Gore: Mormonism not a fair issue

Al Gore didn't make much, if any, news on Larry King this week, but at least two of his answers are worth preserving. From the transcript:

"KING: Is (Mitt Romney's) Mormonism a fair issue or not a fair issue?

"GORE: I do not -- I don't think it's a fair issue. I really don't. I would like to think we are past that. People say, well, this is a special case. I don't think it's a special case. I think that he's entitled to his own beliefs.

"And incidentally, Larry, in The Assault on Reason there is a very long hard-hitting section on this that goes back to our founding fathers, goes back to the debates that we had more than 200 years ago about why religion should be kept out of the way in which our decisions are made. Except to the extent that individuals, of course, who are motivated by their religious faith, as I am, as so many people are, are going to make that a part of their decisions. But here's the critical distinction. When America was founded, they -- our founders said, OK look, we are not going to pretend that whoever is elected to office has been ordained by the almighty to be the decision maker. The person who is elected is elected by us, the people of this country. And the divine right of kings was rejected by the founders of the United States.

"And what replaced that, the divine right of individuals in this sense, we believe that we are all created equal. And that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. So the relationship that our founders believed was appropriate for -- between America and God was their belief that every individual has certain rights and has dignity because that person is a child of God.

"Now, for those who don't believe in God, I'm not proselytizing. I'm just telling you what I believe and what our founders believed. But what -- but this has been twisted around in recent times by some people who want to convey the impression that God belongs, if not to a particular political party, that God has a particular political ideology and that those who disagree with a right-wing approach to this or that are against God. That is an anti-American view. That is completely contrary to the spirit of America. It is an American heresy and people in both parties ought to reject that and fight against it."

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"KING: Are you disappointed in Joe Lieberman, your former running mate, who has run independent, and is staunchly pro the actions of President Bush in Iraq?

"GORE: Well, I disagreed with Joe Lieberman on his policies toward the invasion of Iraq. But he's entitled to his own opinions. And let me tell you, he has been one of the leaders in trying to get an adequate response to the climate crisis for many years. And there are more issues that I agree with Joe on than those where we find ourselves in disagreement. But, yes, I have disagreed with him on that.

"KING: You would not call him a disappointment then?

"GORE: Well, why would you use a word like that where a friend is concerned? We have had our disagreements and I have stated them. But I would not apply that to a friend."