Linking to the Pope / leader of Southern Baptists = banhammer? September 10, 2012 9:15 PM   Subscribe

I know that MeFi avoids conflict, but is it entirely fair that MeFi has hosted numerous posts in the past about President Obama and Reverend Jeremiah Wright -- and many, many critical posts about The Church of Scientology -- but that starting a discussion about Mormonism and whether his faith could effect the Presidential election are off-limits? Is it possible for others to create a post that would point out similar official religious criticisms of Mormonism and their ramifications in this election without being similarly deleted?
posted by markkraft to Etiquette/Policy at 9:15 PM (84 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

(i.e. Is it only an issue when the media starts saying it's an issue?)
posted by markkraft at 9:17 PM on September 10, 2012


You are not banned. Your post was an axe-grindy election season post which was flagged a ton almost immediately and which you are now soapboxing in MetaTalk.

It's election season which means MetaFilter is already a little touchy, and original research investigative journalist type posts of the sort you seem to like to make often go poorly here.

Without getting too inside baseball about this, we've specifically asked you personally to not do this here. Not everyone has their finger on the pulse of how this place works, certainly, but your undeleted to deleted ratio is not so great. If you have questions about how this place works, this is the place to ask them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:22 PM on September 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


There's some interest in that discussion, but man, that was a ton and a half of editorializing in a couple of short lines.
posted by Miko at 9:22 PM on September 10, 2012


markkraft: " but that starting a discussion about Mormonism and whether his faith could effect the Presidential election are off-limits?"

Affect, not effect.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:36 PM on September 10, 2012 [18 favorites]


That was a truly terrible post, and this:

but that starting a discussion about Mormonism and whether his faith could effect the Presidential election are off-limits?

is not what you did there, at all.
posted by lalex at 9:38 PM on September 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Actually election season bingo sounds pretty great. I'm going to daub "debt", "Mormon", "taxes", "forward", and "chair". What's the prize for the winner?
posted by Chekhovian at 9:40 PM on September 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is it possible for others to create a post that would point out similar official religious criticisms of Mormonism and their ramifications in this election without being similarly deleted?

Likely possible! Probable? Nope.
posted by carsonb at 9:41 PM on September 10, 2012


What's the prize for the winner?

Clint Eastwood will sit in your kitchen and glare at you, sighing angrily through his teeth, as you make breakfast.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:41 PM on September 10, 2012 [29 favorites]


Honestly, I got as far as the "unmarried" part and then saw your comment about how yeah actually Romney is married--just maybe not, what, according to the Catholic church?--and figured it was not actually a good faith effort to share something neat you found on the web with anyone on MetaFilter. What the pope thinks about Mormons is about as germane to me as what Lance Armstrong thinks about Michael Phelps.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:44 PM on September 10, 2012 [29 favorites]


Clint Eastwood will sit in your kitchen and glare at you, sighing angrily through his teeth, as you make breakfast.

And nobody will be able to see him but you!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:55 PM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


On a serious note, I thought it was weird that you buried the bit about how the Southern Baptist Church - a denomination which is legion in the GOP - also does not recognize Mormon marriage. That, to me, had far greater political implications than what the Vatican has to say on the matter. The "is he unmarried/unbaptised?" opener was not a little disingenuous, too.

Had the FPP had focused instead on the Baptist angle - possibly with more quotes from other prominent Baptists leaders, possibly even politically active ones, talking about Mormonism - there could have been the FPP you intended.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:59 PM on September 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Can Republicans elect a Mormon whom they have already made governor and now their party's candidate for president?
posted by munchingzombie at 10:56 PM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Isn't there some law about headlines ending in a question mark?
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:18 PM on September 10, 2012


The final comment before the thread got killed has it, I think.
Since I don't particularly care what the Catholic Church says about a lot of rather more important things, I really don't care about what the Pope says about Mitt Romney's religion.
There might be an interesting discussion to have about the whole thing, but that wasn't a good way to start it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:47 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know that MeFi avoids conflict

uhhh ... what?

starting a discussion about Mormonism and whether his faith could effect the Presidential election

MeFi isn't for 'starting discussions.' It is for sharing links to cool/interesting things.

I think a lot of MeTa angst could be avoided if people who want to 'start discussions' get their MeTas complaining about deletions preemptively closed.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:57 PM on September 10, 2012 [15 favorites]


I think an intelligent post can be made about Mormonism, but to attach it to Mitt Romney brings all sorts of baggage with it and then to tie it in with what the Catholic Church thinks about it and have that be your main hook? Just weak sauce.

