Team Rudy Spreads Pro-Mormon Article; Romney Objects

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The Salt Lake Tribune wrote a story today about how there is a discredited Mormon prophecy about a Mormon saving the Constitution, and Mormons running the Federal government, or some such claptrap.  The piece discusses the dubious provenance of this ‘prophecy’, and talks about how this comes up whenever Mormons run for president.  Keeping the tradition going, the Salt Lake Tribune brings it up again.

 A very pleasant woman with the Giuliani campaign thought this piece may be of interest to a blogger who apparently has spilled a few pixels criticizing Mr. Romney, so she forwarded it along to him or her.

Apparently the thin-skinned Romney campaign and Kathryn Lopez at NRO think this constitutes some nefarious “whispering campaign” meant to make an issue of Romney’s Mormon-ness, or whatever.

Puhleez.

First of all, the piece itself is nothing but a recitation of various Mormons distancing themselves from this prophecy the same way other Christians distance themselves from Old Testament sanctioning of slavery.  I will say for myself, though, this sounds completely like something Joseph Smith would have said.  But I know more about Lutheranism, Catholicism, Christian Orthodox traditions, Judaism, Quakers, Islam, and Buddhism than I know about Mormonism.  So I could be really, really wrong.  The point is, there is absolutely nothing in the piece demonizing Latter Day Saints.  This article was, after all, from the paper of record in the Mormon world capital.

Second, it is impossible to ascribe any ill will at all to Katie, the woman at the campaign who forwarded the piece.  Her commentary– if the scant words in her e-mail could be called that– is pretty much identical to that of any of the e-mails she’s sent me regarding polls, campaign news, or local political developments.  Does this article have something to do with the presidential race?  Check.  Does this blogger write about Mitt Romney?  Check.  Job well done by Katie?  Check.

Finally, and this is where I will be a little controversial, how is it remotely inappropriate to discuss the man’s religion?  Sure, tact and good faith need to be used.  Politcal landmines litter the landscape.  But being a Mormon valedictorian out of BYU is not the same as being a lapsed Catholic, or holiday Presbyterian.  Hugh Hewitt already wrote a whole book about Mitt being a Latter Day Saint, and how that may or may not affect his campaign.  Nobody seems to have a problem with that.

Mormonism has a tougher row to hoe than most religions.  It was founded in this country, and the Church’s early history is tangled up with American politics.  The prophecy regarding the Constitution disowned by most Mormons, for example, is claimed by some to have been offered not long before Joseph Smith himself ran for president.  From what little I know they even had to literally change their theology in order to secure statehood for Utah.

The Romney campaign said “…given the focus of the article, [the Giuliani campaign] should be more careful since it could very easily be seen as an effort to question Governor Romney’s faith.”  [via commentary on Latest Politics]

Given how the content of the article was to disown the alleged prophecy this can only mean that Romney really does believe the prophecy, and doesn’t want the Salt Lake Tribune undermining his forthcoming immanentizing of the eschaton.

I kid, I kid.  It is far more likely they just think its OK to use Mormon social networks to raise money, but not OK to discuss Mormonism at all.  They would just have us believe, I guess, it’s pretty much the same as being a Congregationalist.

Finally, for K-Lo to call this some sort of whispering campaign on the Corner at National Review Online is kind of low, even for someone having second thoughts about her early championing of the Mittster.

If I were the Giuliani campaign I would simply apologize for sending out an article discrediting a specious Mormon prophecy and invite them to set the record straight on their own.  And in the interest of interfaith dialogue I would also include a link to a nice summary of the Book of Mormon like this one.

Many religious traditions, if not all of them, have stories and traditions that don’t exactly jibe well with modern sensibilities.  Some of those stories and traditions in Mormonism took place in the modern age, loosely understood.  I imagine this can sometimes be a little awkward for Mormons, but Mitt Romney better get comfortable dealing with that.  Unless, of course, he has another sincere change of heart on an issue and becomes an Episcopalian or something.

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