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Posted at 08:20 PM ET, 06/16/2011

The Book of Mormon and the thinking man’s prejudice


Up with this I cannot put! (GARY HERSHORN)
I am a very enlightened soul.

If my mind were any more open, I would have a hole in my head. People often come up to me on the street to congratulate me on my broad-mindedness. At least this is what I think they are trying to do. It is also possible they are trying to tell me that I still have the tags on most of my clothing.

I make a point never to disagree with things — unless they’re obviously wrong.

So when I tell you that These People are absolutely going too far, you will understand at once.

It was with perfect justice that I recently chased one of Them off my lawn with a broom, shouting, “Get away from my doorbell, you subhuman freak!”

Once I sat next to one on the bus. I’m not positive he was one, but they do give off a certain aura. Afterward I had to sanitize all my surfaces.

I don’t know why they dress like that, or why they say such things, or why they want to come into my home and indoctrinate my school-age children. It seems so wrong.

Make no mistake: I am the least prejudiced soul alive. But they are going a bit too far. I wouldn’t let my daughter marry one, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t even let my son marry one.

And I’d certainly never vote for one for president.

I’m sure you know who I’m talking about: the Mormons.

They have been growing bolder of late, with first Mitt Romney, then Jon Huntsman declaring for president. Perhaps it is our permissive moral climate. For far too long we have behaved as though everyone were entitled to a vote, a voice and the ability to participate in the civic life of the country, regardless of creed. How blind we were! Some creeds are just kooky.

True, the Founders said something about separating church and state and making no laws about the freedom of religion. But they didn’t mean Them. They meant “People Who Weren’t Clearly Wrong.” I am pretty sure this is written in very small print at the bottom of the Bill of Rights.

Anti-Mormonism is more widespread among the self-proclaimed enlightened and tolerant than among almost anyone else. A whopping 41 percent of liberal Democrats said they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon because of his beliefs. “Anti-Mormonism,” they say, “is the Thinking Man’s Prejudice. I am duty-bound to object, mainly because I once thumbed through the Book of Mormon and came across some strange bits about planets, and I hear that they wear peculiar underwear.”

“This isn’t prejudice,” they squeal, when pressed. “It’s just that they’re wrong! Besides, it is a choice. Aren’t I entitled to judge someone because he believes something I personally find asinine?”

Sure. But before you start calling any kettles black, make sure you aren’t a pot.

“Have you read the Book of Mormon?” they cry.

“Have you read the Book of Revelation?”

“That’s different.”

Freedom of religion would be worthless if it didn’t encompass the freedom to believe things that many sane and rational people deem absurd. Some say “things that many sane and rational people deem absurd.” Others say “my cherished life-sustaining creed.” The trouble is that no one’s religious beliefs look sound from the outside. That is why they are beliefs. Religious beliefs, like sexual practices, always seem a bit silly when you try to explain them to others.

This week on Broadway the parody musical “The Book of Mormon” won nine Tonys. Sure, some say the show mocks Mormons, but after listening to the cast album I worry that those people didn’t understand the show. It seems to me as though the show is mocking all of us, poking fun at everyone complacent enough to think that what he or she believes is not on some level silly.

“Aren’t all religions fundamentally unreasonable?” it seems to ask. “As long as they help us lead better lives, why should we care?”

True, true. Except for those Mormons.

By  |  08:20 PM ET, 06/16/2011

Tags:  Mormons, beliefs, Broadway

 
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