It is never news when a Huffington Post blogger says that Mitt Romney, or any other Republican candidate, is beyond the pale. One of the times that happened last week, it involved a Democrat Mormon saying that he was upset with Romney. Unlike most criticism of Romney emanating from the illustrious pixels of the HuffPost, though, this article went after Romney as a Mormon.
Even that isn’t surprising.
But then one of the highest-ranking Democrats in the country — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — said he agreed with the Romney critic. Now, I have absolutely no doubt that if John Boehner or some other prominent Republican such as Sen. Mitch McConnell said he agreed that Barack Obama had “sullied” the Christian religion, we’d hear quite a bit of outrage in the media about it. Will the same happen in this instance?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he agrees with a fellow Mormon who wrote recently that Mitt Romney has “sullied” the LDS faith and that the GOP presidential candidate is “not the face of Mormonism.”
Reid, a Mormon Democrat from Nevada, blasted Romney in a conference call for reporters over a litany of things the Republican nominee has said recently. And Reid added that Latter-day Saints aren’t buying Romney’s rhetoric.
“He’s coming to a state where there are a lot of members of the LDS Church,” Reid said in advance of Romney’s Friday visit to Nevada. “They understand that he is not the face of Mormonism.”
In contrast, other prominent Mormons have thanked Romney for presenting a positive image of the church.
The story, which is a pretty straight account of the conference call, is fine. It quotes other Mormons who say that Romney’s presidential run has been good for Mormonism and that Mitt Romney has brought honor to the church. The HuffPo piece was by Gregory A. Prince, co-author of “David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.” We learn:
“Judge Mitt Romney as you will, and vote for or against him as you will; but do not judge Mormonism on the basis of the Mitt Romney that was unveiled to the public this week,” Prince wrote. “He is not the face of Mormonism.”
Reid, on the conference call, said, “I agree with him.”
“He said that Romney has sullied the religion that he, Prince and Romney share,” Reid said. “And he’s so disappointed that in his words, ‘It’s a good religion and he’s hiding from it.’ “
Prince was actually quoting a documentary film producer so those weren’t his words, but you get the idea. The article does a great job of getting a wide variety of views, both political and theological to weigh in on Reid’s attack on Romney.
But when the article mentions that Reid had claimed, based on nothing, apparently, that Romney hadn’t paid income taxes in some years, it got me thinking. Do we see anything approaching a proportionate level of scrutiny of Reid’s Mormonism? Do these statements and actions of his — incorrectly but repeatedly suggesting that Romney hasn’t paid any taxes based on the claim of an anonymous source, supporting the view that George W. Bush’s mother was a [very bad name] and involvement with the Nevada gaming commission and all the other things that go along with his decades-long career in politics — comport with Mormon teaching? If so, how? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a Mormon who is one of the most powerful men in the country. Do we see a proportionate level of scrutiny about how he lives his faith as we do about Mitt Romney? Should we?