Patterico's Pontifications


Religious Bigotry in the Presidential Race

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:37 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

For the past three years we have seen the hyper-racialization of our politics, where for instance not wanting to support an unconstitutional government takeover of health care is just because Obama is black.  I mean never mind that we actually defeated a similar plan put forth by a white President, but no, no clearly we were all just racist for opposing it. And we were continually told that this issue or that one was really a dog whistle for racism.

Well, if you want a dog whistle, it’s really kind of hard to beat this one:

Yes, that is for real.  That is how Newsweek depicts Mitt Romney.  Apparently it is a riff off of The Book of Mormon a play by the creators of South Park.  Knowing those guys, I suspect the play is something quite brilliant, but that grants Newsweek zero immunity for depicting Romney as a stereotypical Mormon (would we tolerate Lieberman being depicted as a character from Fiddler on the Roof–or Obama as a slave in Roots?).  Indeed they picked  a stereotype associated with a  particularly annoying subset of the Mormon faith: the guys who knock on your door and try to convert you.  Seriously, Mormons, what is the story with that?  Did you notice that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had been cutting back and decided that was a niche that needed to be fulfilled?

Joking aside, I see Mormonism basically pretty much the way the South Park guys see it:

I tell people it’s the craziest religion* that…  nonetheless as a rule produces really nice people.  I mean there are exceptions…**

…but there are many more that fit the rule…

And if you are a good person that is really all I care about, not my assessment of the reasonableness of your religion. Seriously, what Newsweek has done is just tawdry.  No wonder the Daily Beast (allegedly) bought it for a dollar.  It is the most religiously bigoted thing I have seen in politics since…  well… this:

And that is campaign materials in support of a proposed circumcision ban in San Francisco, as discovered by Zombie.  Read the whole thing.  If you need any more motivation to read the link, let me share that it is from a comic staring a character called Foreskin Man.

Yes, really.

But to circle back to the original topic and get deep for two seconds, let me also say this.  I wonder if ultimately the hyper-racialization of politics we have seen might backfire on the left.  Independents might find themselves longing for the day when people felt free to disagree with the President without the accusing finger of racism being pointed at them.  Yes, surely the left will claim that if we don’t vote for Obama for reelection we are even bigger racists, but then the day after when we discuss the value of a policy preference, it will no longer be easy for the left to claim that we’re just opposed because we are racists.  So it might be the case that this hyper-racialization might have the effect making it harder for a black man to be re-elected because of the left’s own race-based behavior.

Of course, if a woman, or a Mormon becomes President, I suppose we could see how the Democrats like being accused of gender or religious-based bigotry…

Not to mention the possibility of a Cain surge…


* To be fair and non-cheezy, all religions seem a little crazy to non-believers, mine included.  And really I am much more concerned with how good you are as a person, than your faith.

** And no, I am not counting bigamists—especially the ones who marry children—as Mormons.  The modern church seems to have done as much as it could to disassociate itself from that.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

45 Responses to “Religious Bigotry in the Presidential Race”

  1. Ender’s Game…a great read, strongly recommended.

    Old Coot (9057b8)

  2. I think that old lady what runs Newsweek has fallen on her ass again and this time she’s not getting up

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  3. old coot

    damn straight.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  4. Certain bigotries are okay.

    JD (3ad5b9)

  5. I’m bigoted against geriatric british propaganda hoochies

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  6. I’m bigoted against Sarah Palin because she didn’t abort her inbred baby.

    FIFY eugenicfeet.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  7. I want some journalist in the mainstream to show Harry Reid that cover of Newsweek and ask him pont blank –on the record–how he feels about it. I do want Harry the Mormon on record about this.

    David Gregory would be my first choice. On MTP he loves grilling republicans how they feel about things other people say and do. He loves badgering and trying to force right leaning guests to condemn statements they had nothing whatsoever to do with and gets all huffy and red faced when they don’t or won’t.

    elissa (814781)

  8. What a crappy thing to do..and I thought they only picked on Sarah Palin.

    Terrye (3d4bc9)

  9. I’m very surprised by this. The attack is ridiculous.

    Newsweek wouldn’t show Obama in such a photoshopped ‘faggy’ light in 10000 years (no offense to gays intended, but that’s the motif they are after).

