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Most commented: Will Mitt Romney's religion derail his political ambitions?

Mitt Romney-Campaign Will Mitt Romney's Mormon religion work against him in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination?  Yes, writes columnist Tim Rutten, who points out that this is a point of concern the left and the right agree on.

Romney was the target of both left- and right-wing Mormon-bashing in the last presidential campaign, proving once again that vulgar religious prejudice is one of the few areas of our national life where true bipartisanship still prevails. Even so, last week's attack on Romney by the influential evangelical publisher and writer Warren Cole Smith was notable -- not only because Smith is closely aligned with religious factions that recently fueled the campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had overturned a ban on same-sex marriage but also because he argued that it doesn't matter what Romney believes on social or economic issues.

But Romeny's religion has nothing to do with his politics, Rutten continues, who uses his column to remind:

Functionally, this sort of thinking threatens to make a dead letter of the Constitution's ban on religious tests for office, and we ought to consider the implications. Article VI of the Constitution couldn't be more clear: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

And perhaps Romney's Mormonism won't become the issue it was last time around. But for another reason: People will be too busy bashing "RomneyCare." Prominent social conservative Richard Land explains in a report by Paul West:

"His biggest problem isn't Mormonism," said Land, president of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest evangelical denomination. "It's 'Romneycare,' because evangelicals are implacably opposed to 'Obamacare.' They loathe and detest it."

Readers, chiming in on the topic of how Mitt Romney’s religion may derail his political ambitions, have taken over our discussion board with sentiments including:  

The vast majority of the anti-Mormon bigotry comes from the left. Hatred has found a welcome home in liberal circles. Liberals hate anyone that is not a liberal.

-- tulsadave

 I see little difference between bigotry and Christianity.

-- HollandMarkL

Both the right and the left have religious tests for candidates.  The right wants devoutly religious candidates who agree with their views.  The left doesn't want devoutly religious candidates who may oppose their views.

-- krvonl

Despite the language of Article VI of the Constitution, there exists a very real religious test for higher office in this country. Let's be honest, you have to profess Christianity, whether real or feigned, to be elected to national office. Personally, the men who have held office of president in my lifetime, with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter, have all feigned Christianity for the sole purpose of connecting with that large chunk of the American electorate for whom religious beliefs trump ideas, intelligence, and vision. The irony is, and despite the bloated statements by some that the United States is a "Christian country", the social Darwinism in this country evidenced by the fact that we refuse to take care of the most vulnerable among us, is the antithesis to the words presumably expressed by the religion's founder.

-- dnealesq

Here are the sad, sad facts.  Religious fanatics have a death grip on the GOP.  (Ironically, since these zealots are otherwise hysterically pro-life).  No one can get the Republican nomination for president without the support of Christian evangelicals and evangelicals do not consider Mormons to be Christians.  How could they? Mormons believe that God started off as a man on a distant planet and was later promoted to divinity by a council of other gods. So, even though Romney is probably the best qualified Republican out there with the best chance of beating Obama, he won't get the nomination because his magic book, the Book of Mormon and other parts of the LDS canon, differs in certain respects from the evangelicals' magic book, the King James Bible.So, good luck, America.

-- Pawtucket

Excuse me, but who really cares about his religious views when his political views were all about flip flops on healthcare, gay rights, pro choice rights and on and on?

-- austawhitlow

ALSO:

Jonah Goldberg: Run, Paul Ryan, run

Doyle McManus: Tim Pawlenty's gambit

Michael Kinsley: See Mitt Romney flip-flop

Doyle McManus: Newt Gingrich takes his shot

Meghan Daum: Why Sarah Palin doesn't get what she deserves

-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signs autographs for supporters in Des Moines, Iowa. After being criticized as mechanical and scripted in 2008, he is trying to connect with voters emotionally this time. Credit: Brian Frank / Reuters

 

Comments () | Archives (18)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Duwayne Anderson

From the article: "Functionally, this sort of thinking (that one's religion affects one's politics) threatens to make a dead letter of the Constitution's ban on religious tests for office"

Someone should convince Mr. Romney of that. After all, it was *Romney* who established a religious test by asserting that someone who doesn't believe in god shouldn't be President.

http://atheistethicist.blogspot.com/2007/02/mitch-romeny-no-atheists-in-government.html

Romney can't have it both ways. He can't advocate a religious test that disqualifies atheists without simultaneously advocating a religious test that disqualifies Mormons -- at least he can't do that while remaining logically self consistent.

And there's the rub. Nobody really knows what Romney thinks because Romney will say whatever he thinks it takes to get elected. And *that's* not the sort of person that should be running the country.

