As an addendum to John’s post earlier today, here’s some more about that incident in Wisconsin yesterday. There is video is at the link, but the most important part of the event is reported there as well, in Romney’s follow-up comments:
“This gentleman wanted to talk about the doctrines of my religion. I’ll talk about the practices of my faith,” [Romney] said. “I had the occasion in my church to be asked to be the pastor, if you will, of a congregation.”
Romney described his work as a bishop in his suburban Boston ward, or church. Mormon clergy, called bishops, are unpaid leadership positions and perform similar duties as pastors do in other churches.
Romney described counseling church members dealing “with unemployment, with marital difficulties, with health difficulties of their own and with their kids.”
After addressing his religion in a speech during the 2008 Republican primary campaign, this campaign cycle Romney has attempted to keep his focus on the economy. The occasional references he makes to his church often deal with his time spent working with struggling parishioners.
“When you get a chance to know people on a very personal basis, whether you’re serving as a pastor or as a counselor or in other kinds of roles, you understand that every kind of person you see is facing some challenges,” Romney said Monday. “And one of the reasons I’m running for president of the United States is I want to help people, I want to lighten those burdens.”
This is exactly what Gov. Romney ought to be saying about religious questions that come his way. No, he’s not a spokesman for the church; it would be politically silly for him to take on that role, and it’s not fair to expect him to do so. But when he talks about what his faith meant to him in his life and how he served, people get a better sense of Romney the man. That is much more important to know about a presidential candidate than what he thinks about the proper mode of baptism.
The later comments to the news media by his questioner, Mr. Hatch, are also instructive — or should be, if anyone in the MSM is paying attention:
Speaking with reporters after the event, Hatch, the questioner, said he believed his question was relevant considering the general election race against President Barack Obama.
“Either he believes the Book of Mormon or he doesn’t,” Hatch said. “I think that’s an important issue. He’s going up against a black guy! He’s going against Obama. This is a racial issue.”
Here we have someone who is not a Mormon trying to tell the world what Mormons believe. (The guy is interpreting the Book of Mormon, for goodness’ sake!) It is ridiculous to begin with and irrelevant in any event. The account would have been more accurate and balanced if it had included a sentence something like this: “Hatch, who said he is is not a Mormon, said….” As for what the church believes and teaches about race, that’s crystal clear and was restated only a few weeks ago. The MSM should know that, rather than give space to seemingly crackpot questioners with an axe to grind from rival campaigns.
But as we have said before, the MSM has a certain reaction to efforts like Mr. Hatch’s. It reminds me of the way our family’s house cats respond to this:
They just can’t resist it.