Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

The Birth Of A New Conspiracy

Posted by: John Schroeder at 03:00 pm, November 5th 2012     —    1 Comment »

USAToday reports:

The youth wing of the ruling United Russia party’s held a protest on Thursday calling for a ban on Mormon missionaries in Russia, charging that they were potential American spies.

“This is an American sect,” said Ekaterina Stenyakina, co-chair of Young Guard’s coordinating committee, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. “They are funded by the United States of America, and it’s been proven that many young Mormons return to the U.S. to work for the CIA and FBI.”

OK, now – let’s follow this very closely.  Way back in August 2012, we first encountered the term “Mormon Mafia” with regards to certain financial institutions.  Then, just about 3 weeks ago, an Iranian English language news service made the charge there was a Mormon Mafia inside the US intelligence services.  Our own JMR is being queried about it.  And now, the Russians.

One can easily conclude that given these stories, our rivals (Russia) and enemies (Iran) would certainly prefer an Obama administration to a Romney one.  However, given the allegations that are being made in these stories and the timing, one must wonder if there is not actual collusion between the Obama administration and these governments.  Wait, what am I doing?  I cannot speculate about such allegations!  That would be reckless.  Politics, after all, stops at the water’s edge, or so they used to say.

But then virtually all of the Mormon speculations, from Andrew Sullivan on down, are equally speculative and reckless.  And even some not about Mormons.  The NAACP practically accused Franklin Graham of abandoning Christianity last week.  There are some pretty deep theological differences between these groups, and the NAACP is using them to declare Graham out of the fold.  There is a delicious irony in that somehow.

And Jonathon Martin has decided to play the race card indirectly:

A cadre of young and diverse Republican officials took the stage to speak before Romney. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte each made the case for their nominee and offered a reminder of the strength of the GOP’s bench.

But they did so before a crowd that was nearly all-white and their appearances were sandwiched in between slashing speeches from a familiar roster of older white males like Rudy Giuliani, who took it upon himself to demand that President Barack Obama resign over the Benghazi attacks.

Yep, that’s it – the Republican party is a white man’s club and is now just standing up its “tokens.”  Given how few qualifications the current president has for the job, I am not at all sure this is a wise charge to make.

OK, that’s twice now in pursuit of these stories that I have been set up to make outlandish, but “reasonable,” claims concerning the opposition just hours before the voting opens.  I am past weary.

We have a choice in the life – we can endeavor to help people improve their lot in life, or we can capitalize on their current limitations (in this nation no limitation is necessarily permanent – you may have to work harder to overcome yours than the next guy, but you can if you are willing) for our own gain.  These sorts of charges, innuendos and implications do nothing but capitalize on the ignorance and prejudices that live among us.

It is increasingly hard not to “return fire” in kind.  But in doing so, I let go of the real bottom line that separates our side of the aisle from theirs.  We endeavor to help people grow past their ignorance and prejudice, we do not manipulate them for our own ends.  We hold the bar high and we call people to rise above it.  They not only choose to lower the bar, they seemingly encourage people to sneak under it even as low as it is.

So let them come with their insinuations and snide implications.  They may even win with them from time-to-time.  But it is the very heart of the American people to seek to improve themselves.  That’s why we are going to win tomorrow and that is why we will prevail in the long run.

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