Will Religious Bigotry Factor into Romney's Chances In 2008 Presidential Campaign?

Massachusetts Governor, Willard Mitt Romney, who gained the attention of social conservatives by standing up to the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage, announced his candidacy for the GOP Presidential nomination on February 13, 2007.

However, while moderate by Republican standards, even receiving a mere C- rating from the NRA by signing a permanent ban on assault weapons in 2004, liberals will take exception to his standing on abortion and gay marriage where he stands firmly by his religious beliefs.

Romney has also taken a more conservative stand on Immigrants’ Rights going so far as to propose deputizing state troopers to arrest suspected undocumented immigrants in support of the Patriot Act’s intent to prevent terrorists from crossing our borders. In September 2005, he suggested that the FBI wiretap mosques and spy on new Muslim immigrants.

But despite that Washington pundits are currently flocking towards Romney who is best known as the man who single handedly saved the Salt Lake City Olympics, however, his ascendance to the throne may be compromised by his other than mainstream religious preference. Romney is a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and while other candidates may attempt to be politically correct by avoiding references to his religious beliefs evangelical churches that make up 30 percent of the Republican electorate will discourage members from voting for him. The problem is that Evangelicals do not have the same vague anti-LDS prejudice that some Americans do because for them it’s a doctrinal thing, based on very specific theological disputes that can’t be overcome by personality or charm or even shared positions on social issues. To evangelicals, Mormonism is a cult which means that they are somewhere between devil worshippers and Jim Jones and this prejudice was shown as recently as 2004, when Shirley Dobson (wife of James Dobson), specifically excluded them from participation in the National Day of Prayer because their theology was found to be incompatible with Christian beliefs. Sadly, however, this prejudice goes even deeper with persons like John L. Smith, a Southern Baptist who runs Utah Mission, telling Christianity Today that, “To be tolerant of Mormonism is to put evangelical Christianity at risk. And to put a Mormon in the White House would be to place a stamp of approval on that faith.”

However, this just goes to show that religious freedom is not a reality in America where latent evangelical concerns about Mormonism are just waiting to be exploited by those who oppose Romney’s nomination. Unfortunately, it is this bias that has caused conservatives to begin to worrying about Romney’s viability with a poll conducted in June by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg showing that 35% of registered voters would not consider voting for a Mormon for President. Only Islam would be a more damaging faith for a candidate, the poll found.

Still, when it comes to managing the message about Romney’s relationship with his church, there might not be the necessary separation that is needed as was reported by the Boston Globe in October. The article stated that Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the church’s 12 apostles, had discussed the campaign at church headquarters with one of Romney’s sons as well as with a key Romney donor and a paid consultant to his political action committee. The Globe also reported that e-mails from two administrators of the business school at Brigham Young University, used office computers to solicit support for the campaign and even though B.Y.U.’s counsel told them to knock it off, Romney said it made sense to raise money from people he knows, including alumni.

As a result of these guffaws, Romney advisers are debating whether he will need to give a big speech in the tradition of John F. Kennedy, who told Protestant church leaders in Houston 46 years ago that he was “not the Catholic candidate for President” but instead he was “the Democratic Party’s candidate for President, who happens also to be Catholic.”

Perhaps of more concern to this reviewer is his stance on domestic wiretapping and habeas corpus verified by his refusal to sign a pledge not to conduct wiretapping on Americans or to imprison US citizens without trial thus suspending the writ of habeas corpus. After his refusal the conservative group, America for Freedom released a press release stating, “Conservatives Say Mitt Romney Unfit to Serve as President”. An additional negative, from my personal perspective, is his support for the use of enhanced interrogation techniques in the handling of suspects at the

Guantanamo Bay detention facility which came out during the Republican Presidential Debate in South Carolina, on May 15, 2007.

So will religious bigotry be Romney’s demise or will it be his stand on violating the rights of American Citizens? If it is because of his religious affiliations I say shame on you America but if it is because of his support for inflicting fear, terror, and trespass on American citizens then I say more power to the people.

[tags]Willard Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney, Presidential candidate, Mormon, Religious Bigotry, 2008 candidate for President, Freedom of Religion, enhanced interrogation procedures, wiretapping of citizens, Evangelical stance against Mormons[/tags]

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  1. marc klink says:

    Agree, welcome back.

  2. reflections says:

    Hi Marc

    Maybe Ron told you. I just got home from a bout in the hospital. Next week I will also be gone for about 5 days but life should get back to normal with regular posts after that. Have a wonderful Father’s day. Jackie

  3. Bot says:

    The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is often misunderstood . . Some accuse the Church of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion . . This article helps to clarify such misconceptions

    · Baptism: .

    Early Christian churches, practiced baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family. The local congregation had a lay ministry. An early Christian Church has been re-constructed at the Israel Museum, and the above can be verified. http://www.imj.org.il/eng/exhibitions/2000/christianity/ancientchurch/structure/index.html
    The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continues baptism and a lay ministry as taught by Jesus’ Apostles. . Early Christians were persecuted for keeping their practices sacred, and not allowing non-Christians to witness them

    · The Trinity: .

