Mormonism A Problem for Romney? JFK Says No

romneyIt’s becoming more apparent that Mitt Romney’s Mormonism is going to be a campaign issue.  The Democrats will quietly see to it that their friends in the media continually remind America that Romney is a Mormon.  They know there are votes to be had.  According to a Gallup poll last summer, 18 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats would oppose a Mormon candidate. 

The right-wing Christian voting bloc has long been in the Republican camp and with an incumbent who a lot of people believe is secretly a Muslim, the Democrats know they need to convince the Evangelicals that voting for a Mormon would be a mistake.

Richard Land, a Southern Baptist Convention leader, has said he believes the media will “run detailed specials, now that we have the first Mormon nominee for president: ‘What does the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe?’ And they’re going to go into all the beliefs of Mormonism, hoping to scare the 40 percent of independents who make up the decisive vote in the electorate to not vote for someone who believes such things.”

Already, some on the right have been publicly opposing Romney because he is a Mormon.

Students at Liberty University have spoken out against the school’s decision to have Romney deliver the 2012 commencement address, according to CNN.  Liberty is an Evangelical Christian school that teaches Mormonism is not part of the Christian faith.

Rick Santorum wrote an op-ed in 2007 in which he referred to Mormonism as a “dangerous cult.”

Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Rick Perry supporter who pastors the biggest Baptist congregation in Texas, also referred to Mormonism as a “cult.”

And the media is already starting to go after Romney for being Mormon. 

ABC News has questioned why Romney won’t discuss his faith more publicly. 

Both New York Times columnist Charles Blow and MSNBC political contributor Joan Walsh apologized after tweeting “inappropriate” remarks toward Romney regarding the Mormon faith and some of its most sacred practices.

The Huffington Post and MSNBC have reminded the public that the Mormon church did not allow black men to be ordained as priests until 1978.

Slate has published an article with the subtitle, “Mitt Romney and the Weird and Sinister Beliefs of Mormonism.”

And just last week, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir read a passage from the Book of Mormon on air which says, “Woe unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.”  He went on to say that, “Given what the Book of Mormon is clearly saying, Mr. Romney has but two choices.  He can either keep lying and potentially win the White House, but bring eternal damnation upon himself or he can start telling the truth.  The question for him, I guess, is which is more important.”

The Democrats would have the Evangelicals believe their candidates have been more closely aligned with Christianity.  Jimmy Carter, the born again Christian who famously admitted lusting after women while destroying the country’s economy and crippling the energy industry.  Bill Clinton, former Southern Baptist who fornicated on the floor of the Oval Office, desecrating the Great Seal of the United States.  Barack Obama, alleged Christian who sat in church for twenty years listening to Jeremiah Wright asking God to damn America, then denied hearing his vitriolic sermons.

But does all this really matter?  Should Romney’s religion be a real issue or is the Left just attempting to make it one to scare people into not voting for the Mormon?

The answer is found in the history of the Democratic Party itself, from one of their most iconic Presidents, John F. Kennedy.

jfkMost people are probably unaware of the anti-Catholic bigotry that used to fester in our country.  A deep, anti-Catholic sentiment was inherited from Great Britain and some colonies had laws restricting or banning Catholicism.  After the American Revolution, some states devised loyalty oaths designed to exclude Catholics from holding office.  It wasn’t until the early twentieth century that growing numbers began to give Catholics political power.  Al Smith’s Catholicism was a divisive political issue in his 1928 presidential campaign and, just 32 years later, it would again be an issue in the presidential campaign of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

At the time of JFK’s campaign, many Protestants questioned whether his faith would allow him to make decisions independent of the Church or whether he would take orders from Catholic leadership, even the Pope himself.  The issue nearly cost him the election.

Kennedy was acutely aware of the Protestant skepticism and sought to allay their fears in a speech he gave to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960.

He said, “…we have far more critical issues to face in the 1960 election: the spread of Communist influence, until it now festers 90 miles off the coast of Florida; the humiliating treatment of our president and vice president by those who no longer respect our power; the hungry children I saw in West Virginia; the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills; the families forced to give up their farms; an America with too many slums, with too few schools, and too late to the moon and outer space.”

“These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues — for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.”

“I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

“Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.”

“But let me stress again that these are my views. For contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”

“But I do not intend to apologize for these views to my critics of either Catholic or Protestant faith, nor do I intend to disavow either my views or my church in order to win this election.”

Today’s Democrats would dismiss the views of JFK.  He believed in an America where religious intolerance would end.  But, when that intolerance can be used for political gain, the Obama campaign and their allies in the media will stir the pot of intolerance as much as they can, hoping to motivate just enough of the voters to return him to the Oval Office for a second term.

They will obfuscate the real issues with the religion issue.  As in JFK’s day, there are far more important issues than whether or not Mitt Romney wears ‘magic underwear’.  The economy.  Unemployment.  Energy.  Immigration.  Health care.  Obama has failed on all these issues and doesn’t want us to remember that.

The same fears that almost kept JFK from being elected will be used to attempt to keep Mitt Romney from being elected.  The Democrats have no shame.  They will happily flush the hopes of JFK down the toilet of history if it will give Obama a second term.  And shame on the rest of us if we let them.

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2 comments to Mormonism A Problem for Romney? JFK Says No

  • LD Jackson

    Excellent post, Charles. There are some on the right who will oppose Mitt Romney because of his religion. They did so when he ran for the nomination in 2008 and that hasn’t changed much. I opposed him then, because I was supporting Mike Huckabee. However, I stressed in several posts that my opposition had nothing to do with his religion.

    I believe you are right about the Democrats. They are going to do their best to play into the fear of Romney’s religion. As you so aptly put it, shame on us if we allow that to happen.

    • You are correct, some on the right will oppose Romney solely because he’s a Mormon. I cannot understand such thinking. Returning the socialist Obama to the White House simply because the Republican nominee is a Mormon would be one of the most asinine things in political history. If people want their country to continue to be the economic disaster it has become under Obama, simply because the other guy is a Mormon, then they deserve everything Obama would do in his second term.

      Fearmongering is right out of the Democratic playbook. They’ve done it for years and they do it well. I just hope this time they fail or our country will suffer even more than it already is.