What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
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Is there such a thing as acceptable bigotry? Do we as a society condone, practice, or turn a blind eye toward certain types of bigotry, while condemning others?
On an episode of the ever-contentious McLaughin Group earlier this week, Lawrence O’Donnell lambasted Mormonism, vociferously listing alleged reasons why the faith itself is evil. And lest he be seen as incredible, O’Donnell states that he plays a Mormon on TV. Well, then. He’s now an authority.
Such a display of anger leads me to wonder what types of bigotry our society sees as acceptable. Is it more politically correct to bash Mormons than it is Jews or Muslims?
As one Deseret News columnist noted, the double standard is quite apparent. Mormonism is continually painted in a negative light in mainstream media, yet no public outcry ensues. One might attribute this to the “turn the other cheek” mentality most Latter-day Saints will assume, whereas a similar bigoted comment regarding another faith might meet with uproar and public demands for apology.
Some still argue that a scrutiny of one’s faith is not bigotry, but O’Donnell’s was not an analysis of doctrine, but an outright, unsubstantiated accusation on several fronts. Those who claim that such comments are not bigoted most certainly have an agenda (or agree), as this author himself discloses:
As an evangelical Christian theologian, I must clarify that Mormonism is in no way consistent with orthodox Christianity. It borrows Christian themes and texts, but its most basic beliefs directly contradict the central teachings of Christianity.
An objective assessment of bigotry is thrown right out the window when two large paragraphs of one’s article are dedicated to an attempt at showing how Mormons aren’t Christians. Birds of a feather…
Seriously, though, when has it become okay for civil discourse to feature the outright bashing of another person’s faith, especially when such claims are far-fetched, misrepresented, or outright lies?
Perhaps it’s time for an LDS Anti-Defamation League of sorts. This double standard needs to be exposed for what it is, such that the Lawrence O’Donnells of the world are shown to be the lying, inflammatory people they truly are.
What I find most interesting is when so-called “christians” (whom I use a lowercase ‘c’ to represent) refuse to consider Mormons as Christians. If such contentious invective is to be considered the fruits of a christian, then I’ll gladly be identified by a different moniker.
Bigotry is unacceptable in all its forms, even when masked with a disclaimer such as “oh, well that religion is a cult and false, so it’s okay”.
By their fruits ye shall know them.