Now you get to name them

specifics, please.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I read a study by one of the top Mormon apologetic groups

They asked a significant sample of Christian leaders if they considered Mormons Christians, 75% responded that Mormons were non-Christians.

But since you want me to throw out examples, here's a "liberal" and a "conservative" church.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), declares allegiance to Jesus. Latter-day Saints and Presbyterians share use of the Bible as scripture, and members of both churches use common theological terms. Nevertheless, Mormonism is a new and emerging religious tradition distinct from the historic apostolic tradition of the Christian Church, of which Presbyterians are a part.

From the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology:

But regardless of Mormon claims, it is difficult, nigh impossible, to maintain that Mormonism is just another version or subset of historic Christianity. Why? Because at point after point, if we compare and contrast Christian orthodoxy with Mormon theology, we have to conclude that Mormonism represents an entirely different theology, an alien worldview—another gospel, which is no gospel at all.

Though it's often folly to make generalizations about Baptist churches due to their strongly held beliefs about the independence of individual churches, the standard view is that LDS is non-Christian at best, and a cult at worst.

But I guess the simplest evidence is the number of Christian interfaith conventions that exclude Mormons (but not Catholics). Though the Roman Catholic Church isn't a member of the NCC or the WCC, it would be allowed to be if it wanted to and Catholics work on their boards, and it is a member of Christian Churches Together.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

The thing is

Who gets to decide?

Seriously - if you're a Christian - do you get to decide who else is?

Or do you leave that up to God?

And why on earth are we talking about Romney, anyway? Isn't it more important to learn as much as we can about Edwards, Obama, Clinton, Biden, Dodd, Kucinich, et al?

I Leave it up to God

because I don't care and I can't see inside people's hearts (much)

I never said the R word ;-)

And you forgot someone!

Sam with Fmr. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska)

I don't know who the other guy is, but I'm running for president too!

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks


I'd vote for you in a heartbeat.

You're Brave

just kidding, sam. :)

Why does it matter, anyhow?

I don't think it does matter to the majority of us. But to some of the core supporters of the right, the fundies, I think it matters a lot that Romney's church rejects some of the core ideas of their version of Christianity. The LDS church beliefs do not include the divinity of Christ, or the trinity. That, according to the fundies, disqualifies them from being Christians. Like the Jehovah's Witnesses. And don't even mention the Unitarian-Universalists!

The fundies apparently believe they have an obligation to define other people's religions for them, as well as pointing out the sins of all the rest of us.

And I ask again

Why does the religion of any candidate for a secular office matter?

And why is an employee of the NCDP seeding a message board with questions about it?

It's fair game, in my view

The lunatic fringe has made religion a litmus test for election . . . Hillary's getting slammed in the mainstream media by people accusing her of not being sincere in her Christian beliefs . . . and the religious right is mobilizing churches to reshape the political landscape.

Religion doesn't matter to me, and it may not matter to you, but it's part of the Big Equation. For example, if Romney doesn't win the nomination it will be 99% because he's a Mormon.

I'm sick of religion in politics, but I'm not willing to pretend like it's irrelevant.


PS I think the other big issue is the hypocrisy side of things. It is fair commentary on a candidate to observe that they hold certain religious beliefs and take actions that are antithetical to those beliefs.

But we shouldn't be the ones using it as a litmus test

or insinuating in a Faux-Noise style question that Latter Day Saints are not Christians.

Do Mormons consider themselves Christian? Wiki doesn't seem to know:

This Hannity-esque technique is tantamount to asking "Did Anglico stop beating his wife? Wiki doesn't seem to know." Even if Anglico himself comes and says "I've never beat my wife!", The question is out there. It starts a discussion on this message board in a tone that didn't have to happen. We shouldn't be the ones who care about Romney's religion. That it came from a party employee is all the more disturbing to me.

Of course it's part of the big picture, but it's more relevant to ask "How does Romney's membership in the Church of Latter Day Saint's affect his view on animal rights?" and do his actions match his words and the doctrines of his religion? But keep in mind - almost no one I know who claims to follow a main stream religion follows all of the teachings or doctrines of that religion.

As for this:

For example, if Romney doesn't win the nomination it will be 99% because he's a Mormon.

His status as a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints may have something to do with him losing the nomination, but I don't think that will be 99% of the reason. I think his truly ridiculous stance on issues such as Guantanamo will do him in. He's had more bad press in the past few weeks, such as the incident with his family dog strapped to the roof of the car for a trip from Boston to Ontario, that shows he has extremely poor judgment. His religion doesn't even need to enter in to it.

You said . . .

His religion doesn't even need to enter in to it.

It might not need to, but it will. More to the point, many fundamentalists will praise his position on Guantanamo and bury him for his Mormon faith. My "99%" number might be a tad high, though. Let's just say its 98%.


Mormonism Has Been Viewed as a

cult for as long as those Baptist relatives of mine have been putting it in my ear.

If they change their minds now - I will call them hypocrites to their faces every.single.time.we.speak.


Something about those gold plates and Joseph whatever his name was.....