    They sure as hell wouldn’t associate Obama with his nutcase 20 year religion, either. It’s a complete non-issue.

    Someone out there has decided they want to really come out guns blazing at Romney, and I wonder if that’s because they anticipate he would be a powerful candidate in a 2012 looking for an economic leader.

    I also think Romney’s announcement speech has scared a lot of these people. I do not like Romney. I’ve bashed him 100 times at least. And that speech still sounded great to me. He’s found some of that X factor, and I think he’s been working on this speech skills. I bet he is incredibly good in the debates.

    He won’t get my primary vote, but I think the Obama fan club that is the MSM has realized he is a tremendous threat.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  10. Liberal interviewers and moderators are obsessed with asking Republican candidates if they believe in the literally translation of the Bible, or in evolution. One of these days, I would love to see A Republican reply with, “What possible relevance does evolution versus creation have to our country’s fiscal, economic, and strategic challenges?”

    The only one I can see handing it back is maybe Christie.

    Gregory of Yardale (07425b)

  11. Terrye they pick on anyone.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  12. He won’t get my primary vote, but I think the Obama fan club that is the MSM has realized he is a tremendous threat.

    Yeah, he’s probably dead in the water with the base, but there’s no way the media would be paying him any mind if they thought he had no shot at taking out President Peak Affirmative Action–more likely, because they know Romney’s not an ineloquent stumble-bum that would let Obama get away with his childish go-to tactic of talking like a SWPL college student when confronted.

    Another Chris (c983db)

  13. Well, what else would you expect from a magazine guided by the likes of Evan Thomas, Margaret Carlson, and Eleanore “Rodham” Clift.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  14. 10.Liberal interviewers and moderators are obsessed with asking Republican candidates if they believe in the literally translation of the Bible, or in evolution.

    They do that because they think anyone who cannot see things that are so obvious as evolution or the nonliteral nature of the bible must be some sort of ignoramus or lunatic. That, and they figure such a person will completely screw up science funding.

    They are right, of course ……… such people are almost as clueless and disconnected from reality as the people who cannot see that free countries that treat capital well do well, and socialist countries that chase capital away suck.

    It’s enough to drive a sane voter to despair.

    Roland (ab3879)

  15. “4.Certain bigotries are okay” I admit I am bigoted against Scientologists getting into politics. I wish the Palins wouldn’t chum around with them.

    gp (12651d)

  16. I wish the Palins wouldn’t chum around with them.

    Could you expand on that, please? I had not heard of this.

    Hating Scientology™ is not bigotry, any more than hating the mafia is bigotry.

    Milhouse (0cad94)

  17. I wouldn’t be surprised if Palin showed up in Clearwater and was polite to the people there, but I hadn’t heard anything about her actually being chummy with Scientology.

    Hating Scientology™ is not bigotry, any more than hating the mafia is bigotry.

    I agree. The existence of a supernatural or psuedoscientific hocus pocus faith tale doesn’t change the organized crime aspect.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  18. You’d be surprised how much some H8ers like Geoffrey
    Dunn on the truther left, and Halcro on the crony right, have tried to make a big deal of her friendship with Coale and Van Susteren, actually
    you probably wouldn’t

    ian cormac (72470d)

  19. I thought it was pretty well known that Palin was Christian.

    But no, I guess that doesn’t surprise me. Yes, Palin is probably pretty nice to the people who work with her at Fox News. Snort.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  20. I also agree it’s ok to hate scientology – why on earth wouldn’t you?

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  21. Being bigoted against Christians is perfectly acceptable nowadays.

    JD (29e1cd)

  22. The Palins seem too close to the Van Susterens, who are both Scientologists. Sarah seems to give preferential access to Greta sometimes.

    For all I know the VSs are very nice people. I even admire the work of some Scientologist actors and musicians. But sorry, don’t want them as pols, nor as friends of pols.

    gp (12651d)

  23. I went to a Scientology Open House once. Hilarity ensued. I would be willing to bet they have a picture of my thetans at that place now.

