In what he called “another episode of the politics of religion,” Lawrence O'Donnell described an encounter Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had with a Ron Paul supporter where he was asked about the Mormon church's stance in interracial marriage.
Here's more on that encounter from CBS News -- Romney questioned about interracial marriage stance:
Mitt Romney's faith was thrust into the spotlight on Monday, when a Ron Paul supporter tried to quote a passage from a Mormon text and asked Romney if he believed interracial marriage is a sin.
The question arose during a town hall in this suburb of Green Bay by 28 year-old Bret Hatch, who came prepared with a piece of paper that contained quotes from Mormon scripture.
"I guess a lot of people say that your Mormon faith cannot be a concern in the election," Hatch said as a Romney staffer held a microphone so he could be heard throughout the room. "But I think, it might be, as well as I found these verses from the Mormon book."
Hatch tried to read a section from a religious text that has been quoted by some to suggest racist beliefs in the Church of Latter Day Saints.
"I'm sorry, we're just not going to have a discussion about religion in my view," the former Massachusetts governor said. "But if you have a question, I'll be happy to answer your question."
Hatch then asked Romney if he believed "it's a sin for a white man to marry and procreate with a black woman?"
"No. Next question." Romney responded.
As O'Donnell noted, it wasn't until 1978, ten years after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated that the Mormon church suddenly decided to allow black men to become priests in their church. At that time, Mitt Romney was thirty-one years old. As O'Donnell pointed out, if we had someone who was a member of any other racially exclusive organization until they were thirty-one, their candidacy for the presidency or any other office would be doomed.
But because we live in America where it seems it's politically incorrect to ask any political candidate challenging questions about religion--unless they're a black man with a Kenyan father or alternatively, asking Republicans to speak about their deep devotion to Christianity--O'Donnell doesn't feel Romney will ever face any tough questions about his Mormon faith.
O'Donnell would like to see the Romney campaign answer more questions about whether Mitt Romney ever believed in the teachings of Brigham Young. Did he actually believe that he would die on the spot if he ever had sex with a black woman? Given the nature of our press corps, O'Donnell didn't have much hope he'd ever be pushed to answer such a question.
I think O'Donnell's right, but Romney's religion is really the least of the concerns I've got about him. And frankly I'm tired of the “being a good Christian” standard as one that's set all too often by our corporate media and the voters for that matter when it comes to one's qualifications for office.
Mitt Romney is going to find himself with an evangelical Christian problem when it comes to the base of the Republican Party showing up to vote for him in the general election. They're not going to care about the racism issue within the LDS church; they're going to care about his religion only in that they don't believe he's really a Christian. This extended primary season has shown us that the support out there for any of the candidates has been tepid at best. Frankly, there's a good argument that none of them should have ever been considered serious contenders for the office of the President of the United States. His religious tenets aside, there's a whole host of reasons why Romney would be a terrible president.