Nothing annoys me more thatn when people want to talk about another person's underwear. Particularly when there are more important things to talk about. For this reason, this post will remain brief. Andrew Sullivan, who decided to make my time away from the computer Mitt Romney Week, raised the question of Mormon underwear because apparently he thinks it matters. (MSNBC, at around 4:40 p.m. Monday, apparently agreed and decided to bring it up.) It does not matter. Other things related to Romney's Mormonism do.
What is somewhat interesting is that Sullivan requested and received a photo of these sacred Mormon undergarments. Since it came from Wikipedia, the photo is part of the public domain, but Sullivan received email from a Mormon reader who found the photo offensive:
Many of us consider posting photographs of Mormon undergarments to be sacrilegious and offensive. Yes, we wear these garments at all times, except during swimming, athletic[s], bathing, and other activities where it would be impractical. They are made from a variety of textiles, and are comfortable to sleep in, being really not far removed from long johns. Many religious groups, and not just ours, wear clothing as a symbol of religious adherence. Ours, we wear as a reminder of our commitments, but not in public view, because we are reminding ourselves, not making a spectacle. Hence, underclothing. Additionally, they are cut in such a way as to require us to adhere to church modesty standards.
The photo is posted here for us all to see. Now this underwear issue should be dropped. By the way, I wonder why Sullivan has never asked whether the next Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, wears Mormon undergarments? Or Sen. Orrin Hatch? Regardless, I think Sullivan understands that Romney's underwear does not matter.
If a reporter had 10 questions to ask Romney, one should not be asking about what he is wearing underneath his suit. There's just too much else out there to discuss. Leave the undergarment questions for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
How's this for a Top 5 Mormon-related questions that I would ask Romney? Feel free to agree/disagree (explain why) and publish your own question list. We want to encourage thoughtful reporting on Romney's religious beliefs (and yes, they do matter), not "does he wear boxers or briefs" reporting (which doesn't matter).
- Do you believe in the Mormon doctrine of "exaltation"?
- What are your thoughts on the United States being "divinely founded," and if so, how so?
- Are you a "Cultural Mormon" or do you belief in all of the church's theology?
- What is the highest moral authority in your public life? In your private life?
- Does your Mormonism have an influence on your public policy/foreign policy positions?