Five Reasons Why Any Sane Woman (and the people who love her) Cannot Vote For Romney
Willard Mitt Romney has had a difficult time articulating whether he believes in equal pay and equal opportunities for women. He dodged the question he was asked at the Hofstra debate, and spoke about “binders of women” instead, and how important flex time is, so that a woman can get dinner on the table and nurture her children.
If you wonder where the discomfort comes from when Romney is asked these questions, I think that a large part of it comes from his reluctance to speak publicly about his faith.
While I was reading about the Mormon church and their abysmal record on women, it becomes inherently clear that Romney doesn’t want the public asking him about women or their role in the Mormon church, or their lack of a role to be more exact.
Remember that Romney is still a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In order to understand the candidate’s view of women, we have to look at how his church looks at women.
1. The Mormon Church Actively Opposed The Equal Rights Amendment
In 1923 (89 years ago), the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was introduced in Congress. The ERA was a proposed Constitutional Amendment to guarantee equal rights for women, and provide a legal framework in order to enforce the law, and seek legal redress through the Federal courts if necessary.
The ERA was proposed every year from 1923 to 1972. In 1972 the proposed amendment was endorsed by both Houses of Congress, and the amendment was sent to the states for ratification. Congress set a 7 year deadline for the states to ratify - and 38 states had to support the ERA in order for the amendment to become law. 35 states ratified the amendment, 3 short of the requirement, and the amendment has been in limbo ever since.
The ERA had bi-partisan support until 1980, when the Republican party started it’s shift to the extreme right.
During the 1970’s the chief opponents of the ERA were religious organizations, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The LDS church is not a bastion of equality, and by actively campaigning against the Equal Rights Amendment - the church established that preserving the status quo was imperative. The church believed that the ERA threatened "time-honored moral values."
The Church is firmly committed to equal rights for women, but opposes the proposed Equal Rights Amendment because of its serious moral implications. Court and administrative interpretations of the ERA could endanger time-honored moral values by challenging laws that have safeguarded the family and afforded women necessary protections and exemptions.And Romney undoubtedly believes that too.
2. Women are subservient to 12 year old and 14 year old boys.
The LDS church preserves all leadership roles within the church hierarchy for men. They start training boys when they are twelve years old, for the roles they will play within the church when they become adults. I have yet to hear anyone ask Romney if he agrees with his church’s position, on the role of women in his faith.
When Hilary Rosen said Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life,” her comment received a firestorm of criticism. Ann Romney was able to stay home and raise 5 sons, and there aren’t many women in this country who can do that economically.
What is interesting about this, is that Ann Romney did what the Mormon church prescribes for women. Yet the GOP was indignant about Rosen’s comment. Ann Romney even sent her first tweet about this issue, saying it was her choice to stay home. I think NOT!
As Liz Marlantes noted at the time, calling the GOP indignation “fake," in a column for the Christian Science Monitor:
The Romney campaign pounced, with Ann Romney putting out her first-ever tweet: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
So why is this a fake fight? Because first of all, we don't think there's anybody out there (with kids at least) who doesn't think raising children is hard work – as Ms. Rosen herself later said. But more to the point, because the debate over women staying home or going to work isn't really much of a debate anymore – since increasingly, it's a choice that most women simply don't get to make. For women who do get to make that choice, that's great – whatever they decide. But for the vast majority, forgoing a paycheck just isn't an option these days.
It's clear from the context that Rosen wasn't criticizing Ann Romney for staying home. She was criticizing the Romney campaign for presenting Ann Romney as an expert on the economic concerns of women, when Romney's own economic circumstances (including the fact that she was able to stay home with all five of her sons) are not those that most women have.With Ann Romney as Willard Mitt Romney’s partner and most trusted advisor on women’s issues, how can he justify that young boys in his church are more important than his wife?
Stacey Solie took an in-depth look at this conundrum in a Daily Beast article.
At Sunday services, called sacrament meetings, women also play a lesser role. The bishop and his first and second counselors, all men, preside from an elevated stand at the front of the chapel. The sacrament of bread and water, blessed by 14-year-old male priests, is passed to the congregation on trays distributed by 12-year-old male deacons.
That dynamic, of course, should be familiar to Catholics; and Baptists, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and even Zen Buddhists have also wrestled with ordaining women. But none of those faiths ordain every adult and adolescent male, so that the sacred authority extends so powerfully and thoroughly into the household.
But the question of whether Romney shares the Mormon perspective on women’s proper role should be especially important to voters given the church’s history of political activism. Mormons fought tooth and nail against the Equal Rights Amendment, even excommunicating members of the church who publicly split on the issue.
