Stormin’ the Mormon: Who doesn't like Romney's religion?


In this case, the bigots are us: In a rather typical post, Digby ponders the fact that “more than four in 10 American voters say they are uncomfortable with the idea of a Mormon in the White House.”

Digby states her conclusions. We think you can make out her point:
DIGBY (11/28/11): I think people have been misreading Romney's weakness as being his flip-flopping or his suspected moderation. In his case, the underlying suspicion that he isn't "one of them" meaning—Christian. And what's interesting about it is that it's politically incorrect to even mention it.

Has there ever been a more fascinating GOP primary? I don't ever want it to end.
Rachel thinks the process is fun; Digby thinks it’s fascinating. We marvel at people who react in such ways to our steady societal meltdown. Meanwhile, in a rather typical bit of analysis, Digby thinks that Romney’s electoral problem must reflect only one cause. It can’t be that some GOP voters don’t like his obvious ideological fraudulence while other GOP voters don’t care for his religion.

Why can’t these people consider his hair, the way a top analyst would?

Within the comments, our tribe got busy doing what we do best—attacking the other tribe as bigots. One commenter did offer a warning. But this is a type of glorying comment well known within our tribe:
COMMENT: That 42 percent includes about 80 percent of the right wing nut base. mormons are heretics according to most orthodox american forms of christianity, many of which american christianities are also heresies by old standards. The right wing nut rule is to talk generic christianity and avoid actual religion, but that rule does not apply to the mormons. The VSP rule is to ignore religion and its use a a tool of political manipulation, except for the right's complaints of religious discrimination. Voila.
Highly pleasing—and capped off in French! But uh-oh! The following passage occurs at the start of the report to which Digby refers. In this case, the bigots are us! Disproportionately, that is:
PUBLIC RELIGION RESEARCH INSTITUTE: A majority of voters (53%) report that they would be somewhat or very comfortable with a Mormon serving as President, although more than 4-in-10 (42%) say that a Mormon president would make them somewhat or very uncomfortable.

Significantly more Democratic voters (50%) report feeling at least somewhat uncomfortable with a Mormon serving as president than Republican voters (36%) or Independent voters (38%).
That’s what the survey says. Of course, every good liberal knows what to do now. We must say that many of the Republican respondents just weren’t telling the truth!

For ourselves, we can’t say that we find the GOP primary to be fun or fascinating. We’d say the meltdown in the GOP process is a canary in the coal mine. Our nation’s culture is coming undone. In our view, our own dumb, unpleasant tribe is very much part of the process.

The other tribe is worse than we are. But if you watch cable of a very dumb evening, you can see that our tribe’s catching up.

What explains the data: If you read the report with care, you will note a fact we white liberals often forget:

Blacks and Hispanics are heavily Democratic. And these groups tend to be socially conservative.

Uh-oh! When we liberals pleasure ourselves by trashing those white southern bigots, we are frequently trashing values held by many blacks and Hispanics. We’re just too clueless to know such a thing.

This seems to be one of those cases.


  1. Digby sucks. Why anyone would look to her for reasoned commentary I will never know.

    She's a lame Democratic shill who hasn't had an original thought in at least 5 years.

    Shorter Digby:

    OMG! Look over there! The Republicans are bigots and will never accept Romney's crazy ass religion! lol. Vote Dem. Where else ya gonna go?

  2. Thanks for this post, Bob. Yes, there's a lot of bigotry against Mormons, and not just from ignorant conservative Christians or from blacks and Hispanics. E.g., Digby wrote, "the underlying suspicion that he isn't 'one of them' meaning --- Christian. And what's interesting about it is that it's politically incorrect to even mention it." Digby is ostensibly attributing this belief to other people, but IMHO she's implicitly endorsing it.

    If Digby were discussing Obama, she would bend over backwards to avoid endorsing the racist's POV. Can you imagine Digby writing, "the underlying suspicion is that Obama isn't very smart, since black achievement may be tainted by affirmative action and since black high school seniors are four years behind in school. And what's interesting about it is that it's politically incorrect to even mention it."

    You'd never see this, because it is politically incorrect to mention it. That's as it should be. Each candidate should be judged as an individual, not as a member of some group.

