Commentary Magazine


Undergarments In a Twist?

Hmmm. Two stories, in two different publications, on the Mormon Church? Is something afoot?

Alana noted a Washington Post piece about the church posthumously baptizing Holocaust survivors, and that same issue made the cover of The Daily (which you can only read if you own an iPad). The Daily goes further than the Post, sharing some of the stranger Mormon beliefs and customs, including the odd, 18th century-ish style undergarments Mormons supposedly wear (they actually look quite comfy).

Mormonism was bound to come up sooner or later, and it looks like someone (Santorum? Obama?) has decided the moment is now. So the sooner Mitt Romney deals with it the better.

Baptizing dead people who had no desire in their earthly sojourns to be Mormons is bizarre and offensive — and not only to Jews. Romney has been tiptoeing for too long around the issue of religion – though his reluctance is understandable. I’m not even going to try to come up with good underwear talking points for Romney. (I have a hard enough time trying to explain tefillin.)

Seriously, though, there is a question here that bears considering:  Do we really have anything to fear from our president’s religion? Back in 1960, the boogeyman was the Catholic Church – and the possibility that JFK would take his marching orders from the Pope (turns out, as we know now, Hugh Hefner had more of an effect on what went on in the Kennedy White House than John XXIII).

The fact is that all religions have rituals that seem pretty weird to outsiders.

But in case anyone has forgotten – the U.S. is not a theocracy; we have something called the First Amendment, and no matter the perversion that atheists have tried to make of it, it makes the religion of our public officials largely immaterial.

Being a religious country, we want our president at least to pretend to have some kind of religion. But as to which one? Given the seriously scary state of the world, and Barack Obama’s abysmal weakness and incompetence, I think we have a lot more pressing things to worry about.