Monday, March 13, 2006
The Romney Factor
Buried in the reporting of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference's straw poll of potential 2008 White House contenders. What you'll find is headlines proclaiming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist having won the poll, and Senator John "Squish" McCain having come in fifth place.
Not widely reported is the fact a Red Governor from a True Blue State (actually a Commonwealth) came in second place. His name is Mitt Romney and he currently governs the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
He's also a *gasp* Mormon - a nickname given to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Full disclosure note - so am I.
Over at Hedgehog, Lowell does an excellent job of dissecting the reaction of some "Evangelical" Republicans to Mitt's finish in the straw poll. This excerpt pretty much sums it up:
"Obviously, there will be questions," [said one delegate]. I don't know much about the Mormon faith, but if people get ugly [about his Mormonism], especially people in the Christian community, that will be hurtful. I hope they listen to the man to see if his values line up with theirs.Let me save Mr. Magill the trouble of being "concerned" about the "Mormon thing". I will do so by quoting the 11th Article of Faith, written by Joseph Smith, the founding Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1842:
Scott Magill, a conservative Christian from Missouri, was blunter. "I need to hear more from him about the Mormon thing," he said "Evangelicals are going to have a lot of trouble with it."
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.Personally, I am not concerned with the personal religious faith of the people who make up the Republican Party. When I show up to political events, I don't wear a neon sign proclaiming my religion. I don't care what (if any) religion you practice.
If the Evangelicals have a problem with Mormons - and I've been around long enough to know some do, a few militantly so, I suggest they get over it. Freedom of religion is a concept that pre-dates the founding of this nation. The freedom to worship the Almighty God according to the dictates of one's own conscience is what brought the pilgrims to these shores so many centuries ago.
I do not know Mitt Romney. I have not yet learned enough about him to state whether or not I believe he would make a good President. What I do know is, when it comes time to make that decision, I will make it based on what I know of Mitt Romney as a candidate, not of Brother Romney as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will expect nothing less of the "Evangelical" Republicans with whom Mormons have worked side by side for decades in pursuit of a more perfect union.
Here endeth the lesson.