Christopher Hitchens takes a moment to highlight the weird and sinister beliefs of the Mormons.
I have no clear idea whether Pastor Robert Jeffress is correct in referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more colloquially known as the Mormons, as “a cult.” There do seem to be one or two points of similarity. The Mormons have a supreme leader, known as the prophet or the president, whose word is allegedly supreme. They can be ordered to turn upon and shun any members who show any signs of backsliding. They have distinctive little practices, such as the famous underwear, to mark them off from other mortals, and they are said to be highly disciplined and continent when it comes to sex, booze, nicotine, and coffee. Word is that the church can be harder to leave than it was to join. Hefty donations and tithes are apparently appreciated from the membership.
Whether this makes it a cult, or just another of the born-in-America Christian sects, I am not sure. In any case what interests me more is the weird and sinister belief system of the LDS, discussion of which it is currently hoping to inhibit by crying that criticism of Mormonism amounts to bigotry.
He makes the point that the LDS church is certifiable lunacy of undeniably fraudulent origin, and that “I don’t think I would want to vote for a Scientologist or a Moonie for high office” — and there’s a dilemma. I don’t want to vote for a Catholic or Lutheran or Baptist for any office, either. Mormonism and Scientology and the Moonies are simply one other kind of religion, the only difference being that those strange recent cults are snuggling nicely in the uncanny valley of faith — we’re accustomed to the absurdity of Christianity, it no longer makes most of us blink in astonishment that someone actually believes that, but Mormons? Alien crazy ideas, instead of Grandma’s comfortable crazy ideas.
The dilemma is that Hitch’s preference would mean that none of us could actually vote for any candidate who has a chance of winning. At least not until we achieve our majority in the future.
I have a resolution, though. We acknowledge that everyone has some weird ideas in their heads, and that we can’t practically exclude people from office for thinking crazy thoughts. What we can do, though, is refuse to vote for the ones who are proud of their insanity, who brag about believing in space ghosts, and who think their dotty dogma actually provides useful policy advice.
I know, there goes the entire Republican slate, and Obama is skating on awfully thin ice himself.