Almost half a year ago, I wrote about a select group of individuals who I thought bore the most potential damage to America’s centrist-conservative political movement over the course of the next few election cycles. One of these, Jim Robinson, the owner and chief operating officer of the Internet message board and far right powerhouse Free Republic, I found to be particularly repulsive due to his thirst for defeating moderate Republicans in environments where a Democrat would almost certainly claim victory against a more conservative challenger and his tendency to launch despicable, slanderous attacks against those who disagree with him, such as Senator John McCain. Often, Free Republic is quoted in the media as being representative of the Modern Right, which, needless to say, could not be further from the truth, as evidenced by its recent purge of members who have the audacity to support former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in his possible bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. In its own words, Free Republic is first and foremost a “pro-God, pro-life, pro-family” website, making it a perfect haven for those who have no interest in true conservatism, which revolves entirely around the idea of limited governmental interference in the lives of law abiding citizens, instead preferring to push their respective personal agendas upon others around them while masquerading as a “conservative”.
That is why I was not surprised in the least to stumble across an article published on Monday afternoon in The Examiner, which details a systemic problem of anti-Mormon bigotry amongst Free Republic’s faithful. Just how serious is said problem, exactly? According to a study conducted by the Society for the Prevention of Anti-Mormonism, from December of 2008 to February of 2010, a stunning seventy-two percent of all discussions made regarding the Church of Latter Day Saints were initiated by posters known to harbor bigotry towards it. Only seven percent were neutral in nature, and a dismal twenty-one were positive. As if this were not atrocious enough, Robinson recently disbanded the website’s longstanding LDS Caucus, moving discussions of Mormonism to the column reserved for breaking news, where they are now in a prime situation to be sabotaged. When questioned about his actions, Robinson said that he did what he did because he does not “believe a single word written by Joseph Smith or his followers when it departs from the Word of God as recorded in the Holy Bible,” and therefore is “not thrilled about people coming here to preach some false gospel”. Further detailing his rationale to another poster, he stated that it was not possible to “post offensive stuff….and expect Christians not to object to it. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to suspend or ban or deny any Christian from objecting to what he believes is the false prophecy of Joseph Smith. Whether Mormons will feel welcome here after this or not is completely up to them individually.”
I believe that virtually all self-respecting Mormons got the message loud and clear.
When I wrote of the threat Robinson and his deluded ilk posed to the image of our country’s rational center-right last July, this sort of thing is exactly what I was referring to. Also, the supposedly “Pro-God” and “Christian” nature of Free Republic is so easily proven to be total nonsense by this turn of events that one must wonder if Robinson and Co. engaged in this insanity merely for the purpose of fulfilling some low desire to attract attention to themselves. Sadly, I do not believe this to be the case, and I truly do think that the majority of Freepers — as they refer to themselves — are textbook examples of the worst element of the American Right; that which wraps itself up in the flag and carries the cross, all the while using both as a means to channel their prejudices towards those which lead lifestyles different than theirs. In the times which lie ahead, it will become absolutely necessary for the intellectual and political leaders of our nation’s conservative movement to formally repudiate these shameful beings, even at the expense of losing a portion of the much overhyped religious fundamentalist vote.
It will simply be the right — pun fully intended — thing to do.