I guess what I'm saying is:


I got a feeling,
That you could be feeling,
A whole lot better then you feel today
You say you got a problem,
well thats no problem,
It's super easy not to feel that way!

When you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head,
Don't feel those feelings!
Hold them in instead

Turn it off, like a light switch
just go click!
It's a cool little MeFi trick!
We do it all the time
When your thinking certain posts that just don't seem right
Treat those pesky posts like a reading light
and turn em off,
Like a light switch just go bap!
Really whats so hard about that?
Turn it off! (Turn it off!)

I made an FPP back in aught three,
I thought I was the gonna be the first to post!
But when jessamyn deleted it, I said a lot of shit
Didn't every one want to read about swift boats?

I prayed and I prayed for a Heavenly sign.
God said, "Post to MeTa! Admit you were out of line"

In the future, I turned it off...
Like a light switch.
My FPPs are now the best.
Like cool Muppets or the history of the Ivory Coast.
So if you ever feel compelled to post...
TURN IT OFF!

posted by inturnaround at 12:02 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Isn't there some law about headlines ending in a question mark?

In Mexico yes, they are mandatory, but only when flipped upside down.
posted by mannequito at 12:10 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was a shit post. Good call, Jessamyn.
posted by Talez at 12:14 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now I want to know markkraft's undeleted to deleted post ratio. Has his lifetime ratio improved under his current username?
posted by ryanrs at 12:27 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Generally, "Here's What I Think About X" posts are usually not great here, and are mostly viewed as GYOB posts (GYOB = get your own blog – where, presumably, people who are particulary interested in your own personal opinions and original work will check in to see what you are thinking about a given issue or topic).

Specifically, though, news and politics posts are expected to meet much higher bars than any other sort of post for relying on quality links, avoiding poster editorializing, and not presenting information in a poster "thesis" or essay form.

In this case, if the Catholic church was making official proclamations about Mormanism in regards to the US elections, or if the the president of the Southern Baptist Convention was currently advising members that the leadership considers Romney as a Mormon to be non-Christian and that voting should reflect that, then a post linking to news and analysis of such a development would be fine. However, it would still almost certainly be deleted in favor of another, better formed post if it was titled something like "I Wonder If Paul Ryan Knows This," and was written in a style that included such leading remarks as "Question: Whether the baptism conferred by the community "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", called "Mormons", in the vernacular, is valid. Response: Negative," unless that was a direct quote from a linked article.

A post that is basically, "oh, hey, based on these past statements, I'm thinking that Catholics and Baptists must therefore logically view Romney as unmarried, unbaptized, and unChristian, am I right?" is definitely way outside of what we do here, though there are good political blogs where this sort of presentation would certainly be welcome.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:39 AM on September 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


FWIW, that question/answer bit was, indeed, a direct quote.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:13 AM on September 11, 2012


Yeah, sorry, that was confusing. It was direct quote from the 2001 (?) response from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but not in relation to any sort of official Catholic position on Romney as the US Republican nominee for president. If the post had been about an official Catholic statement about Romney that was based on that response (for example), then would be a very good direct link.

But if the premise is, look at this [linked] proclamation from 2001... now, hm, wouldn't this mean that Mitt Romney could become the first unbaptized, unmarried, non-Christian POTUS? – this isn't the sort of set up that works for a politics post here.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:29 AM on September 11, 2012


I think this was not a very good post, so I agree with the deletion, but I have to say, is the threshold lower for deleting politics/elections related posts this election cycle? There seems to have been a lot of them posted and then gone 10 minutes later...
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:34 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


mannequito: "Isn't there some law about headlines ending in a question mark?

In Mexico yes, they are mandatory, but only when flipped upside down
"

The upside down question mark actually goes at the beginning of the question (not at the beginning of the sentence, but at the beginning of the part of the sentence that's actually the question, which can be practical).
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:35 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't actually say if it is very much different from the last election cycle, Joakim Ziegler, (Jess and Cortex will remember more clearly) but it's definitely similar to the Occupy period: Instead of many posts covering every new development where discussion is going to be repeated and fragmented over many threads, we'd like fewer, better posts in which a lot of the news-of-the-moment can be discussed in thread updates.
posted by taz (staff) at 1:45 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


If there is a debate over whether Mormonism is a Christian religion or not, and someone put together a post featuring various opinions from academics and religious leaders, I would read it.
posted by Winnemac at 2:40 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Apart from the fact that you evidently need your own blog, the subject of how Romney's Mormonism will or won't affect his campaign and hypothetical presidency has been discussed before in several other threads - The World Famous and weston and someone else who's screen name I've forgotten sorry have been quite informative. It'll probably come up again at some point.

