Washington Post: Remember that Mormon massacre?

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Charlie Spiering

The Washington Post published a story last night examining a massacre carried out by Mormons nearly 200 years ago, and examines whether or not it will affect Mitt Romney's support in the deep South.

On Sept. 11, 1857, a wagon train from this part of Arkansas met with a gruesome fate in Utah, where most of the travelers were slaughtered by a Mormon militia in an episode known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Hundreds of the victims’ descendants still populate these hills and commemorate the killings, which they have come to call “the first 9/11.”

So why is the Post examining old Mormon history?

There aren’t many places in America more likely to be suspicious of Mormonism — and potentially more problematic for Mitt Romney, who is seeking to become the country’s first Mormon president. Not only do many here retain a personal antipathy toward the religion and its followers, but they also tend to be Christian evangelicals, many of whom view Mormonism as a cult.

After reporting the details of the massacre, writer Sandhya Somashekhar concludes that "none of that history, including the massacre, may make much of a difference in the polls."

After all, she writes, this is a place "where people teach their children to hunt raccoons and relatives are referred to as 'kin.'" and "it is so conservatively Christian that former governor Mike Huckabee once derided its politicians as 'Shiite Republicans,'" and are "skeptical of the president's faith believing their choice this fall is between a Mormon and a Muslim."



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