The comment Al Sharpton made about Mormons not believing in God is ultimately a waste of time. Yet Iâ€™m wasting my time to write about it. So here goes…
From the best information I could piece together, there was a debate between Brother Sharpton and Brother Christopher Hitchens. Though they both might object to me calling them a â€œBrotherâ€ as Christopher is an atheist and Al apparently believes in a different God. But back to the story. I have heard two different titles to this debate. The local paper reported the title as â€œIs God Great?â€ while the official website for the audio of the debate calls it â€œGod Is Not Great.â€ I have not bothered to listen to the audio â€“ again, I think I have better things to do â€“ but you can find it here: http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/pep/audio.cfm. And you can find the local paperâ€™s article here: http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view2/1,4382,660219900,00.html
So, getting my details from the local paper which may or may not have printed the wrong title, Brother Hitchens had offered a â€˜contemporary exampleâ€™ of using religion to justify racism. A GOP presidential candidate, he said, was a member of the “so-called Mormon Church” that had taught “that the Bible separates the sons of Ham and makes them lesser.”
Brother Sharpton is said to have agreed that there was no question about the civil rights movement being faith-based. “Let’s not reinvent Dr. King any more than we try to reduce God to some denomination or convention,” he said. He went on to speak about the religious roots of the civil rights movement lead by Martin Luther King Jr. And then he said added his now infamous comment, “as for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyway, so don’t worry about that, that’s a temporary situation.” Iâ€™m told that the New York Public Library audience then laughed. This is supposed to be able to be heard on the tape.
So that is what he said, and a bit of the context in which he said it. The only GOP Mormon currently running for office, at least that I know of, Brother Mitt Romney, replied that it was â€œextraordinarily bigoted.â€ Brother Sharpton has explained that he was not referring to Brother Romney, but instead was speaking of his debate opponent, who is an atheist. Iâ€™m personally not buying into that explanation, but Iâ€™m also canâ€™t really bring myself to care very deeply or become offended for a word.
So now brother Sharpton is apologizing to everyone who is Mormon. He has called up and talked to not one but two Mormon Apostles, and told them that he is sorry for the misunderstanding and unintentional hurt he has caused. And he has announced plans to come to Utah to apologize in person and â€œopen a dialog.â€ He has not announced where, but I am guessing he will open it right next to that new Wal-Mart in Sandy?
Did I mention this is all a complete waste of time? What does he hope to accomplish? Does he intend to come and shake my hand and apologize to me too? If so, I say: Really, Brother Sharpton, no hard feelings man! Just donâ€™t worry about it. I really donâ€™t feel bad. You donâ€™t need to go to all that effort. I imagine that the two Apostles that you spoke with on the phone the other day probably have other things on their schedule too, and it is really not necessary to come all this way to explain it all again, you know what I mean?
Brother Romneyâ€™s spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told the Boston Herald “nothing constructive would be served” by a meeting with Sharpton. I tend to agree, not just for Brother Romney, but for all of us here in Utah too.
It really will just be waste of your time and my time, Brother Sharpton. Iâ€™m certain that your apology so far was just fine, and that the Mormonâ€™s God loves you too.
Thatâ€™s really all I want to say. Thatâ€™s actually a lot more than I wanted to even think about on this topic.
*** And as if that wasn’t enough, I’ve added an additional thought later in the comments below! ***