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December 17, 2007


Just this past Sunday, the often-addled Tim Russert said in his interview with Romney, "[I]t wasn't till 1978 that the Mormon church decided to allow blacks to participate fully. Here was the headlines in the papers in June of '78. 'Mormon Church Dissolves Black Bias. Citing new revelation from God, the president of the Mormon Church decreed for the first time black males could fully participate in church rites.' You were 31 years old, and your church was excluding blacks from full participation. Didn't you think, 'What am I doing part of an organization that is viewed by many as a racist organization?'"

Now Russert is himself a member of a Church that continues to deny women the opportunity to "fully participate in church rites." Would he like to defend his Church's sexism? Has he asked any Catholic candidate to do so?

The answer, of course, is that the mainstream media in general, and Russert in particular, are perfectly fine with a double standard when it comes to Mormons.

Question to the class for bonus credit: Can you think of any other kinds of double standard the media employ?

I don't know, the question may have helped Romney as it educated the public with regard to the Mormon church. That seems to be in keeping with the results of the study referenced above.

Plus, it's great to know that the Mormons are receiving new revelations from God on a regular basis.

It seems like a fair question to me. Candidates use their religious affiliation as a form of qualification. They should have the opportunity to explain what values they derive from their faith.

Additionally, they should be asked how they reconcile belonging to religious organizations where there are policies that contradict our widely held political values (such as equal rights, individual freedom and tolerance).

These divergences exits in Judaism as well (where the rabbinical role of women is, or has been, limited). Its not just Catholics and Mormons.

It wasn't just a fair question, it was an interesting one. It tells us something about Romney (and I think his answer was reasonable enough, by the way) and it brings questions related to the separation of Church and State into public discourse.

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