The nicest thing liberal pundits have done for Mitt Romney

I’ve been struck by how little Romney’s Mormon faith has entered into pundit opining on the general election campaign. Liberals in general think someone’s religion is their own business, take the separation of church and state pretty much for granted, and thus despite a very few exceptions have left Romeny largely alone about this. I entirely agree that’s been the good and right thing to do and only bring it up now because it’s far too late in the race for any discussion of Romney’s religion to have any impact.

But does anyone for a moment think the same would have held true if a Mormon had been running as the Democratic nominee and the rightwing noise machine had to decide whether to be nasty or nice?

Not a chance of it. Look at how the hard right has treated their persistent fable that Obama is a secret Muslim. We’d have been treated to endless questions about how Romney’s faith impacts his politics and about whether his status as an ordained Bishop meant he’d be trying to serve two masters if elected. There’s no way Billy Graham would have cut Mormonism from his list of “false prophet” cults – instead he and every other rightwing evangelist would be asking loudly if membership in such a cult meant the nominee was unfit for the office.

In this, as in so many thing, liberals may be too nice but they’re also on the moral high ground.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Personally, I look at Mormon doctrine and history and I think anyone who could believe that stuff could be persuaded of anything, no matter how bogus. So for me, it’s a deal breaker. No observant Mormon has average or better judgement about the merits of ideas, and therefore no observant Mormon should ever hold a position of authority over non-Mormons who didn’t explicitly and individually consent to it.

    But the think about Romney is, there are so many deal breakers that any one of them doesn’t really make the difference by itself. Robber baron? Check– can’t support one of those. Habitual, gratuitous liar? Check– next candidate please. Callous to the needy and powerless? Check– don’t call us; we’ll call you. And so forth. The show-stoppers really just go on and on.

    If being a kwazy Mormoon were the most conspicuous thing that called Romney’s judgment and fitness to govern into question, I think people would have been discussing it openly. But for most people, it’s not even near the top of the list.

    And it appears that most Republicans, like Mormons, can be persuaded of anything, no matter how bogus.

  • Romney’s Mormon beliefs featured in pro-Obama ‘voter education’ brochure

    Washington Post, By Peter Wallsten, November 5

    Mitt Romney’s Mormon beliefs are featured prominently in a pro-Obama voter guide being circulated to African-American churchgoers in the all-important Hampton Roads area of battleground Virginia, the latest reminder that the Republican presidential nominee’s faith could be an under-the-radar issue for some voters.

    Romney would be the country’s first Mormon president, and although America’s most prominent evangelical leaders have overcome their theological concerns to enthusiastically back Romney’s candidacy, some on the left continue to see his Mormon beliefs as a possible wedge issue.

    The new brochure, produced by a coalition of black pastors in the Norfolk area, includes a side-by-side comparison of what it presents as the religious beliefs held by Romney and President Obama, who practices a more traditional form of Christianity.

    In invoking ‘Judeo-Christian values,’ Ryan is stunning in his hyprocrisy

    Washington Post “On Faith”, By Sally Quinn, November 5

    When the going gets tough the tough get going. In this case it was Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

    In a conference call Sunday organized by Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Ryan spoke to thousands of evangelicals.

    Saying that President Obama’s policies on health care and religious freedom are leading us down a “dangerous path, “ Ryan went on to warn, “It’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, Western civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.”

    To whom was Ryan speaking? Not just evangelicals but the 17 percent of Americans who believe that President Obama is a Muslim. What was Ryan implying? That Obama is a Muslim. What do most of these true believers think Muslims are? Terrorists.

    • Two quick points, Raja – (1) It wasn’t the Obama campaign that produced that brochure, and (2) Mormonism is not technically a “Christian” religion. Jesus Christ is not a major figure in their preaching. Read the Book of Mormon, if you doubt me,

      • Yes, quite so, the brochure isn’t a product of the campaign.

        Though I think there’s some controversy about your point (2), not least because of the Church’s name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whether they believe the same things about Christ that other Christian churches believe is quite a different story.

  • Well said, Steve. My wife and I were just talking about this the other day. The right-wing loonies are always asserting that Obama is “different” and belongs to a scary religion with kooky beliefs, when, in fact, it is their candidate who fits that description. Most Mormons are not “normal” people. Believe me, I grew up in Utah near many of them and they are a strange, insular bunch!

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