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Post Partisan
Posted at 03:45 PM ET, 08/24/2012

Romney’s secret tithe

Hello gang! It’s mysterious-unknowable-depths week here at PostScript, where we take a break from all-uterus-all-the-time with slight diversions into secret subterranean government labyrinths and the special message-a-trois among Church, State and Mitt Romney. Our mothers warned us to stay out of dark, uncharted passageways, but here we are, hoping our needlessly dramatic Transylvanian peasant-style torches don’t burn up all the oxygen and that we’ll see daylight again before we die.

So, per Greg Sargent’s Plum Line column, Romney has come up with a whole new reason nobody gets to see his tax returns: It would violate his religious privacy, since he is known to tithe 10 percent of his pre-tax earnings to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Anyone finding that out that he tithes 10 percent of his income would be very bad.

It’s as if Romney thinks he gets partial credit for telling us 32 separate reasons why we don’t get to see his homework. A new one every few weeks! And since his previous reason not to show us the tax returns was that we would all make fun of him, it’s easy to see how this new strategy will . . . .

Hmm.

Well anyway, there’s a strategy, and right now it is to make people who want to see his tax returns look like Saul persecuting the early Christians and/or the federal government persecuting the early Mormons.

To the comments!

Fiona5 doesn’t really think that the new reason changes anything:

Doesn’t he realize that coming up with a sleazier and dumber excuse every day only makes him look skeevier and like he has something BIG to hide?

Sold2u agrees that this changes nothing but for the opposite reason:

The only people who are getting all bent out of shape over Romney’s taxes would never vote for him in the first place. They are just looking for dirt.
So why should he care if he ticks them off? He doesn’t owe them a thing.

And Aaronweiner thinks the stream of reasonings makes Romney look worse, since he seems to be looking for justifications for a decision he’s already made for his own reasons he won’t tell us:

If this was the actual reason for him not releasing his tax returns, it would have been the reason he came up with first. He’s just looking for a reason we’ll buy.

shrink2 sees a parallel in Barack Obama’s religious history uncovered in 2008:

Everyone read everything they could on Reverend [Jeremiah] Wright and Obama’s church. Ultimately Obama delivered his ‘racism speech’ as a result of people learning about his church.
Everyone should learn as much as possible about Romney and his. Maybe Romney will give a “Mormons and Their Sacred Tax Secrets” speech.

bernielatham thinks that this strategy is not so much about actually hiding his taxes, which Romney was doing fine with before, but strengthening his religious-freedom cred among possibly mistrustful mainline Christians:

I’d argue that another element here is an attempt to make a bridge between himself (and faith) and the evangelical community with a meme of shared threat to religious liberty — the demands for him to release tax returns being, effectively, an incursion into and attack on religion.

And yellojkt points out that releasing tithe information would actually be more revealing than straight tax information. Because a tithe is exactly 10 percent of an otherwise mysterious and elusive number:

Mitt does have one point. Knowing the amount of his tithe is a far more accurate measure of his true annual income than what he reports to the IRS. God doesn’t allow for any deductions and has better accountants.

PostScript herself has attempted to tithe before and found it extremely onerous. Even with wiggling she can get to only about 3 percent for church and charity combined, so she is very impressed by Romney here. She will cut him exactly 10 days’ worth of slack but demands to see a new reason she can’t see Romney’s taxes by the end of the month.

By Rachel Manteuffel  |  03:45 PM ET, 08/24/2012

 
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