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Liberal concern about Mormons is not the same thing as racist southern concern about Obama

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Buzzfeed reports today on a new study showing that liberals have serious concerns about electing a Mormon as president because of the Mormons's anti-gay advocacy, specifically their single-handedly getting Prop 8 passed in California.  Buzzfeed then goes on to quote the study's author comparing concerns about Mormons to concerns about Obama's race.
The uptick in anti-Mormon voter attitudes may come as a surprise to those who predicted Romney's candidacy would have a mainstreaming effect on his faith. But as University of Sydney scholar David Smith, the paper's author, writes, just as President Obama's successful candidacy didn't put an end to tense race relations in America, Romney's political assent hasn't cured the country of anti-Mormonism. In fact, as the data shows, Romney's rise may have lead to increased anxiety about his religion among his natural political opponents.
Uh, good try.

Liberals are offended by the Mormons' anti-gay activism (and likely also by the Mormons' ongoing attempts to steal the souls of Holocaust (and other) dead).  All of which is completely understandable.  Why should a Democrat want to elect someone whose core beliefs include the oppression of others, including the oppression of several core Democratic constituencies (women, Jews, blacks, and gays)?

We object to their politics.  Which is slightly different than objecting to the color of one's skin.

I'm sure Democrats aren't very thrilled at the prospect of a born-again Evangelical Christian president either, precisely because of the anti-Democratic, and pro-Republican, political activism of born-again Evangelical Christians.  Would that be bigotry akin to racism, or simply a recognition of the politics of most Evangelical Christians in America, politics that Democrats tend to disagree with?

If the Mormon temple is going to inject itself into national politics to the tune of tens of millions of dollars per ballot initiative, then why would it be wrong for other political actors to judge a Mormon politician on his stated politics?  Does being Mormon give a politician a get-out-of-jail free card, exempting him from scrutiny of his own political views?

Your religion isn't just your religion when your religion is per se political.  It's almost as if it's being suggested that so long as you blame your extreme political views on your religion, no one is permitted to vote against you.

The other interesting question is, regardless of one's politics: Why isn't it ok to vote against someone because of their religion?  Would people cry "bigot!" if you voted against a candidate because he's a Scientologist?  Doubtful.  And much of the base of the Republican party is made up of people whose political views are their religious views, who support candidates specifically because of their religion.

After all, it was Mitt Romney himself who recently suggested that voters should choose him over President Obama because of the President's religion.

Or take Rick Santorum.  He wore his religion on his sleeve, and, rightly, said that one's religion is of course relevant to one's politics, if in fact one claims to be a religious person.  So many Republican candidates define themselves and their policies by their religion (which is fine) - and Mormons spend tens of millions on legislative gay-bashing in state after state specifically because of their religious views - but when we take their statements at face value, that their religion is their politics, suddenly we're bigots.

If anything, it sounds like people of faith are pulling a "deny me three times."  They're all too happy to let their religion guide their politics - and they even quote religion when shooting down policies and legislation on gay rights, or abortion rights, or stem cell research - but then, afterwards, we're supposed to ignore the fact that their religion is guiding their politics.

If we're not supposed to have a religious test for politics, then maybe the GOP should stop having a religious test for its politics, policies, and politicians.

If the Mormon church wants to use politics pass judgment on the rest of us, then it shouldn't be upset when people judge it by its own politics.

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