Romney's Mormonism isn't off-limits, crap posts are.
posted by harriet vane at 3:30 AM on September 11, 2012


I know that MeFi avoids conflict,

We avoid conflict? When did that start?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:49 AM on September 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, heck, y'all just head over to Metafilter Music and listen to this song I wrote about Mitt Romney.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:55 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't there some law about headlines ending in a question mark?

Betteridge's Law
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:03 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, heck, y'all just head over to Metafilter Music and listen to this song I wrote about Mitt Romney.

Metafilter Music, where editorializing is a non-issue!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:06 AM on September 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I sometimes like fighty election posts, but holy shit was that a good delete.
posted by corb at 5:18 AM on September 11, 2012


Wait, where can I get one of these MeFi election season bingo cards?
posted by .kobayashi. at 5:42 AM on September 11, 2012


And, let me add..

You know how you guys delete the less than steller political posts? Perhaps the meta's about those posts should be immediately closed as well.
posted by HuronBob at 5:58 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


We avoid conflict? When did that start? -- Ever since the mods started deleting posts that "don't do well on Metafilter."
posted by crunchland at 5:58 AM on September 11, 2012


Okay, Yeah, I deleted the "Why hasn't Mitt Romney denied... " derail here. That was gross when it first became a "thing," and now it's both gross and tired, and not helping in this conversation.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:00 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


That post shouldn't have been deleted because it taught me that the Pope does not recognize my completely-secular marriage as sacramental! How will I get through the day?
posted by muddgirl at 6:04 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


We avoid conflict? When did that start? -- Ever since the mods started deleting posts that "don't do well on Metafilter."

Don't worry, there's still plenty to go around!
posted by Miko at 6:24 AM on September 11, 2012


I guess I must be doing it wrong, because I see plenty of conflict on metafilter. Some of it is "good" (ultimately constructive, interesting, etc.) and some of it sucks. The deleted post was shitty and would have spawned "bad" conflict, and to what end?
posted by rtha at 6:34 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


We avoid conflict? When did that start? -- Ever since the mods started deleting posts that "don't do well on Metafilter."

I disagree.

OHNOESCONFLICT.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:45 AM on September 11, 2012


I'm a little conflicted about this conflict.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:47 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I honestly can't believe that in the 21st century that sectarian religious disputes still have a place in American politics. It's depressing is what it is.
posted by empath at 6:52 AM on September 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


note: I wasn't saying that I disagree with the policy to delete those threads. I'm just saying that deleting them is definitely a step taken to avoid conflict.
posted by crunchland at 6:53 AM on September 11, 2012


Perhaps the meta's about those posts should be immediately closed as well.

You know, it's a real quandary. Opening a MeTa post because your deleteworthy FPP didn't get the eyeballs you wanted, as opposed to just because you had a legitimate question about a deletion, is sort of problematic. On the other hand, it's really important to us that community members have an interference-free way to use the site to talk to other members of the site about the site and its policies, or even other members if there's some sort of concern they have.

At the same time, some members abuse this privilege using this lightly-moderated part of the site as a venue to harass other members, harass the mods, make consistent low-level griefing remarks, or really amp up the conflict for various reasons. And since it's technically our place of work, we try to have a light hand with saying they can't do this, but we do have to hang out here and deal with the fallout of whatever bad behavior people bring here.

So, yeah it's definitely something we think about. Some people have a higher tolerance level for conflict and strife and fighting and "look at these assholes" sorts of discussions and posts. Totally fine to have that outlook, but it's going to put you into conflict with the way this site runs from time to time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:53 AM on September 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your question was troll-bait. One religious leader asserting that another religion's sacraments are invalid is mildly interesting, but the composition of your question was over the top. There might be a good post about Romney's Mormonism, and the Mormon faith, as well as Obama's Muslim heritage. Your post wasn't it. There's enough flame-y election content already. There's a dearth of interesting, thoughtful, researched commentary. You might want to address that. Also, affect vs. effect.

O NOES, MAH INNER GRAMMER BITCH IS UNLEASHED
posted by theora55 at 6:56 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


We avoid conflict? When did that start? -- Ever since the mods started deleting posts that "don't do well on Metafilter."

I think there's a discernible difference between 'conflict' and 'useless and redundant piss storm that inevitably ends with several members leaving the site forever.'
posted by shakespeherian at 6:58 AM on September 11, 2012


useless and redundant piss storm that inevitably ends with several members leaving the site forever.

