The Republican primary has degenerated from farce to madness. The early days were fun. Who can forget the grin-inducing sight of Marcus Bachmann dancing gaily and unselfconsciously with his shell-shocked Raccoon of the Right Michele? And then there was the walking sexual harassment lawsuit that was Herman Cain and his remarkable rise to the top by dumbing it down so much even a Tea Partier could get it. And Rick Perry. Need we say more? Rick Perry. His decision to run, in a word – oops.
The humor is gone now, though, and only the madness remains. Newt Gingrich’s rhetoric ratchets desperately from grandiose to bellicose. He attends three separate church services in one day, raising the God bar to heavenly heights. Two Baptist churches and one Catholic were graced with the attendance of the sybaritic non-believer and his young homewrecker. At least in his crass play of the God card he shows a rational Machiavellianism. It is in Mitt Romney’s legitimately held religious beliefs that we see real madness.
Mitt Romney baptises dead people. A longtime practice of the Mormon church was to baptise deceased non-Mormons in order to bring them into the fold. Several popes, hundreds of thousands of Jews. Elvis. Some non-believers, including Edward Davies, the deceased atheist father of Mr. Romney’s wife Ann.
The Mormon church claims the baptism isn’t definitive, only that the deceased are offered the chance to become Mormon in the afterlife. A kind of neighborhood proselytizing beyond the grave, apparently, missionary work in the Undiscovered Country.
Apologists for the actions claim it’s no big deal, yawn, hardly more invasive than lighting a candle for somebody. Jewish groups have complained mightily, however, and the Mormon church alleges it stopped the practice in 1995. (Though there is evidence the practice of "proxy baptism" continues.)
Mr. Romney’s father-in-law was a committed atheist, considering all organized religion "hogwash." He died in 1992 and was baptised by the Romney clan a year after his death. We can think of no action more disrespectful to Mr. Davies’ belief system than this proxy baptism. Mr. Romney and the Mormon church have fired the first salvo of criticism and disrespect with their actions, and we consider Mr. Romney’s Mormonism fair game in the ongoing discussion of his credentials for the presidency.
For months we thought Mitt Romney was the only sane candidate in the midst of folly and farce. The more we learn about him, the more we suspect he is the nuttiest of them all.