The EFM Feature
Alien Couple, from Flickr user Bsivad, used under a Creative Commons license

Over at Buzzfeed, McKay Coppins has posted a piece entitled “Why Ann Stayed Home” whose thesis is so simple as to be self evident to some of us:  Mrs. Romney stayed home with her kids in part because her faith encouraged her to do so.  But don’t tune out, dear reader.  This is an immensely important article and it presages much that is to come.

If you read through what Coppins offers, it’s by no means a hatchet job.  It strikes me as a reasonable effort by a journalist who is an outsider to a community to convey to a bunch of outsiders what that a certain community believes.  But hard as he seems to try, it’s hard to escape the vibe that Coppins is an Earthling detailing breathlessly to a bunch of Earthlings what how a strange group of extraterrestrials conduct lives that are clearly, well, alien.  (Having once upon a time been a campus conservative written up by a liberal Canadian reporter for New York Times readers, I know that vibe pretty well.  It’s there even when a reporter tries hard to be fair.)

[UPDATE, 4/20/12:  Numerous readers have pointed out that McKay Coppins is LDS.  I should've suspected that based on his name and the fairness of his piece and I regret implying otherwise with the way my "Earthling" language was constructed above.  However, even with an LDS writer trying to make things comprehensible for a secular audience, I think my Earthling/extraterrestrial point still stands, along with the rest of the piece.  I've edited accordingly above.]

So why should you care about this article?  Well, first of all, it’s having an impact–I see on Twitter that a number of influential national journalists are reading and discussing it.  But more importantly, because Coppins’ take on Mrs. Romney underscores a critical point David has been making for at least five years.  That point is that while there are differences between Mormons and conservative evangelicals when it comes to theology, when it comes to defending they way our theology manifests itself in our values, which is what we must do, we’re all in this together.

Our values are very similar, and to secular liberals, they are alien and often dangerous.  Coppins’ piece was fair, but I guarantee you a whole bunch that will follow it won’t be.  (For an example of the kind of thing that’s coming, see this Washington Post piece on Rep. Bachmann’s marriage.)

Make no mistake, fellow evangelical.  Gov. and Mrs. Romney will be defending our values under a harsh spotlight between now and November.  The only question is:  Will we throw them under the bus because we differ with some of the details of Mormon theology, or will we stand and fight for the values we both believe in?  We can do the latter without endorsing their theology, and we can’t do the former without doing a severe disservice not just to all those who would be harmed by a second term for the most pro-abortion, pro-debt president in American history, but also to future candidates who share our “antiquated” values, including but by no means limited to conservative evangelicals.

Put differently, if you’re a disenchanted conservative who likes the sound of “President Santorum” or “President Huckabee,” it would be foolish to sit on your hands during the coming assault on the values they share with Gov. and Mrs. Romney.  We’re all aliens now.  Stand and fight.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Comments and Discussion

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21 Responses to We’re All Aliens Now

  1. RC says:

    The media is definitely going to exploit, in any way possible, any separation between the “world” and “Mormonism”. One of the most fundamental teachings of the LDS Church is the great eternal importance of the family. Especially the defined roles that make up the family unit. Mormons express that “No other succes can compensate for failure in the home” and nothing is as important “As the work done within the walls of your own home.”

    It has only begun. The media wolf is taking on sheep’s clothing and will do anyting to scatter the flock. In other words, demean Romney (and Ann) to the point of dividing the GOP and Independents and making our nation “The Dividied States of America”. Good people everywhere have got to come together in one united voice to save our nation from complete ruin. I’m in……………

    • RC says:

      By the way, (this is for John Eidsmoe), check out the following information:

      Santorum still hasn’t endorsed Romney. To crystallize the point that he isn’t going to make an endorsement in the immediate future, Santorum told his supporters that it was entirely up to them who to vote for in next week’s Pennsylvania primary. “I haven’t supported any candidate at this point,” he said.

