The Public Discourse Around the LDS Church--1
Here's one post on Romney's Mormonism, from Matt Yglesias, which gets to one of the key aspects that's bothering me about the current debate. Romney, as a wannabe conservative Republican, is trying to pick up primary votes from the evangelical South. In order to do so, he's claiming a general Christian moral high ground: "we're all people of faith, here, and that's what's important." This is understandably annoying to people who embrace secular values or think that religious faith is not a prerequisite to governmental position.
What's killing me is the number of journalists and bloggers who, in trying to hit back against Romney's annoying aspects, are repeating the claims of the theologically rigid. Yes, Catholics and some evangelicals hold that Mormons aren't really Christian. However, most Mormons react to that charge as a filthy slur. Even as a non-believing, non-practicing Mormon, as I search for an analogy for how this line of analysis feels, I end up thinking of the charge of deicide against the Jews.
And that brings me to the second link I want to preserve here, Liz's getting skeptical about the extent to which "Christian" gets to mean "decent folks" in our culture. Being reminded that Mormon doesn't get to mean "Christian" or "decent folks" without a trial period and a debate just offends me. There is a great deal to criticize about the LDS Church, from its racist past to its current patriarchal structure. Among the various Christian sects, the LDS church has retained a coherent hierarchal unity, which makes it seem like an institutional monolith--and particularly to Republican viewers, I would say. However, the extended LDS community--the jack mormons, expelled mormons, cynical mormons, gay mormons, resigned mormons, intellectual mormons--these people (most of whom probably still remain on the church rolls) are some of the most decent folks I've known. I'd be appalled to see them subjected to a theological test to run for office.
[Update: DaveB has an excellent post on eerily similiar themes over at The Great Whatsit.