Google searches regarding Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s religious affiliations have reached an all-time high. As the race to the election continues, people are wanting to find out more about just how involved Mitt Romney is in Mormonism and what that means for the country if he should find himself President next January. A lot of the interest revolves around the idea that Mormonism is racist. Naturally, the Democratic Party has quietly pushed that issue out into the populace, much the way Republicans continue to try to push the idea that President Barack Obama might be a closet Muslim. So, it’s time for Common Sense Conspiracy to take a close look at the history of Mormons as related to race relations. The results might surprise you.
The concept that Mormons are racist mainly stems from the fact (yes, we said fact) that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not allow black people to fully participate in its church until 1978. That’s pretty damning at first glance, but many people don’t know that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon take on Christianity, ran for president in 1844. One of the major parts of his political platform was calling for the abolition of slavery. Mitt Romney’s own father was the former governor of Michigan and a devout Mormon, but he was also considered a huge supporter of civil rights. In George Romney’s time, being a Republican and pushing civil rights was not a good way to get yourself on the political fast track.
The bottom line in all of this is simple. Does Mormonism have a spotty reputation on race relations and equality for African Americans? Absolutely. But does this necessarily represent the views of Mitt Romney? Probably not. A lot of the Christians that would throw stones at Mormons for their treatment of blacks would never equate the Catholic church and other Christian institutions’ disdain for gay marriage and rights the same way. Is it the same thing? Well, that’s a huge matter of debate, and incidentally, another hot-button issue in our society. But the point is, Mitt Romney himself can’t be brought up as a racist for things his religion did decades ago. Barack Obama is a Protestant Christian. While he has publicly endorsed gay marriage, using the same idea, one could say that just because he supports the Christian religion, he is siding with them in what was done in the past and will be done in the future.
How do we count things like this in our thinking? When you believe in this or that, does it mean you are responsible for everything that thing has done in its history? Even if it has changed for the better. What exactly is the accountability for people and organizations they are affiliated with?
So, what are we getting at? We can sit around and debate whether the Mormons are a big cult. Or whether Christianity is a big cult. Or who’s racist and who’s not. These are all good debate topics and healthy in a free nation. However, to try to blame all the past transgressions of the Mormons on Mitt Romney is probably a little much.
If you have a problem with Mitt Romney, that’s fine. But make sure you have real issues and not ones dredged from the past. Any religious organization in America could probably be accused of racism if you go back far enough. Fight the good fight and wage war on these politicians on facts and policies, not stereotypes, historical or present. Doing so is not much better than not letting black people participate in your church.