Like Frank Bruni last month, Maureen Dowd spills New York Times news ink talking about how Mitt Romney can’t shake the feeling that he is a bottled up, out of touch presidential candidate, and in large part because he won’t talk about his Mormon faith, which is so central to his life.
But unlike Bruni, Dowd seems to poo-poo Mormon beliefs and devotes much of her op-ed to Mormon proxy baptisms, which are an easy, but unrepresentative, target.
As for why Romney won’t talk about his faith, it’s for the reasons we know to be true: too many of Romney’s would-be voters, conservative-leaning Christians, think that the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints is a cult. (Supporters of some of the other GOP candidates have said as much.) Even though the president of Fuller Theological Seminary has said that evangelicals can and should feel comfortable voting for a Mormon, that’s just not likely to happen—yet.
So Dowd writes:
Mitt works overtime pretending he’s a Nascar, cheesy-grits guy and masking his pride in his bank account and faith.
When he talked about his beliefs in his last presidential run, it sometimes provoked confusion, like this explanation to an Iowa radio host about the second coming of Christ: that Jesus would first appear in Jerusalem and then, “over the thousand years that follow, the millennium, he will reign from two places, the law will come from Missouri, and the other will be from Jerusalem.”
Just as Romney did not step up immediately after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke “a slut,” he has yet to step up as the cases have mounted of Jews posthumously and coercively baptized by Mormons, including hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims; the parents of the death camp survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal; and Daniel Pearl, the Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter murdered by Al Qaeda in Pakistan. (His widow, Mariane, told CNN she was “shocked.”)
I’m not sure why Romney should “step up” to discuss the proxy baptisms. He’s running for president of the United States, not of the LDS. Did we used to ask our Episcopalian U.S. presidents to defend the Archbishop of Canterbury or JFK to opine on the pope?