Archive for July, 2012


There has been a lot in the news about Mitt Romney’s dubious personal finances. So when his wife, Ann Romney, went onto ABC to defend her husband she incidentally stepped in shit, twice. Having had to explain why her husband would refuse to show how he manipulated the system within the parameters of the law, but perhaps against the spirit of patriotism (what with tax loopholes, offshore accounts, et al.), she took up a daunting task indeed.

The liberal minded media saw her second step in shit when she said, “We’ve given all you people need to know.” The question is who is “You”? Is it just liberals? Well that wouldn’t make sense because it was largely demanded by many of Romney’s fellow party members including George Will, Ron Paul, Bill Kristol and Michael Steele! Does “you” refer to Americans? The media? Who? This comes right after Mitt himself said, “It’s kind of amusing,” that people wanted his tax returns.

In any case, there was a subtle sentence before that which has caught my attention which I think Ann Romney tried to pitch as a way to measure Mitt’s character.

“…He is a very generous person. We give 10% of our income to the church every year.”

For those of you who aren’t listening, that’s the Chuch of Latter Day Saints. The Mormon church asks all its members to tithe 10% of their income. What Romney donates, even by the Mormon church’s standards, is not an exceptional donation. It is what is expected of him.

Is tithing charity?

If what Ann Romney was trying to show was that Mitt was a charitable human being, then we’d have to examine what it means to be charitable. If a person is giving resources, time, money, and/or effort at the expense of one’s self to those who would benefit much more from it, then we can say that it is charity. If one does not wish to donate time or effort, money might be sufficient, but are all financial donations charitable? Hardly! I don’t consider paying Verizon a large fraction of my paycheck even close to being charitable. However, I feel it could be argued that Verizon does more for a society, indeed the world, than The Church of Latter Day Saints. Verizon, could certainly be more transparent about where the money goes as made famous by BusinessWeek’s front-page article. It’s really important you read this article in order to understand how a church, any church, doesn’t constitute as a charitable organization.

If not, it is humorously simplified here by Bill Maher:

For more on the ethics of charity, read works by Peter Singer.


“It was all God’s plan.”

This is a horrific, insincere, and damaging statement. That there wasn’t a bigger outcry against this type of excuse is disappointing. He doesn’t even… I can’t believe… What the… Ah!

Setting aside the whole God-has-a-plan farce (for the moment), why isn’t it said that this is dissuading guilt and blame? If it was God’s plan, then Zimmerman can feel like he couldn’t have done otherwise. This reinforces his conviction that what he did wasn’t wrong or even tragic! He was doing what God had wanted him to do.

Instead he says, “I do wish that there was something…anything I could’ve done that wouldn’t have put me into the position where I had to take his life.”

This is a perfect example of vindication and blame. He is, tacitly saying that it was either Trayvon Martin’s fault, and that God willed it that way, but he wishes it could’ve been different. In what other instance does this line of thinking even get a serious platform?

It seems obvious to me that this would be part of his defense. That the situation and the series of events that unfolded put Zimmerman in a situation where he couldn’t have done otherwise is meant to undermine his culpability. This of course is false, as evidence is provided by police and investigators. And, in all of their analysis and scrutiny, those investigators have not turned up a shred of evidence showing that God had a guiding hand in the matter.

The God’s plan appeal is an attempt to manipulate the emotional favor of the stupid. I’m not saying that Believers are stupid, but that anyone who accepts this as a sincere response is quite staggeringly so. It is counterintuitive to both Christian and Secular morality. No one should be surprised that that venue chosen for this interview was Fox.