Now even Ken Jennings is involved in the Mitt Romney -Mike Huckabee Iowa range war?
My postings here are usually not tinged with religion, but both Ralph (the Kosher Hedgehog here) and I try to comment here on religious-political news and related issues; sometimes we need to explain religious beliefs in order to comment intelligently on the news. (What else can one expect from a blog written by a committed Mormon and a committed Orthodox Jew?)
I also write daily for Article VI Blog, which for the last 18 months or so has examined religion and politics in the 2008 presidential campaign. My co-blogger there is John Schroeder, an Evangelical Christian who writes Blogotional, an influential religious blog, or "Godblog." (Yes, I keep eclectic company in the blogosphere, and I love it. Both John and Ralph are very smart guys whose writing enriches makes me look good by association.)
Of course, with the rise of Mike Huckabee we have seen unexpected opportunities to comment on religion, politics, and the news. (That's a opaque way of saying that we never dreamed we'd see the stuff we've seen so far.)
Here's the latest example. I never watch the game show "Jeopardy," but I know that Ken Jennings of Jeopardy fame is a Mormon and a Democrat. (No, that's not really such an unusual combination.) I suspect Jennings would never vote for Mitt Romney.
So it's interesting to me that even Jennings has now joined in the religious food fight that has erupted from what John and I call the "Mormon Question." His op-ed in the New York Daily News is entitled "Politicians & pundits, please stop slandering my Mormon faith." His concluding paragraph:
I'm tired of being a punch line and a punching bag. If the only way to get Mormonism out of the arena is to get Romney out of the race, then I'm counting the days. This is one Mormon who would rather have a little civility and tolerance than one of our own in the White House.
Well, I don't think that's a fair trade. Is Jennings saying that it's better for people of faith to keep out of national politics if their candidacy brings out religious bigotry against their faith?One problem is that many doctrinaire Evangelicals are not making Jennings' argument easier. At Article VI a leading Evangelical, Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost, told us in an interview (yet to be transcribed and published) that he thinks many Evangelicals will say they're voting against Romney for non-religious reasons (e.g., Romney's so-called "flip-flopping") when the real reason for their vote is that Romney is a Mormon.
Joe's not just any old blogger. Evangelical Outpost is a major Evangelical blog. He announced his support for Huck last October and is now the Huckabee campaign's research director. He's also prominent in the campaign's outreach efforts to Evangelicals, and Joe's blog postings often drip with scorn for Romney and his people.
So what'll it be? Do we speak out against religious bigotry, or simply run and hide from it, as Jennings seems to suggest? Ralph, what do you think?