I just read this commentary by Glenn Beck on CNN.com regarding Obama trying to distance himself from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. (you can read the entire article here: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/05/beck.obamawright/index.html). I'm not extremely familiar with Beck, since I've only caught a few bits of his shows here and there. I wouldn't say I share his point of view on some things, but I appreciate his approach to politics and different issues. I actually didn't know he was a Mormon until President Hinckley died and there was a tribute by Beck circulating on the Internet. I like the guy and I admire how he's been able to turn his life around after a rocky past.
I know that Beck claims to be a "conservative who just who happens to not be a Republican." I don't know whether he supported Romney while he was still in the race, but if he did, I wonder if he felt a little funny writing this commentary.
"It wasn't Wright's overbearing volume, hilarious comedy, hand movements, or dance quality that made me think he was a dangerous peddler of conspiracy theories. It was his words that did that. I don't want someone like him with access to the president for twenty minutes, let alone twenty years."
Where have I heard this before? Hmmm... isn't that "access to the president" phrase roughly the same concern that a lot of people had about Mitt Romney? Only, instead of being criticized for associating with a "dangerous peddler of conspiracy theories," Romney was accused of being associated with a prophet some would regard as a dangerous peddler of a homophobic, anti-feminist agenda and the leader of a religion with a racist and polygamist past. Those of us familiar with Mormonism can easily laugh off such ideas, but put yourself in the position of someone who knows little or nothing about the Church and how it works. Can you see why people could be concerned, just as a lot of people are now concerned about Obama? In no way do I agree or sympathize with Wright's racist rantings, but I know at the same time that one need not dig too deeply to find some pretty disturbing teachings on race, among other things, in Mormonism. The only real difference I see is that Wright is alive and current, while the most controversial Mormon leaders are mostly dead.
"Do I think for a second that Obama believes the government created the AIDS virus to kill African-Americans? No. But at this point it's rational to wonder whether he is either lying or has an awful sense of judgment. He either knew Wright's views and didn't tell the truth about them, or he somehow missed the core beliefs of the man who was spending his Sunday mornings teaching core beliefs.
I'm glad Obama has come to the same conclusion that Wright's critics came to long ago. I just wonder why it took me two minutes and him two decades."
While I was reading this article, that scripture came to mind from Matthew 7:3, "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to accuse Beck of any sin here, but I do wonder how he could have missed the parallels. It might take him just two minutes to see through Wright, but how long would it take him to see through Brigham Young for his fiery, racially-charged speeches, or Joseph Smith for his underaged brides? To be quite honest, as much as I am deeply disturbed by some aspects of my faith, I wouldn't be willing to stand in front of America and publicly denounce past prophets of my religion. But apparently neither Beck nor Romney is willing either. And either that makes us people of integrity or huge cowards, depending on how you look at it.
I was anxious while Romney was still in the race, particularly if it had turned out to be him vs. Obama, in other words, White Mormon Republican vs. Black Democrat. I think that Romney would have found himself under intense scrutiny, just as Obama is now, or even more so, because of Mormonism's former doctrines related to race. Honestly, I was scared to death that it would come to that, and at the same time I was hoping it would, merely for the fascinating religious and ethical debates that could have followed.
But I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be in their shoes.