Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ronald Reagan on bigotry

In this Primary, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum have all either played the religion card against Romney, or have been unwilling to condemn the people associated with their campaigns who have made bigoted and false statements about Mormonism. In most cases, it has been pastors introducing the candidates who have made the anti-Mormon comments.

We also know of the many meetings religious right leaders have held in hopes of finding someone to prevent a Mormon in the White House. Their latest attempt to thwart Romney is getting behind Santorum. In Texas, they laid hands on him in prayer. Fine, good. Go ahead. But let's not pretend it had nothing to do with praying the Mormon does not win.

This is unacceptable in our party. Ronald Reagan had a lot to say about religious intolerance and bigotry, and much of it was directed to Republicans:
“Now, there's another major wrong done to traditional American values that needs to be corrected. Our forefathers were religious people, and they were also enlightened enough to realize the follies of religious intolerance.”
-Remarks at the Annual Convention of the American Legion in SLC, Utah, September 4, 1984

“So, please use your pulpits to denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and all ethnic or religious intolerance as evils, and let us make it clear that our values must not restrict, but liberate the human spirit in thought and in deed.”
-Remarks at the Annual Convention of the Ntl. Assoc. of Evangelicals in Columbus, Ohio, March 6, 1984

“We must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and all ethnic or religious bigotry, wherever they exist, as unacceptable evils.”
Remarks at the Young Leadership Conference of the United Jewish Appeal March 13, 1984

“The ideals of our country leave no room whatsoever for intolerance, for anti-Semitism, or for bigotry of any kind -- none. ”
Remarks to Members of the Congregation of Temple Hillel and Jewish Community Leaders in Valley Stream, New York October 26, 1984

“We must never remain silent in the face of bigotry. We must condemn those who seek to divide us. In all quarters and at all times, we must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and all ethnic or religious bigotry wherever they exist as unacceptable evils. We have no place for haters in America -- none, whatsoever.”
Remarks to Members of the Congregation of Temple Hillel and Jewish Community Leaders in Valley Stream, New York October 26, 1984

“The Founders realized that we must guard freedom of religion with eternal vigilance against tyranny and bigotry.”
Proclamation 5866 -- Religious Freedom Week, 1988 September 27, 1988

“Today bigotry has been beaten down, but not yet totally destroyed. It falls now to you to carry on the battle. So, fight racism; fight anti-Semitism; fight in all its variations the bigotry and intolerance that we Americans have worked so hard to root out. I make much of all we've done to combat discrimination in our country because it seems to me of central importance to our essay on peace. Here in this green and gentle land people of all nations, people of all races and faiths, have learned to live in harmony to build one nation.”
Remarks at the High School Commencement Exercises in Glassboro, New Jersey, June 19, 1986

“And let me add, in the party of Lincoln, there is no room for intolerance and not even a small corner for anti-Semitism or bigotry of any kind. Many people are welcome in our house, but not the bigots.”
Remarks Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas August 23, 1984

“No one group in this country is better than another. No one race or religion or sex or color is better than another. And no region is better or worse than another. It's time we erased the last vestiges of intolerance, bigotry, and unkindness from our hearts. Decency demands this and so does our history.”
Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session at the "Choosing a Future" Conference in Chicago, Illinois September 5, 1984

“And let me say there is no place in the Republican Party for those who would exhibit prejudice against anyone. There's no place in our party for the kind of bigotry and ugly rhetoric that we've been hearing outside our party recently. We have no room for hate here, and we have no place for the haters.”
Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session with Elected Republican Women Officials, June 29, 1984

“Racial discrimination and religious bigotry have no place in a free society.”
-Remarks at the Annual Convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, February 9, 1982

“And let me add that we will continue to fight against discrimination wherever there are any vestiges of it remaining, until we've removed such bigotry from our entire land.”
-Remarks at a Meeting With Asian and Pacific-American Leaders, February 23, 1984

“I firmly believe that there is no room for partisanship on this question. Democrats and Republicans alike must be resolute in disassociating ourselves from any group or individual whose political philosophy consists only of racial or religious intolerance....”
-Letter to the Chairman of the Commission on Civil Rights Concerning the President's Views on the Ku Klux Klan April 30, 1984

“We will continue to fight against discrimination, wherever there are any vestiges of it remaining, until we've removed such bigotry from our entire land.”
-Written Responses to Questions Submitted by Pacific Magazine on United States Policy in the Pacific Island Region May 4, 1984

“I was raised in a household in which the only intolerance I was taught was intolerance of bigotry.”
-The President's News Conference, June 30, 1982

I had hoped that the problems of 2008 were past. In many ways, it is worse, because at least back then, Huckabee tried to give the impression that he did not want to play the religion card against Romney, and even apologized. So far this year, none of the candidate have taken responsibility for what has been said in their behalf.

