The Guardian mentally undresses Mitt Romney

Last week I posted about a Guardian editorial on the U.S. Presidential elections which ridiculed Mitt Romney’s faith, in the context of warning what dangers a GOP victory would present to America and the world. The editorial included a passage mockingly asserting that “Romney is a member of a church that believes Jesus traveled to America.” [emphasis added]

While the juvenile taunt is evidently based on a passage in the Book of Mormon which claims Jesus appeared to inhabitants of the Americas following his resurrection, is it even arguable that Mormonism is far from unique in accepting religious doctrines which secular people find difficult to fathom?  Further, if Christ could rise from the dead why would it seem strange that he could also visit other parts of the world?

The broader issue of the Guardian editorial, however, pertains to their mockery towards a faith which claims a mere 14 million adherents worldwide – disrespect towards religious diversity which manifested itself again on Sept. 2 at the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian), in the following cartoon by Chris Riddell (Mitt Romney shows off his attack dog).

Note the text appearing on Romney’s shirt, which reads “Mitt’s Magic Massachusetts Underwear”.

The “magic underwear” is a pejorative reference to the traditional Mormon temple garment  – a type of underwear worn by the vast majority of adherents of the church.  

Here’s a photo of the undergarment which Chris Riddell evidently finds so funny.

As an adherent to Mormonism named  explained about the garment in an essay published last year:

“For a plain old suburban mom and housewife, I get a whole lot of interest in my underwear. When people discover that I’m Mormon, many of them just can’t help themselves from eventually inquiring about the state of my unmentionables.

The Garments of the Holy Priesthood, or garments, as we call them for short, are simple underclothes that a member of the church who has participated in the endowment ceremony wears at all times in lieu of traditional underwear. 

A sacred religious garment is certainly nothing new, nearly every sect has something devout believers wear as a symbol of their relationship to God. The Jewish yarmulke, the Hindu sacred thread, the Mennonite bonnet, the Christian cross. Our own garments are not even unique, being inspired by ancient Jewish ceremonies and arguably influenced by Masonic symbols. Religious people throughout time have felt great resonance in a tangible symbol of their ethereal beliefs.”

Oh, and I almost neglected to mention the site where the article appeared:

Moreover, do Guardian editors really need reminding that, regardless of their views on the U.S. election, exploiting readers’ religious prejudices – by echoing the false ‘accusation’ that one candidate is ‘secretly’ a Muslim, or mockery towards the Mormon traditions of another – is divisive, bigoted and supremely illiberal?

35 replies »

  1. I’m looking forward to read in the Guardian articles mocking the religion of Ahmadinejad, Haniyeh, Abbas and other Muslims….

    • Romney is a member of a Church that believes it is normal for a man to have as many as four wives.

      Is Mr Levick on the verge of becoming a Mormon too?

      • no Nat, I just believe that religious bigotry is intolerable. You can take elements of every religion to mock if you wanted to. Mormonism is an extremely peaceful and benign faith by any standards

        • How can you describe describe as “peaceful and benign” a religion which practices polygamy?

          “Still, the practice of plural marriage continues among tens of thousands of members of various fundamentalist splinter groups long disassociated from the main body of the church, such as the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). These polygamist sects are generally located in Utah, Arizona, Texas, and other parts of the Western United States, Canada, and Mexico. Although polygamy is illegal in all 50 states and in all three countries, practitioners are almost never prosecuted unless there is evidence of abuse, statutory rape, welfare fraud, or tax evasion.”

          • I think the point here is about picking on one particular faith group, when EVERY religion has its quirks that might appear bizarre to outsiders.

    • What CIF Watch won’t publish: Israeli settlers nearly kill Palestinian children in separate attacks.

      Palestinian children and their parents injured gravely injured after Israeli settlers throw firebomb at their car in the West Bank.

      A Palestinian child was beaten unconscious by settlers as he was shopping in Jerusalem.

      Where is Mr Levick’s writing about these hate attacks?

      • because our mission it to combat antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy, in case you didn’t notice.

    • Leaving aside the fact that you seem to be sharing a platform with EDL extremists…

      Who cares if they practice polygamy? There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. It’s only the projection of Judeo-Christian values that tells us that it is wrong.

      • I’m not sure what you mean by ‘share a platform with’. Do you think Loonwatch is wrong to criticise Robert Spencer just because much more extreme types have (I assume, I infer) issued death threats against him?

