In this Primary, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum have all either played the religion card against Romney, or have been unwilling to condemn the people associated with their campaigns who have made bigoted and false statements about Mormonism. In most cases, it has been pastors introducing the candidates who have made the anti-Mormon comments.
We also know of the many meetings religious right leaders have held in hopes of finding someone to prevent a Mormon in the White House. Their latest attempt to thwart Romney is getting behind Santorum. In Texas, they laid hands on him in prayer. Fine, good. Go ahead. But let's not pretend it had nothing to do with praying the Mormon does not win.
This is unacceptable in our party. Ronald Reagan had a lot to say about religious intolerance and bigotry, and much of it was directed to Republicans:
“Now, there's another major wrong done to traditional American values that needs to be corrected. Our forefathers were religious people, and they were also enlightened enough to realize the follies of religious intolerance.”-Remarks at the Annual Convention of the American Legion in SLC, Utah, September 4, 1984“So, please use your pulpits to denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and all ethnic or religious intolerance as evils, and let us make it clear that our values must not restrict, but liberate the human spirit in thought and in deed.”-Remarks at the Annual Convention of the Ntl. Assoc. of Evangelicals in Columbus, Ohio, March 6, 1984“We must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and all ethnic or religious bigotry, wherever they exist, as unacceptable evils.”Remarks at the Young Leadership Conference of the United Jewish Appeal March 13, 1984“The ideals of our country leave no room whatsoever for intolerance, for anti-Semitism, or for bigotry of any kind -- none. ”Remarks to Members of the Congregation of Temple Hillel and Jewish Community Leaders in Valley Stream, New York October 26, 1984“We must never remain silent in the face of bigotry. We must condemn those who seek to divide us. In all quarters and at all times, we must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and all ethnic or religious bigotry wherever they exist as unacceptable evils. We have no place for haters in America -- none, whatsoever.”Remarks to Members of the Congregation of Temple Hillel and Jewish Community Leaders in Valley Stream, New York October 26, 1984“The Founders realized that we must guard freedom of religion with eternal vigilance against tyranny and bigotry.”Proclamation 5866 -- Religious Freedom Week, 1988 September 27, 1988“Today bigotry has been beaten down, but not yet totally destroyed. It falls now to you to carry on the battle. So, fight racism; fight anti-Semitism; fight in all its variations the bigotry and intolerance that we Americans have worked so hard to root out. I make much of all we've done to combat discrimination in our country because it seems to me of central importance to our essay on peace. Here in this green and gentle land people of all nations, people of all races and faiths, have learned to live in harmony to build one nation.”Remarks at the High School Commencement Exercises in Glassboro, New Jersey, June 19, 1986“And let me add, in the party of Lincoln, there is no room for intolerance and not even a small corner for anti-Semitism or bigotry of any kind. Many people are welcome in our house, but not the bigots.”Remarks Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas August 23, 1984“No one group in this country is better than another. No one race or religion or sex or color is better than another. And no region is better or worse than another. It's time we erased the last vestiges of intolerance, bigotry, and unkindness from our hearts. Decency demands this and so does our history.”Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session at the "Choosing a Future" Conference in Chicago, Illinois September 5, 1984“And let me say there is no place in the Republican Party for those who would exhibit prejudice against anyone. There's no place in our party for the kind of bigotry and ugly rhetoric that we've been hearing outside our party recently. We have no room for hate here, and we have no place for the haters.”Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session with Elected Republican Women Officials, June 29, 1984“Racial discrimination and religious bigotry have no place in a free society.”-Remarks at the Annual Convention of the National Religious Broadcasters, February 9, 1982“And let me add that we will continue to fight against discrimination wherever there are any vestiges of it remaining, until we've removed such bigotry from our entire land.”-Remarks at a Meeting With Asian and Pacific-American Leaders, February 23, 1984“I firmly believe that there is no room for partisanship on this question. Democrats and Republicans alike must be resolute in disassociating ourselves from any group or individual whose political philosophy consists only of racial or religious intolerance....”-Letter to the Chairman of the Commission on Civil Rights Concerning the President's Views on the Ku Klux Klan April 30, 1984“We will continue to fight against discrimination, wherever there are any vestiges of it remaining, until we've removed such bigotry from our entire land.”-Written Responses to Questions Submitted by Pacific Magazine on United States Policy in the Pacific Island Region May 4, 1984“I was raised in a household in which the only intolerance I was taught was intolerance of bigotry.”-The President's News Conference, June 30, 1982
I had hoped that the problems of 2008 were past. In many ways, it is worse, because at least back then, Huckabee tried to give the impression that he did not want to play the religion card against Romney, and even apologized. So far this year, none of the candidate have taken responsibility for what has been said in their behalf.
I'm thankful for the Republican leaders who have spoken out against religious bigotry against Mormons, but I do wish there were more of them.