During the brutal Vietnam War, some men dodged the draft, sought deferments, faked illnesses, were placed in National Guard and Reserve units then destined to never be called up. Some opposed the war, some favored war but wanted others to fight for them, those are called “Chickenhawks.”
Others, like Mitt Romney, current presidential candidate, go further. Elections bring out fiction, acrimony and hagiography. The latter is the drivel money buys to hide the truth even if the truth may be the only signs of humanity left in what has otherwise become an empty shell.
Everything known about Mitt Romney is hagiography, basically bull. This will be something different, unvarnished, and true.
Draft evasion isn’t a clever ruse to avoid serving your nation during wartime; it’s a criminal act punishable by ten years in prison and a large fine. It labels violators felons for life, prohibits voting, running for public office and can even, heaven forbid, prohibit serving as President of the United States.
The difference between the two involves analysis of the legality of efforts to be “unavailable” for service.
There are several “official histories” of Mitt Romney, but his favorite is written by John Kasich of the Boston Globe, his official approved biographer. Kasich wrote a bestselling book on Romney, oft describing him as a “liberal Ronald Reagan.”
However, in 2007, it was Kasich, in his role of “investigative reporter” to use his hundreds of hours of research and full access to all Romney documents to look into accusations of draft evasion leveled against Romney.
Kasich had something to hide, a Mitt Romney with a past, one of failure, one of weakness, humanity he hid from and then, later, abandoned like a snake crawls out of its old skin. The new Mitt, isn’t the real Mitt.
We trace Mitt Romney from Cranbrook Academy in stylish Franklin, Michigan, son of an auto magnate, son of Michigan’s governor, sensitive, too willing to do what was needed to be accepted and subject to expectations, scion of a “superstar” father who nearly gained the presidency himself but for a fatal flaw we will learn of later.
From Cranbrook, Mitt went to Stanford. Much is made of this, a foolish photo, an empty smile. What isn’t told is why he left, damaged, his diagnosis and what we will call rumors of a disaster that might well have cost Mitt both his future and perhaps his life.
Thus, in 1966, Governor George Romney received his son, facing certain military service or, worse still, perhaps being found unfit for that service.
The decision to send Mitt to France, a nation that didn’t recognize the Mormon religion, taking advantage of his father’s position and ability to “engineer” a “single service” exemption based on a fathers love for a damaged child, hagiography stepped in and the lies began.
It would be years before Mitt would reappear, sent off to Brigham Young University, at the time reviled for racism and mediocrity, and a history would be written, the public one that of riches and success, a private one of pain, of moral failure and weakness.
Kasich explains Romney’s history using the following details and resources:
“As the Vietnam War raged in the 1960s, Mitt Romney received a deferment from the draft as a Mormon “minister of religion” for the duration of his missionary work in France, which lasted two and a half years.
The deferments for Mormon missionaries became increasingly controversial in the late 1960s, especially in Utah, leading the Mormon Church and the government to limit the number of church missionaries who could put off their military service. That agreement called for each church ward, or church district, to designate one male every six months to be exempted from potential duty for the duration of his missionary work.
Romney’s home state was Michigan, making his 4-D exemption as a missionary all but automatic because of the relatively small number of Mormon missionaries from that state. It might have been more difficult in Utah, where the huge Mormon population meant that there were sometimes more missionaries than available exemptions. Most missions lasted two and a half years, as Romney’s did.
Barry Mayo, who was counselor to the bishop of the ward in Pontiac, Michigan, where Romney attended church, recalled in an interview that wards were allowed to exempt one missionary every six months from the draft. He said that he could not recall any time in which more than one potential draftee sought an exemption in the ward in a six-month period, so Romney’s deferment was never in doubt.
There are problems with Kasich’s article, more than a few. You see, technically a “missionary” is a volunteer, not a formally ordained minister. With every Mormon male claiming status as an ordained minister, whether missionary or not, the issues would have involved several that touched on constitutional ground, IRS codes and Selective Service definitions.
