All About Mormons

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 11 2011 8:34 AM

All About Mormons

Will Saletan and I have slightly different angles on the Mormon moment of the GOP primary campaign, which may actually cease or pause tonight. (The Bloomberg/Washington Post/Dartmouth debate is supposed to focus only on economic issues.) Will focused on the persistence of anti-Mormon sentiment, which is one of the few bigotries with some purchase among liberals.

What happened to that rock at Perry’s hunting camp—once proudly displayed, then painted over, and now universally condemned—tells a timeless story about bigotry: You’ll know it when you see it, but you won’t see it till you know that’s what it is. The prejudices you need to work on aren’t the ones you recognize in your grandparents’ generation.
Advertisement

I went for a more theoretical/tortured analysis of the weekend's bigot eruption. It takes people like Jeffress to engender sympathy among people who don't consider themselves bigoted.

Jeffress used his moment to create a substance heretofore unknown to nature: sympathy for Mitt Romney. The pastor was condemned almost immediately by people as diverse as James Fallows (“anti-Mormonism is bigotry”) and Bill Bennett (“do not give voice to bigotry”). In his summit speech, right after warning of “a race war declared by the New Black Panther Party,” Glenn Beck summoned his famous tears and said, “I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ”—aka, a Mormon. The Romney religious question has been brought into the race as a vaudeville routine, with a cartoon villain that everyone can agree to hate. It’s the best the candidate could have hoped for. Any other way, this issue is a loser for him.

Embedded in the story is this video, which I'll post again. William Temple, a pastor who dresses in revolutionary-era garb and spends all of his convention time being interviewed and photographed, shared his thoughts on the Mormon issue. By talking to him I wanted to demonstrate that the Tea Party is not, as is sometimes assumed, a collection of people who don't care about social issues right now.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.

Brow Beat

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 6:32 PM Taylor Swift’s Pro-Gay “Welcome to New York” Takes Her Further Than Ever From Nashville 
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.