In a conference call with reporters, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that his fellow Mormon, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, "is not the face of Mormonism." Reid added he agrees with Romney critics who claim Romney has "sullied" the faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the official name of the church.
We've been down this theological road before. In the 1980s, liberal Christians who pretty much had the "faith" territory to themselves since Prohibition and the Scopes "monkey trial," claimed that evangelical and fundamentalist Christians were not "real Christians” when they began to exert their influence in the political arena.
In recent weeks, Senator Reid has violated at least one of the Ten Commandments -- the one prohibiting the bearing of false witness -- as well as the command of Jesus to "Judge not, lest you be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged." (see Matthew 7:2-5). That doesn't mean Reid can't disagree with Romney's political positions, which is an entirely different matter and well within his theological and political rights, but to suggest that Romney's faith isn't as good as his own -- the apparent intent of his remark -- is to violate the command of the One Reid claims to follow.
In the matter of "bearing false witness," Reid claimed that a "source," who he refused to name, told him that Romney had not paid any federal income taxes in a decade. Reid indicated he believed him and challenged Romney to release his tax returns. When Romney finally did, proving he has, indeed, paid millions of dollars in taxes, did Reid apologize and ask Romney to forgive him? He did not. Instead, Reid moved on to another accusation that Romney had "fudged" his charitable donations in order to live up to the percentage of his income he claimed to have given away in recent years.
I'll leave it to the Mormon hierarchy and their flock to judge among themselves and not in public discourse who is the better face of Mormonism.
Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor.