Republicans wondering whether Mitt Romney's political adversaries will use Mormonism against him got yet another answer to their question Thursday when MSNBC host Martin Bashir read from Mormon scriptures to condemn Romney to damnation for "lying" about Barack Obama's jobs record.
Bashir was discussing Romney's oft-stated accusation that the president promised the stimulus would keep unemployment below eight percent. In fact, top officials of the incoming Obama administration, not Obama himself, made that predication not long before Inauguration Day. Attributing the position to Obama, Bashir said, is a lie worthy of eternal damnation.
"Which brings us to the moral codes of Mormonism that Mr. Romney claims to live by," Bashir continued:
In section 63 in verse 17 of the doctrine and covenants of the Mormon Church, we find this: "All liars, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie, and the whoremonger and the sorcerer, shall have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death."
And from the book of Mormon to Nephi chapter two verse 34 we find this: "Woe unto the liar for he shall be thrust down to hell."
Given what the book of Mormon is clearly saying, Mr. Romney has but two choices: he can either keep lying and potentially win the White House but bring eternal damnation upon himself, or he can start telling the truth. The question for him, I guess, is which is more important?
Bashir's sermon wasn't the only Mormon-related message coming from Democrats and their allies in the press. That same day, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Romney's family "came from a polygamy commune in Mexico." "I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle," Schweitzer told the Daily Beast, "but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico."
It is true that Romney's more distant Mormon ancestors did move to Mexico to escape a U.S. crackdown on polygamy, but it is also true that Romney himself (married 43 years) does not practice polygamy, his father did not practice polygamy, and his grandfather did not practice polygamy. Romney's great-grandfather Miles Romney was the last polygamist in the line. And, just to point out one of the more unique features of this election, President Obama also has polygamy in his background.
In any event, the general election campaign is only a few days old, and voices on the Democratic side have already made hard-edged statements about Mormonism. Does anyone expect that to change as the campaign goes on?