Sullivan found a doozy in the rightist World Net Daily:
The daughter of a Mormon bishop who has abandoned her family’s faith claims in a new book the election of Mitt Romney to the presidency would put the U.S. in danger due to what she calls the Republican’s “outrageous,” “horrific” and “mind-controlling” beliefs.
“While he attempts to portray Mormonism as just another Christian religion, Mitt Romney counts on his skills to shift our attention away from what he truly believes,” says Tricia Erickson, author of “Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America.” “If the American people knew what he truly believed, they would surely not place him in the highest office in the land.”
This is just appalling. My readers know that I am theologically critical of Mormonism, but this garbage has gotten to the point where I want to see Romney’s opponents openly repudiating this garbage, instead of taking a pass by saying that they don’t want to get into theological disputes. I keep hearing people who oppose Romney on Mormon grounds saying that if Romney believes the bizarre claims of Mormonism, is there anything he wouldn’t believe? I wish people who say that would stop for half a second to consider the implications of their claim. If a secularist employed that rationale in the voting booth, he could never trust the judgment of the sort of candidate who believes that God became a man and was raised from the dead. Somebody who believes that, no telling what they’ll believe, eh?
Every now and then you’ll read an atheist fundamentalist who says something along those lines, and you know that they’re crackpots who are allowing ideology to blind them to the way that religion is actually lived. Look at the way religious people actually live their faith, not the theory. In denouncing anti-Mormon prejudice, the conservative columnist Kathleen Parker makes an excellent point about behavior and belief:
The latest embarrassment comes from a Texas pastor and Rick Perry supporter, who said recently that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a cult.
If that means you raise a solid family, work hard, make money and do good for the greater community of mankind, then by all means pass the Kool-Aid.
UPDATE: Let me clarify this. I am not saying that one’s religious beliefs do not matter in evaluating one’s character. In fact, as someone who takes religion seriously, I am very much against the idea that religion is a sort of add-on to one’s character, like an interesting hobby. Having said that, I believe that religion is only a problem when evaluating a candidate for public office if there is something about that religious person’s faith that raises a serious question about whether he would be able to carry out the duties of the office he seeks in an appropriate way, or would pursue policies that I thought unwise. For example, I could vote for a Muslim candidate for most offices without any concern, but if the Muslim candidate was affiliated with the extremist Muslim Brotherhood or one of its US front groups, he would never get my vote — not because he was Muslim, but because of the kind of Muslim he was. You see? I have heard and read plenty about Mormonism that makes me strongly object to it theologically, but I have never read anything about contemporary Mormons that gives me reason to worry about what they would do in office because they are Mormon. If you believe I’m wrong about this, let’s hear why. Seriously, I may simply be naive and uninformed. It wouldn’t be the first time.