Al Sharpton has once again gotten himself into trouble, but I think this time those who are critical of him have gotten him way wrong. His actual words:
As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation.
Evangelicals for Mitt has the video. EFM is playing this as anti-Mormonism. This post and commenters at Race 4 2008 seem to take it the same way. Sharpton denies that he meant that Mormons don't believe in God. I believe him. After all, look closely at what he said. He said people who really believe in God will vote against Mitt Romney. That means the people who don't really believe in God are not Mormons but people who would vote for Mitt Romney. In other words, Republicans and conservatives, particularly social conservatives, do not really believe in God. It has nothing to do with Mormons. It has everything to do with those who disagree with him politically. If you don't agree with his political views, you must not believe in God. It's that simple.
This isn't new to Sharpton. He's said it before about supporters of President Bush. So of course he can say that it wasn't meant as a statement about Mormons. It wasn't. It was a slam against all Christians who happen to be politically conservative. This kind of irresponsible statement would be grounds for excommunication in the first-century church. From Sharpton's perspective, he must think it's a good thing that we've strayed so far from biblical teaching about the consequences of this kind of divisiveness. Of course it would be better for him if he were held accountable, because then he'd have a greater chance of seeing how serious his insult to Christ really is.
Disclaimer: There are conservatives who do the same thing. I'd say the same about them. There clearly are people who claim to be Christians who demonstrate by their actions or words that their Christianity is extremely thin and doesn't amount to much of what I know as Christianity. I think John Kerry's identification with Christianity is largely cultural because of his Catholic upbringing. I suspect the same is true of Newt Gingrich on the Republican side. My point isn't about never being able to wonder whether someone's faith is genuine. It's about making sweeping claims about people's political affiliation as proof that they don't genuinely believe in God, which is nonsense.