So says Lynne Cheney:
Second lady Lynne Cheney, a descendant of Mormons, is defending Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney against what she calls “virulently anti-Mormon” criticism.
“I have been really astounded by the ferocity of some of the statements that people I would not expect to make have made about Mormonism,” Cheney told The Examiner in an interview.
She said Slate magazine published an article by Jacob Weisberg “that was just virulently anti-Mormon.” The December column branded Mormonism a “fraud” and ridiculed Romney for believing in the “whoppers” of church founder Joseph Smith, whom Weisberg called “an obvious con man.”
Cheney, who recounts her Mormon roots in a new book, “Blue Skies, No Fences,” said there is more religious criticism of Romney than there was of his father, the late Michigan Gov. George Romney, when he ran for president 40 years ago.
“It surprises me because it wasn’t that way when his father ran,” she said. “So I think we need to kind of say take a deep breath here. This is a country where people have the right to worship freely.”
Cheney’s paternal grandparents were Mormons, though her father, Wayne Vincent, rejected Mormonism and sent his daughter to a Presbyterian church that he and his wife never attended. Cheney later became a Methodist.
“My father’s real animus, however, was directed not against Presbyterians but against Mormons, into whose religion he had been born,” Cheney wrote in “Blue Skies,” which is being published today. “A ‘Jack Mormon,’ he called himself, signifying that he was no longer part of the church.”
It’s clear, I think, that one can reject Mormonism without “animus,” to use Mrs. Cheney’s word. I’d like to think we do that here as Ephesians-reading evangelicals. And one can also reject Mormonism without tossing out the idea of ever voting for someone who doesn’t.