by Max Brantley
While Democrats have crafted a "Patriots Tour" for the 4th, the Republican Party of Arkansas is making plans for a tribute this week to their gubernatorial candidate, A$a Hutchinson. It will be Thursday evening at the Statehouse Convention Center. The fund-raiser is styled the Governor's Dinner and everybody's favorite barnyard humorist, The Huckster, will be emcee. As previously announced, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will be keynote speaker.
This reminded me of an interesting LA Times poll today that shows that religious affiliation is becoming less a detriment in politics, notably for electability of Jewish and Catholic presidential candidates. But the poll indicates there remains a high reluctance to vote for Mormons for president (and, even moreso for Muslims). The reluctance about Mormons presumably would be higher in the South. The Southern Baptist Convention, which includes churches The Huckster once led as pastor and which claims the biggest membership in Arkansas, treats Mormonism as a sect and doesn't view Mormons as Christians. Romney, a Mormon who's weighing a 2008 presidential bid, has declared himself a Christian, however. Presumably Biblical inerrancy won't be a topic of dinner discussion Thursday, though it likely would be more interesting than the rhetorical fare served. As an official of the Baptist Convention told the Times:
"They are not orthodox in their beliefs," Cureton said. "They have additional books that they add to the Bible, which evangelical Christians believe is God's word. They believe that there are many, many gods and that you too can become a god in your own world. It sounds good, but unfortunately it is not based on sound teaching."