Andrew Sullivan has -- kind of amazingly -- now discovered that Mormon theology of America is -- OH MY GOD! -- complicated.
A Sunday afternoon post, citing an actual news piece with actual scholars actually quoted: "it turns out Mormon patriotism has a more complex past than you might think."
Unless, of course, "you" thought about it.
Or, like, googled.
These scholars quoted in the piece, Kathleen Flake and Quin Monson, aren't exactly difficult to find. They're not hiding from the press. Flake has been on PBS. Monson on NPR. Both have been quoted in the Washington Post.
A few minutes of due diligence would have answered some of Sullivan's questions about the policy implications of Mormon beliefs about America's part in the divine plan, if those questions hadn't been just rhetorical cloaks for anti-Mormonism.
Besides, even the most rudimentary knowledge of Mormon history -- e.g., what happened to Joseph Smith, and why the Mormons ended up in Utah anyway -- would, if reflected on a little, show that Mormon patriotism is of course tempered by critiques of America.
This is how it is with "refined" and "classy" bigotry. The "scrim of rhetorical finesse" covers up sloppy, sloppy thinking, and stupid, stupid research.
And just as a general point, a good rule of thumb: theology is always complicated.