Okay, I’ve taken the better part of the week off to get my mind wrapped around the events of this week. Governor Romney dropping out of the Presidential bid – quickly endorsing his arch-rival and the end of the conservative GOP movement. I have to agree with a 90 year old reader of mine who says:
I am 90 years old, and a proud USNavy veteran of War 2, and have voted in EVERY election since I first became eligible even via absentee ballot from overseas. With the Romney decision, this will be the first ever election I have missed and miss it I will.
At first I thought that I would vote for McCain only to block the Dems. With the knowledge of McCain’s relationship with that Hernandez scoundrel, I’m staying home.
Another reader chimed in with this comment author of the blog at American Federalist:
It wasn’t Reagan’s time in 1976, if like me, you’re looking for hope.
For the record, I am not ready to jump on the bandwagon for John McCain. I realize Gov. Romney and his followers at MyManMitt are quite quick to do so, but I’d have to say, I am not.
Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but the smarts of a very scathing fight don’t just “kiss and make up”. They take some time for me. I have to agree with Glenn Beck, that just jumping onto this RINO’s back is a giant “enabling” job this country has seen for a long time.
Here are just a few little summaries of how deep this anti-Mormon rift is:
TABERNACLE ON TRIAL
Mormons Dismayed by Harsh Spotlight
By SUZANNE SATALINE
February 8, 2008; Page A1
Mitt Romney’s campaign for the presidency brought more attention to the Mormon Church than it has had in years. What the church discovered was not heartening.
Critics of its doctrines and culture launched frequent public attacks. Polling data showed that far more Americans say they’d never vote for a Mormon than those who admitted they wouldn’t choose a woman or an African-American.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in late January revealed that 50% of Americans said they would have reservations or be “very uncomfortable” about a Mormon as president. That same poll found that 81% would be “enthusiastic” or “comfortable” with an African-American and 76% with a woman.
The Mormon religion “was the silent factor in a lot of the decision making by evangelicals and others,” says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the poll. The Romney campaign ran into “a religious bias head wind,” Mr. Hart and his Republican polling partner, Bill McInurff, wrote late last month.
“I don’t think that any of us had any idea how much anti-Mormon stuff was out there,” said Armand Mauss, a Mormon sociologist who has written extensively about church culture, in an interview last week. “The Romney campaign has given the church a wake-up call. There is the equivalent of anti-Semitism still out there”
“The vast majority of Americans recognize that one of our strengths as a nation is our tolerance for religions that are different than our own,” says Mr. Fehrnstrom, the campaign spokesman. “Sadly, not every person thinks that way, but there’s nothing that can be said or done to change their small minds.”
For Mormons, Mr. O’Donnell’s comments were a rallying cry. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught not to argue with outsiders over faith. But as criticism of their church rose to new heights during the campaign, they took on their antagonists like never before, in a wave of activism encouraged by church leadership.
Mormon leaders and church members say they were initially unprepared for the intensity of attacks, which many say were unprecedented in modern times. The attacks, they say, are a sign that their long struggle for wide acceptance in America is far from over, despite global church expansion and prosperity.
On the Internet, the Romney bid prompted an outpouring of broadsides against Mormonism from both the secular and religious worlds. Evangelical Christian speakers who consider it their mission to criticize Mormon beliefs lectured to church congregations across the country. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the Catholic journal First Things, wrote that a Mormon presidency would threaten Christian faiths. Atheist author Christopher Hitchens called Mormonism “a mad cult” on Slate.com, and Bill Keller, a former convict who runs an online ministry in Florida, told a national radio audience that a vote for Mr. Romney was a vote for Satan.
“It seems like it’s been open season on Mormons,” says Marvin Perkins, a Los Angeles Mormon Church member who lectures about the history of blacks in the church
That same month, M. Russell Ballard, one of the church’s 12 apostles, or governors, urged students at a graduation at Church-owned Brigham Young University to use the Internet and “new media” to defend the faith. At least 150 new Mormon sites were created and registered with the site mormon-blogs.com. “People were haranguing us on the Internet,” Mr. Ballard said in an interview. “I just felt we needed to unleash our own people.”
Normally insular church leaders, with help from Washington-based consultant Apco Worldwide, began a public-relations campaign last fall, visiting 11 editorial boards of newspapers across the country. In another first, the church posted a series of videos, some featuring Mr. Ballard, on YouTube to counter a wave of anti-Mormon footage on the site
Soon, the Mormon Church began posting its videos on YouTube — 22 so far. One clip, for example, showed Mr. Ballard, the church apostle, answering the question “Are Mormons Christian?”
