Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is often called Governor Romney. But he was also, for a longer time, a Mormon Bishop-- the highest member of the Mormon hierarchy in Boston.
This is something that no presidential candidate has ever had in his history before. It is no small fact. it is a huge aspect of his history, his personality, his character and most important, his record, that has been, for the most part, ignored.
We should not be surprised that the mainstream media has ignored this. But Democrats would be wise to build this TRUTH into their public dialogue-- every time they speak.
During the 2008 election, many GOP supporters, especially on FOX News, referred to Obama as Barrack Hussein Obama, often accusing him of being Muslim. The middle name was true. The Muslim accusation was a lie. But it stuck. 40% of Republicans think Obama is a Muslim.
Here, with Romney, we have a truth. He WAS a Mormon Bishop for over ten years.
Referring to him as Bishop is not extreme or even off-base. it is customary for people with significant titles or histories of having held major positions to be referred to with those titles. We might call him Bishop Governor Romney, but it is just as appropriate to call him Bishop as it is to call him Governor.
this is a mashup image, created using a flickr image of Romney's head by By DonkeyHotey, which was a mashup too. mashup created by Meryl Ann Butler, modified by rob kall
But for Romney opponents, there is a big advantage to referring to him as Bishop Romney rather than Governor Romney or Mr. Romney.
Most people are not aware Romney was a bishop. If pundits on the Democratic side, and Democratic elected officials start referring to him as Bishop Romney, injecting it routinely into the conversation, it will force the media to deal with the FACT.
There are some answers. Nancy L Cohen wrote, in her article http://www.alternet.org/print/belief/mitt-romneys-role-mormon-bishop-shows-his-extremist-religious-beliefs">Mitt Romney's Role as Mormon Bishop Shows His Extremist Religious Beliefs
"Romney ultimately spent nearly 14 years as a Mormon clergyman, becoming the highest Mormon Church leader in the Boston region. He resigned in 1994 to run for the U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy.
Chosen as a kind of enforcer-in-chief, Romney betrayed a zeal far beyond the call of duty. Bishop Romney tried to stop a mother of four whose health was seriously endangered by her pregnancy from having an abortion . The church allows abortion in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the mother, provided a male LDS authority gives permission to the pregnant woman. Romney's superior had already told the woman to proceed for the sake of her health; Romney intervened. Romney refused to allow an infertile couple  to take advantage of the LDS adoption service until the wife agreed to quit her job and be a stay-at-home mother. Other reliable reports of Mitt's years as a Mormon clergyman have him excommunicating adulterers,  calling homosexuals under his authority " perverse ," warning a middle-aged divorced woman  that she was not allowed to have sex, and telling a leading Mormon feminist, " You're not my kind of Mormon ."
Cohen also makes it clear that this is NOT about Romney practicing his Mormon faith in his personal life. It's about how he will be willing and able to separate his decisions as presidents from Mormon theology. She writes,
The record from Romney's four brief years in elected office  is not comforting.
Candidate Romney supported a women's right to legal abortion, and opposed abstinence-only sex education; Governor Romney opposed abortion, tried to roll back reproductive rights and embryonic stem-cell research, and expanded abstinence-only sex education. The candidate dropped pink fliers  at Boston's Gay Pride parade saying, "Mitt and Kerry wish you a great Pride weekend." Mitt the governor tried to change state law to allow Catholic adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples. Most troubling, given the credible Washington Post report  about a teenaged Mitt chopping off the hair of a gay classmate, was Romney's elimination of the governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth . The commission had been chartered by Republican Governor William Weld to tackle the problem of gay teen suicide.
And Cohen discusses how JFK, 62 years ago, stated, "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute" She reports that JFK "went on to promise that no priest, bishop or pope would hold any power over him. "Whatever issue may come before me as president -- on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject -- I will make my decision in accordance with [my views as the Democratic candidate for president and] in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates." Then, Cohen adds,
"Romney's statements on religion and politics cut exactly the opposite way. "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom, " Romney asserted in a major 2007 speech."
This is not a matter of attacking Romney for his religion. it's about him being the highest level appointed official in a church hierarchy in history. Being a member of any religious faith should be fine with Americans. But being so high in the hierarchy, having been so much more under the direction and supervision and control of higher members of the hierarchy forces us to ask serious questions about loyalty to the church. John F. Kennedy, as the first Catholic candidate, was asked tough questions about his being a Catholic. Romney should be asked tough questions, not only about being a Mormon, but about being a Bishop. And voters should be reminded, every day, that they should be considering tough questions about him having been a bishop.
Bishops are accustomed to giving orders. They are among the ultimate top down control figures among humankind. They judge what is right and wrong, with great latitude within their hierarchy and then order people what to do. Do we want that habit, that experience as a leader in a president? I don't, and I think that it's a question that voters should be reminded of very, very regularly.
Bottom line, I'm encouraging (not requiring) the writers on my site, Opednews.com, to refer to Romney as Bishop Romney. I encourage liberals and progressives and Libertarians-- anyone who feels Bishop Romney's experience should be considered by voters-- to refer to him as Bishop Romney, including members of congress, even President Obama. That's right.
Tonight, President Obama should refer to his debate opponent as Bishop Romney. It could turn the race around. Fox News pundits and anchors will howl bloody murder. The more times Obama uses the term the more they will howl. And that will be exactly what Obama should want. it's what the GOP's Frank Luntz does when he creates words that he gets Democrats to use them-- like "The Death Tax."
Even if Obama doesn't go there, members of congress should. Party leaders should. Bloggers should refer to the GOP presidential candidate as Bishop Romney" every time.
It could be a game changer.
One more thing. We'd like to see cartoons, like this one, created, portraying Bishop Romney. Post them in comments on this article and we'll be able to use them. Be sure to give credit if you're using someone else's image or photo of Romney. Feel free to photoshop. If there's a genuine photo of Bishop Romney dressed in his Bishop Regalia, please provide a link.