FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WATCH: Trump Spokeswoman Incorrectly Claims U.S. Has Investigated and Shut Down "Mormon Churches"

GOP Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has linked "radical Islam terrorism" to Islamic mosques in the U.S., and to defend his linkage, Trump's national campaign spokeswoman is meshing outlawed fundamentalist Mormon polygamous sects to the mainstream Mormon church.

Katrina Pierson went on Fox News' "The Kelly File" last night to explain and defend the GOP candidate's comments about investigating and shutting down some mosques that are radicalizing members.  She started to cite Christian churches and Mormon churches as previous examples, but only came up with the latter.  "You've had the DOJ investigate Mormon churches, and shut them down, and said they've been in churches." (comment at about 2:30 mark)

Of course, federal and state authorities have gone after a polygamist group known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ("FLDS"), for a number of alleged illegal activities.  However, the mainstream Mormon church ("LDS") has long banned polygamy and vehemently denies any connection to the FLDS group.

Pierson's comments therefore seem to mesh well with her candidate's, by painting with a broad brush and linking peaceful, law-abiding practitioners of religions with their fundamentalist, law-breaking factions. (Of course, Christianity and Judaism also have their fundamentalist groups to deal with; other religions might, as well.)  The difference is that the Mormon church has officially broken ties with groups that practice polygamy, and has sought to prevent them from using the name "Mormon".

Kelly gave both guests an opportunity to explain themselves, but seemed to lean away from government getting (staying?) involved in investigating religious congregations, rather than investigating the people visiting them.
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