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 Kind of Coverage That Will NOT Improve Things

Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:05 am, December 20th 2012     —    2 Comments »

“Do Something Disease” is a name I have heard given to the desire to act in the wake of a tragedy.  In the end it is really a way of working off the emotional turmoil that results from something like Newtown.  In many cases, I find it a sign of emotional ill health.  Newtown is immensely and inconceivably tragic.  But it also happened a continent away to people I have never met.  Newtown is a stop on a train I have taken from time-to-time visiting clients in the area.  While I certainly am deeply saddened at the loss and highly compassionate towards the survivors, this simply does not evoke enough emotion in me to feel like I HAVE to do something.  Something is wrong in the identity department if one feels that strongly about events that removed.

OR, one may be an opportunist.  That is to say, one may choose to whip up disproportionate emotion in an effort to cancel out reason and achieve some otherwise unattainable goal.  That, it seems to me, is clearly what is behind all the gun control talk in the wake of Newtown.  And with such agendas, come sub-agendas – which is precisely what I wonder about this Buzzfeed piece from our old friend McKay Coppins:

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn. shooting, a Mormon Church-owned company announced Tuesday night it was suspending all gun listings on its popular classifieds site.

In addition to removing gun listings, — the online hub for Salt Lake City’s NBC affiliate, which is operated by church-owned Deseret Digital Media — took down the “Firearms and Hunting” section from its website. A company statement that replaces the site’s gun section says they were “profoundly saddened” by the Newtown shooting.

Coppins spent the entire election cycle just begging for Romney’s religion to become a major media issue.  He had positioned himself as the “go to” journalist on the matter and was bound and determined to see such bring him to journalistic prominence.  To this day, I do not know if he was attempting to torpedo Romney’s chances or aid them in hopes of becoming the Mormon on the White House beat – but either way, I am not sure he “got it.”

This story is further evidence. We have already presented data showing that moderate Americans are leery of Mormons as somehow uber religious.  In light of that, how helpful is it in these circumstances to tie that church to gun sales?  Having been to Utah in deer hunting season, I find the fact the church is in the business terribly unsurprising.  They do love their hunting there. The TV coverage of who bagged the biggest buck on opening day was enough to make me want to head to the gun store and get busy.  But all this Coppins piece does is reinforce an image of the Mormon church as some sort of neanderthal organization.  The piece is short and seems to have no purpose other than to emphasize that the church was in the gun business – well that and feed to gun control frenzy.

I was asked at a presentation a few weeks ago “If Mitt Romney is Al Smith, who will be Jack Kennedy?”  If this is the kind of coverage the Mormon church is going to get – “nobody” is the answer.


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