It has drawn 26,000 views. By contrast, a cartoon clip from “The God Makers,” a 1980s film that mocks Mormon beliefs, has been viewed 945,000 times.
Mr. Ballard’s call for more new-media activism inspired dozens of new Web sites. On Politicalds.com, several Mormons of different political views write about the presidential race. Founder Mike Rogan, of Chandler, Ariz., says he started the blog “to combat some specific misconceptions about Mormons,” including that all Mormons are “conservatives with a mindless ‘sheep’ mentality…”
Although Mr. Romney’s withdrawal from the race is likely to quiet the controversy for now, many church members believe the turmoil of the past year will have lasting effects.
“There will be a long-term consequence in the Mormon church,” says Mr. Mauss, the Mormon sociologist. “I think there is going to be a wholesale reconsideration with how Mormons should deal with the latent and overt anti-Mormon propaganda. I don’t think the Mormons are ever again going to sorrowfully turn away and close the door and just keep out of the fray.”
Read the full article here.
I have to wholeheartedly agree. The feeling I get from my blogs to my friends is that this anti-Mormon racism is real and deep. This is more than political “whining” or taking the role of “victim”. For many this has been that rallying cry to take up verbal arms. LDS blogs are swamping the cybersphere in unprecedented ways. Those who comprehend Article VI of the constitution understand that there is no religious test.
Here is some more about this from the Denver Post:
A stranglehold on the GOP By David Harsanyi, Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 02/07/2008 09:41:16 PM MST
Campaigns can be unpredictable. Success hinges on the vagaries of history, the tide of the country and the whims of voters.
Then again, Mitt Romney’s exit from the presidential race was inevitable the moment evangelical voters heard he was a Mormon.
Evangelicals have shown us they now have a stranglehold on the Republican Party. It isn’t that many evangelicals are social conservatives; it’s that they’re only social conservatives. The entire party now caters to their quirks.
In 2006, Dr. James Dobson — whose wife excluded Mormons from participation in the National Day of Prayer that she chaired in 2004 — explained, “I don’t believe that conservative Christians in large numbers will vote for a Mormon . . . .”
But conservatives did vote for Romney, state after state, in caucuses and primaries across the country. I assume most of these voters were “Christians.” Perhaps they just weren’t the right kind of Christians.
In a New York Times profile before the Iowa caucus, Mike Huckabee, R-Kingdom of Heaven, praised fellow candidates like John McCain and Rudolph W. Giuliani but not Romney.
When asked if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion, Huckabee answered, “I think it’s a religion. I really don’t know much about it … . Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”
Golly, gee, ya think? (All this time I thought the Dark Lord Xenu was Satan’s brother.)
It seems perfectly reasonable to vote against a candidate based on faith, if the candidate’s beliefs conflict and/or pose a theocratic threat to the Constitution.
An example of this latent danger might be seen in an aspiring presidential candidate declaring his supporters to be members of “God’s Army” or “soldiers for Christ.” A candidate like Huckabee.
Now, if Mormon elected officials begin arguing that we should take the country back for Brigham Young, let’s worry. As it stands now, Mormons in Washington are just as ineffectual and compromised as your commonplace Christian or Jew. It’s evangelicals who often seem confused about the role of state and faith.
In Iowa, 6 in 10 Republican voters claimed they were born again or evangelical Christians, and a large majority of them supported Huckabee. Once Romney lost Iowa, he was finished.
With the chilling prospect of a McCain presidency looming, Old Testament-style panic set in. Dobson, the day before Super Tuesday, rattled off a number of non-ideologically reasons why McCain won’t do, claiming, “I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience.”
When asked about Romney, Dobson went out of his way to explain, “My theology is very, very different, obviously, and I would not find myself in agreement with the ways he sees scripture and, of course, their own interpretation and extension of scripture.”
What in the name of Joseph Smith Jr. does a candidate’s view on scripture have to do with policy decisions? For evangelicals: everything.
Yet, so indigestible is the thought of a McCain presidency that Dobson claimed he could, gulp, “deal” with Romney in a polling booth. Dobson should have thought about that before sending his coded anti-Mormon messages to the flock. It’s too late now.
