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.