    JD (b98cae)

  24. First of all, I’d like to congratulate the bloggers here for remembering that there are things that happen that have nothing to do whether Congressman Dingdong showed too much of his ding, or whether he showed his ding at all, and who is trying to dong him with all that dinginess.

    Liberal interviewers and moderators are obsessed with asking Republican candidates if they believe in the literally translation of the Bible, or in evolution.

    You have to remember the purpose here. The MSM thinks a considerable portion of the GOP base believes in the literal truth of Genesis 1 and doesn’t believe in evolution. Therefore they ask that question in hopes that the politician will say, “I don’t believe in evolution” and thereby allow himself to be marked as an ignorant doofus, or say, “I believe in evolution” and (the MSM hopes) get the GOP base angry with him.
    depicting Romney as a stereotypical Mormon
    That’s not a stereotypical Mormon; it’s a fairly obvious morphing of a current Broadway musical. To show a stereotypical Mormon, you’d need references to polygamy, or failing that, references to no coffee, strange underwear, and those golden tablets that Moroni supposedly gave to Joseph Smith. And even that, depending on the context, might not be offensive. (I can well imagine political cartoons using the images of Lieberman or Obama you suggest which would not suggest any bigotry. The effect you’re suggesting would require something like Lieberman drawn like Monster Mohel or Obama posed as a blackface minstrel.)
    And the simple comparison to Monster Mohel you’re making should show how trivial this is. When even Andy Sullivan has to admit that something is anti-Semitic, you know it is anti-Semitic. The Newsweek cover is equivalent to things that are included in political cartoons every day without raising anyone’s eyebrows.

    the guys who knock on your door and try to convert you.
    Well, the fact that it is almost de rigeur for young Mormons to assume a missionary position for a couple of years is fairly well known. That’s how the South Park guys are able to make effective use of that image in their musical.

    No wonder the Daily Beast (allegedly) bought it for a dollar.
    Speaking Sullivan, it should be ample commentary on the Daily Beast’s business sense that they think it’s worthwhile to have him on their staff.

    BTW, don’t know if the fault is on my browser or further up the datastream, but the image from National View is not showing for me. I had to google to find a copy so I could see what you were talking about.

    kishnevi (a6ffde)

  25. “The MSM thinks a considerable portion of the GOP base believes in the literal truth of Genesis 1 and doesn’t believe in evolution.” Actually, according to, it may be fairly said that 40% of ALL Americans polled do not believe in evolution (“God created humans in present form,” as opposed to “Humans evolved, [God or not]”) So if this poll is credible, it’s reasonable to think a considerable portion of GOP base does not believe in evolution.

    gp (12651d)

  26. Xtianists of all flavors, oh and lately Joooooos too, are the only groups in America that it’s ok to be less than PC to.

    It’s also ok to generalize them as well.

    But don’t even imply things like; black folks are shiftless, Hispanics are drunks, Indians (Tee-Pee not dot)can’t hold their liquor, or Asians can’t drive.

    ‘Cuz then you’d be in real trouble, man…

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  27. but even if you don’t generalize and you’re real particular about which particular breed of Christian you might be critical of, you can count on people getting just as offended as if you had generalized

    it’s a thing

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  28. America could do
    much worse (and has) than to have
    Romney in White House

    ColonelHaiku (8fa4f9)

  29. Religious people tend to make better citizens. Emphasis tend …….

    Sponge Bob Square Pants (fccc6f)

  30. Liberal interviewers and moderators are obsessed with asking Republican candidates if they believe in the literal translation of the Bible, or in evolution.

    I wish that someone would turn this around and ask a left-winger or a mainstream media interviewer why Democrat politicians are Economic Creationists. Because that is what they are: they believe that a functioning economy cannot possibly exist without the active intervention of a Higher Power — the Government. (Personified, of course, by themselves, the Vicars on Earth of the Holy State.)

    Murgatroyd (fd5fcd)

  31. I think the Democratic party’s Racial Con of making the GOP out to be the racists is perhaps the greatest con job in human history.