George W. Bush was one of them. Dobson and Ted Haggard (before being sent away to reform school for gays) could pick up the phone and call the White House and get answers. Those days are over.
Issues such as abortion and gay marriage are political issues because, in this country, we prescribe policy to deal with them. Social conservatives, then, should remain major players in the political debate. But for ordinary conservatives, there are a multitude of other issues, as well.
Mormonism certainly shouldn’t be one.
Reach columnist David Harsanyi at 303-954-1255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, from Maurine Proctor of Meridian Magazine:
Religious Bias and Mitt Romney
Super Tuesday is behind us, and watching Mitt Romney’s inability to penetrate the South — he consistently came in third place after McCain and Huckabee — raises the question that has haunted his campaign from the beginning. Is this hum-drum showing in the Bible Belt a reflection of religious bias? Or is it merely identity politics, because evangelical voters like to vote for somebody who just looks like them and Mike Huckabee was there to fill the bill?
The question matters because the prospects of any conservative winning the presidency without carrying the largely Evangelical South are small. Should Latter-day Saints, then, who are mostly conservative, not tell their children what every other American does, “You, too, can grow up and be president”?
On the one hand, according to the Boston Globe, “nationally Huckabee, Romney and Senator John McCain roughly split the evangelical vote, exit polls showed yesterday. But in the South, the vote among Christian conservatives was significant, and Huckabee drew the largest percentage of them by far.”
It is also the case that Romney won a few endorsements from Evangelical leaders such as Traditional Values Coalition leader, Lou Sheldon, but many more, whose values line up with Romney’s just wrung their hands and said they couldn’t find their candidate. Romney was invisible to them — not an option.
Last night pundits at The Corner, the blog at National Review, thought the Mormon question was significant. John O’Sullivan said, “My southern belle wife always warned me that many evangelicals would vote for anyone but a Mormon.”
Mark Steyn said, “There was an explicit anti-Romney vote in the South. A mere month ago, in the wake of Iowa and New Hampshire, I received a ton of emails from southern readers saying these pansy northern states weren’t the ‘real’ conservative heartland, and things would look different once the contest moved to the South. Well, the heartland spoke last night and about the only message it sent was that, no matter what the talk radio guys say, they’re not voting for a Mormon, no way, no how.”
Some of the bias is anything but fuzzy. At Pastors4Huckabee, the effort is to make a biblical claim against voting for a Mormon for president and claim that Christians who support Romney are actually violating scripture.
A Cover for Bias
Still, bias takes many forms, and though the outright Mormon blasting settled down after Romney’s talk on religion at the Bush library, the attitude is still there, but masked. Vanderbilt political scientist John Geer recently said that one of the reasons that the tag “flip-flopper” stuck with Romney but not his Republican opponents who have also changed their minds on critical issues lies in Romney’s Mormon beliefs.
Geer and his colleagues, including Brett Benson, designed an Internet survey to assess bias against Mormons and its potential impact on the nomination process and general election campaign.
Benson said, “We find that of those who accuse Romney of flip-flopping, many admit it is Romney’s Mormonism and not his flip-flopping that is the real issue. Our survey shows that 26% of those who accuse Romney of flip-flopping also indicate that Mormonism, not flip-flopping is their problem with Romney.” Benson noted that the pattern is especially strong for conservative Evangelicals. According to the poll, 57 percent of them have a bias against Mormons.
Religious bias hides behind not only the charge of “flip-flopping” but perhaps also behind the charge of being “too perfect.” Unbelievably, Romney has been criticized because he mentioned that he had not had a serious fight with his wife in their marriage. I’ve heard people in Washington complain that they were overwhelmed and disdainful because at one event, he filled the stage with his children and grandchildren — “all those people who look just alike,” as if it were not a plus.
I think Latter-day Saints have assumed that as the nation got more exposure to Romney, religious bias would melt away — the real person taking the place of the negative stereotype. I would be hard-pressed to say that that has happened as widely as we might have hoped.
As Romney’s candidacy continues, it is undeniable that religious bias will continue to play a dominant, though sometimes hidden role.
Something More at Play
Yet more is at play than the presidency for Latter-day Saints. We have learned something unhappy in the last year of presidential politicking that we never had supposed, and it comes as a surprise in this country touted for its diversity and generosity of spirit.
