The EFM Feature

So, I take a blogging break for a few days to take care of a sick wife and host my family for Thanksgiving–only to see the “faith issue” explode all over the media. My first thought on reading these stories was, “Again?” Literally every major story about the Governor–and there have been quite a few over the past year–has put the “faith issue” front and center. It is almost as if the media is doing everything it can to not simply “explore” faith differences but to literally shove those differences in our faces. It’s almost as if any public supporter of the Governor must answer burning questions about “the garment” or the Book of Mormon or mandatory tithing or some other aspect of Mormon theology and practice.
Does this make sense? Why are we not seeing similar questions and demands directed at Democratic supporters of Harry Reid? After all, as the single-most politically powerful Mormon in the history of the United States (instead of a presidential candidate currently trailing in the polls to better-known Republicans), shouldn’t he be getting all the religious scrutiny right now? Why doesn’t the media obsess over his faith?
The answer is quite simple. Harry Reid is liberal. To be clear, I don’t mean this is the sense of some sinister conspiracy (no, I don’t imagine media folks gathering and discussing how they can bring down Romney while advancing liberal Mormons). The reality, I believe, is much more mundane–much more human. If a person shares your political and moral values, runs in your same social circles, and has proven themselves to be a capable and persuasive champion of your beliefs, we don’t tend to think of them as “strange” or even somehow groundbreaking. We just think of them as a friend–a friend with some quirks perhaps–but a friend nonetheless. Simply put, the MSM knows Harry Reid and likes Harry Reid. He’s a mainstream Democratic politician. So how can there possibly be a story about the strangeness of his faith when he’s not strange at all?
But Governor Romney, on the other hand, is something else entirely. He’s a religious conservative–the type of person that the media has stubbornly refused (or failed) to understand for the last 25 years of “religious right” political activism. Pro-life, pro-marriage conservative politicians who locate and base many of their political stands in their religious values seem to be particularly upsetting to members of the media elite. So combine two persistent MSM failings (viewing evangelicals as far more simplistic and intolerant of differences than we are and viewing all religious conservatives–including Governor Romney–with a mild form of disgust) and, voila, we have yet another “Mormon moment” in the media.
But has it ever occurred to the MSM that perhaps we evangelicals are not quite so different from them? Has it occurred to the MSM that the exact same kinds of factors that cause Harry Reid’s faith to be a non-factor for the left will do the same for Mitt Romney and Christian conservatives? After all, we also tend to like people who share our political and moral values, run in our same social circles, and who consistently, persuasively, and effectively champion our core political positions. In fact, history shows that we don’t just like those people–we embrace them.
Just ask a certain divorced former actor from Bel Air.

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