I'm thankful for the Republican leaders who have spoken out against religious bigotry against Mormons, but I do wish there were more of them.


Terrye said...

Very good Martha..the problem of course is that people agree on anti Semitism and racial bigotry..but a lot of people really do not think there is anything wrong with attacking Mormons for their faith.

Anonymous said...

Terrye, I agree. It seems to be the last remaining acceptable prejudice.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for the long post, Bosman. Feel free to separate it.


Ohio JOE said...

Where is the Book of Mormon does it say "Thou must support TARP" and Thou must support HC mandates?" Just asking?

Anonymous said...

Ohio Joe,




Machtyn said...

OJ that was a really ignorant thing to say. I could ask the same of all the protestant, Catholic, and other religious people in the federal gov't where it states the same in their holy books, who also voted for TARP.

The one thing our religious texts do state is that we believe in being subject tp rulers, kings, magistrates, etc. That is, we believe in government and Jesus' words about taxes, and the things written about having a proper government in the Bible, Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

Anonymous said...

OJ, I don't expect you to admit there is religious bigotry right under your nose. You have been in denial about it for years, and you're probably not going to change.


Terrye said...

Ohio Joe...

Oh please...Gingrich supported TARP but who gave a damn? And Santorum voted to give illegals the earned income tax credit and social security benefits but for some reason people like Malkin and Tancredo endorsed him.

And something else, Romney never voted for TARP..all he said was that there were problems with the way TARP was implemented but in the case of a financial crisis that effects the whole economy government might need to act..which is rational and honest....a lot of people who did not have to make the decision could just say whatever they think people want to hear.,

And btw, Santorum voted to raise the debt ceiling 5 times without any effort to restrain spending in return for the that would be considered a bad thing.

The Flip Side said...

Mormons are easy to target in part because they have shoulders made broad by history and confidence in their own faith. One source og bigotry is the fear that one and/or their ideas do not measure up to others. In the end I think religious bigotry is caused by a lack of religious faith rather than by an abundance.

Anonymous said...

You know, OJ, I think that comment was unworthy of you. I hereby challenge you to read the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ yourself. Maybe you can find out if TARP is supported in it. Such ignorant comments deserve a real apology and some type of penance.


Right Wingnut said...


I think you took OJ's comment the wrong way. I believe he's making the point that people oppose Romney for many reasons that have nothing to do with his religion. You have to remember English is his second language.

Anonymous said...

RW, I acknowledge your point. I am not angry so much as disappointed that OJ said what he did. I agree with you that English is OJ's second language, and I appreciate your reminding me of that.

Still, I don't think it's extreme to encourage him to read the book for himself. Maybe you would like to read it, as well. It is currently available in over 100 languages, so it is very likely that OJ can find a copy in his native language if that is more convenient for him.

OJ, I invite you to read the book for yourself; then you can decide for yourself what it contains.

RW, I appreciate your gentle defense of OJ, and your kind response to me. His remark really did hurt me. My religion means a great deal to me, and I don't like to have it demeaned in any way. The Presidential cycles and the Prop 8 stuff has been very ugly, and I don't expect it will get better soon.

Members of our Church are even denied the opportunity to commiserate with Catholics when they are attacked by a tyrannical government because most people believe that we deserved what happened to us. So we end up biting our tongues and trying to be as supportive as we can. It is frustrating beyond belief. My great-great grandfather spent a year in jail because the government disagreed with the Church's policies and practices. We, of all people, understand something about the power of government to crush those who disagree with them.


Anonymous said...

I agree with RW, I think OJ's comment may have been taken the wrong way.


Anonymous said...

Can we forget TARP, for heaven’s sake! Can’t we all agree that prejudice against members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is WRONG? And that we all have a civic duty—as citizens who espouse the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—to repudiate and actively oppose bigotry against our fellow citizens for their religious beliefs?

