Rebecca Hagelin has an important column out today revisiting the issue of faith and in particular our man Mitt.
Hagelin refers to the excellent documentary by Brian Hall called Article VI which examines the nexus of politics and religion in great detail:
Part of what makes “Article VI” such a compelling film is that Hall and Donaldson give us historical context. They remind us, for example, that there’s a shameful tradition of anti-Catholicism in the U.S. When Al Smith ran for president against Herbert Hoover in 1928, he was pilloried for his Catholic faith. It was denounced as anti-democratic, monarchical — not in tune with American institutions. And there’s also an appalling tradition of prejudice against those of the Jewish faith who seek high office. Remember the horrible questions the press asked of Sen. Joseph Lieberman when he ran for president? Some things never change. For many in the media, it seems, Mormonism is the new anti-semitism.
I attended a private viewing of the documentary a few weeks ago and found the subject both compelling and unnerving. Hagelin continues:
Whether it’s Mitt Romney speaking boldly of his Mormon faith, Mike Huckabee as an ordained Baptist minister, or Barack Obama taking the pulpit in churches across the country, the personal practice of deep faith by our would-be leaders must be passionately protected. As Kennedy told the Houston ministers: “Today, I may be the victim. But tomorrow, it may be you.”
In my own opinion Mormonism did indeed play a role in Mitt Romney’s defeat which is sad and unfortunate. I hope, like Kennedy’s faith that we can overcome these prejudices.