Interesting article by Christopher Hitchens on Slate.com, discussing Mitt Romney’s success in deflecting all questions about his faith: journalists who cover Romney’s presidential campaign have been bamboozled into self-censoring every time that a question about Mormonism occurs to them, and Romney himself has said that such questions, were they to occur, would be “un-American”.
But the Mormon faith does have some grey areas that, to a reasonable observer, may appear, well, questionable. Romney’s family, Hitchens reports, “is, and has been for generations, part of the dynastic leadership of the mad cult invented by the convicted fraud Joseph Smith”: a church that, until 1978, was an officially racist organization. To this, I would add that Romney’s faith seems not to be extraneous to ineffective public policy decisions that Romney made as a governor of Massachussets, such as funding abstinence-only sex education in schools – a policy that was quickly overturned by his successor after a federal study found that “students in programs focusing solely on abstinence are just as likely to have sex as those not in such programs” (and, one imagines, have it much less safely).
American voters need to choose a leader they can trust. Or at least not mistrust any more than they mistrust their current President (a born-again Christian who is living proof that, well, anybody can get a second chance in America). Coming clean about the dark corners of one’s faith seems to be a prerequisite to even start building that trust.