Among the ugliest Mormon memes under which Romney has had to suffer is the charge of racism. This charge is made because the CJCLDS was a bit later than the rest of the Christian church in emerging, officially, from its segregationist/racist past. We all did it, we all got over it (at different rates), and it is now an artifact, not a current reality. But in a campaign permeated with considerations of race Romney found himself painted with this entirely inapplicable and invalid brush. There is not a racist bone in the man’s body, stories about his gardeners notwithstanding.
From the standpoint of the non-Mormon writer on this blog, one of its chief reasons for the blog to exist is becasue you can bet if it works against Romney, they’ll use against more mainstream Christian expressions next. Yesterday, in The Atlantic, reliable lefty Peter Beinart did not disappoint. Beinart accuses Bobby Jindal of bigotry because he promotes a passive cultural resistance among Christians but faults Muslims for failing to adapt to new cultures when they move to the West. On first blush playing “semantic gotcha” comparing speeches separated by more than eleven months and thousands of miles is a game unworthy of an intellect as well formed as Beinart’s. Beinart attempts to validate his claims here:
Jindal supporters might resist the analogy. Christians, they might argue, don’t kill cartoonists or establish their own separate legal systems. But Jindal’s point in London was that the problems with Muslim immigrants go beyond issues of violence and law. The core danger, he insisted, is their refusal to assimilate into the culture of the countries to which they immigrate. And since Jindal has already declared that American (let alone European) culture is secular, any immigrant who refuses to assimilate into it is, by his definition, a threat.
Except, of course, for one very pertinent fact – Christian culture is inherently non-violent while Muslim culture, at least its extreme Islamist wing which is a significant portion of Muslim culture generally, is inherently violent. Issues of violence and law are matter of culture. But this remains merely semantic. That said, if we allow mere semantics to control a serious discussion about serious issues in which real people are dying then we have lost all sense of what is and is not important.
What is plain here when one looks under the semantics is the lefty contention that religion, by virtue of having a clear and defined picture of right and wrong, is inherently bigoted. In other words, “That worked on Romney, let’s aim broader.”
We have seen more Mormon attacks on the undeclared candidacy of Romney in the last couple of weeks than we saw the entire last cycle. And now we are seeing those attacks broaden to candidates of faith generally. Some of that is due to Romney’s more open approach to his own religion in the build up. But much of it is due to the obvious, if undeclared, battle that the current administration has fought against religious interests and concerns. It seems clear, even before the campaign has started, that the free-for-all of a Republican primary season ahead best circle the religious wagons. If we fight each other on those grounds, the left wins.