Skip to comments.Continuing The Bigotry
Posted on 06/10/2007 7:24:29 PM PDT by Reaganesque
Sally Denton uses today's Los Angeles Times op-ed page as a launching pad for the movie based on her book, "American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857," and as a means to propagate more anti-Mormon bigotry at the expense of Mitt Romney. Denton insists that Romney has to respond about the nature of his faith if he expects to win the nomination for the Presidency -- and uses a lot of 19th-century examples to "prove" her case:
MITT ROMNEY'S Mormonism threatens his presidential candidacy in the same way that John F. Kennedy's Catholicism did when he ran for president in 1960. Overt and covert references to Romney's religion subtle whispering as well as unabashed inquiries about the controversial sect he belongs to plague his campaign. None of his responses so far have silenced the skeptics.
Recent polls indicate that from 25% to 35% of registered voters have said they would not consider voting for a Mormon for president, and conventional wisdom from the pundits suggests that Romney's biggest hurdle is his faith. Everyone seems eager to make his Mormonism an issue, from blue state secularists to red state evangelicals who view the religion as a non-Christian cult.
All of which raises the question: Are we religious bigots if we refuse to vote for a believing Mormon? Or is it perfectly sensible and responsible to be suspicious of a candidate whose creed seems outside the mainstream or tinged with fanaticism?
Ironically, Romney is the only candidate in the race (from either party) who has expressed discomfort with the idea of religion infecting the national dialogue. While his GOP rivals have been pandering to the evangelical arm of the party, Romney actually committed himself (during the first Republican debate) to the inviolable separation of church and state.
First, Denton is hardly an unbiased pundit in this regard. She's flogging a book and a movie about an atrocity committed by Mormons 150 years ago. For Denton, 1857 is relevant to 2007, but for most Americans. The suggestion that Romney needs to answer for Brigham Young would be as silly as saying that Democrats have to answer for Stephen Douglas or that Lutherans today have to answer for the anti-Semitic rants of Martin Luther.
Denton first off would have people believe that all Mormons are "tinged with fanaticism," but does nothing to advance that case. She discusses the beginnings of their church in great detail, but her history lessons appear to end at 1857. In the only mentions of any connection to the present, she uses the HBO series Big Love and Warren Jeffs, neither of which has any connection to the modern Mormon church or to Romney's faith. Both the fictional account in Big Love and the unfortunately non-fiction and despicable Jeffs involve polygamist cults -- and in the TV series, are showed as in mortal opposition to the Mormons.
Denton includes this helpful instruction at the half-way point:
It's not a church's eccentric past that makes a candidate's religion relevant today, but its contemporary doctrines. (And it's worth noting that polygamy and blood atonement, among other practices, are no longer condoned by the official Mormon church hierarchy.)
So what contemporary doctrines does Romney need to explain? Denton never says. Instead, she spends her time writing about how Joseph Smith once declared his intention to run for President -- in 1844. She discusses how John C. Fremont's candidacy died on the rumor that he was Catholic -- in 1856. She mentions 1960, in which John Kennedy dealt with anti-Catholic bigotry, but only barely notes that he prevailed over it -- and that was almost 50 years ago.
Denton then frames the question that she feels Romney has to answer:
Do you, like the prophet you follow, believe in a theocratic nation state? All the rest is pyrotechnics.
Unfortunately for Denton, Romney has answered this question every time it gets asked. And somewhat incoherently, Denton appears to forget that she herself acknowledges this near the beginning of the column:
While his GOP rivals have been pandering to the evangelical arm of the party, Romney actually committed himself (during the first Republican debate) to the inviolable separation of church and state.
Romney has no need to enter into the field of religious apologetics in his campaign for the presidency, no more than does Harry Reid in order to run the Senate. He certainly has no guilt to expiate on behalf of a massacre committed almost a century before his birth, and for people like Warren Jeffs who do not have any connection to the Mormon church. In other words, Denton has taken up space at the LA Times to exercise her bigotry and to not-so-coincidentally sell a few books and movie tickets. She and the LA Times should be ashamed.
