The Book of Anti-Mormon

Jeremy Lott on the politics of anti-Mormonism:

Anti-Mormonism played a highly exaggerated role in Romney's defeat four years ago....That heavily evangelical Republican primary voters didn't buy into his candidacy right away does not mean that they were passing judgment on Romney's religion. There were plenty of reasons not to vote for him that had nothing to do with his religion. He was considered a centrist from Massachusetts in a party that is more conservative and now has a Southern base. Romney had learned his moderation in the cradle. His father, auto exec and Michigan governor George Romney, had been the preferred candidate of the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party against Richard Nixon in 1968.

Mitt Romney flip-flopped and zigzagged a lot and then shamelessly turned around and attacked people for taking the very positions he used to hold. This enraged his primary opponents. Their political consultants found that one of the best ways to attack him was with robocalls that simply replayed Romney's old words to would-be voters. They could quote him distancing himself from President Reagan, say, or endorsing insurance mandates, or huffily and unambiguously endorsing the right to abortion.

Few of the reasons shouted publicly or whispered privately against Romney four years ago had a thing to do with his Mormonism. At best, it was a sweetener for evangelical voters: "Vote for Huckabee/McCain/Fred Thompson because he agrees with us and, by the way, he's not a Mormon." Many Romney backers refused to admit their candidate's own qualities had something to do with his loss. They blamed the whole tackle box on anti-Mormon bigotry and worried that persistent prejudice would prevent Romney from running a successful campaign in the future.

Go here to read the whole piece, which discusses the current race as well as the last one. And stay tuned to Reason for more on the subject: I have an article coming up in the August/September issue arguing that, despite some high-profile moments of anti-Mormon bigotry on the campaign trail, by historical standards Mormonism enjoys a high level of acceptance in America today. Strange stories about the church still circulate, but we are a long way from the days when the popular perception of the faith featured a wild mélange of mind control, assassinations, secret sexual lodges, and conspiracies to subvert the republic.

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  • sarcasmic||

    I wish people would quite calling Romney a flip-flopper.
    He's a flipper.
    Obama, with his for-then-against(flip)-then-for-again(flop) is the flip-flopper.

  • John||

    As opposed to Obama who is an evolver. We need keep things straight here.

  • ||

    Are you saying Obama was once a monkey? Why, you racist neo-Confederate redneck racist racism-loving racist libertard!

  • Spoonman.||

    You forgot "crypto-Dominionist."

    I'm really not sure if I was being accused of being a changeling or what with that one.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Yo, that's racist, straight up

  • Bam!||

    Romney doesn't flip-flop: He twirls.

  • Hugh Akston||

    As a conservative voter, I'm concerned that Romney's religious affiliation might prevent him from killing people in other countries and persecuting evil minorities in the US. Like that Quaker, Nixon.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    One reason for increased acceptance of Mormonism is that they gave up polygamy, leaving that pernicious practice to the breakaway sects (and to Islam).

    And one reason they gave up polygamy is because of the federal government's prosecution of polygamists when Utah was a territory.

  • o3||

    what is the basis anyway for govt mandating how many adults may marry each other? polygamous marrages are all over the bible in addition to like 7 other types of marrage

  • Zeb||

    I think that the practical reason is so that rich men don't take up all the women.

  • o3||

    they can have the fatties

  • Scrapette||

    You might be interested in googling jonathan turley's legal defense argument on behalf of sister wives' kody brown in his defense against his utah polygamy prosecution. It's basically this: make kody non-mormon, his skin black, his sister wives baby mamas, and what he does is no different than what is presently accepted in our culture.

    I am not kidding. And... this sounds like religious bigotry to me and a good argument. think about it.

  • ||

    Mitt Romney lost last time, and should have been laughed out of contention this time, because he's a fucking politician's politician -- consistently unprincipled and unreliable. Fuck him.

  • MWG||

    Gee, I wonder if you would hold such an opinion of Romney is he was say... evangelical?

  • Timrek||

    Given his policies as Mass. Gov., I'd never vote for him regardless of his religion.