        • “I’m not sure what you mean by ‘share a platform with’.”

          Was Harry’s Place not recently exposed as a platform for EDL extremists?

          “Do you think Loonwatch is wrong to criticise Robert Spencer just because much more extreme types have (I assume, I infer) issued death threats against him?”

          I’m not sure I follow. Loonwatch is right to criticise Spencer because he is a racist of the most extreme and unpleasant kind. And with the surge in anti-Muslim violence in the US, I hope the intolerance for such racist views increases.

          • I have no great issue with what you say about Spencer – although I am not sure ‘racism’ is precisely his problem. But this is a quibble. Anti-Muslim violence is most certainly a problem in the US. My point was that one should oppose anyone one thinks is extreme or wrong, and not bother (unduly) about who else is opposing them – opposite extremists say. WRT the IW piece – Abu Faris is zealously opposed to bigotry of all kinds, and that includes anti-Muslim bigotry 100%. Andy Hughes was indeed associated with the EDL and has now repudiated those views although he is still opposed to Islamist extremism. I believe he made offensive comments to test/wind up – not because he is an antisemite or anti-Muslim bigot. I can’t say I think that’s a particularly wise thing to do myself, but I believe his account of that. Based on what I have read I think he is genuine and is making exactly the kind of effort to disassociate his blog from Islamophobia that Spencer so clearly fails to make. Many people stop being extremists – a major contributor to Hope not Hate – Matthew Collins – and various former Islamist extremists.

            • I don’t read Harry’s Place regularly, although I have read it on occasion. It, like Atlas Shrugged, CiFWatch, like Richard Millet’s blog are birds of a feather, they are toilets of anti-Muslim racism. Any EDL extremist who had “claimed” to have “reformed” would not post there.

              In my view, and this is just my view, Islamism and Zionism are also birds of a feather. They are both supremacist ideologies, and as such I oppose them. Any ideology which subjugates the interests of the excluded minorities to the interests of the in-group is not something I can accept.

              “I believe he made offensive comments to test/wind up – not because he is an antisemite or anti-Muslim bigot.”

              If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck… Maybe Ahmadinejad is actually a closet philo-Semite, and he’s just winding us up.

              • Avram – you expose your lack of understanding of the reality of Israel yet again, by calling Islamism and Zionism “birds of a feather” and offering as your reasoning that they are both “supremacist ideologies”. Let’s Fisk that view, shall we?

                Zionism seeks a home for the Jewish people – a place where Jews do not have to beg for compassion from anyone else. Islamism seeks the conversion of the entire world to Islam and/or the subjugation of all non-Muslims to Sharia law.

                In Israel, you are free to practice your faith or none free of state interference and you can vote, stand for parliament, become a judge or a government minister. In some Islamist states, religious minorities are either banned from practicing in public or persecuted and ethnically cleansed on a regular basis.

                Yes, Israel has its problems – racism exists in Israel, and it does not have entirely clean hands in its treatment of those who live under its protection/control, but you have to remember that the Palestinian leadership (and their supporters in Iran etc) are violently and explicitly opposed not only to the existence of a Jewish state, but the very existence of Jews.

                Zionism is NOT supremacist, and does not “subjugate the interests of the excluded minorities” (you will notice, for example that Arabic is an official language in Israel) any more than, say, Britian “subjugates” the interests of non-Christians or Mexico subjugates non-Catholics and to a far lesser extent than Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria etc subjugate the interests of non-Muslims.

                Your equivalence of the two shows how little perspective you have of anything in relation to the reality of the Middle East today.

                • “Zionism seeks a home for the Jewish people”

                  I can well imagine what you think Zionism is. You’d be amazed how many times I’ve had this discussion. To you it’s a noble quest to give Jews a home, to me, it was a political ideology bent on establishing a Jewish state in an area of the world that was overwhelmingly non-Jewish.

                  Zionism was, as I have consistently maintained, the tool of the anti-Semite. Jews were, and are its primary victim.

                  You then go on to conflate the state of Israel with Zionism, and I can’t follow you there.

                  “Zionism is NOT supremacist, and does not “subjugate the interests of the excluded minorities””

                  Thought exercise for you. Without the systematic expulsion of Arabs from 47 onwards, Israel would have had an Arab majority. How do you reconcile this with your benign view of Zionism?

