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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Anti-Mitt/Anti-Mormon "Whisper Campaigns" Alive and well in Iowa (and beyond)

Scott Helman of the Boston Globe (a pretty cool guy in my limited interaction with him) has written a pretty enlightening piece about how the rival campaigns of McCain, Giuliani, and Brownback have all had official campaign staff attacking Mitt's Mormon faith. It's been happening here in Iowa.

Gathering for their April meeting at the county courthouse, Republican activists from Warren County, Iowa, planned for this summer's county fair and vented about illegal immigration.

And then the county chairman for Senator John McCain's presidential campaign, Chad Workman, made an unexpected digression: He took direct aim at Mitt Romney's religion, according to four people at the meeting.

Workman questioned whether Mormons were Christians, discussed an article alleging that the Mormon Church helps fund Hamas, and likened the Mormons' treatment of women to the Taliban's, said participants, who requested anonymity to discuss the meeting freely.

One participant summed up Workman's argument this way: "The fundamental flaw of Mitt Romney . . . was that he was Mormon, not because he thinks this way or that way on one issue."

Workman did not return calls seeking comment.


Next Iowa example:

Emma Nemecek, an Iowa field operative for Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, had recently forwarded an e-mail to Iowa Republicans containing a number of criticisms of Mormonism, including a charge that it is not a Christian faith. The e-mail closed with a quote from a Founding Father, John Jay: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."


I know Emma and like her. I even put her campaign sign in my yard when she was running for the legislative seat last election cycle. I was disappointed by her action, but I also know that she's a very energetic and involved individual. I'm willing to cut her some slack and write this off as an over-exuberance in supporting her boss. I'm sure she's been frustrated in not "converting" many folks over to Brownback because they are firm Romney supporters. What she did was unacceptable, but I maintain that she is a good person and a good Republican.

Hearkening back to the first example:

The April meeting in Warren County is one of several instances in which a representative of McCain's campaign has tried to highlight Romney's membership in the Mormon Church.

Last year, when Romney and McCain were battling to sign up supporters in key states, Romney's campaign got word that Chuck Larson, a former Iowa GOP chairman and now one of McCain's top Iowa advisers, had been calling Mormonism a "cult" while trying to woo state legislators and their staff. One Republican Larson approached, who would talk only on condition of anonymity, said that Larson told him, "He's a Mormon for crying out loud -- that's essentially a cult."

When David Kochel, a senior Romney adviser in Iowa, learned of Larson's comments, he complained to Larson's business partners. Larson then called back to apologize, according to Kochel, who recounted Larson's apology this way: "David, I just want you to know that I made a joke about Governor Romney's religion. It is not the kind of thing I'm proud of, and it's not the kind of thing I will ever do again."

Larson declined to comment.

There have been other scattered instances of McCain representatives raising Romney's religion. Earlier this year, for example, The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., reported that McCain operatives had distributed to reporters comments by evangelical leader James Dobson questioning whether a Mormon could win the presidency.


The attacks are coming from non-campaign places as well.

Romney has faced repeated slights against his religion from other quarters as well. A Florida televangelist, Bill Keller, told followers recently that a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan. And a small group of worshipers from the Faith Christian Outreach Church in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, has been going door-to-door distributing a DVD that takes a critical look at the Mormon Church.

"Our concern was simply that Mormonism has continued to try and pass itself off as a Christian religion, which it is not," said Monte Knudsen, senior pastor at the church, who insisted the effort was not aimed at hurting Romney's candidacy.


There's not a whole lot of stuff to attack Romney on . . . so we will continue to see these kinds of desperate and misguided "whisper campaigns".

2 comments:

Bot said...

The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is often misunderstood . . Some accuse the Church of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion . . This article helps to clarify such misconceptions

· Baptism: .

Early Christian churches, practiced baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family. The local congregation had a lay ministry. An early Christian Church has been re-constructed at the Israel Museum, and the above can be verified. http://www.imj.org.il/eng/exhibitions/2000/christianity/ancientchurch/structure/index.html
The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continues baptism and a lay ministry as taught by Jesus’ Apostles. . Early Christians were persecuted for keeping their practices sacred, and not allowing non-Christians to witness them

· The Trinity: .

A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ , His Son , being separate , divine beings , united in purpose. . To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and Who was speaking to Him and his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration?

The Nicene Creed”s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. . The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity , which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. . The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: "There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one."

Scribes later added "the Father, the Word and the Spirit," and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. . . .He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity. .

Scholars agree that Early Christians believed in an embodied God; it was neo-Platonist influences that later turned Him into a disembodied Spirit. . Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans, was also part of Early Christian belief. . The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views the Trinity as three separate divine beings , in accord with the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts.

· The Deity of Jesus Christ

Mormons hold firmly to the deity of Christ. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS), Jesus is not only the Son of God but also God the Son. Evangelical pollster George Barna found in 2001 that while only 33 percent of American Catholics, Lutherans, and Methodists (28 percent of Episcopalians) agreed that Jesus was “without sin”, 70 percent of Mormons believe Jesus was sinless. http://www.adherents.com/misc/BarnaPoll.html

· The Cross: .

The Cross became popular as a Christian symbol in the Fifth Century A.D. . Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) believe the proper Christian symbol is Christ’s resurrection , not his crucifixion on the Cross. Many Mormon chapels feature paintings of the resurrected Christ or His Second Coming.

· Christ's Atonement: .

But Mormons don”t term Catholics and Protestants “non-Christian”. . They believe Christ’s atonement in Gethsemane and on the Cross applies to all mankind. . The dictionary definition of a Christian is “of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”: . All of the above denominations are followers of Christ, and consider him divine, and the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament. They all worship the one and only true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and address Him in prayer as prescribed in The Lord’s Prayer.

It”s important to understand the difference between Reformation and Restoration when we consider who might be authentic Christians. If members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) embrace early Christian theology , they are likely more “Christian” than their detractors.

* * *


· Christ-Like Lives: . . .The 2005 National Study of Youth and Religion published by UNC-Chapel Hill found that Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) youth (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to exhibit these Christian characteristics than Evangelicals (the next most observant group):

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . LDS Evangelical

Attend Religious Services weekly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71% . . . . 55%

Importance of Religious Faith in shaping daily life –

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . extremely important .. 52. . . . . . . 28

Believes in life after death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 . . . . . . 62

Believes in psychics or fortune-tellers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 . . . . . . 5

Has taught religious education classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 . . . . . . 28

Has fasted or denied something as spiritual discipline . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 . . . . . . 22

Sabbath Observance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 . . . . . . 40

Shared religious faith with someone not of their faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 . . . . . . 56

Family talks about God, scriptures, prayer daily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 . . . . . . 19

Supportiveness of church for parent in trying to raise teen

(very supportive) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 . . . . . . 26

Church congregation has done an excellent job in helping

Teens better understand their own sexuality and sexual morality . . . . . 84 . . . . . . 35

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't surprise me if Sen. McCain's staff is behind most of the anti-LDS bigotry.