Last week was a test of faith in many ways for Longworth

by Jim Longworth

I usually confine my rants to one major issue per column, but last week was chock-full of fodder for my cannon, and the common denominator was stupidity.

Let’s begin with presidential politics. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney called a press conference to discount his Mormon religion as a factor in how he might govern if elected. But true to his flip-flop form, Mitt then back peddled and added that, “Jesus is the savior of mankind.” This is the same man who tried to look macho in the last CNN non-debate by admitting he had guns in his house, only to pull a reverse pander by saying that the guns actually belonged to his son. Message to Mitt:ÊJesus was a great historical figure and the most inspirational leader of all time, but not every US citizen (Jews, Muslims, atheists among them) believes that Christ is their one true savior.

Certainly any occupant of the White House must be the president of all people, butÊpresidential candidates must stop trying to be all things to all people.

John Kennedy had it right back in 1960. JFK announded that his Catholicism would not influence his decisions in the Oval Office. End of story. Romney, on the other hand, couldn’t let well enough alone, and should have closed his yap after he compartmentalized his Mormonism. Instead, he wandered into the “Jesus as savior” territory, which sent a mixed message.

My friend Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes had it right last week when he had to traverse the crossroads of church and state. Following a citizen complaint about an officer’s Jesus sticker on the back of a patrol car, Barnes ordered that all personal effects be confined to the front seat, which, in effect, is the officer’s work space. Barnes is the one who should be running for president because he is open minded and non dogmatic. And that brings me to the very scary Mike Huckabee.Ê

Last week the former Arkansas governor praised Romney’s decision to remove Mormonism from politics. Yet Huckabee, a retired minister and former leader of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, has built his career on a narrow view of Christianity, and his recent surge in the polls (first place in Iowa, second nationwide) is due largely to his preacher-like presentations before Christian conservative groups in Iowa. Mighty Mike also likes to have his ash cake and eat it too. He doesn’t believe in evolution, but is careful not to say much in that regard for fear of looking like a nutcase.ÊHe also avoids any mention of his policy on women in the church. Most supporters of the Baptist State Convention are misogynistic and homophobic, refusing to allow gays to sit in pews or females to preach from pulpits. Newsflash Mike: Women have equal rights in this century, and should be able to speak their mind freely. All of them, that is, except Sherrie Shepherd.

Earlier this year, the new co-host of ABC’s “The View” proclaimed that the world is flat. Last week she announced that Christians were the first people on that flat earth, pre-dating “the Greeks.” She based her revelation (pardon the pun) on the fact that Christians were fed to the lions. Shepherd’s co-hosts sat dumbstruck as their colleague defied all logic by placing Christians on earth 300 years prior to the birth of their founder.Ê

I believe the FCC should enact a new policy that prohibits religious zealots, panderers and stupid people from appearing on television. Of course, if that happened, then George Bush would have never been allowed to hold a press conference. Over the past seven years we have laughed at Bush’s bad grammar, malaprops and general ignorance. But last week, he reminded us that stupidity is not nearly so dangerous as deceit, and he is guilty of both vices.Ê

In October of this year, Bush announced that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was escalating and could bring us to the brink of World War III. He made this proclamation of doom knowing full well that one month earlier, his own National Intelligence Estimate confirmed that Iran had halted its nuclear program back in 2003. It seems that Armageddon was a false alarm.

After last week, it’s hard to know who or what to believe in anymore. Thank heaven it’s almost time for Santa Claus to arrive.