Back Off Mitt Romney’s Religion!

Hey, why's everyone picking on the rich White guy?

In six months I want to defeat Mitt Romney.   I want to beat him so badly he’ll never think of ever doing anything more ambitious than sitting around trying to count all the money he’s made closing down businesses and putting people out of work..   I want to reelect Barack Obama and kick Mitt’s ass back to Massachusetts, Utah, California or wherever else he has a home.

I don’t want to destroy Mitt Romney.   He seems like a fairly decent fellow and particularly so when compared to vicious scum like Santorum, Gingrich and Perry.   I just don’t want him to be the next president.  Nor do I want him to be the subject of bigoted attacks for being a Mormon.

While attacks on politician’s personal faith should be off-limits, one reason Romney has had trouble gaining traction with certain parts of the Republican Party are lingering questions about what Mormons believe in.  Now his adversaries are using Romney’s faith as a club against him too.

MSNBC’s Martin Bashir launched a broadside attack on Romney suggesting he might be damned for lying.

Bashir alleged that Romney has lied three times in recent days, speaking about Ted Nugent’s endorsement, unemployment under President Obama and a “vast left-wing conspiracy” in the media.

“It doesn’t matter how many times he hears the truth, Mitt Romney prefers to tell lies,” Bashir blasted. He repeatedly referred to Romney as “Mitt the Mendacious.” Then, he wondered how Romney would be punished for lying, and whipped out the religious text of Romney’s faith.

“In Section 63, in verse 17 of the Doctrine and Covenants of the Mormon Church we find this: ‘All liars, and whosoever loveth and and maketh a lie, and the whoremonger, and the sorcerer, shall have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death,'” Bashir said. “And from the Book of Mormon to Nephi, Chapter 2, Verse 34 we find this: ‘Woe unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.'”

“Given what the Book of Mormon is clearly saying, Mr. Romney has but two choices,” Bashir continued. “He can either keep lying and potentially win the White House, but bring eternal damnation upon himself or he can start telling the truth. The question for him, I guess, is which is more important.”

There are things about Mormonism that makes me uneasy and I need to learn more about how Romney squares himself with some of the most troublesome aspects.

But Bashir using Romney’s religion to bash him is scurrilous and repugnant. Legitimate questions about a candidate’s religion are not out-of-bounds, but Bashir took it way too far in suggesting Mitt Romney may be eternally damned.

Mitt’s faith or mine or yours is nobody’s business. Now when we take our private beliefs into the public square we may have to answer questions or how it will impact upon us or others.

For example, when I was recently called to grand jury duty I was asked if I had a moral or religious objection to hearing cases where the death penalty might apply. I confess to not knowing much about the Mormon faith, but I do know it has had a somewhat “problematic” relationship with Blacks.

You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. . . . Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which was the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another cursed is pronounced upon the same race–that they should be the “servants of servants;” and they will be until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree (Journal of Discourses, 7:290; emphasis added)

 Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be (ibid., 10:110; emphasis added)

That’s “will always be.”  Nothing about it’s okay for a White man to bang a Black woman “x” years from now and for a Black man to screw a White woman?  Well, I don’t think we really need to wonder what Brigham Young and Joseph Smith would have thought about that, do we?

Mitt Romney is another case entirely.   It is essential to know how much of Smith and Young’s teachings he believes and what he rejects.   They are his own versions of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

If every politician that ever lied were condemned to hell there would be no room left over for the real hardcore sinners.   Going Bashir’s route doesn’t prove Romney faces an eternity burning in hell for being a liar.  It will make him a victim of the worst kind of intolerance and turn off wide portions of the electorate were Obama to go after Romney based upon his religion.

The goal is to beat Romney, reelect the president, and deny a Washington takeover by the far-right G.O.Tea Party.  It’s enough for me that Mittens is wrong on nearly every issue.  That doesn’t make him evil.   Wrong is quite enough.

If the idea of pinning a privileged rich man’s ears back sounds like a good one to you, then I’m with you.  If you want me to help rip and shred Romney’s policies, cool.  I’m with you.

Go after his religion or his family and you’re going alone.   You win by being right, proving the other guy is wrong and you can do a better job than him.   President Obama can win the election by winning that argument.  A scorched earth campaign to destroy Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon is simply religious bigotry by another name and that’s a bridge way too far for me.

There is more than enough in Romney’s sorry record to rip him to shreds without engaging in the worst sort of gutter politics.   Hardball politics doesn’t have to mean scorched earth.