I missed the memo that said it's A-OK to make disparaging and often erroneous statements about Mormons.
Apparently, they are fair game.
Sure, these are hypersensitive times, when name-calling or perceived bias against any group will get you the Don Imus treatment, but you get a free shot with Mormons. You can say what you want about them with impunity.
If you denigrate a racial group, you're racist.
If you denigrate women, you're sexist.
If you denigrate Mormons, you're hip.
No one would openly suggest that you shouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton because a woman can't lead the country, especially an ornery one.
Nobody would dare say that you shouldn't vote for Barack Hussein Obama because he's black, or of Muslim descent, or because he has a name that sounds like a terrorist. One Clinton worker even apologized for alluding to Obama's use of drugs as a youth, so apparently it's wrong to disparage former drug users, too.
But nobody is shy about saying you shouldn't vote for Romney simply because he's a Mormon. It doesn't even register on the PC-O-Meter.
Just like that, 6 million Americans have been virtually disqualified from running for president. They've been rendered second-class citizens. They're foreigners living in America. They face a glass ceiling.
How un-American is that?
It would be one thing if most of those who oppose Romney did so because they disagreed with his politics or character. But Romney is one of the few candidates who has no character issues, a "squeaky clean" man who has a distinguished record of accomplishments, success and service, with no divorces, no affairs, no scandal. The only thing opponents can say about him is that he belongs to a church they don't understand.
A Harvard law professor called Romney the most qualified of all the candidates and "the perfect candidate for this moment in time." But there is his Mormonism, he noted.
Even the self-styled PC chief of police, Al Sharpton, once jumped in on the action, saying, "As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways."
Mormons don't believe in God?
For his penance, all Sharpton had to do was endure a family home evening in Utah.
It's open season on Mormons. A few days ago, Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard stated on ESPN and in the newspaper that part of the reason fired coach Cam Cameron failed was because he got stuck with a Mormon quarterback not a rookie quarterback (which he is) but a Mormon quarterback.
"And you'll have a hard time finding a leader anywhere in sports who was as unlucky this year as Cameron," Le Batard said, noting that because of injuries, Cameron was forced to play "a United Nations huddle of a Mormon quarterback, Mexican receiver, Samoan fullback and some guy named Lekekekkkkerkker."
Now Mormons are foreigners?
Ignorance makes no difference. You can say Mormons have four wives or that they aren't Christian, and no one cares.
Imagine the uproar if Le Batard had written that the Dolphins suffered because they had to play a black quarterback for part of the season? Or a Catholic?
The Salt Lake Tribune has had a field day for more than a week since learning that Mike Leavitt and some of his like-minded cohorts met early in the morning to discuss Mormon theology and governance while he was Utah's governor. What if it had been a Bible study?
Nobody seems to mind when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says his religion "defines me." Or when Obama says his church guides "my own values and my own beliefs."
People worry that Romney will take his orders from his church leaders. They don't worry that Obama will take orders from his church, whose "10-point vision" includes two references to its "non-negotiable commitment to Africa," with no mention of America. Oh, and the church statement begins by noting on the Trinity United Church of Christ Web site, "We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black."
It's a different set of rules for some out there. You can print newspaper cartoons disparaging Mormons. You can harass their families as they walk to their biannual conference with all sorts of foul language. When someone commits a crime, you can note the criminal's religion, but only if he's Mormon. You can make them a one-liner on Leno. Good luck reconciling all this with the paranoid political correctness that's so in vogue.
Doug Robinson's column runs on Tuesdays. Please e-mail [email protected].