This country was first settled by people who fled Europe to establish a place to worship God as they saw fit. In the 17th century the Pilgrims were regarded by the more established Christian religions in England and the Continent as enthusiasts, separatists, and weirdos. Today Americans revere the Pilgrims as men and women of courage, foresight, hard work, and deep religious faith.

I am a Roman Catholic by birth, upbringing, and theological education. During the course of Catholicism’s long history, partisans of my religion have perpetrated horrific crimes of intolerance and murder against Protestants and other religious non-conformists, who were labeled “heretics” at the time. Some of those heretics were later canonized as saints (Joan of Arc); some went on to assume iconic roles in biblical scholarship (William Tyndale). Both were burned at the stake for their religious beliefs.

Catholics, in turn, were executed by Anglicans for refusing to accede to the monarch’s religious power grab of the day. And vice versa. And so it has ever been. Religious and ethnic prejudice against members of the Jewish faith has reached epic proportions in Western history, up to and including our own time.

The only way to stop religious prejudice is to stop it within each of our own hearts. Thank you, Martha, for giving me the opportunity to ponder this profound truth and to do my utmost to act on it.

Anonymous said...

I am a follower of this blog, though not to date a poster. I am also a dyed-in-the-wool secularist. Call me a pagan in a creed outworn, if you favor the poetry of William Wordsworth.

As a citizen of a country founded by Enlightenment Deists who would today be condemned as atheists by the extreme right, I am saddened to see Right Speak sullied by anti-Mormon prejudice. Mormonism, like evangelical Southern Baptism, is a home-grown American religion. It deserves respect from any patriot and/or believer.

Martha's plea for religious toleration, coupled with her well-researched recital of Ronald Reagan's latitudinarian views, is at once inspiring and poignant.

Posters who invoke Mitt Romney's "weirdness" or similar terms of otherness beware. The next loyal American labeled a weirdo may be . . . well, you know who.

Ohio JOE said...

"I could ask the same of all the protestant, Catholic, and other religious people in the federal gov't where it states the same in their holy books, who also voted for TARP." Look, if a Catholic or Protestant supports these kind of things, they are no better. There is a reason why I have even less regard for Mr. Gingrich than Mr. Romney and it has little to do with religion.

'Oh please...Gingrich supported TARP but who gave a damn?"

And I for one am not a Gingrichite for this and other reasons.

Ohio JOE said...

BTW, it should be a no-brainer that I was not trying to insult Mormonism, but rather trying to point out that many non-Romneyites have many non-religious reasons for being against Mr. Romney just like not every anti-Gingrichite and anti-Santorumite is anti-Catholic and so forth.

Yes Martha, unfortunately as sure as their is anti-Senitism and anti-Catholicism, there is anti-Mormonism in this country, but it is not as bad as you imagine and much of it actually comes from the Left (not all from the Right.) Unlike in some corners of the world, Americans are not segregated into different buses because of religion.

While there appear to be a few too many religious bigots in the Perry camp (though not as many as the picture you paint) you frankly have some stones to accuse Mr. Santorum of having religious bigots in his camp. Are there a few bigots in his camp? I imagine so, but you can also bet that some honorary Santorumites are against Mr. Santorum's own religion just as there are a few honorary Romneyites who are actually against Mormonism.

While I have heard with my owm hear religious bigotry against Mormonism as well as other faith, of all the robo calls and spam mails I have received, I have never heard any anti-Mormon propoganda through that medium. Yes, I get Pro & Anti Romney and Gingrich telemarketing calls all the time, but they never discuss religion. Maybe this type of thing does happen in other states, but you better be bloody careful before you accuse Mr. Santorum of ring-leading this stuff.

Anonymous said...

OJ, It is a fact that Santorum has had pastors introduce him who have called Mormonism a cult. It falls upon him, as a decent American and as a candidate for president of the United States, to denounce it when he sees it so vocally in his own campaign.

Same thing goes for Newt. Two weeks ago, a pastor who introduced Newt made a hideous accusation against the Mormon church (that there were Mormon death squads) in his intro, yet Newt remained silent.

This is the reason I posted the quotes from Reagan. I'm sorry you missed the point. I truly wish you and everyone in our party would wake up a little, open your eyes and start standing up for the values our founders felt were so important, rather than living in denial. Maybe it just doesn't matter to you because it's not your faith being attacked and lied about.



