What should mormons in general, or the Church and/or Mitt Romney in particular, do about someone like Andrew Sullivan? His blog, sponsored by Time Magazine and CNN, has read like a poor man’s Godmakers in the past week. Under the pretense of “You wanna play by the rules of theoconservatism? Then deal with the consequences,” Sullivan has dredged up every controversial aspect of the Church he can find to hold it up to scrutiny. This goes beyond issues of blacks and the priesthood or historicity of the Book of Mormon; Sullivan has posted up pictures of men and women in their temple garments.
So what is the proper reaction?
First, let me suggest that our Church holds up remarkably well to such hack punditry. Our values and ideals are sterling; our history largely one of amazing sacrifice and devotion; our religion one of private piety. His muckraking has failed.
Second, I am not sure that anger or retribution are appropriate. I doubt the Church has any e-Danites at its disposal to “take care” of Mr. Sullivan, even were that necessary. That said, if Time magazine has any subscribers left, let alone Mormon subscribers, I would think that a polite letter to the Editor, urging reconsideration of linking their institution to Mr. Sullivan’s antimormonism, would be appropriate.
Third, political opportunists like Sullivan are like roaches. Squash all you want. Put out all the traps and bait you’d like. They won’t go away, as long as Mormons continue to strongly associate their religion with a given political party. As much as I hate to say it, there is something to Sullivan’s assertion that this is the cost of doing business when a political candidate invites a correlation between faith and a political agenda. When we begin to wise up and recognize that this world is not for us, and we go about practicing our religion without caring for such pests as Sullivan, we will become truly invulnerable.