The Blaze’s Erica Ritz contributed to this report.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is no stranger to controversy surrounding his The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints membership. Both in the 2008 and 2012 electoral cycles, he has fielded numerous anecdotal attacks — anti-Mormon incursions that have continued despite DNC chair and congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-Fla.) pledge that the contender’s faith will be off-limits during the 2012 cycle.
But actions and words are two very different things (plus, let’s face it — even if Schultz was being genuine, it’s impossible to prevent every Democrat from making bigoted statements). This month, alone, attacks on Romney’s faith have been prevalent. Take, for instance, Newsbusters’ note about a Time Magazine article that can certainly be seen as contributing to the anti-LDS rhetoric.
On June 13, psychoanalyst Dr. Justin Frank took to the Time Ideas blog to pen an article entitled, “The Root of Mitt Romney’s Comfort With Lying.” According to Frank, these supposed falsities can be blamed upon Mormonism.
“But this pattern of lying and not acknowledging it, even when confronted directly, has persisted and led me to look for other sources of Romney’s behavior and of his clear comfort with continuing it,” Frank writes. “I think much of this comfort stems from his Mormon faith.”
But it doesn’t end there, as he also points out Romney’s alleged lies and analyzes how Mormonism apparently allows for these infractions to take place. Frank goes on to claim that faith traditionally takes first seat with Mormons and that adherents allow it to, often times, trump fact. Here’s some more of his analysis:
I found myself discussing this situation with several colleagues, and we agreed that Romney doesn’t lie. Let me repeat: Mitt Romney doesn’t lie. He is telling the truth as he sees it — and truth it is, the facts notwithstanding. This is not simply a case of Hamlet arguing about point of view, saying, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” This is about a conflict between evidence and faith. There is a long tradition in the Mormon belief system in which evidence takes second place to faith. Examples abound, as when two Mormon elders who were questioned about the inconsistency in passages from the Book of Mormon said, “We know the Book of Mormon is true and that it contains the Word of God even in the face of evidence that appears contradictory,” according to The Mormon Missionaries by former Mormon Janice Hutchison. Thus there are no lies, only faith-based certainty that translates as truth for which no apology is needed, since what was said was not a lie.
Children learn to lie at different times in their development, but almost always by the age of 10. Their lies help establish them as separate from their parents, especially if the parents believe them. And one doesn’t have to be a Mormon to lie — just look at John Edwards or former Nevada Senator John Ensign. But in the Mormon Church, there was a decision to accept authority as true — whether or not evidence supported it. Hence Joseph Smith, the founder of the faith in 1820, claimed he was illiterate and received the Book of Mormon directly from God. But he could read, and read very well.
And that’s only a portion of the writing. One cannot help but wonder where to find Frank’s scathing article repudiating Obama’s lies and blaming them on his faith (one clue: it doesn’t exist).
Then, there’s the Twitter ”hashtag wars,” an ongoing phenomena in social media — and one that was used this weekend by some on the Left in an effort to disparage Romney’s Mormon faith. In an unexpected cultural twist, conservatives actually hold their own in this particular forum, and have been known to sarcastically hijack leftist hashtags.
For example, when the president asked tweeters to describe why they like Obamacare, #ILikeObamacare started trending worldwide, but with with nearly ten sarcastic responses for every genuine tweet. Some of the more memorable examples included: “#IlikeObamaCare because I want unelected bureaucrats making as many personal decisions for me as possible,” “#ILikeObamacare as much as I like My father-in-law’s wife,” and “#ILikeObamacare because I think if you work, then I should benefit.”
Over the weekend, however, #RomneyInTwoWords and #ObamaInTwoWords set the stage for another Twitter face-off and, perhaps not surprisingly, a number of Obama supporters used the hashtag to unleash a wave of anti-Mormon vitriol.
Twitchy captured a number of the tweets:
@Deb_Libby: #RomneyInTwoWords Mormon Menace
@deargalaxy: #RomneyInTwoWords Mormon underwear
@MrJamesDudley: #RomneyInTwoWords F*cking Mormon…do you need any more words than that
@GuileOfTheGods: #RomneyInTwoWords Multiple wives #Mormon…
@Mystic_Jeff_A: #RomneyInTwoWords Mormon f*ckface
@WarLordwrites: #RomneyInTwoWords Mormon cultist
@zarahxelyse: #RomneyInTwoWords F*ckin Mormon
@ChocolateThund9: #RomneyinTwoWords Mormon fa*got
@CockyButCool: #RomneyInTwoWords : mormon bi*ch
As Twitchy notes, the hypocrisy of the leftist ideology that claims to be “tolerant,” yet writes such bigoted messaging, remains largely unchecked. However, examining the Frank example (from Time and looking at these most recent tweets and exploring the recent media track-record, these attacks are far from uncommon.
In February, New York Times columnist Charles Blow tweeted that Mitt Romney should “stick that in [his] magic underwear,” a mere 13 days after writing about the horrors of bullying. In that case, the National Review reports that the paper’s public editor declined to intervene, ostensibly because Blow is an opinion writer.
“I agree this type of tweet isn’t a good idea. I have generally taken the view that ad hominem attacks are problematic journalistically…And I personally disagree with criticizing anyone based on religious belief. Because the writer in this case is an Op-Ed writer, whose opinions are his own, I do not plan to intervene to disagree with the opinion itself. But I think tweets of this kind are a mistake,” Art Brisbane reportedly wrote.
“Mormonism was created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it.” [...]
“Forty-eight wives later, Joseph Smith’s lifestyle was completely sanctified in the religion he invented to go with it,” O’Donnell continued. “Which Mitt Romney says he believes.”
One wonders if these anecdotal examples are symptomatic of a greater issue or even a willingness on the part of Democratic operatives — or the Obama re-election campaign itself — to use Mormonism against Romney. Interestingly, even members of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” have pondered how the Obama campaign will handle the Republican’s faith in the general election.
Despite the negativity, in January, The Blaze examined the issue of Mormonism and its potential role in the 2012 campaign. In the end, our analysis concluded that the vast majority of evangelicals and religious conservatives would not allow theological differences to prevent a vote for Romney.
While we know that this is the case for those on the right, the aforementioned examples do cause some pause when considering how far leftists will go in deriding the former Massachusetts governor.