Your Editor had said, here and here and here, that if he became the Republican presidential nominee, the Democrats, not directly through the campaigns, but via their willing partners in the professional media, would keep reminding the American people, sometimes subtly and sometimes not, that Mitt Romney is a Mormon.
From Donald Douglas:
Here’s the big biography piece at the New York Times yesterday, “Romney’s Faith, Silent but Deep.”
Ann Althouse calls this fascinating: “‘Mitt and Ann Romney’s marriage is strong because they believe they will live together in an eternal afterlife…‘”
But Joel Pollak isn’t fascinated at all, at Big Journalism, “NY Times Ignored Obama’s Wright, Focuses on Romney’s Mormon Faith.”
And pro-Romney blogger Jennifer Rubin goes after the Times, “The Mormon obsession“:
The piece is a troubling, and in many cases a bizarre, attempt to picture Romney as “The Mormon candidate,” a standard that would repel most Americans if applied to another faith.
The New York Times’ piece sounds positive at first glance, but it is definitely written to let you know just how . . . different . . . Mormonism is from more conventional Christian denominations, and that, despite any abjuration that Mr Romney doesn’t try to impose his religious views on others, his political views are so obviously shaped by the Mormon Church:
Mr. Romney’s penchant for rules mirrors that of his church, where he once excommunicated adulterers and sometimes discouraged mothers from working outside the home. He may have many reasons for abhorring debt, wanting to limit federal power, promoting self-reliance and stressing the unique destiny of the United States, but those are all traditionally Mormon traits as well.
The implication is inescapable: Mr Romney may hold some fairly standard conservative political views, but he holds them because he is a Mormon.1
Joel Pollak was unsparing in his criticism of the Times’ hypocrisy: as they carefully tell us all about Governor Romney’s Mormon belioefs, and how they relate to his political positions, the Times was just as determined not to connect Senator Barack Hussein Obama (D-IL) in 2008 with the racist views of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Mr and Mrs Obama had been members for twenty years:
Needless to say, the Times has never held Obama to anything like the same standard. It ignored the racist teachings of Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ–of which Obama was well aware, despite protestations to the contrary–and fails to hold him to account when his actions violate the tenets of that bizarre, radicalized and racialized congregation. (Wright himself has not been shy in attributing Obama’s perceived compromises to political expediency–as well as to “the Jews.”)
Just as Ronald Reagan deployed acting skills on the trail and Barack Obama relied on the language of community organizing, Mitt Romney bears the marks of the theology and culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
One quick paragraph, which tells us that President Reagan’s past was shaped by his acting career, and that President Obama’s by his early life as a “community organizer,” but Governor Romney “bears the marks of the theology and culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Jennifer Rubin noted the Times’ point that Mr Romney’s political positions are all traditional Mormon positions, and noted that such are pretty much traditional Jewish positions as well, but anyone who wrote that would be quickly identified as an anti-Semite. I’d add that they are fairly mainstream Protestant positions as well.
(S)ince Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is also a Mormon, how would one explain that he is unbothered by big government and not all that interested in curtailing the debt?
Well, that’s easy enough to answer: it’s the same as 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Senator John F Kerry (D-MA) being a Catholic; his political positions in no way matched those of the Church of which he claimed to be a member.2 The Distinguished Gentleman from Nevada doesn’t seem to let what he says are his religious beliefs mean anything to him, kind of like the (purportedly) Catholic House Minority Leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), doesn’t vote or support positions which would in any way indicate that she is actually Catholic.
The editors of The New York Times will, of course, endorse President Obama for re-election, and there will be more stories to remind the voters that Governor Romney is a Mormon; we can count on more articles “explaining” to the general public just what differences exist between Mormonism and more mainline Protestant Christian churches. What we won’t see from the Times is an article like Gary S Smith’s3 in Crisis magazine, The Controversial Faith of Barack Obama. In it, the author noted that:
As president, Obama has frequently testified to his Christian faith, most notably at four National Prayer Breakfasts, and linked many of his policies to biblical teachings. Contrary to the wishes of many of his supporters, he has also continued George W. Bush’s Faith-based Initiatives.
Obama’s rhetoric and actions have led to conflicting claims about his presidency. John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College, recently labeled Obama perhaps the “most explicitly Christian president in American history” because of his extensive citation of the Bible and copious references to Christian faith. Fea stressed that Obama regularly read the Bible and prayed, was being mentored by evangelical pastors (most notably Joel Hunter, Kirbyjon Caldwell, and T.D. Jakes), accentuated both faith and works, urged Americans to follow God’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves, and strove to build the kingdom of God on earth.
Yet, as President, Mr Obama has pushed some very unChristian policies. His recent endorsement of same-sex “marriage” was, he claimed, supported by Christ’s teaching of the Golden Rule. Of course, given that the Bible specifically condemns homosexual activity, in both the Old and New Testaments,4 the President’s rationale is specious. President Obama has pushed forcing religious organizations which are opposed to artificial contraception to have to provide it anyway, through their health insurance plans; perhaps that would be the President pressing his own version of Christianity on those who might have different beliefs.
The best way that your Editor could describe it is that President Obama talks about religion, but does not live his supposed faith, and is willing to force his political beliefs on others, even if they disagree, while Governor Romney doesn’t seem to talk about his faith all that much, but clearly lives it, though he doesn’t try to enact parts of Mormon theology that are not justifiable through secular arguments into the law.
Or, perhaps more simply, Mitt Romney believes in God, through the specific theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, while Barack Obama believes in Barack Obama.
- Your Editor has expressed support for each of those four items previously, but your Editor isn’t Mormon; he is Catholic. I will suggest here that John Hitchcock would also strongly support those positions, and he is neither a Mormon nor a Catholic, but a Protestant Christian. ↩
- Your Editor doesn’t think that many Catholics saw Mr Kerry as one of them; Catholics, who normally give a majority of their votes to Democrats, gave 52% of their votes to George Bush, a Methodist, over Mr Kerry, supposedly a Catholic. ↩
- Dr. Gary Scott Smith chairs the history department at Grove City College and is a fellow for faith and the presidency with The Center for Vision & Values. He is the author of “Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush.“ ↩
- The Bible does not document that Jesus spoke about homosexual activity specifically, but in the Sermon on the Mount, he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth: until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18) ↩