As much as Huckabee’s back-handed play of the Mormon card in ’08 was despicable, it seems like it is always the left that just gets in-your-face nasty on issues like race and religion. As the Ground Zero Mosque controversy heats up, I guess it was inevitable – and Harry Reid sealed the deal when he came out against it – The Mormon persecution/Muslim persecution comparisons were going to be drawn. Of course, there is virtually no such comparison, but since when did that stop the rabid left from taking the shot anyway?
Some of what is going on is so transparent as to not be worth arguing with, like this bit from a Salt Lake City “alternative” (read “gay”) paper. But it is Jonathon Chait at The New Republic that seems to be really turning up the heat. His post on Jennifer Rubin’s comments have a barely disguised anti-Semitic tone. That set loose a torrent of comments that truly are heinous. Here is the worst:
I wonder if Romney or Harry Reid would also oppose the building of a Mormon church or Temple near Mountain Meadows.
As an initial point, the first place I heard the Ground Zero/Mountain Meadows comparison was on the Michael Medved radio show, and I winced at the time – I knew then, and this proves, that all such comments can only serve to provide ammunition to the opposition. But that said, there simply is no comparison. No Mormon has ever proposed building a ward or stake house, or a Temple anywhere near the site of that unfortunate incident. In point of fact Mormons are quite horrified by the entire episode and when it comes up they tend to either deny the participants are “real” Mormons or shrink from the conversation in complete embarrassment. The Mountain Meadows Massacre is a point of deep shame for any Mormon I have ever met or read – it is not an “opportunity for outreach.”
In this instance the comparison serves only to politicize on new levels something that should not be a political argument to begin with. Ground Zero is about the sense of a national sacred space that most of us share when we visit the places where our fellow citizens lost their lives. Comparisons have been drawn to Civil War battlegrounds and I find them a far more apt comparison. Every time I have been to such a battleground I have found myself speaking in unintentional whispers.
As an Evangelical, by definition, I want to tell others of the amazing experience I have had in my walk with Jesus Christ, and yet to do so when wandering the emplacements of Gettysburg or Vicksburg would be beyond distasteful. Those places honor those that died in service to others, or as victims of war. To graft a different agenda onto those spaces, whether it is s religious or a political one, is to lessen that honor due. I do not think God expects me to lessen that honor, and my political convictions just are not that important.
Shame on anyone that uses this issue for their private agendas.
Lowell adds . . .
I’ll just drop in for a moment to add to John’s Mountain Meadows analogy, which I’ve actually been using in discussions with friends about the Ground Zero mosque. John’s right: That place, Mountain Meadows, is not one that Mormons are proud of. It is a site on which people closely associated with Mormonism (to say the least) committed horrible acts of murder on other human beings. It is umimaginable that the Church would build a temple, for example, on the edge of that site. The Church may have the legal right to do so, but as my father used to say, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. I am opposed to legal steps being taken to stop the mosque’s construction, but I support efforts to persuade or incentivize the group planning to build the mosque to put it up somewhere else. I think I have an awful lot of company in my view.