A story that has been brewing in the pages of Rocky Mountain papers for weeks hits The Washington Times today, with Stephen Dinan’s report on a religious exemption provision to anti-immigration laws proposed by Utah Republican Senator Robert F. Bennett, and the counter-proposal made by Republican Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, who denounced Bennett’s provision as an aid to terrorists. The original provision sponsored by Bennett (and passed Nov. 10) was requested by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to protect religious bodies like the Mormon church from prosecution for knowingly allowing illegal aliens to volunteer or minister at their houses of worship. (The Mormon church relies heavily on volunteers.) The innocuous-enough provision became controversial when Tancredo declared that the provision, though it might be aimed at protecting soup-kitchen volunteers, created a immigration loophole large enough “‘to drive a truck bomb through it,'” allowing any church, synagogue or — here’s the key word — mosque “‘that calls itself a religion to aid and abet illegals who may pose a national security threat.'” The lines of the story, and the fight, seem clear enough, as does the coded bigotry that will likely dominate media defenses of the provision, like the Times’ headline — “Mormons initiated protection on aliens” — emphasizing the familiar “church” roots of the measure, and disowning any implications it might have for mosques.