Yesterday Obery Hendricks posted an article on the Huffington Post challenging Mitt Romney on racist sentiments found in the Book of Mormon. As has been pointed out, Hendricks is guilty of cherry-picking some of those statements. He also doesn’t have a good enough handle on Mormonism to understand that the Book of Mormon is not making reference to people of African descent, rather it’s speaking of dark-skinned people of Jewish descent living in a yet-to-be-determined location (some might say they are dark-skinned Native Americans, others might say these passages have nothing to do with skin color at all).
Last night Hendricks appeared as a guest of Ed Schultz on MSNBC. As I predicted, I believe this is just the start of these attacks on Mitt Romney and Mormonism. The challenge Romney faces is answering these charges in the length of a sound-bite. I don’t think the nuance that Mormons engage the priesthood bad with is going to communicate. I also don’t think he has the opportunity to engage in exegis of the Book of Mormon. Hendricks does not offer an attack that effectively sways Mormons, but he does offer an attack that sways non-Mormons.
I don’t believe this is going to go away and I’ll be interested to see how Romney resolves it. I believe he’ll eventually be forced to say, as John Huntsman has stated, that the priesthood ban was wrong.