To Be Or Not To Be Mormon? That Is Romney's Question

This post, written by Oliver Willis, originally appeared on Like Kryptonite To Stupid

Romney is questioned and challenged again on his faith by yet another conservative, this time it's Iowa talk show host Jan Mickelson. This continues to show that Hugh Hewitt's repeated assertions that Romney is being mostly attacked from the left on this to be fallacious - a lie.

Furthermore, the Romney boosters like Hewitt and his lap-sitting blog partner Dean Barnett seem to have convinced themselves that questions about the less mainstream beliefs that are central to the Mormon faith (like the idea of biblical-style miracles happening here in America, or that the messiah will return and show up in Missouri in some capacity) are off limits. Bull. I don't see why theological questions are off the table. I think it's perfectly legitimate to ask Barack Obama, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton if they believe that Jesus was the son of God, performed miracles, and that he'll return on the day of reckoning. They're all Christians, so I think it's safe to say that they believe those things in one form or another.

The difference here, of course, is that much, much more Americans subscribe to the beliefs that Obama/Edwards/Clinton have than to Mitt Romney's church's beliefs. I don't care that Romney is a Mormon. I think he's unqualified for the office for a lot of other reasons (He's a wrongheaded flip-flopping slimy eel of a politician) completely unrelated to his religion.

But to assert, as Hewitt and a few others do, that it exhibits bias to simply ask a candidate a theological question about his or her professed belief, is ridiculous. Especially when the candidate in question has made his religious convictions one of the central justifications for his entire candidacy!

Romney's defenders real goal here is to insulate the candidate. Right or wrong, many of the traditions and beliefs of Mormonism will strike many Americans as "weird" (sadly anything not falling under the line of mainstream Christianity or Judaism is considered weird by Americans, let alone the Hell-bound atheists and their pals the agnostics like me. Hi Mom!) - for instance the continued splintering of the faith that happens when people seem to get visions and believe that their brand of Mormonism is in the true spirit of the church's founders (read Jon Krakauer's phenomenal Under The Banner Of Heaven for more details) - and they don't want Romney to have to wade into those weeds. But I don't see these questions as remotely out of bounds for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who happens to be a Mormon, so how are they out of line for Romney who is a presidential candidate? They're not.

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