    The Dems gained very real major power in the 1870s — by appealing to the racists in the South angry over Republican plans for the Reconstruction — ones which involved “40 acres and a mule” and such, to actually provide reparations and a measure of equality to the former slaves — policies which the Dems gradually chipped away at and a boulder which the GOP finally got tired of pushing uphill. The Dems used this to gain the entire South as a power base for over sixty years.

    Further, the Dems have had two major schisms in the last 60 years over race — in the 1948 (the Dixiecrats) and the 1964 Dem conventions (the latter in which legally elected black representatives from the South were disenfranchized at the convention by machinations of Humphrey and Johnson — which led directly to the subsequent violence in the 60s, including the 1968 convention and the Watts riots. Details here).

    The Dems also continue to promote victimhood and class warfare memes and policies which are divisive and have led to nothing good for American blacks — the fruits of their attitudes are clear: ignorance, illiteracy, and futility, leading to a ridiculously large number of black males being incarcerated (correctly, mind you), massive levels of black illegitimacy (presence of a balancing fatherhood figure is a strong indicator of later success in life), and, through the prisons, widespread AIDS in the black populace.

    When a black man or woman succeeds without their help, the Dems feel nothing whatsoever about denigrating them and their accomplishments by using offensively pejorative memes and terms — terms like “stepinfetchit”, “Uncle Tom”, and “pickaninny”.

    It is particularly telling that the Kerry campaign had no prominent black people on it until someone noticed this and commented on it, only AFTER which were “a few token darkies” given visible places of “import”.

    Who are the racists, again?

    In contrast, I suggest you consider the following:

    We pledge that our American citizens of Negro descent
    shall be given a square deal in the economic and political
    life of this nation. Discrimination in the civil service,
    the army, navy, and all other branches of the Government
    must cease. To enjoy the full benefits of life, liberty
    and pursuit of happiness universal suffrage must be made
    effective for the Negro citizen. Mob violence shocks the
    conscience of the nation and legislation to curb this evil
    should be enacted.

    — from the 1940 GOP platform

    Contrast especially with:
    We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial
    integrity of each race; the constitutional right to choose
    one’s associates; to accept private employment without
    governmental interference, and to learn one’s living in any
    lawful way. We oppose the elimination of segregation, the
    repeal of miscegenation statutes, the control of private
    employment by Federal bureaucrats called for by the misnamed
    civil rights program. We favor home-rule, local self-government
    and a minimum interference with individual rights.

    We oppose and condemn the action of the Democratic Convention
    in sponsoring a civil rights program calling for the elimination
    of segregation, social equality by Federal fiat, regulations of
    private employment practices, voting, and local law enforcement.

    — from the 1948 Dixiecrat’s Platform

    Just who is the friggin’ racist bunch, again?

    The Truth needs to be put before the people and make it clear to all around that the Dems are not only the party who represents racism and racist policies, but have been for not less than 140 years and counting.

    And, while that won’t change all the minds, it’s the Truth, and they won’t be able to do much more than counter it with still more and ever blatant lies… which we will re-counter with still more Truth.

    And I have faith in the Truth’s power to win hearts and minds in the long run.

    P.S., one of the more obvious claims in response of that last part is that “The Dixiecrats” were not “Democrats”.

    Yeah, right.
    They were Democrats in 1944.
    They were Democrats again in 1952.

    Ergo — They were a significant part of the Democratic party both before 1948 and again after 1948.

    There was no equivalent power faction in the GOP, ever.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

  32. Igotbupkis, that’s precisely why the democrats demanded Trent Lott’s resignation. By acting as though even tolerating the dixiecrats with two degrees of separation is absolutely unacceptable, they put the GOP on the defensive, and even claim the mantle of racial justice. The democrats have indeed been amazing con artists on this point.

    Then, and now, they preach populist race warfare ideas, and see every man for his skin color. Every single time it comes up, they brought it up, and they are using it for political gain.

    The reason this has worked well for democrats is because they have done a terrific job taking over public education.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  33. I went to a Scientology Open House once. Hilarity ensued. I would be willing to bet they have a picture of my thetans at that place now.

    JD you are an extremely funny man! Colonel tip sombrero to you, sir.