We have been bewildered, disappointed and quite frankly surprised, as we have seen our faith excoriated and blasted both from the left and the right in the press. It would be laughable if it weren’t so marginalizing when we see the press and pundits call our faith everything from “wacky” to “spooky” to a “racket” to much worse, like Jacob Weisberg’s caustic essay in Slate, “A Mormon President, No Way.”
Just rephrase that to say, “A Jewish President, No Way” or “A Black President, No Way” to see how offensive it is.
For a season of this campaign such prejudice was our daily fare in the press. Until last year, we thought we were mainstream, and why not? We are the fourth largest denomination in the United States, one of the fastest growing Christian faiths in the world with a new chapel going up every day somewhere in the world, and our members are founders and heads of major companies, federal judges, members of Congress, and international leaders in medicine, business, academia, and communications.
Studies show us to be among the healthiest and best educated people in the world.
It is not that before this campaign we didn’t run into occasional pockets of bigotry. Most of us have had the experience of telling someone we were a Mormon to see them suddenly stiffen in disapproval. We have assumed that occasional person was an uneducated throwback to some earlier, less sophisticated time when in small lives people were wary of differences.
To see the name calling and suspicions whipped up by the press and some people toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not only disheartening, but it has also been alarming. Latter-day Saints have no anti-defamation league to protect them from prejudice.
As Christians, Latter-day Saints are taught to be slow to take offense, but we cannot pretend that real people’s lives are not diminished by bigotry when a nation is taught to disdain them. As citizens of the United States, Latter-day Saints are experiencing more soft bigotry toward us this year than at any time in recent history. For us, this widespread response is new.
What has been so disappointing is that very few have stood up and said to cease and desist. Where are the champions of tolerance in the press or in the pulpits who have stood up and said, “Enough”? Where are all these advocates of diversity, who find Mormonism does not deserve the same respect as other groups in society that are handled with kid gloves?
About the best we get are those who say that Romney’s faith shouldn’t be a problem in considering him for President. The impression that is left is, “Because he is so eminently well-qualified, can we hold our nose and vote for him.”
When Mitt Romney’s father George Romney ran for President in 1968, his Mormon faith was not a question. Have we lost ground in finding that distant, shining shore where people of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds are appreciated and accepted?
Harvard law professor Noah Feldman at that same conference said that if the liberal press had said that Romney’s religion was irrelevant, it would largely have been considered irrelevant.
That didn’t happen, so Mitt apparently has had a political handicap, and not incidentally it has reverberated back to affect all Latter-day Saints.
I would have to wonder that the signing-off of Gov. Mitt Romney is an attempt to make peace on more than many levels. Yes, it concedes that he, the suspiciously expedient Conservative, is paying his dues. At CPAC, finally, many were ready to rally and finally call him the Conservative’s Conservative. A little too much a little too late. But is it to acquiesce to the 21st masters of Mormon slavery? At the very least, it is turning the other cheek. But let’s just say this, it will be a long time before I can call my fellow Evangelicals “brother” or “sister” in the cause.
This fracturing of our party is a vindictive fracturing of any hope to salvage our conservative issues. Had all Christians united, Mormons and Evangelicals, on all fronts: fiscally, socially, and militarily this GOP would have been the GOP this country needed. I would suggest that the very presence of Mike Huckabee and his followers that are the primary cause of what may now be an irretrievable gasp of the Reagan coalition of a great Republican Party.
My question is, with the growing antagonism towards the religious, including the now marginalized Evangelicals, where will this anti-Mormonism be in 4 years? Huckabee continues to vindictively make his irrelevant case by staying in this campaign. He has gotten there by trumpeting the Evangelical anti-Mormon and populist message. The GOP continues it’s stampede to the left by rushing towards John McCain. I can’t go to either on principle alone.
Rush Limbaugh built a great case this week that if Conservatives ever hope to get anywhere, they had better start getting true Conservative Republicans back into the House and the Senate. The only way to do that is by keeping a close eye on each state’s House and Senate – from thence springs our hope.
Or as Michael Tams sums up other positive steps we can take in his “Conservative Manifesto” at
Push away from your desk and get up from the computer. Call your county or township GOP organization. Attend every monthly meeting; they’re generally once a month and if I can do it given my commitments, anyone can. Volunteer to do things that need to get done: yes, these will likely be quite crappy and may include making phone calls to sell ad space, or volunteering to cover a precinct (and maybe in some cases, two) that aren’t being worked. Get to know local candidates, and when you meet a good one, volunteer to stuff envelopes, bags of literature, and walk around (even in eight inches of snow, even if it’s 20 degrees) distributing information on their behalf. In short, do what you’ve been doing online – building relationships and influencing others – with actual, live, person-to-person interactions.
