COMMENTARY | Republican nominee candidate Mitt Romney was confronted with questions regarding his religion on the day before the Wisconsin primary. CNN political blogger Rachel Streitfeld describes the uncomfortable scene that played out when Bret Hatch, a Green Bay supporter of Ron Paul, began his comment by reading from the Book of Mormon, Moses 7:8 which says: “For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.” (http://classic.scriptures.lds.org/en/moses/7/8b)
Romney actually interrupted Mr. Hatch and said: “Why don’t you give me a question? We’re just not going to have a discussion about religion in my view, but if you have a question, I’ll be happy to answer your question.” (CNN)
Bret Hatch had a question regarding Latter Day Saint (Mormon) doctrine based upon the scripture he attempted to read. The question was: “…do you believe it’s a sin for a white man to marry and procreate with a black?” (CNN)
Romney replied with a curt, “No. Next Question?” (CNN)
The question is a good one, though. Mitt Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Members of that religion are heavily influenced by it. And although it has tried to become more mainstream in recent decades, it does not fix the fact that the book they view as infallible scripture claims black skin is a curse, all faithful adherents must tithe, oh and the only way to salvation is through plural marriage. The LDS have moved so far past polygamy in the last 100 years that many today try to deny it even existed, but it was only a little over 30 years ago when they decided to start allowing African Americans in their priesthood.
If we examine the historical record I believe we will find that in the case of polygamy and racism the LDS only changed their stand when forced to by the government or popular opinion. Just as polygamists continue to exist to this day, so racism is still rampant among adherents to The Book of Mormon.
Romney doesn’t think his religion should enter into the debate, but I think it should. After all, isn’t it religion that defines the character of its adherents? Our country has a long, painful history of racism. The recent election of Obama is only a first step in moving away from such a bigoted past. Why would we want to regress by electing someone who supports racially biased scripture?