Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Because Mormons Are Defensive, and Clannish

I listened to this story yesterday on NPR and then came straight home and sent the following email to NPR. (If you click on the link you only have to listen to the first two minutes or so to find out what prompted my reply.)

As an member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I found Michelle Norris' Monday interview with Pastor Mike Rose on Monday offensive to my faith and irrelevant to any pertinent and thinking discussion of politics. It is true that members of the LDS church do not consider themselves Protestant Christians, but it doesn't follow that we aren't Christians. As the fastest growing church in North America, it is no wonder that pastors and ministers of other faiths have spent decades attempting to spread misinformation about our faith in attempt to prevent their congregants from opening their minds to further possibilities. However, all religious discussion aside, Pastor Rose was unable to give a single argument against Mr. Romney other than his Mormonism. His remarks made it seem as though a vote for Mr. Romney is tantamount to accepting the tenets of the LDS faith. Pastor Rose's evidence of conservative Christians in Iowa being uneasy about Mr. Romney was merely anecdotal and not at all specific. While he attempted to sound as though he was paraphrasing the opinions of others, it is plain that Pastor Rose used the interview to spread his own belief that Mormonism is a "cult." (A term used three or four different times in the piece, while protesting a desire to belittle anyone else's belief.)

There are thousands of conservative, Christian, Mormons living in Iowa. I am sure that any one of them would have been happy to present another side to a radio station that is usually so careful to truly understand the issues. If Ms. Norris was concerned about getting a biased view by interviewing Latter-Day Saints, then she should reference several great articles written by Jan Shipps, a prominent LDS scholar, who is actually not a Mormon herself. Her work is well respected by many both inside and outside of the Church, and she has a very concise way of helping curious on-lookers to understand a very interesting, and popular, subculture of American life.

Unfortunately, Ms. Norris' piece on Iowa's conservative Christians did very little to help us understand what is really going on in the state, and gave platform to the religious bigotry that members of the LDS church have tried for nearly 200 years to get past.

Thanks for your time,


on.the.run said...

Good for you. I missed that one. Sometimes I catch them reading letters like yours though... I listen for it.

Desmama said...

Ka-pow. Good on you for hitting the nail on the head. Very concise. Also, I checked out Winter Solstice from the library today and am going to start reading it. I liked Shell Seekers a lot.

Tola said...

when will you figure out that NPR is left-wing?

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Normally I think NPR is the only balanced newscast out there that gives any depth of information on various issues. I think this story was just bad. They ran another story earlier in the same broadcast that gave Mitt plenty of opportunity to expand on his ideas.

Notice, I never once said in my letter that I was actually supporting Mitt Romney. I took issue more with their giving the pastor a platform for his anti-Mormon bias, and trying to drag such a bias into an intelligent political discussion.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

NPR - or any news organization - isn't responsible for reporting how things SHOULD be; they report how things ARE. If willful religious ignorance is going to influence the outcome of our presidential election, that's news. It's frustrating news, but it still ought to be reported.

I hear Mitt is going to give a speech tonight (Dec 6) on his beliefs and how they relate to other Christian faiths. Curious to see how that goes.