    A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ , His Son , being separate , divine beings , united in purpose. . To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and Who was speaking to Him and his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration?

    The Nicene Creed”s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. . The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity , which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. . The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: “There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one.”

    Scribes later added “the Father, the Word and the Spirit,” and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. . . .He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity. .

    Scholars agree that Early Christians believed in an embodied God; it was neo-Platonist influences that later turned Him into a disembodied Spirit. . Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans, was also part of Early Christian belief. . The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views the Trinity as three separate divine beings , in accord with the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts.

    · The Deity of Jesus Christ

    Mormons hold firmly to the deity of Christ. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS), Jesus is not only the Son of God but also God the Son. Evangelical pollster George Barna found in 2001 that while only 33 percent of American Catholics, Lutherans, and Methodists (28 percent of Episcopalians) agreed that Jesus was “without sin”, 70 percent of Mormons believe Jesus was sinless. http://www.adherents.com/misc/BarnaPoll.html

    · The Cross: .

    The Cross became popular as a Christian symbol in the Fifth Century A.D. . Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) believe the proper Christian symbol is Christ’s resurrection , not his crucifixion on the Cross. Many Mormon chapels feature paintings of the resurrected Christ or His Second Coming.

    · Christ’s Atonement: .

    But Mormons don”t term Catholics and Protestants “non-Christian”. . They believe Christ’s atonement in Gethsemane and on the Cross applies to all mankind. . The dictionary definition of a Christian is “of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”: . All of the above denominations are followers of Christ, and consider him divine, and the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament. They all worship the one and only true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and address Him in prayer as prescribed in The Lord’s Prayer.

    It”s important to understand the difference between Reformation and Restoration when we consider who might be authentic Christians. If members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) embrace early Christian theology , they are likely more “Christian” than their detractors.

    * * *

    · Christ-Like Lives: . . .The 2005 National Study of Youth and Religion published by UNC-Chapel Hill found that Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) youth (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to exhibit these Christian characteristics than Evangelicals (the next most observant group):

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . LDS Evangelical

    Attend Religious Services weekly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71% . . . . 55%

    Importance of Religious Faith in shaping daily life –

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . extremely important .. 52. . . . . . . 28

    Believes in life after death . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 . . . . . . 62

    Believes in psychics or fortune-tellers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 . . . . . . 5

    Has taught religious education classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 . . . . . . 28

    Has fasted or denied something as spiritual discipline . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 . . . . . . 22

    Sabbath Observance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 . . . . . . 40

    Shared religious faith with someone not of their faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 . . . . . . 56

    Family talks about God, scriptures, prayer daily . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 . . . . . . 19

    Supportiveness of church for parent in trying to raise teen

    (very supportive) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 . . . . . . 26

    Church congregation has done an excellent job in helping

    Teens better understand their own sexuality and sexual morality . . . . . 84 . . . . . . 35

    [email protected]

  4. danceattakjg says:

    holding romney accountable for his beliefs is not religious bigotry any more than it is political bigotry to not vote for him because he is currently pro-life.

    I disagree with anyone who makes the assertion that his religion has nothing to do with his public office. I think any religious belief that has evidence stacked against it demonstrates a tendency to reason poorly and be swayed by emotional arguments – not qualities I think the US needs to promote in it’s president.

    OP, I understand you don’t support romney, but I don’t understand your claim that “religious freedom is not a reality in america,” because fundy christians disagree with his version of myth. My girlfriend “independent fundamentalist Christian” parents are sure that my Mormon family is going straight to hell but that doesnt make them bigots. They believe they are going to hell because they believe they have their doctrine wrong. I might say its stupid to argue the color and quality of a unicorn, but while their arguments are stupid in my view, they are not bigoted. They know what mormons, and romney, believe, and they don’t like it.

    As you quoted in your article, its not an irrational fear that Romney will push mormonism on the US; rather it’s a desire to not give the stamp of approval to a faith that christians believe is leading people quietly down to hell.

    for the record, I think that every candidates religious views aught to be considered and candidates aught to be questioned about their evidence evaluation skills.

  5. informer156 says:

    It is interesting that religion is such a big topic for this Presidency. I’m a Mormon and I was in favor of Huckabee because of his tax views until he became a bigot and attacked Mormons as a campaign tactic. I am so tired of the name calling and lies that are being passed around, in the name of politics. How can we ever teach our children to love and respect all people no matter what their differences are when this is how our political leaders are acting. Mormon’s are taught to love and accept all people no matter what their race, religion, beliefs, etc. That will promote peace. Attacking people based on religion takes us back to dark ages. This is a good article if you would like to read more about this. http://workfromhomechoices.com/blog/viral-blogging-what-is-the-price-of-profiting-from-the-politics-of-bigotry-and-hate/