The Salem Witch Hunt mentality is alive and well in the United States.
If you doubt that just consider the unenlightened and intolerant attacks on Mitt Romney for simply being Mormon.
Temple Square and the 12 Apostles will not be running America if Romney is elected president just like the Vatican and the Pope didn’t run America when John Kennedy was president.
Apparently there are among those who like to view the United States as a Christian nation and believe that those who don’t meet their exacting criteria somehow should be ex-communicated from American society.
Romney’s biggest sin among some who like to trash his chosen religion is that he isn’t conservative enough. The first clue that Romney might not be the type to whip up the flames of social conservative dissension comes from the fact that he is a Republican and a non-Catholic who got elected to govern the very Democratic and Catholic state of Massachusetts.
A funny thing about those who want to deny Mormons full citizenship by hammering their point that a Mormon shouldn’t be president simply because they are Mormon: One heck of a lot of Mormons have spilled their blood fighting for America. They are also by far some of the most strident supporters of public schools and embrace many socially conservative goals.
It was the Mormons - and not the cross-section of evangelist Christian churches - that put their money and necks where their beliefs were and supported Proposition 8 in California. From those who disagreed with them, they got a modern-day repeat of the pitch fork and burning torches that forced Mormons in the 19th century to flee to the West in fear of their lives. The men elected to Congress nearly 150 years ago were so tolerant that they authorized sending the army to Utah to drive them out of the territory as well.
Yes, polygamy isn’t exactly a shining moment in Mormon history but then again they don’t deny it. It is part of the reason they get a cult title hung round their neck from some other religions. Yet how come many of the Biblical patriarchs such as Abraham, David, Jacob and Solomon had multiple wives? Does that mean they weren’t Christians or weren’t part of a cult? Or is the dislike of Mormons for something the church has officially renounced for over a century simply situational ethics?
And - if Mormons are so anti-woman as some like to claim - why was Utah in 1870 the first state to actually confer the right to vote on women?
When I served on the Western Placer Unified School District board from the time I was 19 to 27, there were two Mormons on the board most of the time out of five members including Carolyn Dailey who was the wife of the bishop, former bishop Harold Porter, and his son Ray Porter.
I was told on more than one occasion by church members that my votes on the school board on various issues oftentimes were “more Mormon” than those members who were Mormon. While they intended it as a compliment for me - I am not Mormon by the way - it was a roundabout compliment for Carolyn, Harold, and Ray.
None of the three at any time let their Mormon faith dictate how they voted. They weighed each decision based on what they believed the facts called for and a need to make sure that our public school system is all encompassing.
And speaking of cults, that is exactly what some view Freemasons as. Fourteen of our presidents were Freemasons starting with George Washington and ending with Gerald Ford. Others along the way were Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman to name a few. America didn’t do all that bad by Freemasons as president just as we didn’t with a Catholic as president. A president with a Mormon faith would be no different.
We should celebrate what brings us together as Americans and not look for things that divide.
It is why Barry Goldwater - who elevated the modern American conservatism to the status of a full-blown movement - never put his Jewish faith ahead of being an American when it came to public discourse. He viewed himself as an American first and foremost just as John Kennedy did and just as Mitt Romney does.
There are reasons one may want to argue against having Romney in the White House.
His faith shouldn’t be one of them.