The Becerras live in Sandy. He is a financial adviser and a stake president who has done voluntary work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' public affairs department. Because of the latter connection, he got a call from church headquarters asking if he would allow his family to be observed by Sharpton while they held a family home evening.
So the Becerras did what they do every Monday night, or most of them anyway. With Sharpton and his assistants watching, along with an LDS Church official, they sang a hymn and prayed. Daughter Rachael sang a church hymn solo, and Debbie gave a lesson on the Prodigal Son. Sharpton sat quiet until he was asked to read a passage from the Bible.
Then three weeks later, the church sent another visitor to the Becerra household. This time it was an "NBC Nightly News" crew, headed by reporter Ron Allen. They showed up on a Monday night to observe another family home evening. With cameras rolling and the crew observing, the Becerras sang a hymn and then prayed. Jorge gave a lesson. They ate Popsicles. They played croquet in the yard. The kids, distracted at first by the large TV cameras leaning in for close-up shots, eventually ignored the audience, and it was business as usual.
After a pause, Jorge [Becerras] added, "We felt like we were under a microscope, but we welcome any interest."
Ready or not, it's coming anyway. CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Time magazine and newspapers from around the country have all come calling in recent weeks, and more will follow in the months ahead. They all want to know the same thing: What, exactly, is a Mormon?
In both cases, TV cameras, famous African-Americans from New York, and church officials took the "family" out of family home evening, one of the most universally appealing practices of Mormons.
The spectacle makes LDS families seem either like an ants in an ant farm, or nostalgic '50s throwbacks.
Next up, homosexuals
The vote taken by Bay State lawmakers showcases the state's ultra-liberalism and gives the former Massachusetts governor another reason to kick Massachusetts around.
Beyond that, it fires up opponents of same-sex marriage, who constitute a fierce conservative base. They are already expressing fears about what happens now that Massachusetts is the only state where same-sex marriage is legal: Gay couples will travel here, obtain a marriage license, then sue to strike down laws banning same-sex marriage in other states.
First off, Romney and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed that only Massachusetts residence can get marriage licenses, applying a 1918 law narrowly. This eliminated gay marriage tourism and probably hurt the economy slightly, and made these conservative fears unfounded.
Second, I am glad to see that Romney's people acknowledge they are using gay people to burnish Multiple Choice Mitt's conservative credentials ("It helps Mitt," a Romney adviser said.)
Here's more on his flip flopping
Romney committed himself to pro-choice policies and miscellaneous moderate social stands in order to run for office in Massachusetts, and with good political reason. It would be hard to imagine a pro-life, anti-gay rights social conservative winning a Massachusetts governor's race. Once elected, Romney used Massachusetts as the launchpad he intended from the start. He began the dramatic political retooling that he hopes will win him the Republican nomination, then the presidency.
In that regard, gay rights and the gay marriage issue hold similar peril for Romney. When he was running against Edward M. Kennedy, Romney said he would be a stronger advocate for gay rights than the liberal senator. Conservative critics also charge that as governor, he unnecessarily implemented same-sex marriage after the state's highest court declared that gay couples have a right to marry. In a compilation entitled, "The Mitt Romney Deception," Romney critic Brian Camenker holds Romney accountable for gay marriage in Massachusetts on the grounds that he "jumped the gun and needlessly advanced the homosexual agenda by granting marriage rights without a fight."
And in Romney's defense, he at least rhetorically fought the results. He even tried to campaign for GOPers in 2004 and 2006 in Massachusetts and their power actually decreased in Mass.