Romney: A [Good] Samaritan?

A Case for Mitt Romney's Singularity in the GOP Primary

The Republican Party, generally speaking, is and has been a party of those who worship conservative views - social, financial, political, and especially religious. Though some diversity has been woven into its fabric in recent years, its traditional and conservative base remains largely intact and delimited. Mainstream Christians are more Republican than Democrat. Hence Evangelicals, Baptists, Protestants, Methodists, Catholics, etc. gravitate politically to the Grand Old Party (GOP). It is this religious composition of the Republican Party that, ironically, has contributed to the stumbling block Romney is facing in the Primary elections.

Romney's religion (Mormonism) is still his Achilles heel in the 2012 race, even though it has become more hushed, glazed and suppressed than several months ago. Or has it? In Michigan, a week ago, a pastor who introduced frontrunner and rival Rick Santorum in one of his campaign events, hashed over the familiar epithet that "Romney is not a Christian." Another pastor/minister supporter of the said candidate in Florida recently said similar biased and bigoted comments.

According to the Christian conglomerate, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka LDS Church) is not a Christian church. What's ironic, at least in this case, is that some member churches in this Christian alliance have - and still to some degree - considered Santorum's Catholic Church an anomaly and an outsider too (re: Protestantism). The Catholic Church, however, has gradually initiated and assimilated itself into the alliance in recent decades.

Within this cloistered alignment, the LDS Church is marginalized, if not completely shunned and excluded. These mainstream Christians regard themselves as members of a select group of churches. The privileged and favored notion endorses and promotes the if-you're-not-with-us-you're-against-us mindset. Hence in their minds, Mitt Romney, though a highly qualified and moral candidate, is still a heretic and an infidel. He enters the race for president already handicapped and stigmatized by religious zealots. Though Romney's other flaws and negatives are attacked and scrutinized, his religion is still at the root of all the antagonism and opposition.

These prejudiced and often bigoted attitudes toward Romney - and the LDS Church - are reminiscent of the attitudes of the Jews towards the Samaritans in Biblical times.

Samaritans were outcasts and were treated as inferiors; they did not belong to the elect and aristocratic levels of society. Samaritans were outsiders and were ostracized accordingly.

AND YET, in some of Jesus' most prominent parables, the Savior casts the typical Samaritan in favorable depictions and in the mold of the more ideal Christian as well as a role model of a worthier and saintlike disciple.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Levite and the priest - representing the official members of the privileged group - ignore the injured traveler on the roadside. It is the Samaritan who stops and helps. He even takes the traveler to an inn and offers to pay his bill and for any accrued expenses. Also in the parable of the Ten Lepers, the only one of the ten who returns to thank Jesus, though somewhat abstruse, is a Samaritan. (Luke 17:16)

In both these, the virtues of good charitable deeds and compassionate actions are hailed and extolled over club membership - so to speak. It was the same falsehood for which Jesus rebuked the Jews when they touted their Abrahamic blood lineage as means to being an exempt and privileged group (re: Matthew 3:9; John 8:53-58). Another prominent Samaritan was the woman at the well - with Jesus - where the living water discourse was given.

The point is that the Christians, pastors and others employ intolerant, holier-than-thou, clannish and even hypocritical attitudes to ostracize and disparage Romney. And while the privileged, elite and chosen candidates enjoy, boast and flaunt their de facto status as de jure Christians even making claims that their campaigns and decisions to run are divinely sanctioned, Romney - "the Samaritan" - remains reserved, modest, unaffected and unassuming.

Mitt Romney
Moreover, in a somewhat different and near risible light, yet still relevant to the crux and context of this post, the Samaritan who helps the wounded traveler is obviously a rich person ( like Romney?). He pays for the accommodation, food and all the accruing expenses of the victim. Similarly, as Romney's financial disclosures reveal, he has given generously to his church (which, incidently, has one of the most remarkable humanitarian and charitable records of any organization) and to other charities. On the other hand, Rick Santorum admits that he gives little or nothing to charity; Gingrich does likewise. The breakdown of the trio's charitable donations is as follows: Santorum 1.76%, Gingrich 2.6% and Romney 14%.

Of course Romney - as one may argue - is a lot wealthier than Santorum and Gingrich, however, it can also be argued that Romney, too, can choose to give a lot less or nothing. Yet he still seems to be guided by the Christian principle: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required ...." (Luke 12:48, also Luke 12:57 JST)

I have no doubt that Romney's life is governed by the principle of service, like the Good Samaritan. There are several examples of this in Romney's life, but a couple is sufficient for support.

First was when he worked for three years as the CEO and head of the 2002 Winter Olympics, which were $380 million in the red when Romney was called to the rescue. The games became the most successful Olympics in modern times clearing a $100 million profit. How much was Romney paid for his help? $1.00 - yes, that's One Dollar.

Second, after the Olympics, he went on to win the gubernatorial seat in Massachusetts; he was the governor for one term (4 years). How much was he paid? Again, $1.00. Romney has also made a similar commitment if he becomes president that he will donate all his salary to charity. Romney views his errand as President of the United States (if he wins) as service to the American people - and others.

At this time when America is like the wounded traveler on the roadside needing help to recover from her economic wounds and woes, Romney stands to be America's Good Samaritan. He has the skills, experience, competence, qualifications and character to take on the challenge.

Romney is exemplary in living and performing the deeds of the Christian tenets, credo and faith - not just "professing and confessing." And though Romney may be a Samaritan outcast to most of mainstream Christians, he is the Good Samaritan who, to the Savior, was virtuous, noble, conforming and compassionate.

Just recently, an attendant at one of Romney’s campaign events asked him about his religion. Romney responded by recalling a time when he served as a local leader in the church and had
“...the occasion to work with people on a very personal basis that were dealing with unemployment, with marital difficulties, with health difficulties of their own and with their kids,"
the candidate explained. "Most Americans, by the way, are carrying a burden of some kind. We don't see it. We see someone on the street, they smile and say hello, but behind them they are carrying kind of a bag of rocks. It may be their own health difficulties. It may be concern about a job. It may be inability to pay for the home or the college they were hoping to pay for a child."

"When you get a chance to know people on a very personal basis, whether you're serving as a pastor or as a counselor or in other kinds of roles, you understand that every kind of person you see is facing some challenges," Romney continued. "And one of the reasons I'm running for president of the United States is I want to help people, I want to lighten those burdens."
To me, that sounds like something a good Samaritan would say, “I want to help people, I want to lighten those burdens.” So, again, all the more reason to view Romney as a Good Samaritan.

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