More recently, the church took what The New York Times called “an extraordinary role” in passing Proposition 8 in California, the successful ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state. Just this month, The Daily Beast’s Jamie Reno reported that David Twede, the managing editor of Mormon Think, said he’d been threatened with excommunication for writing critically about Romney.
If young boys play a more important role in the Mormon church than women, and the mothers who gave them life, what does that reflect about Willard Mitt Romney’s views?
3. The “Proclamation to the World” says mothers are to assume their proper gender role, to stay home and take care of the kids.
There has been very little discussion about Romney and his faith, during the campaign.
I have to admit that until now, I avoided making any comments about Romney and his religion. Quite frankly, I didn’t think it was any of my business. Religion is a very personal matter. I have friends who are Mormon, and friends who are ex-Mormon. I made a very deliberate choice to avoid criticisms of the GOP candidate, when it came to matters of faith.
When a candidate has wrapped themselves so tightly in a religion, and they become synonymous with their faith, and then pretend that their personal views are at odds with their faith, or they lie about it, then it becomes a moral imperative to call the candidate out on their hypocrisy.
Mormon women are fully expected to be subservient to their spouse. Josh, who writes a blog and calls himself a “religious skeptic and retired Mormon” says this about women in the Mormon church :
In 1995, the First Presidency issued the “Proclamation to the World” which says that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” Fathers are to “preside over their families in love and righteousness and are to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
Is it any wonder that Romney has trouble answering a question about equal pay and equal opportunity for women, when he and his church don’t support that view? I just can’t fathom why no one has asked him this question directly.
4. Men are the boss, women are chattel (a personal possession).
There are many claims that LDS leaders and the church oppresses women, and I really have a huge problem with this. I wasn’t raised or enculturated to even remotely think that men and women had to assume distinct roles in a family, or in society.
The website exmormon.org, which is described as “a site for those who are questioning
their faith in the Mormon Church, and for those who need support as they transition their lives to a normal life,” delves into the church view that women are viewed as a possession.
Mormonism has created an ingenious system of oppression, in which opposition towards men is tantamount to arguing with God. The Mormon religion makes no distinction between clergy and laity, at least with regard to men (Laake 9). All Mormon men are ordained as members of the "priesthood," with the absolute authority to preach the gospel, bestow blessings, prophecy, perform healings and baptisms, and generally speak for God. "Their priesthood gives them the right to advise and instruct the Saints (i.e., Mormons), and their jurisdiction extends over all things spiritual and temporal" (Snowden 134)
Women are, of course, excluded from the priesthood. This practice in effect says that a woman's prepubescent son is more qualified to advise her than she is to advise him. The official explanation is that women are kept from having the priesthood because women are more spiritual than men, therefore, men need to have the priesthood to teach them how to be better people (Johnson 86). Women are also told that, because they have the all- important ability to bear children, men need the power of the priesthood merely to remain equal with them.
The Mormon church of today is still clinging to the beliefs of the nineteenth century; ideas which are becoming more outmoded every day. A few women in the Mormon church are trying to make a difference, but they are usually swiftly excommunicated (Laake 342; Johnson 351).
Obviously, the Mormon church is not going to alter its views on women in the immediate future. It is questionable whether it is even possible for Mormonism to equalize the roles of men and women, because the oppression of women is so integral to the religion. Men and women cannot truly become equal in the church, for the basic tenets of Mormonism are so fraught with sexism that equality would change the religion beyond recognition.I really find this troubling, and cannot envision a President of the United States sharing these views.
5. The “binder full of women” story was completely fabricated and is a big fat lie.
While many of us laughed at the “binder full of women” remark that Romney made during the debate at Hofstra University, it’s been reported that Romney completely made up the story on the spot, and it’s a total lie.
Marlow Stern at the Daily Beast reports:
It’s even worse for Romney, however, when you consider that his “binders full of women” comment, arguably the debate’s most memorable line, reportedly is a lie.
According to political writer David S. Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix:
“What actually happened was that in 2002—prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration—a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.
“They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.”
Romney never asked for a “binder,” or noticed that no women applied for the big jobs in state government, when he was elected governor. To think that Romney is so cunning, and can lie and make up a story so quickly, is proof that he will say anything or do anything to be elected.
The last president our country had that was a first class liar, was a man by the name of Richard Milhous Nixon. And we know how that went. I pray that we don’t make the same mistake again.
© 2012 JIVEINTHE415.COM