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Romney’s Problem With Anti-Mormon Evangelicals

Looks like Romney’s going to be the nominee, no matter how much the mainstream media plays up the opposition to a Romney candidacy amongst evangelicals while downplaying the anti-Mormon ignorance and bigotry (parading as “exposition”) that is the root cause of much of the evangelical opposition.

I’ve had a lot of experience with fundamentalists / evangelicals over the years since graduating from high school – some of it unpleasant.

The Christian ladies I worked with in Richardson in 1978 were wonderful – one invited me to dine (and pray) with her family and focused on our shared belief in that Jesus Christ who is our Savior and the Son of God, who was crucified and died on the cross for our sins, and who rose from the dead on the third day.

On the other hand, when I was representing IBM online in 1994, living in Austin, a friend of mine who worked at Microsoft related how high-level executives there had included my being Mormon as one of my “weaknesses” they could exploit in the character assassination campaign they executed (which campaign was documented by both Brill’s Content and PC Magazine).

During that time, one national technology columnist (an evangelical), went on a rant about my religious beliefs, stating in public that I was serving Satan, an idiot to believe as I did, and couldn’t be trusted to have a rational bone in my body.

A few years ago, one lady I was working with in Texas in relation to INVISUS called me one day and asked if I was a Mormon. When I replied that I was indeed, there was stunned silence on the other end of the line before she said: “You just didn’t seem like a dishonest hypocrite.” She never called me again or returned my phone calls.

I went to church and had dinner in Long Island with another INVISUS associate and his delightful family, but after dinner he pulled out “The Godmakers” (a ridiculously biased and twisted anti-Mormon “documentary”) and insisted that I watch it with him. I watched enough of it to be able to tell him that asking me to watch that would be similar to me asking him to watch an atheist’s “documentary” on how Jesus’s followers were a bunch of con artists who conspired to destroy Jesus’s body to make it appear that Jesus had been resurrected. It may have a fact here and there that supports the central thesis, but the overall imagination and twisted facts to truth and reality ratio is so high as to render the “documentary” a work of fiction.

So my point is that anti-Mormon bigotry amongst many evangelicals is real and has been fanned by preachers who prey on the faith and trust (and ignorance) of their followers by actively spreading anti-Mormon lies and propaganda, such as “Mormons aren’t Christian,” “The Mormon church is a cult,” “Mormons are polygamists,” “Mormons baptize dead people,” “Mormons believe in the occult,” “Mormons are racists,” “Mormons believe you can be saved by works alone,” and other perhaps superficially plausible but utterly facile falsehoolds that can’t withstand even the simplest scrupulous scrutiny.

I’ve seen the opposite from my Catholic and Jewish friends: I can’t think of an instance where I’ve seen anything but respect for and curiosity about my beliefs from Catholics or Jews (and most Protestants, for that matter).

So I believe that ignorance and/or bigotry is the leading reason that Mitt Romney has done so poorly amongst Evangelicals. It’s the 800-lb gorilla in this election. Fortunately, I’m confident that the same evangelicals who are voting against Romney now will be even more motivated to vote against Obama in November to stop the encroachment on our religious and economic rights and liberties.

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