      And, Santorum sent out a mailing still ripping Romney, the Des Moines Register reports that a week after he quit the presidential race, a fundraising letter from Rick Santorum arrived in Iowa mailboxes saying, “It truly frightens me to think what’ll happen if Mitt Romney is the nominee.”

      Wow, I told you………

  2. FranInAtlanta says:

    While I appreciate and support Ann’s decision, I would just as soon we quit talking about it. There are a number of women who love Jesus and have children and careers.

  3. Terry says:

    Kudos to RC, and to Charles for a well-stated article. The thought occurs to me that Charles hit it right when he said warned “Make no mistake, fellow evangelical. Gov. and Mrs. Romney will be defending our values under a harsh spotlight between now and November”.

    My concern is that others not of the LDS faith will witness the attacks by the left and, because the attacks are not specifically against whatever faith the observer belongs too, that person will shrug them off as not applying to them personally, and will do nothing. Their thinking may be that “when they attack me, I’ll take action”–not putting two and two together and realizing that they have already been attacked (if that makes sense).

    As Charles so rightly stated, we’re all in this together!

    • Lance in TX says:

      Terry,
      Or others not of the LDS faith will stand by and applaude the attacks against the LDS Church. I know MANY people that are Evangelicals and they now only applaude any attacks on the LDS Church, they lead them.

      • Hannah Rebekah says:

        Let them applaud. In a strange way they are the ones who have prepared us the most for what will be coming against Romney by going against us. Do no fear. Remember Proposition 8 and what a small number of LDS (California LDS) were able to accomplish. Just wait until they wake the sleeping giant, which they will do if they attack our faith and what we believe.
        Brigham Young sums this idea up best:
        “If you let us alone, we will do it a little more leisurely;
        but if you persecute us, we will sit up nights to preach the gospel.”
        –Brigham Young

        “Every time they persecute and try to overcome this people, they elevate us, weaken their own hands, and strengthen the hands and arms of this people. And every time they undertake to lessen our number, they increase it.”
        –Brigham Young

        Although these may not be talking about preaching the gospel the principles will still apply. We have an army and an organization that can ‘move mountains.’ It won’t be used to get Romney elected because that will be wrong but it will be used to defend what we believe and stand for. And it will be done vigorously when we are attacked.
        As far as the family goes, mothers choosing to stay at home to raise children and anything connected with this subject we have a great record to stand on. Here are some things to prove my point which I would like to share.
        We have the ‘Proclamation on the Family’ which came out years ago when the family was being assaulted by a growing secular society.
        The Family: A Proclamation to the World
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family:_A_Proclamation_to_the_World

        There are many LDS who are members of national and international groups and at the U.N., and interfaith groups who work vigorously to advance the ideals of the family. There were some Evangelical leaders who were dismayed that the Mormons were trumpeting the family, Vander Platts actually said so and he wasn’t going to let the Mormons out do the Evangelicals and now he has his organizations which are loosely affiliated with Focus on the Family, an older organization. I will make my point at the end about this.

        The family is taking a huge hit today. It seems to be a pattern for college age kid who don’t marry until after graduation. I wrote a post on my blog about “The Theology of Family” which talks about defending the family. It has some great information on that post about this topic.
        http://marriageforeternity.blogspot.com/2011/03/theology-of-family.html

        One of the inferences the attack from Obama’s side is that women in the LDS Church are “barefoot and pregnant” and are uneducated and led around by their nose by men. But the statistic do not bear this out and never have. LDS women are so very strong.

        LDS believe that “The Glory of God is Intelligence” and it is Brigham Young University’s theme.

        Brigham Young said, “If I had the choice of educating a boy or a girl, I would educate the
        girl. If you educate a boy, you educate one, but if you educate a girl,
        you educate a generation.”

        Here are some statistics on Mormons, family, children, charity, education, degrees…(I’ve have some of this information sourced but will have to dig for those that are not if anyone whats that.)

