Paul L. Scham of the Gildenhorn Institute of Israel Studies responds to the Romney campaign's comparison of Mormonism and Judaism.
By Paul L. Scham, Washington Post
In a June 3 Outlook commentary, “When is Mormonism fair game?,” a spokeswoman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign was quoted as writing that news reports referring to Romney’s faith should be tested by substituting “Jew” or “Jewish” where “Mormon” is used. The comparison is absurd.
In addition to being a religion, Judaism is an ethnicity and is often considered a nationality. Mormonism is solely a religion, one in which, unlike Judaism, belief is paramount; secular Mormons, if they exist, are few and far between.
On the other hand, Jewish belief is all over the map. For example, there are dyed-in-the-wool atheists who regard themselves as Jews and are so regarded by others and by halachah (Jewish religious law). Moreover, most anti-Semitism in the past 150 years has been based on attacking Jews as a people and as a so-called “race,” not for their religious beliefs or practices.