Last week I posted about a Guardian editorial on the U.S. Presidential elections which ridiculed Mitt Romney’s faith, in the context of warning what dangers a GOP victory would present to America and the world. The editorial included a passage mockingly asserting that ”Romney is a member of a church that believes Jesus traveled to America.” [emphasis added]
While the juvenile taunt is evidently based on a passage in the Book of Mormon which claims Jesus appeared to inhabitants of the Americas following his resurrection, is it even arguable that Mormonism is far from unique in accepting religious doctrines which secular people find difficult to fathom? Further, if Christ could rise from the dead why would it seem strange that he could also visit other parts of the world?
The broader issue of the Guardian editorial, however, pertains to their mockery towards a faith which claims a mere 14 million adherents worldwide – disrespect towards religious diversity which manifested itself again on Sept. 2 at the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian), in the following cartoon by Chris Riddell (Mitt Romney shows off his attack dog).
Note the text appearing on Romney’s shirt, which reads “Mitt’s Magic Massachusetts Underwear”.
The “magic underwear” is a pejorative reference to the traditional Mormon temple garment - a type of underwear worn by the vast majority of adherents of the church.
Here’s a photo of the undergarment which Chris Riddell evidently finds so funny.
As an adherent to Mormonism named Tresa Edmunds explained about the garment in an essay published last year:
“For a plain old suburban mom and housewife, I get a whole lot of interest in my underwear. When people discover that I’m Mormon, many of them just can’t help themselves from eventually inquiring about the state of my unmentionables.
The Garments of the Holy Priesthood, or garments, as we call them for short, are simple underclothes that a member of the church who has participated in the endowment ceremony wears at all times in lieu of traditional underwear.
A sacred religious garment is certainly nothing new, nearly every sect has something devout believers wear as a symbol of their relationship to God. The Jewish yarmulke, the Hindu sacred thread, the Mennonite bonnet, the Christian cross. Our own garments are not even unique, being inspired by ancient Jewish ceremonies and arguably influenced by Masonic symbols. Religious people throughout time have felt great resonance in a tangible symbol of their ethereal beliefs.”
Oh, and I almost neglected to mention the site where the article appeared:
Moreover, do Guardian editors really need reminding that, regardless of their views on the U.S. election, exploiting readers’ religious prejudices – by echoing the false ‘accusation’ that one candidate is ‘secretly’ a Muslim, or mockery towards the Mormon traditions of another – is divisive, bigoted and supremely illiberal?