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28 November 2006 Blog Home : November 2006 : Permalink

Mormon Underwear Brings Out the Worst or the Best?

To my amazement it seems that the sort of underwear a candidate may or may not wear could be a factor in the next US presidential election. This totally bizarre state of affairs arises from the possible candidacy of Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, for republiucan presidential candidate in 2008. Apparently to some people Mormons are best known for their undergarments.

Now I have spent a fair amount of time with Mormons of various stripes in various places around the world. Somehow the question of underclothing never arose. And, to be honest, this kind of crud sounds like someone who doesn't like Mr Romney is already scraping the barrel to find dirt on him. According to Dean Esmay this is probably because Mr Romney has no other dirt and, as he also points out in another post, it seems that this trick has been played before to some success. Ann Althouse also seems to have copped a lot of criticism for pointing out the stupidity of this issue, but since I'm a far less well known blogger I'm sure this one won't get so much coverage. However she also points to a rather more worthwhile article, from the Dallas Morning News (hey MSM serious, bloggers snarky and gossippy, how stereotypical) which somehow brings it all together. That article points out:

Ever since the founding of the LDS church in 1830, conservative Christians have sought to discredit the Mormon church as a blasphemous cult. They have worked to squelch the political ambitions of its adherents, from Smith himself, who made a quixotic bid for the White House in 1844, to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who ran for the Republican nomination in 2000. No Mormon presidential candidate has ever posed a real threat – until Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

And continues to note that the doctrinal differences with "regular Christians" and the chequered history of the Mormons.

I don't know either the political leanings or the religious beliefs of the author Molly Worthen, who also published a version of this in The New Republic, but given that TNR publication and the fact that many journalists are distinctly liberal and secular, it seems not implausible that she is at the very least a liberal/progressive. Hence it would not surprise me in the least that she disagrees with Mitt Romney's views on issues such as gay marriage and abortion. It is certain that Andrew Sullivan, one of the bloggers above, disagrees with Governor Romney's position on gay marriage. When you put all this together it kind of looks like a deliberate spoiling tactic where liberals (and Sullivan these days seems to be moving distinctly leftwards) attempt to spread rumour and innuendo about the most serious threat to their retaking the White House in 2008.

Personally I suspect this kind of bunk is going to fail. While some more outspoken Evangelical "leaders" - like their Moslem fundamentalist peers these leaders seem to be mostly self selected by vitue of their ablity to get media coverage - may claim that Mormons are the antichrist or something similar, the vast majority of christians are going to look at Mormon deeds rather than relatively obscure theological words. They are after all looking to elect a president rather than a pastor.

Without exception every Mormon I have met has been basically decent, tolerant and nice. In Tokyo a family took pity on me for Christmas dinner one year, in Provo and Salt Lake City mormons I've met in the course of work have taken pity on me as a business traveller stuck in a boring hotel and invited me back to their houses for an evening [Oh and as a result of visitng these Mormon households I can state that some Mormons at least wear just the same underwear as the rest of us]. Even the earnest missionaries who seek converts are nice people who can usually engage one in sensible conversation and take NO for an answer. The Mormon religion may have some quirky theological claims, but it is, in fact, about the one religion I admire because it is, in many ways, an intensely practical faith. It is also a very American faith, and I mean that in a good way. American society, particularly rural and semi-urban society, functions primarily as a bottom up one with neighbours banding together to do things and help each other out and that sort of behaviour is precisely how Mormons seem to work. They are also (for the most part) tolerant of neighbours who aren't of their faith or aren't as devout and they . In other words they aren't any more different to mainstream americans than, say, orthodox Jews.

In fact let us assume that Mitt Romney were a former devout Hasidic Jew. Do you think that bloggers and journalists would be asking about how other Jews saw them or whether he would go back to wearing the weird clothes and skull-cap? In fact pretty much anyone who did so would reap a hurrucane of accusations of anti-semitism. And dare one wonder what would happen if he were Moslem? Do you think someone would dare to ask what would happen if there was an emergence while he was praying? So how come its OK to write these kinds of crap about a Mormon? and for that matter how come no one mentions that Democrat Senator Harry Reid is also a Mormon - albeit one who seems rather less devout that Governor Romney.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin