The public affairs department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently noted an uptick in the media's use of the word cult to describe Mormonism, even in august publications such as the New York Times and the Economist. It is probably not coincidental that two Mormons, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, are running for president.
The peculiar place of Mormonism in American culture was made even more evident in a comment by Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt. Speaking in July with two other commentators about the presidential chances of Texas governor Rick Perry, she said she expected that Perry would be able to raise money from the conservative base of the Christian Coalition, especially "with Romney obviously not being a Christian." Her cohosts murmured their assent, as if it were obvious that the Mormon Romney is not a Christian.