Does Mitt Romney's religion matter?
Anyone who thinks that the presumptive Republican nominee's Mormonism will not be a factor in the 2012 election isn't paying attention. Already attacks are mounting on the left.
On Wednesday April 4, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell remarked that while Judaism and Christianity are thousands of years in the making, Mormonism, in stark contrast, is a mere 182 years old. Mormonism was “created” in 1830 “by a guy in upstate New York” who got “caught having sex” with his “maid” and then “explained to his wife that God told him do it.” Alluding to Mormonism’s historically polygamous character, O’Donnell made sure to mention that Joseph Smith—the man who “invented” Mormonism—eventually went on to accumulate 48 wives.
This isn’t the first time that O’Donnell has sought to discredit Mitt Romney by assailing the former Massachusetts governor’s faith. In 2007, he charged Mormonism with being a “racist faith.” O’Donnell states: “As of 1978 it was an officially racist faith, and for political convenience in 1978, it switched.”
Those Republicans who suspect that President Obama and his legions of supporters in the media are going to attack Romney by attacking his faith are correct. Yet it is crucial that they know exactly why this will be their strategy of choice.
For whatever reasons (we needn’t get into them here), Republicans and establishment “conservatives” refuse—adamantly, steadfastly, refuse—to acknowledge two facts about their rivals. First, they refuse to concede how Democratic leftists think. Second, they refuse to recognize that unless they make this first concession, they will lose.
If Romney, the GOP nominee, wasn’t a Mormon, Democrats wouldn’t dream of making this campaign about religion. Republicans must grasp this. They must reckon with the truth that Mormonism, from the leftist’s perspective, is more vulnerable a target than any and every other belief system save for, say, Neo-Nazism.
O’Donnell forecasts the lines along which the left is going to come after Romney.
That Joseph Smith was a polygamist, and that the logic of Mormon theology implies the need for polygamy, permit leftists to depict Mormonism as an incorrigibly “sexist” faith. And that blacks had long been denied, not membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but access to its priesthood, exposes it to the left’s charge of “racism.”