Duwayne Anderson
Author of "Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science"

JoAnn

Actually, the term is Latter Day Saint, not Mormon. Do not confuse Latter Day Saints with the Reformed (now called Fundamentalist Mormons), who are the cult-like figures now often in the news for plural marriage. And yes, the Latter Day Saint follows the King James version of the Bible.
As far as Romney is concerned, I do pray America is smarter to object to a qualified presidential candidate who has vast financial experience because of his religion. If recent polls are to be believed less than 25% of Americans, as is their Constitutional Right, attend church , so I doubt religious beliefs matter a lot to that segment of society..what matters to most Americans is providing food and shelter for their families...JOBS!
Personally, I will be watching to see what Romney believes is the best economic route for America. I would love to see a sales tax and flat tax instead of our current income tax, and how much Romney wants (America) to continue to give her jobs and hard earned dollars overseas. I am of the belief that we should not, for example, be paying to upgrade pakistani neighborhoods via grants, and paying to protect Korea, Germany, or anywhere else when our families cannot afford it and those countries can. Put our American troops on our borders north and south. That is where we are currently being invaded. And we will then see who our true "friends" overseas are.
That being said, if Romney starts playing "politically" correct as in the last election to appease the Republican Old Guard, he will lose my vote, my husbands vote, and my children's votes to the Tea Party Candidate regardless of who he or she is, saith this Latter Day Saint.

sherri birkland

Mitt Romney is not the man you want for President of the United States, the Morman church would like nothing better. The Morman church would love to run our country. The Morman church tell's their members WHAT TO DO , WHEN TO DO IT. The members of this church have no thought process of their own. If Mitt is a good Morman he will listen to the church. Big mistake people. I live in Utah and see this everyday.

Zadoc Paet

POLL: Is Mitt Romney a hypocrite for saying he'd repeal "Obamacare" when he supports "Romneycare"?
Link: http://www.wepolls.com/r/612499

I think he is. There's almost no difference between the two.

Christina Kyler-Shafer

As a former Mormon who left the LDS Church to be a "Christian" I say lets look at Mitt Romney's success in business and politics and not his religion. Religion is a personal matter and it will not change his ability to lead our nation if given the chance. If Mitt Romney is the best candidate for the republican party, or our nation we should elect him.
Considering the other likely candidates, Mitt Romney may be the best choice.

Citizen Joe

Mormons don't want some of my friends in their building, because, according to the Mormon doctrine, they don't count as people. Why should I want a Mormon in the White House?

nrb

We have a muslim president now!!!!
Why should being a mormon be a concern??????

Dgolightly519

As somebody who grew up in the MORMON church (because MORMON is an officially recognized term again), I must say that I really hope he does not get it. Whatever experience this man has with finances, he will be the destruction of current advances in humanitarian aspects. Believe it or not whether you live in the area or not, being a Mormon does affect one's ability to lead fairly. Every professional aspect I have seen from Mormons is affected by religion.

For example, in my current job my boss refuses to hire and openly denounces gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans-gender people right in the workplace. In fact, if somebody even comes in who acts slightly metro the "behind the scenes attack" is on. It doesn't stay there, she speaks so loudly that the entire store can hear it.

In another example, a person I know was asked in an interview for a CNA position whether or not she was LDS, she was sent away from the interview immediately following a "no" response.

In yet another example, the Mormon church openly paid money to fund the whole prop 8 fiasco. I'm willing to bet Romney was among those who paid. Church and state should not mix in matters of ETHICS. A persons sexual affinity is a matter of ETHICS, not morals and church should stay out of it. It is in our constitution and in the very doctrine the Mormons follow, in the Doctrine and Covenants I believe. But for RELIGIOUS REASONS he probably helped... because there is no other reason to be against it... and I'm STRAIGHT BTW.

I have nothing against Mormon people, only against the Mormon religion for being the biased, mud-slinging, egotistical thing that it is. I know for a fact that I could go to a catholic church to seek help in times of need with no commitment asked except that I try to pull myself out of the rut. At a Mormon church I am expected to not only attend church, but to convert others around me to the faith as well.

And that's without even taking into consideration that I've seen this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAsAxBdC3XE&feature=player_detailpage He is willing to ignore facts in favor of personal beliefs. Is that what we need?

To bring things to perspective, do not assume that a person's religious beliefs do not have anything to do with their politics. The Mormon religion is the least accepting, least forgiving, and least humanitarian religion I have seen in the US. And I've seen more than my share. If a person's religious beliefs are their personal beliefs will that affect their belief about how things should be solved? Do we need those kinds of beliefs when things like Medicaid/Medicare and Social Security are being put on the chopping block on the basis that "people need to take care of themselves because we cannot afford to make sure that the least of us is taken care of?"

Dgolightly519

and before anyone says he did answer the guy's question in the video, what Romney ignored is that people with disabilities will be arrested as common criminals if laws are not passed. Members of the scientific community who are trying to do right by people will be arrested as common criminals for giving medical marijuana to people who actually need it.

