Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), still trying to shore up the support of Utah Republicans, made a curious allegation this week.
In remarks to a group of GOP delegates, the senator insisted that President Obama's re-election team will "throw the Mormon church at [Mitt Romney] like you can't believe." Hatch added that Obama advisers David Axelrod and David Plouffe had already gone after the likely Republican nominee's faith, though the senator could offer no proof.
It's unfortunate that Hatch would be so careless about throwing around accusations like these -- decency requires that charges like these have some foundation in reality -- but it's also rather ironic. Michael B. Keegan explained that Mormons have come under political fire of late, but the attacks haven't been coming from Democrats or the left.
The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, like others on the Religious Right, has continually attacked Mormons, even going so far as to say their faith shouldn't be protected by the First Amendment and claiming that a Mormon president would threaten the "spiritual health" of the nation. But Fischer warned in a column yesterday that the "the out-of-the-mainstream media" will attack "every unusual thing Mormons have ever believed or done" - helpfully listing a litany of things he deems "unusual" about Mormonism. The Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land has likewise claimed that progressives will make Romney's faith a campaign issue - while he himself insists that Mormonism is "technically...a cult." The Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody used the same tactic this week when he posted a video of a Ron Paul supporter grilling Romney on quotes from Mormon scripture - and then claiming that Democrats and liberals will be the ones to attack Romney's faith. The Values Voter Summit, the Religious Right's marquee event, fell apart last year after the pastor who introduced Gov. Rick Perry repeated his claims that Mormonism is a "cult" that worships a "false god."
Perhaps Hatch confused Democrats and Republicans?