Indeed. And they're almost never the ones you want to see leave the site forever.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:06 AM on September 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


You know, it's a real quandary. Opening a MeTa post because your deleteworthy FPP didn't get the eyeballs you wanted, as opposed to just because you had a legitimate question about a deletion, is sort of problematic.

We close MeTa posts but they are seldom if ever deleted. This allows folks to make lousy FPPs and then advertise them for eternity even after they are deleted. While I'm all for allowing said folks to get their "day in court", maybe we should consider changing the MeTa policy.
posted by tommasz at 7:10 AM on September 11, 2012


We close MeTa posts but they are seldom if ever deleted. This allows folks to make lousy FPPs and then advertise them for eternity even after they are deleted. While I'm all for allowing said folks to get their "day in court", maybe we should consider changing the MeTa policy.

Hey, that's a pretty good point, and definitely warrants discussion, I'd say.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:12 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


markkraft: " but that starting a discussion about Mormonism and whether his faith could effect the Presidential election are off-limits?"

Affect, not effect.


Well, if god really wants him to be president, I suppose his faith could effect the election. Divine right and so forth.
posted by phunniemee at 7:29 AM on September 11, 2012


to sir with millipedes: "Isn't there some law about headlines ending in a question mark?

Betteridge's Law
"

Betteridge's Law is obvious BS. A headline can pose an either/or question. Or an open ended question.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:29 AM on September 11, 2012


I find the issues surrounding the Catholic Church's acknowledgment of Mormon baptism fascinating, since they do typically recognize Trinitarian baptism (where you baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"), but they don't recognize Mormon baptisms because the Mormon conception of the trinity is so different from the Catholic. This despite the fact that doctrinal errors/lapses don't usually invalidate baptism, an issue that was resolved* during the Donatism controversy in the Fourth Century. There are other denominations with invalid baptism (Jehovah's Witness, some Pentecostals), but those have to do with the words they use (non-Trinitarian), rather than doctrinal issues; so far as I know the Mormons are the only ones excluded purely for doctrinal problems, and that exclusion seems like an anomoly to me.

This is not to say that an axe-grindy, editorializing FPP that's really about an election should be allowed to stand on the basis of interesting theological minutia. It shouldn't.

*Not really resolved in the sense that the sides agreed, more "resolved" in the sense that the non-Donatists said the Donatists were wrong, and then all the Donatists were conquered by the Muslims and died off.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:29 AM on September 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


O NOES, MAH INNER GRAMMER BITCH IS UNLEASHED

Misusing "effect" in place of "affect" isn't an issue of grammar. It's simply a case of confusing near-homophones.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:33 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a weirdly technical canon law point for anybody not involved in canon law and/or theology of sacraments (hello, my master's degree!) to care about, and the OP badly misinterpreted anyway.

For anyone who cares, most Christian denominations accept one another's baptisms as valid baptism, as long as they're performed according to an acceptable Trinitarian formula (along the lines of "I baptize you, NAME, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). You'll recall from learning about the Reformation in high school that "Anabaptist" means "rebaptizer" and they were so controversial a sect because they believed infant baptisms didn't count and you had to re-baptize adults, and re-baptizing is NOT OKAY and sometimes REALLY OFFENSIVE. If you're not sure if you've been baptized, they'll baptized you, "If you are not baptized, I baptize you in the name of ..."

Anyway, the question is about whether Mormon converts to Catholicism (specifically in that link) or other mainstream Christian denominations have already been validly baptized (in which case rebaptizing them would be SUPER RUDE as well as pointless) or not. Mormons aren't Trinitarian in the standard understanding of the term, so for most Christian denominations, which require Trinitarianism, their baptisms (being not in the Trinitarian form) don't "count." It doesn't make Mormons bad people, it just means their baptisms are different in form from those that meet the technical requirements under Catholic canon law so a convert from Mormonism would have to be Catholic-baptized upon conversion, whereas a convert from Methodism would not, because the Methodist baptism meets the technical requirements under Catholic canon law (and vice versa).

In the thing about the marriage that the OP linked to and weirdly took to mean that Mitt isn't "married," the question is about mixed marriage between a Catholic and a Mormon and whether it takes a Christian/Catholic form in performing the marriage, or a non-Christian/Catholic form (and what, therefore, is necessary for annulment, if desired). It takes the former if both parties are "legally" baptized; as Mormons aren't, it takes the latter. You get a dispensation as one always does for a "disparity of cult" marriage, from the local bishop, in the standard paperwork you fill out before they'll marry you in a church, and get married anyway.

