The news burst open about a political Super PAC who supports Romney considering using Obama’s history with the controversial Rev. Wright. No specifics were revealed in what way the relationship would be used. Despite existing in a planning stage, most of the mainstream media went ballistic over the possibility. Romney denounced its use and the PAC scrapped the project.
The reason for this turn around was because a few very loud and usual suspects issued a fatwa . . . I mean, a warning against Mormons. They proclaimed in big bold letters like CNN political analyst Roland Martin that bringing up Rev. Wright would mean, “putting Mormonism on the table… putting on the table how African Americans were treated by the Mormon religion.” Some said similarly other aspects of the faith became fair game. In other words, attacking Obama’s critical 20 year history with a fanatic racialist merits launching an assault on a whole religion.
Go for it! Never mind that Harry Reid and a few other Obama supporters belong to that religion too. Let them get equally hit in the crossfire. It is past time that the Rev. Wright story gets told in more than periphery terms. We Mormons can handle the blowback (throwback?). After all, we survived the 19th Century extermination order, mobs, a hot cold war with the U.S. Government, and a previously intense scrutiny in the early 20th Century that will rival what can happen today. Besides, it appears the discussion meant to harm Romney might help if not be negligible.
The truth is that this “Mormon conversation” that has been warned about has been going on already. This doesn’t mean just in the blog world, but national media outlets. Two of the main pushers (not alone by a long shot) of Mormon talk has been The New York Times and Washington Post. They have even enlisted Mormons to contribute to their non-stop coverage. Not even the LDS Temple is off limits as an TucsonCitizen article (that I won’t link) demonstrated, calling it “surreal,” “incomparable with good mental health,” and states, “Mitt Romney needs to make clear the extent he is willing to use the presidency to advance the goals of the Church’s hierarchy.” As Ed Morrison at Hot Air wrote:
Here’s a fun exercise for Hot Air readers. Go to the New York Times website and do a 12-month search for “Romney Mormon,” and see how many hits come back. I’ll end the suspense — “about 12,000 results,” according to the search I conducted earlier today. Now, do a search on “Obama Jeremiah” in the same time frame, and you’ll get 4,190 hits, which is more than I expected but only about a third of the Romney-Mormon search results. Actually, the same search only turns up 4,330 hits since 1851, which means that before mid-2011 the Times only had less than 200 hits for that search item. The media has been asking questions about Romney’s faith all throughout this cycle’s 365 days, whether it has to do with polygamy (473 hits), racism (501 hits), contraception (265 hits), or contributions (2,040 hits). That’s more than article a day that mentions Romney, Mormon, and polygamy at once.
But when independent groups start asking about Barack Obama’s 20-year association with Jeremiah Wright? Horror!
You want stories of polygamy and Romney? The papers don’t even have to bring the subjects up. They just need to report someone else making a few well placed comments. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer was all over the news about reminding people of Romney polygamy ancestors in Mexico. He even hinted that Romney might very well could be one himself in his heart if not in fact. More recently, Legislative Black Caucus leader and North Carolina Democrat state Rep. Alma Adams, said, “”From what I understand about the Mormon faith you can have multiple wives,” in an attack on Romney in light of the passage to support traditional marriage in her own state. She later apologized, but only after getting reported all over the news and papers. The same mention of Obama’s father and grandfather’s polygamist Muslim past is eerily missing.
You want stories on racism? There was that BYU religion professor Randy Bott flap that bounced around the blog world for about a month. Huffington Post is very much open to talking about Romney, Mormonism, and race. Much of the media continually gets The Book of Mormon view on the subject wrong (hint: it doesn’t mention blacks or a priesthood ban at all). With all this already in the air I don’t see why Rev. Wright should be left out of the light of day.
Not important some would say. It seems Rev. Wright himself would disagree, as reported in the NY Post:
When sermons of Obama’s Chicago pastor, Jeremiah Wright, surfaced during the Iowa primaries, it threatened to derail Obama’s campaign. ABC aired one where Wright screamed, “Goddamn America!” Edward Klein interviewed Wright, who told him Obama’s team tried to buy his silence.
‘Man, the media ate me alive,” Wright told me when we met in his office at Chicago’s Kwame Nkrumah Academy. “After the media went ballistic on me, I received an e-mail offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election.”
“Who sent the e-mail?” I asked Wright.
“It was from one of Barack’s closest friends.”
“He offered you money?”
“Not directly,” Wright said. “He sent the offer to one of the members of the church, who sent it to me.”
“How much money did he offer you?”
“One hundred and fifty thousand dollars,” Wright said.
“Did Obama himself ever make an effort to see you?”
“Yes,” Wright said. “Barack said he wanted to meet me in secret, in a secure place. And I said, ‘You’re used to coming to my home, you’ve been here countless times, so what’s wrong with coming to my home?’ So we met in the living room of the parsonage of Trinity United Church of Christ, at South Pleasant Avenue right off 95th Street, just Barack and me. I don’t know if he had a wire on him. His security was outside somewhere.
“And one of the first things Barack said was, ‘I really wish you wouldn’t do any more public speaking until after the November election.’ He knew I had some speaking engagements lined up, and he said, ‘I wish you wouldn’t speak. It’s gonna hurt the campaign if you do that.’
There are several stories of Romney and Mormonism that have and will continue to be written about. There is a whole book out called “The Real Romney” about his formative and religious leadership years. We know about his tithing. We know a little about his time as Bishop. We have heard stories about his mission to France. We even know, speculative as the reasoning, how his religion shaped his secular business acumen.
We know Rev. Wright was Obama’s pastor for 20 years. He even married him to Michelle. Other than that, we know next to nothing about his faith or formative years. At least nothing that hasn’t been highly polished by him and his friends. Bring on those so-called Mormon “problems” (that are already in the news), as there is nothing to fear. Its a price worth paying to know more about what Obama believes about his Black Liberation Theology and the extent he is willing to use the presidency to advance its goals.