There were issues during the Vietnam War of local SSS boards in Utah, made up entirely of LDS (Latter Day Saints or “Mormons”) giving blanket draft exemptions to all males belonging to the church under the edict that any “male Mormon” is considered part of a general “ministry.”
This issue was challenged in court under Imus v. United States:
The findings of Imus v. United States were that though the Mormon Church was abusing draft law by offering blanket exemptions to all its members through church controlled draft boards, challenging the draft in general, which is what Imus did, having destroyed his draft card, did not give him basis for finding draft law illegal.
Thus, though the Church was systematically violating law, as no case was ever brought against them for that, they could continue to do so in the State of Utah.
Michigan is another story.
Here, Kasich has one source, one with no authority, no standing and no memory, “Barry Mayo.”
These are the actual facts:
- There is no record of there ever having been an agreement between the SSS and draft boards in Michigan involving Mormons.
- There was never any differentiation between Mormon missionaries or simple church members, who all had, in Utah at least, tried to claim draft exemption under D4 status before 1971 and D2 status after.
- Status as an ordained minister is more simply applied through IRS statute. If you pay no property taxes on your home, you are a minister. If you do, you are not. Mormons pay property taxes and are, thusly, according to the government, no more “ministers” than lay members of any other church.
- It is also a critical issue that, until many many years later, Mormons were “whites only” and the ministry “men only,” thus, the church, at least on the basis of race could be a non-profit but not qualify as a religion nor could BYU, a school that banned African Americans and later offered them special restrictions and “sub-human” status.
A Mormon church publication deals with this issue with great clarity:
A group of black taxpayers and their minor children attending public schools in Mississippi brought a class action on May 21, 1969 against the United States, seeking to enjoin the Secretary of the Treasury and the IRS from according tax exempt status to private schools in Mississippi which excluded African-American students on the basis of race or color.
In July 1970, while the lawsuit was pending, the IRS issued two Releases, announcing that “it can no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status to private schools which practice racial discrimination nor can it treat gifts to such schools as charitable deductions for income tax purposes.”
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the black plaintiffs, concluding that the IRS actions of denying tax -exemption to discriminatory schools was constitutional.
Such schools, however, were not entitled to public support, as which tax-exemption qualified. It reasoned that the Federal Government could not under the Constitution give direct financial aid to schools practicing racial discrimination, but that tax exemptions and deductions certainly constitute a Federal Government benefit and support. “While that support is indirect, and is in the nature of a matching grant rather than an unconditional grant, it would be difficult indeed to establish that such support can be provided consistently with the Constitution” .
Beginning in May 1975, the University permitted unmarried African-Americans to enroll, but a disciplinary rule prohibits interracial dating and marriage. That rule read:
There is to be no interracial dating
1. Students who are partners in an interracial marriage will be expelled.
2. Students who are members of or affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage will be expelled.
3. Students who date outside their own race will be expelled.
4. Students who espouse, promote, or encourage others to violate the University’s dating rules and regulations will be expelled.
What they fail to list here when “support” for a “racist” institution is considered unconstitutional, those supports include, not just tax exempt status and any federal subsidies but draft exempt status as well.
Thus, colleges such as Bob Jones University and BYU were constitutionally denied “S2” student deferments for their students.
Thus, Mitt Romney never had a student deferment until 1966, when he left Stanford and none was ever reinstated.
As to after 1970 and Romney’s draft number, his rejoining the SSS system after having been “missing” for nearly 5 years would have had no legal standing.
As Kasich, Romney’s “biographer,” has stated that there were few Mormons in Michigan and special regional groups were given a consideration that applied only to the Mormon church and no other group, and as Kasich has all Romney records, is it not strange that he offers no references for these facts he contends are true?
A search of the CFR, the Federal Registry and the records of the Selective Service Commission yield no records of any such decisions of special dispensation for Mormons.
Moreover, there are several gross misrepresentations here. No such documentation exists for Mitt Romney. In fact, Mormon’s serving in France, were, not only not recognized as an official religion in that country, but use the ruse of offing free language lessons, not religious instruction:
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