The practical reality is that the doctrines, history and practices of the Mormon Church WILL be discussed during what is going to be a very long campaign. Today offered a preview, but we really need to quash some very ugly concepts aborning, because Ostrich ain’t a-gonna work for Obama or from Rmoney.
Painting: “Jesus is my CEO”
Here is the Grand Kerfuffle (expertly kerfluffed by the hacks at The Daily Beast, whose headline intentionally stokes the fires of controversy, even though an actual thoughtful, nuanced position was being expressed):
Brian Schweitzer: Mitt Romney’s ‘Family Came From a Polygamy Commune in Mexico’
by Ben Jacobs Apr 19, 2012 7:05 PM EDT
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer says Mitt Romney’s roots in Mexico will hurt him with female voters.
The Daily Beast contacted the office of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer today to talk about whether his state would be in play in the 2012 presidential election. About a half hour later, the governor called back, and he had a lot to say. He didn’t think that Montana would be a swing state, but the Democrat did say that Mitt Romney could have issues nationally because his father was “born on a polygamy commune in Mexico.”
Yeah. Uh, now that you hate that religious bigot Brian Schweitzer, what he actually said is buried below, indicating the intentional nature of the blogbaiting (the next paragraph of a short posting):
While discussing swing states, Schweitzer said Romney would have a “tall order to position Hispanics to vote for him,” and I replied that was mildly ironic since Mitt’s father was born in Mexico, giving the clan a nominal claim to being Hispanic. Schweitzer replied that it is “kinda ironic given that his family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico, but then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico, given the gender discrepancy.” Women, he said, are “not great fans of polygamy, 86 percent were not great fans of polygamy. I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico.”
A lot was said, but if we can play (intentionally) “Let’s You And Him Fight,” then so be it, right Beast*?
(*See “I Knew A Guy Who Named His Dog ‘Cujo’,” 16 Aug. 2011)
Don’t get stuck in the machinery of false notions
And, predictably, the Obama Campaign plays Jackie Robinson:
In response to Governor Schweitzer’s comments, Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith said “Attacking a candidate’s religion is out of bounds, and our campaign will not engage in it, and we don’t think others should either.”
All of which is nice, and high-minded and bullshit.
President James Knox Polk (“Fifty-four Forty or Fight!”) sent Federal Troops to Mormonland (then, Deseret, now Utah and huge swaths of surrounding states) and the long tensions, migrations and assassinations (Joseph Smith was, in essence, lynched) form an inescapable portion of American and more specifically WESTERN history.
Schweitzer in Montana, just as in Oregon, Washington State, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona (and to a diluted extent, California) has to deal with Mormon issues every bit as much as the governor of New York or Massachusetts has to deal with Catholic issues.
It is irrational and imbecilic to believe that our nation will NOT discuss Mitt’s Mormonism. Sorry. Whether you like it or not, them’s the facts, and the ostrich routine isn’t going to work for anybody, least of all Mitt.
It is NOT religious bigotry or intolerance to discuss the beliefs and claims of any religion. That’s the First Amendment. They have an absolute right to exercise their freedom of religion and that’s ALSO the First Amendment.
But the “free press” does not have a right, nor can it expect to pretend that this is NOT and issue and is NOT important and will NOT be talked about. That’s ALSO the First Amendment.
Religious bigotry is what happens when the hate and the sneers and the smears sneak into that discussion, and THAT is what the “free press” of the Daily Beast has tried to toss gasoline on the fire of, just to attract clicks.
So, if you would like to exercise your First Amendment right to have an opinion and to heap disdain on people who give the free press a bad name, I’ll repeat the names so that you remember them:
- The Daily Beast
- Ben Jacobs, writer
- Tina Brown, editor ultimately responsible for content.
er, not exactly
But this will be discussed. The only question is whether it will be discussed as adults, or as religious bigots (both for and against, or, as my Quaker Great-Grandmother admonished across our generations: “the truth can always stand questioning”). The Daily Beast just made ITS choice.
Heads out of the sand, please, and let’s see what the truth of the claims and counter claims are. While there shall be no religious test for office (United States Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3), voters can apply any criteria they want, and, as we saw in the primaries, some have overtly and covertly believed this to be an issue. Enough covertness. Brian Schweitzer spoke to the practical realities of reality, and nothing he said was not factual.
We can grow up now, or later, but it might be better if the adult conversation about religion started now.
And NO religion is or ever can be a sacred cow in a free society.