    ColonelHaiku (8fa4f9)

  34. The guys (and girls) who knock on your door and try to convert you in no way represent a subset of the faith. There are no subsets of Mormonism – it’s basically all or nothing. Converting people to the faith through missionary work, which includes full-time missionaries and regular church members, is one of the main objectives of the church. And Mormons have been doing this since before the Jehovah’s Witnesses existed.

    Had they depicted Romney as a missionary in some normal pose I don’t think I would find it disrespectful. But using the image they did, and considering the source, makes it obvious that they were trying to make him look ridiculous.

    Christian (f2e759)

  35. The Ender series is a good read but when you get deeper into Scott Card you realize his books are very fomulaic. An outsider to regular society eventually becomes a savior/messiah figure for that same society. Nothing wrong with that, he’s become very successful with that formula. And his writing skills are first rate. My girlfriend sez I think too much-lol. My personal favorite Card books are “Harts Hope”, and “Treason”. “Harts Hope” is especially poignant. How does a father deal with having his child, marked since his birth, sacrificed to save his society. Basically the story of Joseph/Jesus.

    Carnifex (74f848)

  36. Let’s end religious bigotry, natural causes, and poverty before 2012.

    Uh, isn’t that what gots us the jug-eared fraud, Romneycare and entitlements?

    Another Dimmi uncloseted.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  37. The Book of Mormon will sweep the Tonys this year. It’s a clever satire of not just Mormonism, but — as you get deeper into it — all religion. After all, when you think about it, the book of Mormon isn’t that much more sillier than any other book of the Bible.

    Watch the Tonys this Sunday. They’ll be performing a song called “I Believe”. You’ll see what I mean.

    Kman (5576bf)

  38. I think they’re burning out the race card through overuse, plus the fact that America elected Obama in the first place.

    My issue with Romney is two fold: he isn’t conservative enough, and the biggest evidence of that is his stance on RomneyCare. He’s still defending it, despite all the evidence coming in that it is failing. Whereas if he said “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hasn’t worked and it’s creating severe problems, so it should be scrapped…”

    LarryD (feb78b)

  39. Romney’s instincts, I’m setting apart the advice that Mike Murphy provides are just terrible. It
    has nothing to do with his religion. When he approved of the sacking of the GM board, when he
    only lightly criticized, tha abandonment of the Green revolution in Iran, and went on the band wagon
    for Egypt, that’s just three examples. This is why he will have trouble in the GOP primary.

    ian cormac (72470d)

  40. I hate romney because of his policies not his religion so you romneybots can shove your false accusations up your butt.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  41. _________________________________________

    I hate romney because of his policies not his religion

    The tactics and dynamics of the 2012 election will be interesting and perhaps far more idiotic than what occurred in 2008. I can visualize a percentage of folks on both the right and left creating a peculiar situation — by the way they either vote or don’t vote — in which the guy now in the White House gets reelected.

    Most important is to observe current polling. In spite of how inept and lousy the president has been — how much “goddamn America” sentiment is wrapped up in his background — he appears to be receiving far, far more benefit of the doubt and easygoing sentiment than what he deserves. IOW, if America is developing a case of Mexico or Venezuela (or urban-America) Syndrome, than no matter how screwed up a society becomes, enough voters will blindly and foolishly kiss up to liberalism, of both politicians and policies, so that the motto of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” ends up illustrated in blazing glory.

    Mark (411533)

  42. I would say, that’s more a subset of the media, if Bush had been ‘air raiding villages’ left and right,
    if a well connected oil company had suffered a mishap as BP, if oil prices were nearing four dollars, and milk near three, you know what his
    rating would be.

    ian cormac (72470d)

  43. I hate romney because of his policies not his religion so you romneybots can shove your false accusations up your butt.

    Comment by DohBiden

    But you will volunteer, donate, and vote for him, if he is the nominee, or you just plain don’t get it.

    And those who say ‘let America crash and burn, so we can learn our lesson and rebuild’ REALLY don’t get it.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  44. And those who say ‘let America crash and burn, so we can learn our lesson and rebuild’ REALLY don’t get it.

    I think the result of “C&B America” will be about the same as “C&B Weimar”. If that doesn’t cause one to wet their pants (no “America” to take down the bad guy!) then you’ve got a catheter.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)

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