Ohio JOE said...

Look, their may be a few pastors that do not know what the true deffinition of a cult is. However, I am sure that a few such Pastors also supported Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush for that matter. In short, I find it difficult to believe that such characters are wide-spread in the Santorum camp.

"Maybe it just doesn't matter to you because it's not your faith being attacked and lied about." Frankly, I am insulted that you suggest that my faith has never ever been lied about and attacked. However, I am not going to blame you or the country as a whole because of a few yahoos.

I am sorry that some bad apples attacked your faith, Martha, but I do not believe that people like me are a part of that. I am sick of the Generalismo accusing people like me of being against African-Americans especially when I have a member of my family is partly of that heritage. I am sick and tired that my State Chairman accuses people in my corner of the state of being Anti-Hispanic when we probably eat more Mexican food than the buffoons in our state capital and I am also insulted that people would think that I hate Mormons.

Yes, I have replied with mean and nasty comments, but I do not recall attacking people's faith, race or family.

Anonymous said...

OJ, I did not suggest that your faith has never been attacked. I'm rather tired of you pretending that it is only a couple of yahoos practicing religious bigotry against Romney. It is widespread within the Evangelical community, and being opening practiced by many people associated with the campaigns. This is a fact, and there's plenty of news sources and polls for it.

Over the past 3-4 years, the religious right has sought to prevent a Mormon from becoming president based, not on the candidate, but on religious intolerance alone.

Do you agree that this is wrong? Do you agree with Ronald Reagan that we need to root it out, rather than remain quiet? I sure hope so. Other wise I have misjudged you.


Anonymous said...

OJ, I wish you were able to separate your distaste for Romney from the issue of the religious intolerance against him. Admitting that it is real, that is affecting this race, and that it is wrong, does not mean you have to put aside your other disagreements with him.

Pretending that it does not exist only hurts your credibility.


Right Wingnut said...

Martha, My fellow precinct members gave Santorum 53% of the vote. Some of your friends suggested bigotry was at play. Funny thing is, the folks in that room were overwhelmingly Catholic, and gave Romney at least 40% of the vote in 2008. Those results were replicated nearly everywhere in both Minnesota and Colorado. There is absolutely ZERO evidence to suggest that bigotry is responsible for Mitt's disastrous night. Just accept that there are some who will not be accepting of Mormons, Catholics, blacks, whites, etc. and move on. You would likely enjoy life more.

Ohio JOE said...

"Pretending that it does not exist only hurts your credibility." Well, pretending that it is a bigger problem than it actually is, is not exactly credible either.

"Do you agree that this is wrong?" YES, it is wrong to dismiss out of hand a candidate simply out of religious hate. And yes, I am sure there are a few hateful people, but good grief. Do you really think, that most Anti-Romneyites hate his religion more than his policy? Should we really believe that most anti-Gingrichites (and anti-Santorumites) hate their religion more than their policies? And BTW, yes, there were some people who were either for or against Mr. Cain because of his race, but in the end, I think (or at least hope) that they were in the minority.

Again, while there is religious bigotry of all sorts on the Right, I believe in is worse on the Left. Many Leftists hate both you and I because of our faith. Should should they be the ones to get a pass?

Anonymous said...

RW, Did I say that religious bigotry was responsible for Mitt losing in MN, MO and CO? Nope. Didn't say it, or think it.

What I said is that some of the pastors introducing the candidates are saying bigoted things about Mormons in their introductions. You should find this unacceptable. You should wonder why the candidates being introduced don't stand up and be men. They are happy to hide behind it, and make use of it. That's disgusting to me. I would never vote for a man who cannot stand up for one of the founding principles of this country.


Anonymous said...

OJ, again with the 'few' people who are practicing religious bigotry against Romney. LOL

Funny, but I don't see it happening right now against Newt or Santorum. But apparently, there have been some people, while introducing Romney who have dissed Catholics? Must have missed that!


Anonymous said...

You guys are positively obtuse. Maybe some coffee would help.


Ohio JOE said...

"Maybe some coffee would help." Haha, I have not reached the point of the Coffee Party yet, the Tea Party is Right enough for me.

Publius Nemo said...

I quotes are fantastic. This really comes at a critical time when all people of faith are being attacked by an overreaching tyrannical government. Even if they back down today they have showed their hand and it is anti-religion. Thanks!