It doesn't matter to me one whit. Believe what you like but keep yer damn religion out of my farkin' government, thanks much.

Just for the record

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prefer to be called "LDS" - not Mormons. Didja know that?

I've viewed certain Baptist groups as cults for a long time, actually. But you know - whatever.

Religion is way too personal for anyone to attempt to describe in words that which ultimately cannot be described: the interaction between the Divine and Human spirit. Trying to put that through the filter of denominations and politics at the same time is a fruitless endeavor.


Learning Disabled Students

but hey, they can use whatever acronyms they like. I don't care.


Yeah, I suppose they can.

I apologize

Well speaking of faith, you'd think I would get the benefit of a doubt.

I'm disturbed by your allegation that I'm trying to play some sort of Hannity mind game. I assure you that's not the case. I regret that my simple question could be interpretted as an attack. If my question offended you, or any other, I fully apologize. I could have done a more thorough search without casually posting here what I should have understood was a loaded question.

I post here in my own name because I want to speak as responsibly as possible. I do think that what is said here is serious, and I want to be accountable for what I say. Again, I apologize that my reply to Anglico could be taken as disingenuous.

- - - - -
Where Liddy At?
Where is Liddy?
Anyone seen Liddy?

No worries

It's all good.

Religion always ignites passion . . . truly. But don't worry about it. They were fair questions all around.


PS I've noticed a bit of jittery out here on the tubes lately. I attribute it to the fact that our country (and possibly our state) are going down the toilet - and the people who are supposed to be in charge have their hands on the flushers.

I'm sorry if I took it the wrong way.

I'm fairly sensitive to religiously loaded questions; and I probably jumped the gun. One of my hot buttons is letting folks define their own religions, rather than having someone else define it for them. It only seems fair, you know?

You didn't offend me - I was just pointing out that the question was, indeed, loaded, and could be taken in the way that I took it.

You're right - what we do here is serious, and it's permanent. What goes out over the tubes can come back to haunt us. We don't want to play games that Fox plays, even if we don't mean to. Sorry if I sound like Morality Sally - it's just a thing with me.

Anyhow - peace.

It would be better if religion didn't play

But in fact it does.

My question was not rhetorical, I don't know if Mormans consider themselves Christians. My question was not if other religions consider them Christian, but if they consider themselves in that tradition. To any offended by the mere question, I apologize for not being fully versed on a major American religion. There are many things I ought to know that I in fact do not. Help me out.

- - - - -
Where Liddy At?
Where is Liddy?
Anyone seen Liddy?

I would assume

since it's part of their name, that Mormons do consider themselves Christians. The name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. However, a search on their web site for the word trinity returned 0 results; not only do they not believe in the trinity, they apparently are not "up front" about that the way Jehovah's Witnesses are. Some Christian denominations require belief in the trinity, so those denominations differ about whether Mormons can really be Christians. I do not know what gives some of us the right or the obligation to judge others of us, but some apparently do feel obligated to do so.

In any event, for most of us, I do not think it's a crucial issue. Those who do think it's a crucial issue are not likely to be progressives, anyway. IMO.

As Long as People Are Allowed -

to believe as they wish - without interference - who cares what religion they have or don't have?

If someone is mistaken (as I have been) asking an honest question or putting it out there as to how you've heard tell - well, if we're wrong, tell us. How else can we learn? We Can't.

This is how I told my mom, the Baptist: "Yes, mom. It would be nice if all the people in the world were Christian but they aren't. And the last time I looked, we lived in America and they are perfectly free not to be one if they choose. That's what's great about America. Deal with it.'

That's just the bottom line. That's what separation of church and state is all about. It's not freedom FROM religion; it's freedom OF religion even if you choose nothing at all. And - the government cannot tell you what to be, how to believe, or penalize you for your choices. Period. Read ... please, please, please....

whew. I'll shut up now. And that wasn't directed at anyone in particular - just the great We the People who have forgotten or never known where they come from.

Immigrants who know more about how our country operates and its antecedents - whoa. Don't get me started....

I think religion does

I think religion does matter, but not in the "do you check the Mormon/Baptist/Catholic box?" sense. (And certainly not in the "Is a Mormon a Christian?" sense for candidates.) It matters to me in the broader articulation (and origin) of a candidate's values. And if faith (or any other fundamental beliefs about the world and our place in it) plays a role in a candidate's political philosophy or evolution as a politician, I would like to know more about that.

But that's a question that can't be answered by checking a box or giving a label.

Well said

For example, if a politician were an avowed atheist, s/he would have a heck of a time checking any box - and would effectively be precluded from public service.

Voters have all sorts of metaphorical boxes they want checked before they'll check the box that matters most - the one on the ballot.

The Pope has spoken

Ain't but one true church and all them other de-nominations ... well, they jus' don't count.

There you have it.

Oh, Brother

He's right and he's wrong all at the same time.

Denominations were created by mankind and have nothing to do with ... well ... you know.

geez, -A- the other Pope was simpler to deal with - can't we go back to that one? ;)