                  Zionism compounded the “misery of the Jews” both in Europe and in Arab countries, was a tool of anti-Semites and a catastrophe for the indigenous majority in Palestine.

                  All the whitewash in the world won’t change that.

                  And I know Israeli society is plagued by racism. I don’t care. That’s an issue for Israelis to sort out. That’s not a problem I concern myself with. I’m no Ben White.

                  But as the the ideology underpinning the last unresolved act of European colonialism – Zionism has my interest.

                  • You may have noticed that I’m hardly an ultra-Zionist. But I find your comments above (and elsewhere) offensive. And don’t ask “which parts?”, because you know full well what I mean.

                  • Avram – I am becoming convinced that it is simply impossible to engage in rational discussion with someone who is so blinkered and has such a warped view of the world (as I am sure you would say about me).

                    It’s like a fish arguing with a bicycle – they work on such incompatable levels that there is simply no chance of understanding, let alone agreement.

                    Just one thing though – I did not say “Israeli society is plagued by racism.” I said “racism exists in Israel”. Please do not misquote me again.

    • Polygamy has long been one of the pillars of the Mormon faith.

      There were even TV series and movies documenting this phenomenon, because Americans have always found it weird that a sect claiming to be linked to Christianity may encourage polygamy.

  2. I’m not voting for Romney, but that’s not because of his religion. As far as I’m concerned, his religion and his underwear are a private matter better discussed between him and his wife and absolutely none of my business.
    My objection to a Romney presidency is that I have no idea what it will be. So far he has promised everything and its opposite in his political career, changing political direction and moral tenets with the adaptability of a well oiled weather vane. I just can’t bet on whether he’ll be governing the USA as he did Massachusetts, or as the ultra-conservative-pro-life-anti-affordable healthcare of his latest campaign. I’m voting for the toothless and uninspired guy currently doing his best at the White house, because Romney and Ryan are frankly too scary a gamble to take.

      • “Romney is a billionaire who has no idea what real life is about. That’s why we cannot vote for him.”

        Interesting Nat, yet on another thread you claim that French friends think it is dangerous for YOU to live in Israel.
        So how exactly do YOU qualify to vote in the American Presidential election?

        • My American Jewish friends also think I’m crazy to live in Israel because they think it’s some kind of war zone, no matter how hard I try to explain how safe daily life is.

          • Nat I’ll repeat the question which you are avoiding

            “So how exactly do YOU qualify to vote in the American Presidential election?”

            It is a straightforward question, so your answer to it is?

              • How exactly does that answer the question about how YOU qualify to vote in the American Presidential election?

                Nat cut the obfuscation and explain why you made the statement,
                “Romney is a billionaire who has no idea what real life is about. That’s why we cannot vote for him.”

                And how exactly YOU qualify to vote in the elections?

                  • Nat I didn’t ask about the right to vote of All American citizens.
                    I specifically asked about how YOU, Nat, is qualified to vote in the American Presidential election. After all YOU, Nat. made the statement “That’s why we cannot vote for him”.

                    Now if you are continuing to have problems reading and comprehending the English langauge perhaps you would be better spending your time taking remedial literacy lessons, than making a complete clown of yourself by being incapable of answering a simple question.

  3. The Guardian’s Cif Belief section overall is quite telling. It is definitely out of balance in the way it treats e.g. Judaism (eg Catherine Bennett’s prejudiced diatribe against circumcision), various Christian denominations (incl., in the wider sense,Mormonism) and other religions vs the way it treats Islam (eg the ‘racism in the digital age’ series, centering on so-called ‘Islamophobia’).
    Btw, anyone else notice that there hasn’t been a single Cif piece on that blasphemy case just now unfolding in Pakistan? They had some articles on it, but not a single one allowing comments below the line.
    And, as has already been pointed out in another article on CiFWatch, the antisemitic attack by Arab youths on a rabbi and his daughter in Berlin was not even mentioned AT ALL. As usual, the Guardian, out of ideological reasons, is covering for Islamic/Arab antisemitism. Nothing must disturb or threaten its narrative of who are the ‘baddies’ (Israel, pro-zionist Jews and Christians, the US,Westerners as such ) and who are the ‘goodies’ (Palestinians,Arabs, Muslims anywhere, anyone inimical of Israel,the US, or the imperialist West as such).