Sunday morning, on Fox News’ Fox and Friends show, host Ainsely Earhardt blithely told America that presidential candidate Mitt Romney was “obviously not a Christian.”
Mitt Romney, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Who prays (as Mormons do) in Jesus’ name and celebrates Christmas. “Obviously” not a Christian, says Fox News.
Earhardt’s underhanded comment came during a segment focused on the ever-more likely prospect of a presidential run by Texas Governor Rick Perry. Does Perry have the same fundraising power as Romney, the panel wondered. “The Christian Coalition, I think he could get a lot of money coming from that base, because Romney,” Earhardt chattered, “obviously not being a Christian, Rick Perry, he’s always on Christian talk shows, he has days of prayer in Texas.”
Funny thing is, the very Sunday morning that Earhardt and her co-hosts (one of whom hollered “oh, yeah” in agreement) sabotaged Romney by declaring him “not a Christian,” at least a million American Mormons were sitting in chapels nationwide taking a bread-and-water sacrament in remembrance of Jesus.
It’s a game some evangelical Christians like to play: defining Mormons out of Christendom based on theological technicalities, no matter how frequently Mormons profess their belief in Jesus Christ.
We’ve seen it before, and we know we’ll see it again and again during the 2012 campaign season.
And it’s not like we should be surprised to see Fox News again (for the second time this month) fostering programming that caricatures and alienates Mormons. They’ve done it to just about every other minority in America, including LGBT people, Muslims, immigrants, and people of color, demonstrating what the Rev. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance has called a “sick sense of majoritarianism.”
When Barack Obama ran for president (and during his presidency), Fox News has sabotaged him time and time again by suggesting that despite his own profession of Christianity, President Obama is not really Christian, but rather Muslim—quite a crime, in the eyes of Fox viewers.
Now, as Mitt Romney runs for president, Fox News is sabotaging him by suggesting that despite his own profession of Christianity, Romney is not really Christian either.
Because when Fox News says “Christian,” Fox News means “Christian Right.”
Mormons (and Barack Obama) need not apply.