When elections come, figuratively speaking, put your money where your mouth is. Organize like-minded people to walk precincts and make phone calls on behalf of conservative candidates in non-local contests. Hold meet-up groups where people can come together in support of those candidates. In short, take a look at what Ron Paul’s people have done, get up off of your backside, and work.
And when elections roll around? You don’t have to vote for John McCain; I’ve already said that I won’t. But this won’t keep me home. I’ll be there voting for the conservatives in other races because they need my – and your – support. I’ll be telling this to every single conservative I know who is disillusioned by a McCain candidacy: you still need to get out and vote for Senate, House, and State-wide races. Not liking the guy at the top of the ticket is no excuse for not supporting good people in their races.
In short: if you don’t like the status quo, you have to change it. Not third person “you.” I actually mean you. Assume that no one else will have the nerve, energy, or right ideas. Then, go do it.
When we’ve done everything we can do and the party doesn’t conform to our vision, values and ideals, then we can declare it broken. Then we can assess what our options are. Then we can talk about creating a third party – Lord knows that’s been a topic near and dear to my heart for a long, long time.
You may get sick walking a precinct in January. You may fall down a set of icy stairs on your back; if you’re lucky and careful, probably not. Our Founders were willing to risk it all – everything – in pursuit of their values. If we’re not willing to risk anything other than a couple of hours of free time, and only then sit at our computers and write that fiery prose, we’re going to get more of the same. …let’s see if we can’t get control of our party back.
So, I have put this all together in a way to aggregate what I feel are the hot topics on this anti-Mormon issue. Another excellent post to keep tabs on this is over at Article VI blog titled: “Romney’s Run ‘A Crucible For Mormonism?’ And How Do Evangelicals Feel About It?”.
In “No Break – A Big Mistake In the Wake, Dobson Style”
The “faith-baiting” refers to Huckabee’s anti-Mormon “aside” to the NYTimes just before Iowa. There is a lot of truth to that quote. Which means that by endorsing Huck, Dobson has pretty much squandered his endorsement. His conscience may have demanded same, but given that his lack of support for McCain was already well known from his Monday statement, not to mention his very early statements and their context, would not an endorsement of Huckabee been implicit after Romney’s withdrawal? And would have allowing it to stay implicit not have avoided the appearance of a conspiracy?
The possible theory is simple. Dobson’s Monday anti-McCain declaration could be read, and certainly was read by some out of their own anti-Mormon bias, as an encouragement to vote for Huck. It will be interesting to see – I hope someone polls this – how much of an effect Dobson’s Monday declaration had in Huck’s Super Tuesday southern sweep. To come out with this Huck endorsement mere hours after Romney’s withdrawal makes it all appear very strategic. You just know someone is going to try and connect the dots, and with the MSM poised on the religion question, and wanting to simplify things, they may be active participants is such conspiratorial theorizing.
When you also examine the actions of the Dobson-allied FRC, releasing key staffers to the Huckabee campaign just long enough to help with Iowa and rob Romney of momentum, one can construct a very plausible “Stop the Mormon” scenario.
With Mormon disappointment and anger at the levels it is right now, I am surprised the charge has not already been leveled. With so many creedal Christians out there floating outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the Mormons; it is a testament to Mormon patience and forbearing that they have not struck back in a similar fashion.
None Of This Helps Any Of Us…
Now, here is the bottom line. We are fighting liberal, secularist tendencies in the nation. Something Evangelicals, creedal Christians in general and Mormons share in common. Given that common cause, it makes no sense whatsoever to divide the forces – particularly when Romney is out. What possible political good can come from deepening the divide in an already divided political camp? The Mormon vote is significant and important to social conservative causes (see the American Thinker quote above) – driving an additional nail in an already sealed coffin can only serve as a big enormous, “Get out of my face and leave me alone.” And thus we Evangelicals lose potentially 6 million allied Mormon votes; votes we desperately need – particularly in a McCain lead party.
A comment to this article are a fantastic venting – continue the full read here.
Romney Bid Was a Crucible for Mormons
Mormons Dismayed By Harsh Spotlight
LDS Anger Over Romney’s Treatment
And the list goes on and on and it all makes me sick.
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