Sunday, April 01, 2012

The Mormon Factor

Last week the New York Times posted an article titled Romney and the Mormon Factor.  The first line of the article read, "Mitt Romney has a persisting Mormon problem."  The article then goes on to quote John Geer, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University who stated, "This nomination would be in the bag if it weren't for the Mormon factor."  Based on exit polling during several of the primaries I suspect that Professor Geer's statement may be true.

What is the Mormon factor?  Last year, Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas stated that he believes that Mormonism is a cult and that he believes that Mormons are not Christians.  If this is the attitude of many evangelical leaders, then these voices are a window into the views of their parishioners.  Thus, Romney, and any other Mormon candidate for president, could have a difficult time winning voters in areas with a strong evangelical presence, particularly the South.

I find it unfortunate that any Mormon candidate would suffer bias in voting simply because of his or her membership in the Church.  Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution states that "  no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."  Certainly, this is not something that can or should be enforced among individual voters, but it should be a principle that all Americans adhere to.

Though evangelicals and Mormons differ in a number of aspects of Christian doctrine, there are many principles upon which the two groups agree.  Consider a few:

  • Agreement upon Biblical principles and their application to life in America.
  • A strong belief in the U.S. Constitution along with a strict interpretation of this great founding document.  
  • A strong belief in the importance of the family.
  • A strong belief in the sanctity of life, beginning with conception.
  • A strong belief in the importance of moral values.
With agreement upon these principles, and others, it is hard to understand why their is such a bias against electing an active member of the LDS Church to the presidency.  Mr. Jeffress did state that if Romney is the Republican candidate that he would "hold my nose and vote for Mr. Romney."  However, such an attitude does not energize an important voting block to get out and vote.  One can only hope that somehow those who hold such a bias will consider their shared values and enthusiastically support a candidate with whom they agree on most political principles.

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