Oh, of course I know the basics — Joseph Smith, no coffee allowed, the missionaries in the white shirts. I even know about all the unusual things — the Magic Underpants, the Star Kolob, the polygamist sects, Native Americans being a lost tribe of Jews. I hate to say it, but it’s true — I actually learned a lot about Mormonism from an episode of South Park a couple of years ago (And I actually don’t like South Park, but this episode was genuinely informative.)
I know Mormons have a reputation for homophobia. I know the church poured millions into passing Prop. 8 in California. That’s reason enough for me to not like the church.
Still, I was deeply bothered yesterday over at that (ack! cough!) site, all the derogatory comments being made about Mitt Romney’s religion. Some of it seemed terribly bigoted. And I thought the people making these comments probably thought of themselves as progressive and open-minded. I wanted to say to them … do you hate Harry Reid like this because of his religion. How about Steve Young when he played in the NFL. How about the Napoleon Dynamite guy? I despise Glenn Beck to pieces, but his Mormonism has nothing to do with my disgust toward him.
I’ve known a few Mormons, I’m sure we all have, and I’ve never once had any of them try to push their faith on me. I’ve never once had a problem with them — other than Prop. 8 — and I saw that as the church hierarchy.
I don’t like Mitt. I think he’s a phony and a flip-flopper. But, I’ve never heard of him trying to push his faith on voters — I have no idea how devout he actually is, in fact. This is a fundamental difference I see between Romney and Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Palin and Bachmann, and I think Huckabee, too, are Dominionists, who are out to turn America into a “Christian” nation … and not just Christian, but their particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity.
I don’t really care that Palin and Bachmann are fundamentalists … what I do care about is they constantly invoke God’s name for their source of motivation. It terrifies me the things they would try to do to this country if they gained control.
So, help me, Mitt Romney doesn’t terrify me. Maybe he should. I have no doubt Planned Parenthood would come under financial assault if Romney were elected, but frankly, at this point that’s true if ANY Republican gains power. ANY. They will ALL attack Planned Parenthood, which is reason enough not to vote for any Republican.
Maybe I’ve known too many Mormons, who for the most part mind their own business. Maybe other people know bad things about Mormons that I’m ignorant of. But, I can’t help thinking that there’s some “open minded progressives” out there who need to take a long look in the mirror. There’s plenty of legitimate problems with Romney without dragging his faith — as unusual as it may seem to many of us — into it.