Governor Mitt Romney’s most recent campaign ad focuses on one issue: President Obama and his relentless “war on religion.” As a Mormon, Romney should be able to recognize such a “war” when he sees one.
From the Utah War to the prohibition of polygamy, Mormons have dealt with religious discrimination for many years. Can Obama’s policies regarding religion really be called a “war,” and thus be equated with other past and present instances of religious persecution? The answer is no.
When we distort reality for the sake of posturing and politics, we also cheapen the plight of people who really do face intolerance and even violence because of their beliefs. Barack Obama’s “war” does not compare to the recent instances of religious persecution in Nigeria or China. Nor does it compare to the difficulties Mormons have faced in American history, or the slander, vandalism, and bomb threats that Muslims in Murfreesboro, Tennessee recently confronted as they prepared to open a new mosque. And then there was the tragic shooting in Wisconsin earlier this month—one of many acts of violence and discrimination that Sikhs have coped with over the last decade. In the United States there are people who really do face a “war” when it comes to peacefully practicing their religions.