Is Romney’s ‘secrecy’ a Mormon reference?

Senior adviser to the Obama campaign, David Axelrod, has pledged to make a campaign issue out of what Mr. Axelrod … Continued

Senior adviser to the Obama campaign, David Axelrod, has pledged to make a campaign issue out of what Mr. Axelrod sees as Mitt Romney’s penchant for secrecy. Speaking to Politico, Axelrod said that Romney’s approach to matters both political and financial reminded him of the old TV show “I’ve Got A Secret.”

Axelrod suggested:

There is no way to know what Mr. Axelrod’s real intent was — he may not be fully aware of it himself — but if his primary concerns were with Romney’s financial and political transparency, then why raise those last three questions about his character, belief and life history?

As Jon Meacham asked on “Morning Joe” Monday, “Is this code for the secrecy of the Mormon Church?”

The White House has consistently insisted that it would not make religion an issue in the presidential race, but with questions such as those raised by Axelrod, you have to wonder. Given the concerns expressed by large numbers of Americans about the Mormon faith and the LDS church, questions about what Romney “believes” and “what he stands for,” easily pass for thinly veiled references to the candidate’s faith.

“The ‘secrecy’ charge is particularly damaging for Romney because it is a clever way for Obama to exploit some Americans’ discomfort with Romney’s Mormon faith without ever raising the issue directly,” wrote Post columnist Marc A. Thiessen Monday.

Given the ongoing concerns expressed by Obama supporters about criticisms directed at the president which are little more than thinly veiled race-baiting, the Obama campaign needs to be especially cautious about this kind of talk. They need to be better disciplined when raising issues which they fully appreciate have the very real potential of pandering to the worst kind of anti-Mormon bias, especially given the ugly way in which some of the president’s detractors continue to question the his faith in baseless ways which pander to American haters of Islam.

In fact, the very claim of which the Obama campaign is so proud regarding their commitment to not making religion an issue in the campaign is itself problematic. The declaration itself suggests that there is in fact an issue there, but that they will take the high road and avoid it, in favor of more substantive issues. Their claim is no better, and no worse, than when people begin critiques of the president with comments about their position having “nothing to do with any possible religious identity issues” the president may have.

There are plenty of real differences, both in matters of policy and approach to politics, between President Obama and the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. Those are the real issues which will shape our nation for the coming years and those are the issues about which both campaigns should be speaking. And if people do want to speak about each others’ faiths, then by all means do so, but do it openly, honestly, and based on facts, not fear and innuendo.

About

Brad Hirschfield An acclaimed author, lecturer, rabbi, and commentator on religion, society and pop culture, Brad Hirschfield offers a unique perspective on the American spiritual landscape and political and social trends to audiences nationwide.
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

shutterstock_186686495
The End of Surveillance for New York Muslims — For Now

How American Muslims modeled the right response to systematic injustice.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.