IT now looks as though Mitt Romney has the Republican Party’s nomination pretty well sewn up. And according to the American pundits there’s an even chance that he will defeat President Obama in the November election.
While I suspect the Washington press corps is no better at such predictions than our own Press Gallery, we really can’t ignore the possibility that in 2013, when he moves into the White House, a Mormon will become the most powerful man in the world. And Mr Romney is not just any old run-of-the-mill Mormon, but a fully fledged bishop of the Church of Latter-day Saints.
Americans have recently been arguing whether or not Mormonism is a cult, as charged by a Southern Baptist preacher, or a bona fide religion. This is a rather silly argument since the difference is semantic. The real issue is whether Bishop Romney can and should be taken seriously, given the absurd nature of the Mormons’ beliefs.
Their founder, Joseph Smith was about on a par with L. Ron Hubbard, the inventor of the Church of Scientology. Both were convicted fraudsters; both claimed to have special knowledge of aliens from outer space (or on the moon); both ruled their communities through fear of retribution and promises of life after death; both created organisations that became very wealthy indeed.
But while it doesn’t matter if actors such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta promote the whacky ideas of Scientology, we should be very afraid of a having a man in the Oval Office who honestly believes that Joe Smith discovered some gold plates on which a new revelation was inscribed in no known language. However, Smith was able to read it and discovered that in 600 BC a group of Israelites journeyed to America where they settled. And after his resurrection Jesus visited them.
Smith announced that he wanted to be known as the Prophet Muhammed of North America with the slogan, “Either al-Koran or the Sword”. He encouraged polygamy to breed lots of little Mormons and sent his disciples out to spread the word. When the US authorities began to crack down, some of them – notably Mitt’s great grandfather – were sent to Mexico to start a colony there.
One of their oddities is their practice of amassing great archives of the dead and “praying them in” as adherents of the cult. Then they baptise them as converts. Indeed, their genealogical activities are aggressively political. When Kevin Rudd was Prime Minister, for example, they went to enormous trouble to research his family background and presented it to him at a small ceremony – to which I was invited – at Parliament House.
Kevin was – and is – a bit of a sucker for things religious and happily accepted the booklet. But even he, I strongly suspect, would be hoping that Bishop Mitt loses out to his pal, Barack Obama.
After all, Mr Obama only believes that God gave birth to a son and when he grew to manhood He arranged for him to be crucified so that Christians could enjoy a life after they died…for eternity!
God bless America.