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ADL Letter to MSNBC

Update: On April 11, 2012 after hearing ADL's concerns MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell issued an on-air apology for his insensitive remarks about the Mormon faith, telling his viewers: "I am sorry that my word choice ripped some people`s attention away from my point, that we should not tolerate religious intolerance in voting.  ... I`m very sorry that for some that message got lost because of my insensitive phrasing in two sentences I wish -- I just wish I could take those words back."

Anti-Defamation League

30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

     April 9, 2012

We were deeply disturbed by the remarks made by Lawrence O'Donnell on his MSNBC program "The Last Word" on April 3, in which he described Mitt Romney's "religion problem" as being a factor in his electability, and disparaged the Mormon faith as "a new religion… created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it.  Forty-eight wives later, Joseph Smith's lifestyle was completely sanctified in the religion he invented to go with it.  Which Mitt Romney says he believes."

Mr. O'Donnell's characterization of the Mormon faith was inaccurate, bigoted and offensive, as a number of Mormons who have written to us to complain about those remarks can surely attest.  While Mr. Romney's faith has been much discussed during the campaign, to invoke his religion in such derisive and bigoted terms is outrageous and inappropriate.
We hope that Mr. O'Donnell will be more careful in the future in discussing the religious beliefs of candidates and in avoiding inaccurate generalizations about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and their faith, values and belief system.  Mr. O'Donnell owes an apology to Mr. Romney and the Mormon Church.

As a 501c3 tax-exempt organization, the Anti-Defamation League does not intervene in campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for office.


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