Hitchens to Romney: Time to Speak Up

There have been plenty of stories written about our former governor, including the Globe’s extensive series and a piece penned by our very own magazine. But, regrettably, few bother to challenge Mitt Romney on much of anything.

Instead, most of the pieces are soft, writing off his flip-flopping as somehow smart or excusing him from responding to queries that some find too personal. That’s a gross failure on the part of the media.

Ah, but in our darkest hour comes Christopher Hitchens.

Hitchens has a brilliant piece on Slate today which says Romney should be forced to answer questions about his Mormon faith. Why? Because, Hitchens notes, Romney is “no rank-and-file Mormon,” and his church has a dubious past:

His family is, and has been for generations, part of the dynastic leadership of the mad cult invented by the convicted fraud Joseph Smith.

Here is the most salient reason: Until 1978, the so-called Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was an officially racist organization. Mitt Romney was an adult in 1978. We need to know how he justified this to himself, and we need to hear his self-criticism, if he should chance to have one…

Until 1978, no black American was permitted to hold even the lowly position of deacon in the Mormon Church.

As Hitchens wisely points out, there’s nothing un-American about asking Romney to explain himself on these points.

Finally, an educated, skilled writer who dares to state the obvious: The man is running for president — it’s long past time for him to answer the tough questions.