Rabbi, scholar challenge religious bigotry in presidential politics

Published: Thursday, Dec. 1 2011 11:00 a.m. MST

"As far as I can make out," Mead contends, "Professor Bloom is more elitist misanthrope than bigot; his hatred and loathing for Mormonism is part of a broader and deeper disgust with almost everything that the common people think or do in the contemporary United States. The essay drips with condescension and disdain; he hates and fears the Mormons not because they are different from most of their fellow citizens but because they are like them. American Religion, as the professor calls the faiths that ordinary, non-elite Americans profess, is a toxic brew of death denial and mammon worship, and partly as a result American society (to him) is a grotesque oligarchical plutocracy."

Mead chooses not to speculate on the motivations of Bloom and the Times. But he does observe that "so far as I know, neither (Bloom or the Times) has ever expressed any concern over the stout Mormon faith of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. If creeping Mormonism is a threat to our secular way of life, shouldn't we be critical of those in both parties who are members of this allegedly terrifying church?"

At the end of the day, Mead is confident that "the republic will survive Mitt Romney should an inscrutable Providence decide to place him in the White House."

"He will neither legalize polygamy nor ban coffee," Mead concludes. "And he will keep his secret doctrines and his temple ceremonies where they belong: in the sphere of private faith. Whether he or the party he hopes to lead deserve the White House is another matter, but like most Americans I have never voted for or against a political candidate for sectarian reasons and in 2012 I propose to continue doing exactly that."

EMAIL: jwalker@desnews.com

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