A situation occurred today that involved Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney that should have amounted to nothing, but instead became instant headlines. Today, when Mr. Romney was speaking at a town hall meeting in Howard, Wisconsin, he was asked a question by Bret Hatch, a 28 year old fervent Ron Paul supporter about Mormonism (Mr. Romney’s religion). The Paul supporter read a passage from one of the Standard Works of Mormonism called the “Pearl of Great Price” that supposedly condemns interracial marriages and then asked Mr. Romney if he felt the same way. Now, we all know the motive behind the Paul supporter’s question; to publicly embarrass the inevitable nominee by taking a controversial portion of the text of his religion and try to get him to decry it in public.
Mr. Romney immediately cut off Mr. Hatch and said “I’m sorry, we’re just not going to have a discussion about religion in my view. But if you have a question, I’ll be happy to answer your question.” Mr. Hatch then proceeded with his nonsensical question if Mr. Romney disapproved of interracial marriages (and children of the product of an interracial marriage), to which Mr. Romney sternly replied “no.” Now, Mr. Romney did end up discussing his religion moments later when asked a question about his ability to connect and relate to average Americans. He alluded to his past experiences as a pastor of his congregation in Boston to exemplify his ability to sympathize and empathize with people dealing with the various travails of their personal lives. Despite his deeply personal answer to the question, the media naturally fixated on how he contradicted himself. While he probably should have told Mr. Hatch that he would refuse a discussion on random sections from publications about his religion instead of flat out denying a discussion on religion, it still shows that what Mr. Hatch was trying to do was counter-productive and inutile.
Now, I’m sure Mr. Hatch wouldn’t like it if someone belligerently questioned him about his views on race since he is supporting a candidate (Mr. Paul) who owned a newsletter that wrote hateful things about blacks, Jews and gay people. He would likely suggest that he supports Mr. Paul for his libertarian principles and may not even know about his involvement with the controversial newsletters. The same can be said of Mr. Romney. Mr. Romney has never given any indication that he would disprove of interracial marriages, not to mention that Mr. Romney’s father was born in Mexico and married a white woman. All of this pertinent information was entirely omitted in nearly every story that covered what happened today. Instead of pointing out how foolish the question was to begin with, the media latched on to the fact that Romney said he didn’t want to discuss his religion and then used his experiences as a pastor to answer a different question moments later.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Mormons of today are racist. Yes, there was a time when Mormons did not allow black people into their church, but this was over 30 years ago and the Church of the Latter-day Saints Church has since welcomed people of all ethnicities. Meanwhile, Ron Paul still maintains that he would have voted no on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that the Civil War was not necessary. The fact is Mr. Hatch asked Mr. Romney a baseless question about race in an attempt to bait him and at the same time supports a candidate who has quite a history of making racially inflammatory remarks. That’s more ironic than Rush Limbaugh asking Newt Gingrich why he doesn’t believe in the words “’till death do us part.”