Thursday, May 10

(Can't trust a big butt and a smile)
That girl is Moooor-moooon . . .

Al Sharpton is in trouble. I'll give you a moment to catch your breath from the shock.

During a debate on Monday with Christopher Hitchens, Sharpton said in reference to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that "As for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don't worry about that. That's a temporary situation." Cue headlines.

Now, this is obviously not intended as a defense of Sharpton, as none of the Mormons I've ever known ever gave me reason to believe they didn't actually believe in God. But consider:

· Back in the summer of 1998, the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, a state the organization called "a stronghold of Satan" specifically because of the high Mormon presence there.

· Just three years ago, Mormons were specifically excluded from the "National Day of Prayer" event organized by James Dobson's wife Shirley.

· Earlier this year, a manager of the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Missions Board said that Mormonism was inconsistent with Christian teaching and that "Our concern is that they don't really know the God of the Bible. So we're concerned for their salvation."

· Also earlier this year, evangelical radio host Charles Colson told his listeners that "while Mormons share some beliefs with Christians, they are not Christians."

So while Sharpton's comment was crude and impolitic, let's not act like he's the first person who ever cast aspersions on the true Christianity of the Mormon church. This is a divide that's existed for a long time and that has manifested itself in some rather ugly ways. And there's probably a real news story here about whether evangelical Christians will accept or vote for a Mormon for president, but that issue isn't going to get addressed if the news media are only looking for easy ways to get Al Sharpton in front of a TV camera again. (And you know that Sharpton just hates being thrown in that briar patch to begin with.)


Shan said...

Christopher Hitchens engaging Al Sharpton in an intellectual "debate" is like the New England Patriots engaging Prarie View in a game of football.

Josh M. said...

I'll vote for a candidate of damn near any religion as long as their religion stays out of their politics.

After reading "Under the Banner of Heaven," though, Mormons do freak me out a little.

NCT said...

I really do think it's safe to say that, where fundamentalist Evangelical Christians are concerned, a Mormon candidate on the ballot would have an effect on par with "gay marriage" ballot initiatives. Many would stay home, but many others would show up just to vote against him. The LDS may not be as "icky" as queers, but there's comparable sentiment against legitimizing them.

Josh M. said...

So these "fundamentalist Evangelical Christians" are going to vote for Hillary just to stick it to Mormonism?

Look, your scenario would work if the Democrats put up somebody that didn't scare the hell out of people who leaned right. I can see a "Reagan over Mondale"-type landslide if the Democrats put up a reasonably moderate, non-polarizing figure. It's like the Democrats want it to be close, though, with Hillary Clinton and a black dude named "Hussein Obama."

(For the record, his name shouldn't play a part, but it will with a lot of the yahoos.)

Shan said...

I'd cast my vote in a second for a candidate who had the brains and onions to declare that he doesn't believe in nor schedule his life around mythology and fairy tales. And if he (or she) said they would lower taxes, I'd even vote "Chicago style." Of course, those votes would probably be only ones this type of candidate would get, with exception of votes from Hitchens, Bill Maher and Sam Harris.

Jeff Johnson said...

I see your point, Doug. But, consider the fact that Al Sharpton was just instrumental in getting Don Imus fired from MSNBC and CBS for saying something "insensitive", so don't you think that the good Reverend should be held at least to his own standards? Don't you think he was being just a tad-bit hypocritical? You are very correct that the divide between more traditional Protestant Christians and the Mormon faith is a storied one, and Sharpton certainly is not the first person to say something negative about Mormons. But, Imus wasn't the first person to call a black woman a "nappy-headed ho", either. Pot...meant Kettle.

Anonymous said...

As a Mormon, I wish others would read the Book of Mormon to see how much of a Christian we are. You will see that we believe in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. We pray to Heavenly Father in Jesus Christ's name and always thank him for our blessings and ask for him to watch over our family's and our friends. We even ask him to bless our enemies. Therefore, read the Book of Mormon the companion to the Holy Bible.

NCT said...

Yes, josh, I honestly believe without doubt that many fundamentalist evangelicals would vote for Hillary just to avoid having someone they view as a cultist in the White House. Many more would just stay home.