This morning, a 28-year-old Ron Paul supporter named Bret Hatch came to a Mitt Romney town hall meeting to confront Romney over interracial marriage using an LDS scriptural passage that suggests racial divisions in the time of Noah's great-grandfather.
Now, I understand that Mormons aren't the only ones who get stupid, out-of-proportion questions about their faith. Muslims are constantly having to answer about whether this or that passage in the Qur'an makes every Muslim a terrorist. For centuries, Jews have been hassled over whether the Kol Nidre prayer on Yom Kippur means that no Jew can be trusted to keep his word. And so on.
But seriously? We do care about marrying in the faith when possible, or at least marrying someone who treats your faith respectfully. But thanks to the church's growth worldwide and among immigrant communities, interracial, intercultural, multilingual, and international marriages are probably way more common among Mormons these days than among the population at large.
And this is probably hardly news to Mitt Romney. His dad's cousin, my grandma, married an immigrant from India back in 1958, when Arizona law still technically forbade such marriages. What did her dad, Romney's great-uncle, think of that? Well, my grandpa had joined the LDS Church several years before he met my grandma and served faithfully in it. And that was good enough for my grandma's father, who fully supported the marriage.
I have cousins now who are half-Navajo, half-Belgian, half-Japanese, half-English, half-South Indian. All of us are religious Latter-day Saints.
The Gill clan. Yup: all Mormons are definitely closet racists.
The LDS church doesn't track statistics on race (in a worldwide church, whose version of race would you be tracking anyway?), but if you add up the membership per country, it's pretty clear that the majority of Mormons are not white.
So yeah, there are plenty of racist things various Mormons have said, and there are some very racist-sounding things in our scriptures (especially the Bible, which expresses persistent prejudice against Edomites and has a mixed record on Samaritans). But to think that all Mormons are racists in the 21st century? And to harass an individual Mormon about interracial marriage when there's no shortage of multiracial members of the Church?
Please. Just please. Get with the times! If you can do nothing else, at least acknowledge that my cousins and aunts and uncles and I exist...