But since Mitt and Ann were both Mormons at the time they were married, had a legal civil ceremony AND a temple marriage, and BOTH of those things are recognized by the Catholic Church as legal marriages (just not The Sacrament of Marriage for Catholics), NOT A TINY BIT OF IT APPLIES to Mitt Romney's marriage, whose marriage is totally recognized as a legitimate marriage by the Pope and all other relevant Catholic authorities.

Not only was this a crazypants post (why do we care what the Pope thinks of Romney's marriage? Is it 1960 up in here?), but it was all so VERY VERY WRONG in its interpretation, and it's sort-of weird to go hunting down technical documentation about this sort of thing and have absolutely no idea what it's saying.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:36 AM on September 11, 2012 [55 favorites]


There are other denominations with invalid baptism (Jehovah's Witness, some Pentecostals), but those have to do with the words they use (non-Trinitarian), rather than doctrinal issues; so far as I know the Mormons are the only ones excluded purely for doctrinal problems, and that exclusion seems like an anomoly to me.

I'm the right kind of person that this is really interesting to me, too: my (non-Catholic) understanding is that the Catholic Church has a very specific way that it was to see baptism performed (by a priest! in a certain way!), but are willing to make almost any number of exceptions (on your deathbed? A lay Catholic can do it! Oh shit, no lay Catholics around? Some guy happening by can do it as long as you hold to its efficacy!) just as long as you are actually baptized, because it's so important.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:38 AM on September 11, 2012


I'm finding the canon law exegesis much the most enjoyable part of this affair so far. Can we postpone the election and have a Canon Law and Theology week?
posted by Segundus at 7:44 AM on September 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


"so far as I know the Mormons are the only ones excluded purely for doctrinal problems, and that exclusion seems like an anomoly to me."

The Mormons actually agree their baptism is not equivalent to "standard Christian" baptism, and they "rebaptize" Christians who convert to Mormonism, and most Christian denominations rebaptize Mormons who convert to that Christian denomination. Unlike many "YOUR BAPTISM IS INVALID!!!!" controversies where people are flinging poop at each other demanding recognition of their sect's Really Real Christian Baptism, the Mormons are like, "No, you're right, we mean something really different than you do, that's on purpose; this is no big deal, we rebaptize your dudes too."

Mormons, theologically (as an official group; people in the pews can believe all kinds of stuff), don't really see themselves as being the same religion as "regular" Christians, but as possessing a fuller, more complete revelation that "regular" Christians lack. Of course they are Christian-derived, of course they have a lot in common with American Christians theologically and culturally, and yes their PR campaign since the 80s has focused a lot on what Mormonism has in common with "regular" Christianity. But they're not too fussed about wanting to be considered Officially Christian or arguing about who Doing Christianity Right, because they believe they possess a more complete revelation that the Christian Churches lack.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:44 AM on September 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


I honestly can't believe that in the 21st century that sectarian religious disputes still have a place in American politics. It's depressing is what it is.
posted by empath

I can't believe religious disputes result in some many deaths daily.
down right saddening if you ask me.
posted by clavdivs at 7:45 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want to see the election bingo card that had "chair" on it BEFORE The Clint's Speech. Simply didn't exist. We all thought there were no real surprises left, I did anyway, and now we find ourselves in the unlikely worldtrack where yammering at a chair on stage will be shorthand for so many things. A cliche is born: naked, mewling, ferocious.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:47 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


...is about as germane to me as what Lance Armstrong thinks about Michael Phelps.

That Phelps is, like, a total choad.
posted by chinston at 7:47 AM on September 11, 2012


Particularly good work on the friendly capitalisation btw, Eyebrows - very avuncular. I picture you waving your hands in an encouragingly expository manner.
posted by Segundus at 7:50 AM on September 11, 2012


which you are now soapboxing in MetaTalk.

Soapboxing sounds like one of those old Elizabethan entertainments, like jousting, mod-baiting, and dancing a Pavane.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:59 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eyebrows said what I would have much more fully, but to add another voice: a post on the general question of how different denominations consider one another's sacraments* would have been one I'd be interested to delve into; this was way too specifically targeted and came pre-loaded with far too many assumptions.

*I grew up Catholic and I don't know if there's another term that encompasses baptisms & weddings & other holy ceremonies for the rest of Christianity... is there one?

---

as germane to me as what Lance Armstrong thinks about Michael Phelps.

I would imagine that since Lance has reinvented himself as a triathlete recently, he'd be fairly interested in knowing the mechanics of The World's Best Swimmerâ„¢'s success, but that's neither here nor there I suppose.
posted by psoas at 7:59 AM on September 11, 2012


*I grew up Catholic and I don't know if there's another term that encompasses baptisms & weddings & other holy ceremonies for the rest of Christianity... is there one?