  3. Digby does sometimes have very good, strong commentary. (One example is her posts on police brutality in the form of Tasing.) However, I've mostly stopped reading her because of her anti-religious bias. I'm a religious liberal. A Christian. We can tell when people scorn religion, even though they may try to couch it in other terms. Scorn always filters through.

    I'm one of those people who doesn't think Mormonism is true Christianity. But I don't scorn Mormons because of it. I accept that there are politicians whose views won't coincide with my own, yet they might still be worthy of holding office. (Not saying Romney is.) I would not rule out voting for a Mormon candidate merely because I believe their religious beliefs are flawed.

  4. Dear David in Cal,

    Would you please stop making stupid statements like "Yes, there's a lot of bigotry against Mormons, and not just from ignorant conservative Christians or from blacks and Hispanics"? Please?

    You are probably incapable of doing a bit of basic research, but let me share something with you. In statewide races in 2008 and 2010, Mormon candidates won primarily through the votes of "blacks and Hispanics." Yes, David in Cal, that's right! "Blacks and Hispanics," who you claim possess "a lot of bigotry against Mormons" actually voted for Mormons, people they knew were Mormons, electing them to office.

    Do you want to know who I mean, David in Cal, since you are too stupid and racist to do the research for yourself, and thus make blanket statements about entire groups (45 million African Americans, 55-60 million Hispanics/Latinos, millions more mixed-raced people who might be counted in either category)?

    Look at Nevada, where Harry Reid was reelected in 2010. Harry Reid, a Mormon or member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, won primarily through the votes of whites, blacks, and latinos. Yes, "blacks and Hispanics," who you claim harbor "a lot of bigotry" against Mormons, nevertheless voted for a Mormon, again, giving him his third term in office. Look at New Mexico, where Tom Udall was elected to the US Senate in 2008. New Mexico has the highest percentage latino populations in the US. Yet amazingly, according to your logic, they voted for a Mormon!

    And wait, Idaho even has a latino US Congressman, Republican Raul Labrador, born in Puerto Rico, and elected in 2010!

  5. Sorry, Phrontistery. I was relying on what Bob Somerby wrote. I thought he implied that the three groups I mentioned had a high degree of bigotry against Mormons. If I misunderstood him, or if he was incorrect, then I apologize.

  6. It's perfectly reasonable to oppose a candidate because you don't approve of their religion, unless, as of course is often the case in America, you can be pretty sure he or she will only give lip service to the faith. Many religious sects, the LDS included, promote policies and attitudes I oppose. For that reason, I certainly would never vote for a committed Mormon like Romney anymore than I would vote for a similarly devout conservative Catholic, fundamentalist Christian, or Scientologist.

  7. Yeah, I don't see Bob's proof that blacks and hispanics are uniquely anti-Mormon either. The Pew data doesn't break down along the lines of race. Maybe it's from another poll?

    I agree with the person above who said that it's fair game to evaluate a candidate's religion, with the caveat that they have to insert it into the campaign first. Romney hasn't done that much and has opposed church doctrine on a number of occasions (he used to be pro-choice).

    Personally, I'd love it if I were at least able to vote for people who actually believed in their religious beliefs and therefore could be held accountable for them. But most of the time being Christian has as much to do with Christ as being in the Lion's Club has to do with lions. That an unless a major pol says they're Christian (or Mormon or Jewish or Hindu or something), there's little chance they can win.

  8. FYI, what Bob said is Blacks and Hispanics are heavily Democratic and [these groups tend to be socially conservative.] This would skew results from polls that separate respondents by political parties and exclude factors such as income, education, and location and race.

    Social conservatives are said to be uncomfortable with change and new ideas.
    He made no mention of anti-Mormonism among these groups.

    Older Blacks tend to the old-style Protestant Christian religion, and Hispanics are predominantly Catholic.

    For what it's worth, this site may help clarify his point.

  9. This whole situation reminds me of the 1960 presidential election when people were not sure they could trust a Catholic president, because Catholics were not real Christians. Kennedy was both hated and mistrusted when he was elected. To this day my friends who are Adventists, Jehovahs Witnesses, Baptists or other fundamentalist religions still do not consider Catholics to be Christians. When asked who they think Christians pray to and believe in they think it is the Pope. This is just a continuation of the fear and bigotry of narrow minded groups who have been isolated from the mainstream and make no attempt to learn about or tolerate anything which is different.