        • Utah ranks first among all U.S. states in the proportion of income given to charity by the wealthy (households with annual gross income of more than $200,000). Of the “9,800 Utah filers with adjusted gross incomes of more than $200,000, donations per filer stood at $42,000. Their average assets were $3.2 million…
        • BYU is second in the nation for advanced degrees.
        December 12, 2008
        In accounting, that is. First, it was the YFZ Ranch fiasco. Then Oklahoma weasles UT out of the BCS. Now this:
        Accounting professors from across the country selected Brigham Young University’s graduate accounting program as best in the nation — unseating the University of Texas-Austin which had held the top spot for more than a decade.
        http://iperceive.net/byu-edges-texas-for-national-championship/
        • BYU is America’s largest religious university
        • BYU’s library is consistently ranked in the nation’s top ten–#1 in 2004 and #4 in 2007.
        BYU is designated as a Carnegie research university with high research activity, one of the highest classifications by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
        The Marriott School of Management has received recognition in several areas, most notably its accounting and business programs. The Marriott School was ranked the number one regional business school according to a 2007 survey by The Wall Street Journal and Harris Interactive. BusinessWeek ranked the Marriott School of Management’s undergraduate program #7 in the nation for 2008. Financial Times rated it first in the nation in that year. For its ethics emphasis, a 2006 Wall Street Journal article ranked BYU second in the nation.In 2007, the school’s accounting department obtained the “Best in Accountancy” title, according to the Financial Times global ranking of business schools.This department has also been highly ranked by the Public Accounting Report for several years. This report ranked both the undergraduate and graduate accounting programs second in the nation for the 2006-2007 school year.U.S. News and World Report ranked BYU’s accounting program third in the nation in their 2008 publication.
        • 98% of students are Mormon-two-thirds of its U.S. students come from outside the state of Utah.
        • Students are required to adhere to a strict honor code which mandates behavior in line with Mormon teachings (including prohibitions on extra-marital sex and the consumption of drugs and alcohol) in addition to academic honesty. Honor Code requires BYU students to adhere to a dress code.
        • 97% of male BYU graduates have taken a two-year hiatus from their studies at some point to be Mormon missionaries, and 32% of BYU women graduates have been missionaries as well. Many BYU students obtain a level of foreign language proficiency while being Mormon missionaries, and BYU has many foreign language classes. Over 75% of BYU students have some foreign language proficiency.
        • About 70% of student tuition is funded by LDS Church tithing funds, making tuition relatively less expensive than at similar private universities.
        • LDS women are more likely to graduate from college than Catholic or Protestant women.
        • As Latter-day Saints become more educated, they are more likely to be active Church participants, a trend opposite what is found in most denominations (online source: http://www.byuh.edu/kealakai/current/pages/education.html).
        A study by Stan Albrecht and Tim Heaton published in the Review of Religious Research in 1984 reported that opposite to the experience of most churches in the United States, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints become more religiously active as they become more educated.
        According to lds.org, the study included around 7,000 participants.
        The Church funds all Brigham Young University campuses, which include those in Jerusalem, Provo, Idaho and Hawaii. Church members are encouraged to get all the education they can.
        “The more students learn in an academic setting – particularly one in which eternal truths and life values are emphasized-the more they realize the truthfulness of gospel principles,” said Janet S. Scharman, vice president for student life at BYU in Provo.
        “At BYU, as our emphasis on spirituality goes up, so does our academic performance,” she said.
        The Church has emphasized education since its early history, starting with founder Joseph Smith who formed a “School of the Prophets” in 1833.
        • Utah was ranked 7th academically in the nation, despite the fact that the state spent less money (49th in expenditures per pupil) than most other states.
        • “A recent national Advanced Placement study found Utah ranked first in the nation in both [AP] exams taken and exams passed on a per capita basis. In 1997, more than one-fourth of Utah’s high school graduates earned twelve or more hours of college credits while still in high school through the Advanced Placement Program.”
        • Utah has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the nation (ranked third with 93.9%, behind North Dakota and Iowa.
        • National Center for Education Statistics.] Utah is ranked 2nd in proportion of the population who are high school graduates. 85.1% of Utah’s adult population are high school graduates. (Alaska is ranked 1st, with 86.6. Nationally the figure is 75.2%.)

