Al Sharpton weighs in [UPDATED]

Via Hugh Hewitt’s website, comes this choice sound bite from the Reverend Al, apparently during a debate with Christopher Hitchins:

“And as for the one Mormon running for office, those that really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don’t worry about that, that’s a temporary, that’s a temporary, uh, situation.” [laughter from audience]

Being from California, my general attitude to such comments is summed up by my all-time-favorite bumper sticker, which first appeared there some 30-40 years ago: “I used to be disgusted, but now I’m just amused.”

But more than anything, I’m just puzzled. Not as to why Sharpton made the comment — I simply assume it’s a pre-emptive shot at someone who may likely end up as the VP candidate (or possibly higher) on the Republican ticket, the same motive I believe was behind Gary South’s rather silly article on “Mormon intolerance” — but rather how he expects the statement to be interpreted. Is he stating that Mitt Romney doesn’t “really believe in God”? Is he stating that all Mormons don’t “really believe in God”? Does he really, seriously believe either of those statements? If he does, then I would be genuinely interested in hearing his rationale for that belief; if he doesn’t, then I’d be genuinely interested in hearing why he uttered something he knew to be false.

And above all, I’d really be interested in hearing the reaction of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to Al Sharpton’s statement. I know Sen. Reid; he and I attended the same LDS congregation in Washington DC for six years, and I have great personal respect for him and his wife Landra, whatever my political disagreements with him might be. I will be curious to see how and when he breaks his silence regarding the anti-Mormon rhetoric that continues to emerge from the Left. ..bruce..

[UPDATED 05/09/07 – 0729 MDT]

Sharpton has issued statements explaining his comment above:

“What I said was that we would defeat him, meaning as a Republican,” Sharpton said. “A Mormon, by definition, believes in God. They don’t believe in God the way I do, but by definition, they believe in God.”

He said he was contrasting himself and other believers with Hitchens, who is the author of a new book, “God Is Not Great.”

I’m willing to grant him the benefit of the doubt, particularly given his statement that he was contrasting “those who really believe in God” with Hitchens — who, by the way, has had his own scathing things to say about Mormonism. ..bruce..

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