Other 'high church' denominations like Lutherans and Episcopalians use 'sacrament' but folks like the Baptists et al. don't really have a term for these things (and a lot of them, even if given the category, would only include baptism and eucharist-- and view these things only as symbolic and not fraught with salvific grace or anything else along those lines).
posted by shakespeherian at 8:09 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Calvinist tradition (I grew up in a Presbyterian church) recognizes baptism and communion as 'sacraments'. Weddings or ordinations would just be a ceremony.

It doesn't seem to me that protestant churches that recognize sacraments have the same legality built up around them. Any believer could take Presbyterian communion at my church (where 'believer' was a self-identification), but I think more conservative churches limited it to the baptized. The idea of a Presbyterian minister refusing to serve communion to someone who's been baptized but disagrees on some doctrine would be shocking.
posted by muddgirl at 8:16 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


So we have one brand of crazy that doesn't believe that another brand of crazy is legitimate? Not much to discuss really.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:18 AM on September 11, 2012


And comments like that one are basically why religion posts go terribly here and why we require that they be held to a higher standard, so they at least don't start out that way and we can hopefully moderate them into good discussions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:19 AM on September 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


I'm all for keeping down the American election noise. Feels like it's an all too frequent topic, and I don't know how you guys have time to run a government during that frenetic election warm up and cool down cycle.

The entire thing loses some of its urgency and importance when you step across the border and get out of the media bubble.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:21 AM on September 11, 2012


The Mormons actually agree their baptism is not equivalent to "standard Christian" baptism, and they "rebaptize" Christians who convert to Mormonism, and most Christian denominations rebaptize Mormons who convert to that Christian denomination. Unlike many "YOUR BAPTISM IS INVALID!!!!" controversies where people are flinging poop at each other demanding recognition of their sect's Really Real Christian Baptism, the Mormons are like, "No, you're right, we mean something really different than you do, that's on purpose; this is no big deal, we rebaptize your dudes too."

I didn't use anomaly to mean that I think there was any poop flinging behind, but more than I thought it was interesting because it diverges from what the answer seems like it should be (based on how the issues are resolved in other contexts, including surrounding Donatism). I'm more interesting in the interesting resolution of a theological question than anything else.

*I grew up Catholic and I don't know if there's another term that encompasses baptisms & weddings & other holy ceremonies for the rest of Christianity... is there one?

Some Protestants (especially Anglicans* and Lutherans) use the term sacraments, but they don't recognize the seven from Catholic theology. Lutheran and Anglicans, officially, limit the numbers of sacraments to two (Communion and Baptism) on the grounds that those were the only two official instituted by Christ. Other Protestants recognize those two under names other than sacrament, like ordinance or tradition, but that varies from group to group.

*Obviously, I'm talking about official Anglican theology, the beliefs of people in the pews run from recognizing all seven (people like myself) to atheists who enjoy organ music.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:23 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't actually say if it is very much different from the last election cycle, Joakim Ziegler, (Jess and Cortex will remember more clearly)

If anything, I'd say (with fingers crossed and eyes on November) that it's been a little better and a little less crazy than four years ago. Maybe because people aren't at Maximum Hyped levels since it's a bit more sober of a situation; maybe because there hasn't really been a Palin level event; maybe because with the sort of demographic weight on the lefty/Democratic side around here and no big contested D primary there hasn't been as much grade-A fodder for people angrily slightly-disagreeing with each other every single day, etc. I dunno. Maybe we've actually collectively grown up a smidge in four years and people are just exercising better self-control.

It's still election season for sure and I still can't wait for it to be over, but maybe 2008 was the high water mark of Elections Sucking On Metafilter. But in any case, the general approach here is the same: try to keep threads from being a "oh and another thing" daily update routine on whatever the current poliblog touchstone is, corral stuff to open threads, and hope hope hope that people will not needlessly escalate shit too much on the blue or over here. And we appreciate every bit of effort people make to help that sanely happen.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:29 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


(And maybe it's just that the GOP primary season was so long and so nutso crazy that the move into the general has been, weirdly enough, sort of a load off. We've gone from an every-other-week "Holy shit, now it's [candidate x]!" horse race that went on for weird months to just "Oh, it's...Mitt. Okay." and while people still want to talk about it an awful lot there's less whiplash and out-of-nowhere nuttiness. Even the back to back conventions were mostly less crazy to deal with.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:32 AM on September 11, 2012