        • Utah has traditionally been in lowest teen pregnancy rate and the lowest abortion rate compared to other states.
        • Utah ranks as having the fewest births to unwed mothers the next lowest is Idaho. Only two states with lower abortion ratios than Utah: Idaho and Wyoming.
        • Utah remained No. 1 in the nation for fewest one-parent families.
        • Utah also has the lowest child poverty rate in the county.
        • Because of the high proportion of Latter-day Saints and the Church’s own comprehensive welfare system, Utah spends much less of its budget on public welfare than the other states. “On average, other states spend 22.4 percent of their budgets on public welfare; Utah spends 14 percent.”
        See: http://www.lds.org/media2/newsrelease/0,5637,666-1-7191,00.html

        I have many more great statistics and should probably put them on a blog page with the sources. One disclaimer. Mormons are not perfect nor claim to be but on the whole it shows that many are striving to live in a way our Savior, Jesus Christ would have us live.
        My opinion is that the Evangelicals will defend the principles that they share with Mormons because they won’t want the Mormons to get the first or the last word as Vander Platts had echoed when he didn’t want Mormons to be known as defenders of the family if he had anything to do about it, they will not concede anything to us in anyway.

      • Terry says:

        Lance,
        Yeah, that’s also a concern of mine. Unfortunately, there will be some who won’t be able to separate religious doctrine from politics. I had hopes that since Romney was vetted fairly well last election, his religion would play only a minor part in this election. I should have known better. As long as there are folks in the religious community like that Bill Keller idiot of last election cycle—he of “a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan” fame—others will be sucked into the “logic” that supporting a *gasp* Mormon for president, no matter how outstanding his qualifications are, would be worse than sitting back and letting our current wrecking ball of a president have a go of it for four more years.

        That said, I have to believe that those folks will be in a small minority this time around. As long as Romney is able to stay focused on the economy and Obama’s bad record, I think he will have an excellent chance of being elected.

        One thing that really encourages me is the undercurrent I’m detecting from the ‘net of bringing to light some of Mitt’s past humanitarian endeavors. Such revelations will show him as not being the Mr. Plastic Man the left is trying to paint him as. As more of this side of his personality comes to light, I think it will help him a lot. I heard him tell Bill O’Reilly—when Bill asked why he didn’t reveal more incidences of service he’s performed in his private life—that he didn’t want to pat himself on the back. O’Reilly practically forced him to tell about the time he helped find the daughter of an employee who turned up missing in New York. I could have literally hugged O’Reilly for that one! As more of this stuff “leaks out”, I think that’s going to put him in a very good position come the general election.

  4. Hannah Rebekah says:

    Here’s one source for many of the statistics that many more:
    http://www.adherents.com/largecom/lds_dem.html

    This is interesting in light of the so called “war on women” and Ann Romney and attacking the Mormon Church:
    Article by Stephen J. Bahr, referring to material from Brinkerhoff and Mackie:
    LDS women are more likely to graduate from college than Catholic or Protestant women, but less likely than Jewish or nonaffiliated women. For graduate education the pattern was similar–a higher percentage of LDS than Catholic or Protestant women have received graduate education.
    LDS women are more likely to be employed in professional occupations than Catholic or Protestant women. Twenty-three percent of LDS women are employed in professional occupations, which is similar to Jewish women and women with no religious affiliation.
    [Original source: Brinkerhoff, Merlin B., and Marlene MacKie. "Religion and Gender: A Comparison of Canadian and American Student Attitudes." Journal of Marriage and the Family 47 (1985):415-29.]