Romney ignores scientific fact in favor of personal religiously based beliefs. He ignores that being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual is a naturally occurring thing that occurs throughout nature in mammals. He ignores that being born trans-gender is not a choice either and that feeling strongly enough about the same sex to under-go a sex change should not disqualify someone from anything or be cause for ridicule and persecution. It is not against the law. The Mormons should know better than any other religion why it's wrong to persecute. All I'm saying is that there may be a better candidate than Barack Obama at some point, but throwing false accusations at the President, taking away from things the President has accomplished, and being hypocritical/story-changer to suit one's needs or save face is not the kind of stuff we need. Romney is not the better candidate and currently none of them are. And I'm not a Democrat either. I'm a liberal. Look up the word before you say a SINGLE thing about that, and make sure it's a REAL dictionary you use to look it up instead of one assigned by a person with sever "party-tie syndrom." The focus needs to be on how his religion has tried to affect politics and will likely affect politics rather than by judging him for his religion alone.

hobdy29

"Re: JoAnn. As much as you add clarity between Mormon religious bodies, and profess that they follow the King James (version) bible, the bottom line is, the LDS and Mormon church still go by and are guided by the "book of Mormon, first and foremost. To omit this fact is disceitful and disengenuous. Romney's religion will be an albatross around his neck, because it was not even in existence, when the American colonies, government,and laws were founded on the Word (Torah/ Bible) of God in the 17th century

Bob

It should if he cannot keep his religion out of his political adgenda! I totally support the small government, cut the costs issues but cannot tolerate the governmental involvement in things like abortion on either side. No money for it and no laws against it!!!!!

Native Angeleno

It dampens enthusiasm from many evangelical Christians, many of whom do not even see Mormonism as Christian. They find it hard to get over the idea of Jesus teaching North American Indians led by one with the Hebraic-sounding name Moroni.

Polls show Republicans would sooner elect a black person or a woman of any color than they would a Mormon.

Laurie Tucker

What is wrong with people? It's so apparent that most have no idea what they're talking about in their "knowledge" of the LDS religion. We need a leader! An honest leader for this country who has integrity as well! That would be Mitt Romney. That's right, he's Mormon, who cares! If anything, it would be an asset! No skeletons in his closet, he's not living some secret corrupt lifestyle, has only one wife,(that's right, one!), family man, believes in Jesus Christ and God, he's educated AND intellegent, he would turn this mess that Obama has made around! But oh wait! He's Mormon!Really people, get a clue! He's running for President, and isn't interested in turning people into Mormons!(actually this may be a good thing! Lol!) This world needs a little integrity, doesn't matter what religion, what color, what size or shape! I want who's best to bring this country back to where it once was. And right now, Mitt's that man!

smragan

I'm more concerned about Obama's religion. The fundamentalist religion of "leftism" may be the downfall of America. The doctrine of "leftism" preaches a salvation (rescue) through the god of government (expanding and interventionist). Leftism is founded on the theology that mankind needs to be rescued from the human condition of "inequality" (of results). Leftism is a religion heavily influenced by hyper-egalitarianism, conformity, and anti-exceptionalism. Obama's religion of "leftism" places faith in government to rescue mankind from the human condition of "inequality". Leftism is an intolerant religion that despises any form of exceptionalism (the idea that some things are superior and better than others - some things/ideas are by their very nature outstanding). Leftists are very evangelical in preaching their gospel of salvation by government. Be afraid.

susangate

And no mention that Harry Reid is a mormon also? Who cares what religion Romney is. And as far as Romneycare vs Obamacare.. R HC is a state issue, doesn't cross and twist the commerce clause like O HC... RHC.. 70 pages... OHC 2900+ full of new taxes, hurts business and jobs, is unworkable according to AMA groups, gives waivers to special pets of the Dems, unconstitutional, ...
So if Moromism is so bad, why isn't the LASlimes demonizing Reid? Oh, Reid has a D next to his name... I get it.

nancy wankier

please there isn't another peron more capable, able, stable, noble, than mitt romney for president . if you don't know that, you know nothing my friend. mormon , catholic, jewish, muslim, whatever it takes to get the job done and he does it with intelligence and charm. can you imagine a meeting between him and queen e.? please, she would have picked up that glass. any woman would. he is hot, hot, hot. i'm not just talking looks although, hello. he is the whole package. spread the word. please.

dasha22

Mitt Romney is a good Mormon. He's a good man. Would you prefer a Protestant or Catholic who cheats on his wife and/or impregnates the housekeeper or the videographer or someone with a nebulous religious faith? Religious bigotry is so medieval!

The questions should be: Is he qualified to run the country? Does he have good moral values? Does he have the knowledge and experience to turn the economy around? Does he know how to run a business or a state? Does he know how to get things done?

jessica

i think when the 'book of mormon' broadway comedy wins 9 tony's for making fun of mormons, being a mormon running for president is shot to hell. i'm fairly certain the only catholic to ever win was jfk, every other president was protestant, or claimed to be at least. chrisitans try to vote for a leader who they want to lead, obviously, you don't want someone to lead who doesn't believe in the same god you do. if i were a muslim i'd vote for a muslim candidate before any christian one bc he would most likely share the same beliefs. and i'll throw out there that the hardcore republican christians that the gop caters to, aren't the kind to embrace a mormon as a presidential candidate; i don't think he's a crazy polygamist or anything, but his views on christianity are far different than most, which is a legitimate factor in who you vote for. an elected leader is somone who you want to represent your presence in democracy, and if you have issues with the guys beliefs he probably won't represent you well


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