I like to think this election cycle on Metafilter isn't that nuts because of those reasons, but also there seems to be a general feeling all around that this year is pretty much 1996 Part 2: The Dolening.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:32 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK... so Eybrows McGee's explanation is much much better than the flat out wrong, original FPP. but it's still a tiny bit misleading. The phrase Eyebrows McGee is looking for is really "natural marriage" not "legal marriage". The Catholic Church doesn't usually recognize legal marriages per se, but natural marriages. Natural marriages are usually legal marriages as well, but not neccesarily. Legal marriages are, according to the Catholic Church, in today's society often not natural marriages (same-sex marriages being the simplest example.) There are limited instances in which the Catholic Church will even permit marriages that aren't recognized in civil law (Can. 1071 §2 and Can. 1130 to 1133)

The sacramentality of a marriage is a different consideration than whether a marriage is, according to Canon Law, valid. A marriage that is valid but not sacramental is called a natural marriage. A sacramental marraige can only be between two validly baptized Christians. If two non-baptized people, or a baptized person and a non-baptized person marry, their marriage is natural, but not sacramental. If the unbaptized members of a natural marriage are later baptized, the marriage immediately becomes by that fact sacramental. Natural marriages are, under certain very limited circumstances disoluable. Valid consumated sacramental marriages (called ratum et consummatum) are not disoluable.

In the thing about the marriage that the OP linked to and weirdly took to mean that Mitt isn't "married," the question is about mixed marriage between a Catholic and a Mormon and whether it takes a Christian/Catholic form in performing the marriage, or a non-Christian/Catholic form (and what, therefore, is necessary for annulment, if desired). It takes the former if both parties are "legally" baptized; as Mormons aren't, it takes the latter. You get a dispensation as one always does for a "disparity of cult" marriage, from the local bishop, in the standard paperwork you fill out before they'll marry you in a church, and get married anyway.

A "mixed marriage" technically refers to a marriage between a Catholic and another validly baptized Christian, although the term is also sometimes applied by extension to marriages between Catholics and the unbaptized (that impediment is called "disparity of cult").

If they are going to marry in a Catholic ceremony, a Catholic needs a "permission" to marry a validly baptized non-Catholic Christian and a dispensation (for disparity of cult) to marry someone who is not validly baptized (a total non-Christian, or a Mormon, or e.g. certain Oneness Pentecostals who baptize, but using a non-Trinitarain formula i.e. "in the name of Jesus". The key difference is that, theoretically, if they used the Catholic form of marriage, the marriage without permission of a Catholic and a validly baptized non-Catholic Christian would be forbidden, but valid. The attempted marriage with the Catholic form without a dispensation for disparity of cult between a Catholic and a person not validly baptized would be both forbidden and invalid.

According to the Catholic Church, Catholics are bound, for the validity of their marriages, to follow the Catholic form of Marriage unless they receive a dispensation from canonical form. This is a separate requirement from the permission for a mixed marriage or the dispensation from the impediment of disparity of cult. Many marriages are found to be invalid on this basis, e.g. Alec Baldwin was recently married in the Catholic Church. This was possible because he (a baptized Catholic as a child) did not observe the Catholic form of marriage when he attempted marriage the first time.

But since Mitt and Ann were both Mormons at the time they were married, had a legal civil ceremony AND a temple marriage, and BOTH of those things are recognized by the Catholic Church as legal marriages (just not The Sacrament of Marriage for Catholics), NOT A TINY BIT OF IT APPLIES to Mitt Romney's marriage, whose marriage is totally recognized as a legitimate marriage by the Pope and all other relevant Catholic authorities.

To be clear, only one of those things at a time can be the wedding that created the natural marriage. If they had a valid natural marriage after the civil ceremony, the temple marriage is moot (and vice versa). If Mitt and his wife were to later be baptized Catholics, then their marriage would become a sacramental marriage. The Pope would probably recognize theirs as a legal civil marriage as well, but that's not the key point.
posted by Jahaza at 8:34 AM on September 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


Droney McDroneboner is right, or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:41 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know how you guys have time to run a government during that frenetic election warm up and cool down cycle.

Very little government-running is done by elected officials, Thank God and the various Civil Service Acts, so the bureaucracy (of which I'm an unremarkable cog) is pretty much self-sustaining during those periods.

