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Maher on Mormonism

Bill Maher has been a perennial critic of religion for years. His penchant for mocking the faith of millions is legendary to his fans and frustrating to those who are the targets of his barbs. In an August 3, 2011, interview on MSNBC, Maher was asked a question about the 2012 presidential race:

“Do you think that Republicans—the base, that is—are ever really, truly going to place their faith in a guy who’s a Mormon?”

Instead of focusing on the candidate, which is what the question was about, Maher launched into a short denunciation of the Mormon faith, sharing these main points:

  1. Mormons are not Christians
  2. Mormons place Joseph Smith above Jesus Christ
  3. Mormonism is closer to Islam than to Christianity

All three assertions are demonstrably untrue. Mormons are Christians and they don’t place Joseph Smith above Jesus Christ. It follows that since Mormons are Christians, it is impossible for them to be closer to Islam than to Christianity.

In considering Maher’s expressed opinions on Mormonism, one must remember that he is foremost an entertainer, not an educator. His speculations are ample reminder of the fact that entertainment does not require accuracy or charity. Unfortunately, the net effect of Maher’s mockery is to spread misinformation and encourage bigotry; it does nothing to promote religious tolerance or understanding.

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