LDS and Civil Rights

So Mitt Romney cited the civil rights movement as an example of the sort of common faith-based moral causes that bring people of all faiths together. Maybe he needs to re-read about church history. Here’s the April 13, 1959 Time:

Whatever they may do or leave undone about their Negro brethren, most U.S. churches hold that all men are equal before God. One notable exception: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon teaches that the colored races are descendants of the evil children of Laman and Lemuel, who impiously warred against the good children of Nephi and received their pigmented skin as punishment. Last week a Utah State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights drew on this Mormon scripture in a scathing report on the state of the tiny nonwhite minority in Utah.

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Now, obviously, they’ve jettisoned that these days and that’s not what Mitt Romney believes. But it highlights out vacuous this notion of an all-encompassing universal faith-and-goodness is. Most major religions do espouse a mostly-admirable moral creed. But old-style Mormon teaching on “the evil children of Laman and Lemuel” isn’t admirable. Arresting people for naming a teddy bear “Mohammed” isn’t admirable. Settlers who believe the entire West Bank is God’s gift to the Jewish people aren’t admirable.