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Friday, April 13, 2012

New York Times subtly plants anti-Mormon seeds

While the current debate rages about Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney never working a day her life, an article in the New York Times by Geoffrey Kabaservice is planting seeds of concern about Mitt's Mormon faith. Kabaservice is walking a fine line between presenting information about Mormonism and doing so while not appearing bigoted.

Many of the problems various people have with Mormonism are found in the religion's early years. Kabaservice, no doubt, understands this and focuses on the Romney family's connection to those early years.

Via NYT:
...“The Real Romney” leaves an unsettling impression. Romney’s peculiar misfortune is that the things that defined him have become liabilities in his presidential pursuit, leading him to minimize or repudiate his own beliefs, legacy and accomplishments. Even as he shifts into the front-runner’s role, he is running on who he is not — namely, Barack Obama — rather than on who he is, and cannot stand openly for the things that matter most to him. If Obama is our first post-racial president, Romney, with his strategy of absences and denials, bids to become our first postmodern president.

Romney’s political problems begin, in a basic sense, with his family history. The authors trace the intertwined histories of Romney’s ancestors and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, beginning with his great-great-grandfather Miles Archibald Romney, who became an early convert to Mormonism in 1837. Mitt’s great-grandfather had undertaken the pioneer journey to the Utah Territory as a boy, and when he refused to abandon what Mormons considered the divinely ordained practice of “plural marriage” — he had three wives at that point — he fled federal agents to establish a colony in Mexico; the family remained there after the Mormon Church agreed to ban po­lygamy in 1890 as a condition of Utah’s gaining statehood.
Why is that relevant? Kabaservice explains just a few paragraphs later:
His upstanding life fails to win Romney the political credit that would normally extend to such a paragon, because many people do not understand or approve of the religion that inspires him. Over the last several years, about a quarter of Americans have told poll takers they would not vote for a Mormon. Liberals are skeptical of a religion that until 1978 refused to grant full membership to anybody with even one drop of African blood and still bars women from the priesthood. Mormon leaders have supported extreme right-wing organizations like the John Birch Society, denounced the theory of evolution, condemned much of American popular culture, and led the fights against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and the gay marriage movement over the past decade. Christian conservatives might be expected to support Mormonism’s political agenda, but many believe that the religion is not Christian but a heretical and even satanic cult. Because of this opposition from both left and right, Romney is forced to play down his distinctive heritage, resorting instead to generalized expressions of faith and patriotism.
There you go. Kabaservice touches on Mormonism having a racist past that necessarily included Mitt's ancestors. Look for the mainstream media to pick up on that little part about barring women from the priesthood - after Hilary Rosen's comments play out.

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