UPDATE: One commenter suggests that people opposed Keith Ellison on the basis of his religion. Er, not quite. We opposed him on the basis of his association with the notoriously anti-Semitic group Nation of Islam and its leader, Louis Farrakhan, and his association with CAIR, which has supported terrorist groups like Hamas. If Romney had spoken at Warren Jeffs' compound for political donations, then the analogy would be apt. Ellison's problem isn't his religion but the company he keeps, politically, a fact that he and his apologists like to wrap in a false cloak of religious antagonism.
You mention the her!
The LDS church is mainly a support group for middle class people trying to raise children. Granted Mormon theology is indistinguishable from what most people call science fiction, the good news is that most people including most Mormons don’t really give a rat’s a** about theology.
How come we haven’t heard about the faiths of the other candidates. I don’t even know or care where they go to church.
Now that is wrong BY is not responsible for the Massacre it was John Lee & friends if you going to hold anyone responsible why not hold CC responsible she is a blood relative
Off topic here. I just saw Twisted Sister’s old video “I wanna rock” and that evil teacher in the beginning looks a lot like Romney. ROFL
That is news to me!
That’s right! John D. Lee and his family have been bearing the blame for 150 years, no reason to stop now, is there resty?
You should reread what I wrote. I did not blame him for the massacre.
Hey, I am glad you are enjoying the Flying Imam moniker.
(So called because the anti-Mormon brigade, like the Flying Imams, interject religion into a secular environment and are a threat to hijack (threads).
Since this thread is actually about Romney's Mormon religion, I guess it can't be a hijack. That is until you all get deep deep into theology, which I imagine will be soon enough.
Maybe you can answer my question, what is so scary about Sandra Tanner for Hugh Hewitt to bring her up on his show?
True. I asked because this is at least one indicator (the best I could come with) of how a religion views non-members. If the answer is pretty much one of just a prefernce for members over non-members, then no biggie. If however, there is a strict prohibition because non-believers are viewed as unworthy or heathen (or whatever), then it's a different matter, at least for me.
Saundra Tanner? Go to http://utlm.org/
It is the website she and her husband Jerald began (he passed away earlier this year). It contains very factual and embarrassing evidence of the fraudulence of LDS claims.
Just for your reading enjoyment, this day in Mormon history June 10, 2007 (not all of it is ancient history)
June 10, 1835 - Joseph Smith is tried for assault and battery on his brother-in-law, Calvin W. Stoddard. The trouble likely stemmed from Stoddard calling Joseph “a d—d false prophet”. Witnesses testified that Stoddard had been the first aggressor. The court dismissed the case, stating that “there could be no cause for further prosecution; that the assault might perhaps be justified on the principle of self-defense.”
June 10, 1838 - The “Danites” are organized during a clandestine meeting when Jared Carter, George W. Robinson, and Sampson Avard, “under the instruction of the [First] [P]residency, formed a secret military society, called the ‘daughter of Zion.’” Avard instructs the newly inducted members: “As the Lord had raised up a prophet in these last days like unto Moses it shall be the duty of this band to obey him in all things, and whatever he requires you shall perform being ready to give up life and property for the advancement of the cause[.] When any thing is to be performed no member shall have the privilege of judging whether it would be right or wrong but shall engage in its accomplishment and trust God for the result[.]” The next month Joseph Smith’s scribe writes in “The Scriptory Book of Joseph Smith, Jr.”: “[W]e have a company of Danites in these times, to put right physically that which is not right, and to cleanse the Church of verry great evils which hath hitherto existed among us inasmuch as they cannot be put to right by teachings & persuas[ions].”
June 10, 1844 - Joseph and Hyrum Smith (both secretly practicing polygamy) tell Nauvoo City Council that the 1843 revelation pertains to ancient polygamy, not to modern times. Under the authority of Mayor Joseph Smith and the Nauvoo City Council, police, members of the Nauvoo Legion under orders of “Lieutenant-General” Joseph Smith and a “possey consisting of some hundred” destroy the press, office and papers of The NAUVOO EXPOSITOR as “a public nuisance.” Afterward the crowd gathers in front of Joseph Smith’s house where he, “gave them a short address told them they had done right. That they had executed my orders required of me by the city council that I would never submit to have another libellous publication in [print] established in this city.”
