Although most of my life has been spent in the UK, ever since the Reagan years I’ve also taken a keen interest in American politics. I must have read close to a hundred different biographies of various American Presidents, VP’s, Secretaries of State, Generals, “spin-doctors,” and political journalists. And of course there are the daily visits to realclearpolitics, politico, etc. And after all that research, I’m looking forward to when I hope to be able to cast a ballot in a few years time.

So allow me to make one of my rare forays into commenting on American politics with this simple question:

Why are the mainstream media almost completely silent on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism?Mitt Romney

I’ve been reading Latayne Scott’s The Mormon Mirage over the past few days, as I prepare to interview her on the Connected Kingdom podcast. I must confess that, with most of my Christian life and ministry having been spent in the Scottish Highlands, I’ve not needed to know much about Mormonism and I’ve had very little contact with Mormons themselves. That’s why The Mormon Mirage has been such a frightening eye-opener for me. As I discovered more and more about the Mormon’s bizarre and outlandish beliefs, practices, and leaders, the question kept popping into my mind: Why are the mainstream media almost completely silent on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism?

I look at the media’s brutal, ruthless, and merciless treatment of political leaders with any kind of evangelical Christian faith (e.g. President Bush, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, etc.). But when it comes to Mitt Romney – silence! In fact, even more intriguingly, we find increasing numbers of the media, and even of Democratic opponents, praising him! Something very suspicious going on here.

Here’s my theory.

Democratic strategists know that they can use Mitt Romney’s Mormon “faith” to destroy him in a general election campaign. Therefore, keep the powder dry, help Romney get nominated, then repeatedly connect him with the utterly weird religion he is associated with; keep him on the back foot defending or explaining (or rejecting) his beliefs, and wait for sufficient independent (and evangelical) voters to take fright, as they assuredly will. And even if Romney then renounces his Mormonism, that simply plays into the already damaging “flip-flopper” narrative of someone who will say/do anything to be elected

This is nothing whatsoever to do with the American left’s pre-occupation with the so-called “separation of church and state” (which is increasingly being interpreted as no one with faith is allowed an office of state). This is nothing to do with whether Mormonism is a cult or not. No, this is simply about personal gullibility and potential electability. I know that we Christians are mocked for believing in the virgin birth, the miracles, the resurrection, etc. However, even our harshest critics would say ,”Compared to Mormonism, Christianity is a model of sanity and reasonableness.”

I was quite keen on Romney until I read Latayne Scott’s book. Although he’s rather weak and unpredictable on social issues, I thought his business and leadership gifts and experience might be just what America needs at this time. I’ve been impressed with his debating skills and he certainly carries himself well. But this Mormonism is going to sink him.

So, here’s my prediction. If Romney is nominated, the media who seemed to support him will suddenly discover he’s a Mormon, and they’ll quickly and easily render him unelectable.

(UPDATE: The last week’s media “interest” in Mormonism was the result of a prominent pastor’s comments not media investigation of Mormonism. The reaction of most of the media to these comments seems to prove my point: “What do you mean Mormonism is a cult…not Christianity…etc?” Downplay, minimize, etc….until the time is right…)

  • Jason Van Bemmel

    I think you’re absolutely right. Just the sacred underwear will be enough to scare away swing voters. The media did this last time with John McCain- find the vulnerable candidate, support him in the primaries until he gets the nomination and then turn on him in the general election. They’re following the same plan now. I think conservative evangelicals need to decide between Rick Perry and Herman Cain. Either of those two men will be better than Romney.

  • Lorna Flake Peden

    As a Christian who was a Temple going (over 100 times) Mormon until I was 45 and read everything I could get my hands on before leaving, I know much about the Mormon religion and it’s false god, works to become a god of their own planet, etc., predictions by early leaders that the Mormon church would save the Constitution when it “hangs by a thread. (A hidden meaning to most…quoted by Glenn Beck to Oran Hatch on TV). I always speak up but I find that many Christians simply don’t weant to hear it or believe it. They much prefer to say they don’t want to judge. Just give me love! It is discouraging. Guess I need to write a book.

  • Lorna Flake Peden

    I became a Christian in 1989…and believe in the teaching of the Reformers and belong to a sound Church. I love the Lord of glory, our great Savior. Just needed to clarify that…I didn’t even say I was a Christian above.

  • Jonathan Engelsma

    Interesting. Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven” perhaps exemplifies what might be coming from the left should Mr. Romney get the nomination. While the book is more focused on the fundamentalist Mormon sects, he seems eager to implicate all religions along the way.

  • Lorna Flake Peden

    I do agree that we may indeed see the liberal media supporting Mr. Romney in the primary and then hit him hard with the strange beliefs of Mormonism, a false religion. I can imagine it will become very ugly. I do know that a Mormon does believe he has a different Jesus..not the Jesus Christ of Christians. They are proud of their so-called revelations that he is just our older spirit brother from a pre-existent world…not God…and they reject the belief in the Trinity. Mormons also believe they belong to the only true church on earth. They feel sorry for all of us. I know I did when I was a Mormon. They generally don’t care what Christians think unless they are trying to convert you…because they believe they are right.

  • Ryan Bates

    Exactly , I agree with you David.
    For me, I always take a look at who it is that the liberal media (basically all of the media) is most hateful of and I vote for them, because the media gives the game away. If they hate the candidate so much, then that candidate must be the one that has the best chance to be elected.
    So it seeemed to me that Sarah Palin was their choice. Now that it doesnt look like she will run, they will need to reverse course and we will soon see a new target for their vilification. I would bank on it being Ron Paul now.

  • Stephen Bang

    Your case seems to be, “don’t nominate Romney because he is not electable due to his Mormon faith,”, not “don’t nominate Romney because his Mormon faith will make him a bad president.” I don’t agree with that logic. If Perry is nominated, the liberal media will have plenty to attack him with, starting with his suggestion that Texas could secede from the Union again. If Cain is nominated it will be something else.
    I agree with everything you said about Mormonism, but not about how it will play in politics. In a worldly point of view, I admire every one of the many Mormons I have known – they are very fine people and I would never vote against one of them because of their faith.
    You must have written this a week ago – there has been lots about Romney and Mormonism in the news this past week.

    • David Murray

      Stephen: Thanks for the interaction. The last week’s “interest” only confirms my point as far as I can see. It was a prominent pastor who really raised the issue higher by his outspoken remarks. And the media’s reaction has been astonishment. They’ve really downplayed and minimized the Mormonism, trying to normalize it, etc. Until, that is, the time is right…

  • Dean B

    Professor Murray

    Dr Mohler and Richard Mouw appear to dislike the term cult when categorizing Mormonism.

    I believe the alternative is to view Mormonism as a separate religion from Christianity. Based on Richard Mouw’s history in 2004 with Mormons I do not think he would place them in a different religion camp either.

    Based on your understanding of Mormonism would you view it as a cult or is it a separate religion?

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  • Gordon Woods

    If Romney can survive the Rep. primaries, then Democrat/LSM attack on his religion will fail to overcome the ABO attitude. It failed with JFK and it will fail again. Romney has one simple answer: I believe in the 1st Admendment and I’m not here to install my religion as a religion of government

  • Steve Cornell

    I won’t be surprised to see things unfold as you project. But I wish pastors who accept interviews about politics in national media venues would think before they speak. The Dallas pastor should have thought about the implications of throwing out words like: cult and born again. I suggest that “cult” might be a label we should move beyond (see:

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  • Richard

    I think David is right. This actually happened to Romney before–when he ran for the Senate in Mass. against Kennedy.

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  • Girl Gets Ring

    I love reading an article that will make people think. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

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