Bloggers had speculated on the actual subject of a series of e-mails from a publicist breathlessly informing us of a “Swift-boating” on a major presidential candidate, complete with documentation and hard evidence. Some thought it might target Hillary Clinton, some John Edwards, but the plurality went with Mitt Romney — and that turned out to be the correct answer. Revelation Press apparently wants to conduct the Klan’s 1928 anti-Catholic campaign against Al Smith, updated for eight decades later, at least according to the e-mail I received:
“Should Romney become U.S. President,” Moody explained, “his oaths create an inevitable conflict of interest. Just as an Army private is not free to question his General’s orders &– and does so only at the risk of a dishonorable discharge — Mormons such as Mitt Romney question their Living Prophet’s revelations and edicts only at risk of excommunication. This penalty is unthinkable to any faithful Mormon — and in Romney’s December 6th speech, he swore to remain faithful to his religion.
“As Noah Feldman pointed out,” Moody pointed out, “since the days of founding Prophet Joseph Smith, Mormons have held their secrets close — including their ‘White Horse Prophecy:’ one day a Mormon leader will literally ride in to save the U.S. Constitution — and to transform America into the base for the institution of a world-wide Mormon theocracy. Since his college days, when I was Mitt’s fraternity brother at Brigham Young University,” Moody said, “Mitt’s made it clear to his intimates that he was pre-ordained to fulfill this prophecy, to become the Mormon President who would save our Constitution and transform America as Joseph Smith prophesied.
We’ve seen this crap before, especially those Roman Catholics among us. As I noted above, it played right out of the Ku Klux Klan’s playbook in the 1928 presidential election, and even came up during John Kennedy’s campaign in 1960. The argument goes that a man who professes allegiance to a church, especially one with a hierarchy, cannot “serve two masters” and therefore cannot serve the Constitution. America heard a lot of nonsense about Papal infallibility and how the Pope cannot be defied on any matter — all of which was nonsense then, and is still today.
I had to laugh at this press release, though, as it is so badly written. Take for example this passage: “As Noah Feldman pointed out,” Moody pointed out, … That’s a lot of pointing in a short space of time. Did someone lose their Roget’s Thesaurus, or can we presume that this is indicative of the literary quality of Revelation’s stable of authors?
For the record, Mormons, Catholics, and Anglicans have no trouble separating the spiritual from the temporal. If Noah Feldmans’ hypothesis was true, then we couldn’t be trusted in the military, either. Who knows when the Pope or the Mormon’s leader would issue contravening orders, preferably through secret handshakes or subliminal broadcast from the Temple? We also couldn’t be trusted as governors — never mind Mitt’s failure to turn Massachusetts into East Utah, or his father’s failure to convert Michigan residents into good Mormons.
Catholic and Mormon politicians have given this nation splendid public service, and given no hint of disloyalty or even confused priorities between their public responsibilities and their religious beliefs. People like Feldman want to create the kinds of sectarian animosities that have riven other democracies. They should be rejected, and then aggressively ignored.
UPDATE: CapQ reader Lee Allred delivers a little cluebat from history upside the heads of Feldman and Moody:
Read with great amusement Moody’s breathless, bitter exposé:
“…Mormons such as Mitt Romney question their Living Prophet’s revelations and edicts only at risk of excommunication. This penalty is unthinkable to any faithful Mormon — and in Romney’s December 6th speech, he swore to remain faithful to his religion.”
History lesson for Mr. Moody: back in 1932, the 21st Amendment — you know, the one repealing prohibition? — was up for ratification. Guess which was the state that pushed ratification over the top? Utah. The Mormons passed ratification despite vigorous appeals from the Church. They did so because, while as Mormons prohibition would be better for them as a Church, as Americans repealing prohibition would be better for America as a whole. Nobody was excommunicated for voting for repeal. Nobody had their temple recommends pulled.
Quite. Why can’t a few people accept the fact that Mormons can be good Americans — and have been good Americans? Also, Lee wants the guys from Fraters Libertas to acknowledge their deep debt to the people of Utah …