June 10, 1859 - Wilford Woodruff writes: “President Young Called at the office to attend our lessons in the Deseret Alphabet.”
June 10, 1875 - First organization for young men is local innovation of Salt Lake 13th Ward. It becomes church-wide organization on December 8, 1876.
June 10, 1885 - Apostle John Henry Smith writes in his journal: “After our Council was over Prest. G[eorge] Q. Cannon said to Bros. F[ranklin] D. Richards, B[righam] Young [Jr.], F[rancis] M. Lyman, H[eber] J. Grant and I that Prest. J[ohn] Taylor desired the Apostles to refrain from telling vulgar stories and all light minded-ness as it grieved the spirit of the Lord.”
June 10, 1891 - Dissolution of church-controlled People’s Party which instructs its members to join one of the two national parties, Democratic or Republican.
June 10, 1920 - U.S. Department of Justice files charges against church president Heber J. Grant and Presiding Bishop Charles W. Nibley for illegal profiteering on behalf of church’s Utah-Idaho Sugar Company. Nibley is already under indictment on related charge of conspiracy in restraint of trade. Federal grand jury excludes Grant but includes Nibley in its indictments on Aug. 21. Grant speaks in Nibley’s defense at general conferences and govenrment eventually drops charges.
June 10, 1965 - The First Presidency writes “To PRESIDENTS of TEMPLES” that “approval has been granted for limited modification in the design of the garment used in the temple to allow for better fit and greater wearing comfort. The approved modified design for women has a button front rather than string ties, a brassiere top patterned after the brassiere top of garments used for day-time wear, a . . . All other features of the garment, including the collar, long legs, and long sleeves, remain the same as heretofore. The approved modified design of the garment for men has a button front, closed crotch, . . . All other features of the men’s garment also, including the collar, long legs and long sleeves, remain the same as heretofore.”
June 10, 1988 - High school honor student, Eagle Scout, and returned missionary Arthur Gary Bishop is executed at Utah State Penitentiary for the kidnapping and murder of five young boys, ages four to thirteen, over a five-year period in the Salt Lake County area.
June 10, 1993 - BYU officials terminate five junior professors, including Cecelia K. Farr (pro-choice feminist) and anthropologist David Knowlton who has published studies of Latin American terrorism against LDS buildings and missionaries. In immediate response more than 100 students rally to protest lack of academic freedom at BYU, first such student demonstration at BYU since 1911. Subsequent rallies include holders of prestigious “Benson Scholarship,” and Third World students who compare BYU’s current situation with repressive regimes these students have fled. This is reported at length in CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, thus worsening BYU’s reputation for academic freedom among administrators of nation’s universities and grant-giving foundations.
Doubt if it will be necessary.
Sandra Tanner is not any more scarier than Nancey Pelosi or Harry Reid or Ted Kennedy?
An in depth historian I see....
Hmmmm...just for the sake of argument, let's change that around:
Are we religious bigots if we refuse to vote for a believing Wahabbist Muslim?
A person's religious beliefs, especially if they are strongly held, are the foundation for their interaction with the world. Why then should we completely ignore the religious affiliation of a candidate when considering whether or not to vote for him/her?
Does this make us bigots? I suppose in some situations it can become bigotry. But for most Americans it is just one of many shrewd and thoughtful ways to judge between candidates.
I have way before you showed up here on FR, all the lies and distortion the Tanners have make a living off of for years!
It pushes buttons of peoples emotions until these thing are shown not to be accurate and misleading just like the left.
But if the truth is not in one they could not discern that!
Having Sandra Tanner as a consultant on a movie about Mormons would be like having David Duke as a consultant on a movie about Martin Luther King, Jr.
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