  • fish||

    You're being to hard on the ROMNIAC 5000...it can only operate based on it's programming. Garbage In Garbage Out.

  • ||

    If he has five first ladies, will they each head up their own bullshit public initiatives, or will they simply combine their powers working for one bullshit public initiative?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    This is indeed a frightening question you ask.

    Either way - terror, fear and loathing.

  • fried wylie||

    Their political consultants found that one of the best ways to attack him was with robocalls that simply replayed Romney's old words to would-be voters.

    Should work against Obama too, just use his 2008 campaign promises.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    But that would be RACIST!

  • RBS||

    the faith featured a wild mélange of mind control, assassinations, secret sexual lodges, and conspiracies to subvert the republic.

    I don't know, sounds pretty cool to me.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yeah, especially the sexual lodges.

  • Timrek||

    Mormonism has it easy compared to atheists. Any number of recent polls regarding public views on religion will illustrate what I mean. While there are most certainly a large number of complete wander atheists, I'd rather people ground their ideology in rational thought than blind faith. But it is funny when so called "skeptics" question everything religious people do yet fail to bring that same questioning attitude to bear when it involves a government program. Church or Government; it doesn't matter it's still a group of people trying to coerce other people into doing what they want them to do. At least you can leave a church and stop giving...try avoiding taxes some time. That's why government has become worse than religion.

  • sarcasmic||

    But it is funny when so called "skeptics" question everything religious people do yet fail to bring that same questioning attitude to bear when it involves a government program.

    Atheists who worship The State are not atheists. They are indeed in the thrall of religion.
    They worship government, and at the same time will say "We are government"... They worship themselves.

    They consider themselves to be gods.

    That's quite a bit different from atheists who don't believe in any gods, supernatural or human.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Atheists who worship The State are not atheists. They are indeed in the thrall of religion."

    I hope you're saying that in a Scottish accent. True Scotsmen and all that.

  • Zeb||

    It's important to remember that government and religion have been one and the same for much of history. I'd say it's not so much that government has become worse than religion, but that religion has given over its more coercive functions to secular government.

  • Killazontherun||

    WaPo Attacks Romney for 'Mormon Militia' Action 150 Years Ago

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....45241.html

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Good lord--that particular bad blood hasn't been a factor in local culture for at least 100 years.

    By the WaPo's logic, Missouri and Illinois should give Romney their votes in reparation for Haun's Mill and running the Mormons from Nauvoo.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Sounds like WaPo needs to pronounce an anathema against the state of Missouri based on that reasoning.

    Missouri Executive Order 44

  • Mo||

    I wonder if this may be why Romney is avoiding using Wright against Obama. If Obama's racist church is fair game for discussion, then so does Romney's. And only one person was an official for their church.

  • Rich||

    "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

  • Alan Vanneman||

    The simple, shocking fact is that the Mormon religion is not Christian. If you want to become a Mormon, they will send you the Book of Mormon to study, not the Bible. Furthermore, the Mormon Church has been competing effectively with the "mainline" evangelical churches, both in converting the "heathen" and in converting evangelicals to Mormonism. There is a very real sectarian rivalry here, which both the mainstream and the libertarian media have a hard time understanding, because they don't believe that anyone really believes in religion. But they do.

  • o3||

    if judged by deeds, many christians arent christian

  • LemonMender||

    The simple, shocking fact is that the Mormon religion is not Christian...

    Not to pick at this too much, but there is a tremendous amount of question begging in that statement. *Who* gets to define who is (or is not) a Christian? With regard to why Mormons would send you the Book of Mormon, I suspect that they do it because they want to emphasize what makes them different. They simply assume you have a Bible already. Their missionary lessons make abundant reference to the Bible, so it's not as if they don't like the Bible or something.

    There is a lot of sectarian rivalry, but that is also understandable since both Mormons and Evangelicals claim to have *the* truth. Asking that to be otherwise would be like asking you to refrain from expressing your political opinions and to stay away from the Dem and Rep reservations.

  • Scrapette||

    If you are for religious liberty, it is not an issue. period.

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