Fun fact: the post-election cool-down is often a lot longer than the warm-up, as for example in my own boringly nonpartisan safety agency, it took a year after Obama took office for our new Administrator to be confirmed by the Senate.
posted by psoas at 8:46 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought metatalk wasn't for posts by proxy, btw.
posted by empath at 8:49 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Of course it is. They reach a smaller audience but we miss out on some cool shit if people don't open up misguided Metatalk threads with questions about thread deletions.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:06 AM on September 11, 2012


My only wonder about Mormonism relates to whether or not it actually gets raised surreptitiously in some form or other as a salting weapon by an outside group and if people think that it could be done successfully without a boomerang effect and what would be the chances of it really happening? I'm in no way for it; but it's always been a low level consideration in judging Romney's chances yeah? But prolly best left for AskMe, though I guess I don't reaallllly care enough to bother.
posted by peacay at 9:12 AM on September 11, 2012


This was not a good post--at all--but there is something a little weird about America's strong sense that it is somehow impolite to talk about religion and religious beliefs. I mean, I understand where it comes from and I understand that it is greatly preferable to a society where open hostility to particular sects is routinely engaged in and encouraged--but given the enormous influence of religion in US politics it's curious how little overt discussion of religious beliefs there is here. I find this particularly the case with Mitt's Mormonism. Again, it is obvious that much of what motivates people's reluctance to directly address this is a fear of looking like one is trying to whip up sectarian prejudice, but surely there must be some ground between "Mitt's a mormon, and that's all we're going to say about that" and "burn the evil heretic unbeliever!!!"? Other than platitudes about a belief in "family" and "community" and so forth, I don't think I've seen any meaningful analysis of how Mitt's mormonism informs his political choices and might inform his political praxis, which seems like an obvious, interesting and not at all prejudicial question.
posted by yoink at 9:17 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess markkraft has successfully remade his deleted thread here now?
posted by lazaruslong at 9:44 AM on September 11, 2012


Not really, we'll pretty much wrap it up here in a bit since he hasn't come back here for any reason and the MeTa seemed sort of stunty to begin with.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:46 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. There have been more posts about Mormonism on MetaFilter than the community will ever need .

2. Some of them have even been pretty good.

3. Dwight Eisenhower was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, with his home serving as the local meeting hall from 1896 to 1915, four years after Ike went to West Point. He weakened his ties to the Jehovah's Witnesses when he joined the military (for doctrinal reasons, it seems). Eisenhower was baptized and became a communicant in the Presbyterian Church on February 1, 1953, 12 days after he took office as President of the United States. And he's the one who got "under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 and "In God We Trust" adopted as the U.S. motto in 1956 and put on our paper money in 1957.

The Catholic Church does not recognize the baptism of the Jehovah's Witness Church. So Ike was probably the first U.S. President inaugurated without having been baptized in a form that the Catholic Church considers "valid," whatever that's worth.

4. Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon were Quakers. I'm not finding specific information online at the moment as to whether or not they were baptized, since Quakers generally don't believe in the necessity or doctrinal importance of physical baptism at all. So maybe Hoover was the first one.

So the post's premise was factually incorrect, in addition to being axe-grindy and irrelevant.
posted by The World Famous at 9:49 AM on September 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


"*I grew up Catholic and I don't know if there's another term that encompasses baptisms & weddings & other holy ceremonies for the rest of Christianity... is there one?"

I'm Catholic and went to a Protestant seminary for my master's; largest group Methodists, second largest group Baptists. If you say "sacrament," Protestants know what you mean and most are content to use that word in casual or ecumenical conversation, even if they properly call them a term of art specific to their denomination. Generally Protestants only recognize two actual "sacraments," compared to Catholics' seven, but a Protestant interested in having an ecumenical discussion about sacraments will know what you, as a Catholic, mean, and as long as you're clear they just have the two, won't be too picky on terminology. Some of my professors would differentiate "common sacraments" (the two that everyone has) and "Catholic[-only] sacraments" (the other five), but usually once you cover the basic point of two vs. seven, everyone's okay with the general term.

"The Pope would probably recognize theirs as a legal civil marriage as well, but that's not the key point."

That does seem to be the key point, as the OP was saying the Pope (and by extension apparently the rest of Catholics) wouldn't consider Mitt and Ann married.

And yes, I was using "legally married" in the civil law sense, not in the canon law sense. Regardless of the finer points of sacramental and non-sacramental marriage in Catholicism (which I didn't think would be of particular interest to the community, and gets covered a lot in Ask anyway), the point is that if someone gets civil-married in a quickie at the courthouse, it's still a legit marriage and you, Joe Unmarried Catholic, cannot go and marry Jane Quickie-Courthouse-Already-Married Atheist, because she is, in the eyes of the Church, already married.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:54 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah sorry to folks who are enjoying this discussion but we're over the 12 hour mark with no OP input and we really don't want this to become a MeFi post by proxy and I'm not sure if there's anything else to discuss here at a MeTa level (I know the larger issues are things people enjoy discussing) and I'm going to close this up.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:56 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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