Religion in Republican Presidential Politics

I’m going to do the unthinkable – defend a Republican.  But what’s happening is wrong and needs to be called out.

This post isn’t about Mitt Romney’s (or Jon Huntsman’s, although he’s been so quiet I’d forgotten he was running) qualifications to be president.  I think that Romney is the least scary (and this isn’t saying much; the Republican field looks pretty much like a gaggle of wing nuts to me) Republican candidate for president.  This post also isn’t about Mormons or the Mormon church, although I don’t have much love for them, either, considering how they went to work to pass Proposition 8 in California.

This post is about the shameful castigation of Mormonism by some people.

We went through this in 1960.  Perhaps Romney and Huntsman need to borrow from John Kennedy’s speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association about his Catholicism:

I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters – and the Church does not speak for me.

But I hate to even suggest that they do that.  We have freedom of religion in this country.  We do not have a religious test in this country to determine who can and can’t hold office.  It’s just a knee-jerk conservative reaction to anything different from themselves.

Maybe Mormonism is a cult.  Maybe it isn’t.  But that doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter if a Protestant or a Jew or a Muslim or a Catholic or a Mormon or a Moonie runs for president.  Each candidate should be evaluated based on his or her qualifications for the job.  That doesn’t include religion.

I don’t think any of the Republican candidates are qualified to be president.  But that’s because I think they’re all nuts who want to do away with the Federal Reserve, disband the EPA, and think that any government at all is a horrible wrong (you can see some of the proposals from last night’s Republican debate here).  That has nothing to do with any of the candidates’ religions.

  1. Alan said:

    I would fear a rabid Southern Baptist, or evangelical over a tepid Mormon. I’d really rather have an atheist for president. Atheists value life much more than those that believe in an after life.

    As for the candidates proposals, my favorite wacky idea is the 999. One of those nines is sales tax. In Chicago the sales tax is %10. Add on to that %9, and you have %19. Since poor people spend every single penny they earn, such a sales tax would be truly %9 of their income. A rich person who spends maybe %20 of their income in a year, would be paying %1.8 of their income in sales tax.

    • Alan said:

      And by that, I mean on top of the local sales tax.

    • Deanna said:

      I don’t like what Mormons are doing socially. I don’t like how un Christ-like most Christians are, especially the Southern Baptist types. But they can believe what they want to believe. If they make their beliefs part of the campaign (like Perry did, by the way), then it’s fair game. But neither Romney or Huntsman has done that. Religion is off-limits in those cases.

      An atheist or a Jew for president for me, really. People who don’t proselytize.

      You’re entirely right about the 9-9-9 plan. What a catastrophe that would be for the middle class. And yes, horribly regressive.

  2. andy torok said:

    Republicans seem to think the government exists to give them a job and a nice retirement plan. The only order of business is to help the rich get richer by keeping their taxes down. Naturally, if there is no EPA, etc. then business will be even easier to conduct. I can’t understand how the middle class can support such hypocrites and end up hurting themselves.

    • Deanna said:

      I know what you mean. It does seem to go against peoples’ interests to vote for politicians who promote that agenda. But some Republicans I know want to vote for personal responsibility as opposed to government responsibility. The problem with that, of course, is that personal responsibility only seems to apply to the poor and middle class; the rich get all the perks and help in the form of low taxes. And then the poor can’t make their positions any better. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work — nothing trickles down.

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