In the quadrennially important swing state of Ohio, one of the Toledo Blade's featured front page stories on Sunday wondered if Mormonism would shape Romney's policy. Following an endorsement of Obama last week in which there was no mention of the president's beliefs, religion editor Timothy Knox Barger's penned a 2,500 word piece that resorted to scare tactics and conjecture.
Among them was a seemingly legitimate concern that Romney might try to impose a ban on certain things that he's known to abstain from himself -- like coffee for instance.
Calls by The Blade to the Romney campaign seeking to discuss Mr. Romney’s faith and how it would affect his presidency, if elected, were not returned. That leaves as an open question whether the practices of the Latter-day Saints are so strongly held by Mr. Romney that he might follow them and try to change U.S. law. The church disapproves of coffee. Just as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg instituted restrictions on soda, could Mr. Romney take our coffee?
Continuing, there was an examination of Romney's under garments, the practice of polygamy, and how most Mormons go on religious missions rather than serve in the military.
Despite his position at the paper, Barger's past credentials indicate that he may not have been the most ideal candidate to share an objective view on the subject. The former Managing Editor for the Journal of Liberal Religion was a "ministerial candidate in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, and has ties to the American Ethical Union and the Humanist Society. He also has a fondness for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster," a fictional group popularized by atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins.
In the interest of fairness, Barger could've briefly mentioned Obama's ties to the very contentious Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the ensuing controversy of over four years ago that was instigated by a video featuring some of Wright's most inflammatory comments. That wouldn't have boded well for the paper's candidate of choice however.