  5. Christopher says:

    Outsider? Earthling observing extraterrestrial aliens? McKay Coppins is a believing and practicing Latter-day Saint.

  6. Ben P says:

    Just so you know, McKay is not an “outsider,” and especially not an “Earthling detailing breathlessly what a strange group of extraterrestrial conduct lives that are clearly, well, alien.”

    He’s an active, faithful, and committed member of the Mormon faith. Sorry to ruin the fun.

  7. Ben says:

    “It strikes me as a reasonable effort by a journalist who is an outsider to a community to convey what that community believes.”

    Actually, Coppins is a Mormon.

  8. Pingback: The New (Non-Mormon) Politics of Mormon Persecution

  9. McKay V. Jones says:

    Are we sure that Coppins isn’t a lapsed Mormon (i.e., a “cultural” or “nominal” Mormon)?

    The first name of McKay is pretty much a dead giveaway that someone has a Mormon background.

  10. I have noticed quite a lot of unflattering and negative leaning articles toward Mitt Romney written by McKay Coppins. In the “Mormon” world, as one of the other commentors addressed, the name “McKay” really is a dead give-a-way that the guy is a Mormon. Whether he’s practicing or not is another thing. I had never heard of this journalist so I googled his name to find out more and found he is a Democrat although it looks like he is still an active and practicing Mormon. That answered a lot of questions for me. Many of his articles take a negative slant in my opinion toward the church and I believe it’s because he does not support Mitt Romney’s candidacy per his registered Democrat status. I have yet to read a negative article by him about Harry Reid though. Apparently he doesn’t mind painting his own church in a negative light if it hurts Mitt Romney’s election bid.

    • Roy says:

      How do you know he’s a Democrat? I know him, and I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. Also, he is definitely an active, believing Mormon. Is it possible to have this discussion without making unfounded assumptions about a journalist?

  11. Charles Mitchell says:

    Guys, thanks for the comments. I’m updating the post above to reflect Mr. Coppins’ faith. As I believe I made clear, I did not at all mean to attack his piece and I found it to be quite fair.

  12. Trevor Andalusia says:

    First of all, that may be the best blog post photo EVER! Very cool.
    Aside from that I really think that it will be evangelicals who push Willard Mitt Romney into the White House. The downside of that will be the attacks on Christianity by liberals using Romney’s religion as a proxy. Another example is the ultra-fake Romney and Rubio birth certificate faux-outrage. We know where Mitt was born. Evangelicals are the best defenders of Mitt. I think it will be a chance to show our unity.

    I don’t know if I got the block quote right. But you definitely hit it out of the park with this line of reasoning. I’m glad I found you guys. What a refreshing break. Good quality writing and news value. BRAVO! Thank you.

    Make no mistake, fellow evangelical. Gov. and Mrs. Romney will be defending our values under a harsh spotlight between now and November. The only question is: Will we throw them under the bus because we differ with some of the details of Mormon theology, or will we stand and fight for the values we both believe in? We can do the latter without endorsing their theology, and we can’t do the former without doing a severe disservice not just to all those who would be harmed by a second term for the most pro-abortion, pro-debt president in American history, but also to future candidates who share our “antiquated” values, including but by no means limited to conservative evangelicals.

    • James says:

      Mormonism is heresy. Period. I wouldn’t hire a Mormon to mow my lawn, let alone run the country. Unlike with JFK, where we didn’t need to worry about the Vatican running the country, I can guarantee, if Romney is elected, the major decisions in our nation will be made in Salt Lake City. If you don’t like Obama, fine, but Romney fits the definition of the anti-Christ better than any potential president in history. God save us if this heretic is elected, and even more so if he is aided by so-called Christians in doing so.

  13. Pingback: Romney’s Dancing Horse Riding Gloves Come Off | his vorpal sword

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