Primarily Barfy

image of Mitt Romney with a microphone standing in front of a giant sign reading 'Ask Mitt Anything'
Sir, why are you such an enormous jackass?

This will just be a terrible Primarily Speaking post today, because the news is NOT NEWS! Mitt Romney is a stupid jerk. Rick Santorum is a vile bigot. Newt Gingrich is still in the race, for sure. Something something Ron Paul.


I did happen to read two stories back-to-back this morning, the juxtaposition of which was really interesting [content note: hostility to consent]:

1. Romney Comes out in Support of Controversial Birth Control Bill:
One day before a critical Senate vote that could loom large as a 2012 election issue, Mitt Romney came out for a congressional Republican measure designed to roll back the Obama administration's requirement that employer health plans cover birth control.

"Governor Romney supports the Blunt Bill because he believes in a conscience exemption in health care for religious institutions and people of faith," Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul told TPM.

The Blunt amendment, which is scheduled for a Senate vote on Thursday, would permit employers to deny coverage of birth control or other services they deem morally objectionable.
So Mitt Romney believes that people shouldn't have to be subjected to religious beliefs they do not share. (Which is not actually what the stupid Blunt amendment is actually about, but that's the Republican framing.)

2. Mormons Baptized Slain Reporter Daniel Pearl:
Members of the Mormon Church last year posthumously baptized Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was captured and killed by terrorists in Pakistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to records uncovered by a researcher in Utah.

...Pearl's parents, Judea and Ruth, said it was "disturbing news" to learn that Mormons had baptized their son, in a rite that they understand was meant to offer him salvation. ...Pearl's wife, Mariane, who was five months pregnant with their son, Adam, when her husband was killed, said it was upsetting to learn that he was baptized. "It's a lack of respect for Danny and a lack of respect for his parents," she said.

..."But there is a more serious concern behind it, of respecting people's identity and integrity," said Mariane Pearl, who is Buddhist. "It doesn't traumatize me but, as a matter of ethics, I think it's wrong."

...In a video that Pearl's captors forced him to record just before they killed him, Pearl spoke of his religion, saying, "My father's Jewish, my mother's Jewish, I'm Jewish."

In 2004, Pearl's parents published "I am Jewish," a collection of essays reflecting on their son's last words.
Last week, it was also reported that diarist Anne Frank, who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, had been posthumously baptized by proxy in the Dominican Republic. This despite repeated calls from Jewish leaders for Mormons to stop with the posthumous baptism of Jewish people, and despite the fact that Mormon officials have supposedly prohibited posthumous baptisms of Jewish Holocaust victims.

Nobel-laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has called on Mitt Romney, as the nation's most prominent Mormon, to denounce the practice, but Romney has himself participated in posthumous baptisms—which, as I have previously noted, are deeply hostile to issues of personal consent.

Romney's position is obviously problematic, given that virtually every major pressing policy issue—reproductive choice, war, indefinite detention, same-sex marriage, trans* protections, immigration, TSA policies, prison reform, environmental policies, universal healthcare, etc. etc. etc.—centers around some aspect of consent, agency, and/or bodily autonomy.

But it's also profoundly hypocritical: He says he does not support mandated contraception coverage because it forces employers to act in opposition to their religious convictions, but, on the other hand, he subscribes to a religious tradition and has engaged in a religious ritual that subjects people who cannot consent by virtue of being dead to a religious rite that seeks to subvert their religious beliefs entirely.

And of course it's not supposed to matter, except that anti-Semitism is still a Real Thing in the World, and it's a problem that a potential presidential candidate is silent against this targeting of a religious minority for nonconsensual attempts at conversion, even as he argues hypocritically for religious freedom.

In other news: David Frum's a gross jackass. [content note for rape culture and misogyny] No, Mitt Romney getting the nomination is not like being the bride in an arranged marriage. Disgusting.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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