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December 08, 2007 09:40 PM UTC

Will Coloradans Vote for a Mormon?

  • by: bpilgram

Wow.  Romney gives a speech on his religious beliefs – Mormonism.  Yet, no posts on Colorado Pols and a post about off color jokes circulated by Denver Councilwoman makes the front page of the blog.  

Religion seems to be the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

Does it matter whether a Mormon gets elected President?  Will Colorado evangelicals reject Romney’s bid because he’s a Mormon?

How about a Muslim?

I’m not a religious person.  Having lived and gone to law school in Utah and taught at Utah State, I’ve had my share of experiences with the weirdness of a Church dominated state and being a “non” in such an environment.  However, I’ve come to appreciate that Mormons generally “walk their talk.”  The state spends much less on education than Colorado, but has better educational outcomes.  Mormon social service agencies were very effective and well funded by the community (individuals, the Church, businesses) rather than the government.  When I was there, street crime was virtually non-existent.

Here’s the Denver Post article ……

Here are some extracts …

COLLEGE STATION, Texas-His campaign at a crossroads, Republican Mitt Romney said Thursday his Mormon faith should neither help nor hinder his quest for the White House and vowed to serve the interests of the nation, not the church, if elected president.

“When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God,” Romney said in a speech that explicitly recalled remarks John F. Kennedy made in 1960 in an effort to quell anti-Catholic bias.

After declining for months to address the issue of his Mormonism directly, Romney switched course as polls showed widespread unease about his religion-and showed him losing his once-sizable lead in the opening Iowa caucuses to Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister and former governor of Arkansas.

Romney said some believe that a forthright embrace of his religion will “sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it. But I think they underestimate the American people.” “Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world,” he said.

“Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions,” he pledged. “Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.”

He added: “If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States.”

Mormons believe that authentic Christianity vanished a century after Jesus and was restored only through Joseph Smith, who founded the religion and is viewed as a prophet by its adherents. Smith revised-and in his view corrected-large sections of the Bible in the 19th century, an act of heresy in the eyes of Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders. The Mormon scriptures include the Old and New Testaments, as well as books containing Smith’s revelations.

Romney mentioned the word “Mormon” only once, and Huckabee not at all in his speech at the George Bush Presidential Library. In speaking frankly about his beliefs, he hoped to reassure other Christians about his intent.

“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths,” he said, adding that these differences are “not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance.”

“Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.”

He assailed “the religion of secularism” he said was creeping into American life, and drew chuckles from his invited audience as he complained that Europe’s picturesque cathedrals are largely empty amid societies “too busy or just too ‘enlightened’ to venture inside and kneel in prayer.”

Romney said: “We should acknowledge the Creator as did the founders, in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history and, during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places.”

Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Christian Alliance, said, “I think he did what he thought he needed to do to address concerns about whether he might use his particular faith as the basis for his decisions as president.”

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, called Romney’s speech “a magnificent reminder of the role religious faith must play in government and public policy.” He added, “Whether it will answer all the questions and concerns of evangelical Christian voters is yet to be determined, but the governor is to be commended for articulating the importance of our religious heritage as it relates to today.”

The Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said, “While I may disagree with some of the points made in the speech, including his lack of acknowledgment of the values and contributions of the nonreligious among us, I appreciate the overall tone.”  


21 thoughts on “Will Coloradans Vote for a Mormon?

  1. Romney’s speech has touched of a firestorm in the moderate and liberal press and blogs because he divides the nation into the believers and non believers.

    The most supportive column I’ve read was by the  original cultural warrior, Pat Buchanan.

    So now the GOP has two cultural warriors in the running, and that is turning off the country big time. In short, Huckabee and Romney are making it hard for any GOP nominee to win in 2008.

    On one active conservative board, people are writing Huckabee off as a liberal. I think he’d make a good running mate for Clinton. And they’re writing Romney off as insincere and not to be trusted. He reads the polls even more closely than Slick Willy did.

    This means either Rudy or McCain will be the nominee, and they have their own problems.

    But, then, the same can be said for the Democrats’ candidates.

  2. As a Christian conservative, Romney’s faith does not bother me.  His social values are essentially the same as mine, and this is something that the stubborn evangelicals do not want to come to terms with.

    Based on the opinions of my evangelical friends, Romney’s speach was ineffective, and even made some of them angry.  I do not understand it.  These people are so upset over what is essentially a non-issue.  I think that if Romney wins the primary, even the Mormon-intolerant evangelicals will come out in his support over Hillary or Obama.  Granted, this may be difficult for him to do.

      1. The primary beef that they have is that his speach equated all religions.  I told them that I thought it was a good move and put the issue to rest, to which they replied, “It may have sounded good to the untrained ear.”  

        So I guess it comes down to fervor.  My more intense evan. friends are upset, while the more moderate evans. are still not comfortable with his faith, but at the same time might condider voting for him.  For now though, they have all jumped on the Huck bandwagon.

        1. Thanks for clarifying.  I guess I have an “untrained” ear too-but I didn’t get the feeling that he was equating all religions.  I think he was trying to say “at the end of the day, we’re all trying to get to the same place, but my church leaders aren’t going to tell me what to do.”  I’m wondering what one has to do to have a “trained” ear…  🙂

      1. You’re learning well! How’s the kool-aid? Don’t you understand what it means to be an automoton? Can you even think for yourself?

        Let’s start, student, by espousing for our readers here what your community values are. What are the values that made America great? What are the values that mean the most to you in the politicians you will vote for. Educate us.

          1. There’s plenty of Dems here that bash Republicans who go unchallenged, so why the harsh response to GOPstudent?  

            Just like how Sir Robin constantly calls Republicans corrupt or stupid, or whatever Gopstudent is entitled to whatever view he sees fit.

            Instead of insulting him, maybe you should ask him why he thinks that all Democrats are liberal heathen socialists.  That would at least open the floor to a debate.

            But if the goal is simply to bash Republicans into submission, please continue

            1. Let’s take your post one paragraph at a time:

              1. I’m not keeping score, but this is a give and take blog, so I’ll disagree with your blanket assertion that Dems who bash Republicans go unchallenged. I certainly get challenged all the time….weakly…but I get challenged:-)

              2. In the seven years of virtually complete Republican control in Washington, I’ve gotten very mad. I’ll be the first to admit it. According to the press, I owe $20,000 just to pay for the stupid war in Iraq that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfield and Rice got us into. Not to mention the damage to the consitution, the damage to our standing in the world, the kids killed and maimed on both sides. This was done with virtually lock-step, unchallenged by Republicans (and too many Democrats as well!) around the country, acquiescence. The fact that some on this blog think its a good idea for Rice to hold public office in the future simply astounds me. The FACTS speak for themselves on Republican corruption. GOPstudent is entitled to his/her view, but he/she better be prepared to defend said views. He/she has yet to respond with the VALUES he/she relies on to construct those views.

              3. I’m not sure how asking questions is insulting. Let the student respond to the questions. CALLING people names like “liberal heathen socialists” is insulting.

              4. The goal is to get an intelligent response. You might help by asking gopstudent to respond with what values he/she responds to the world with.

              1. Questions aren’t in and of themselves insulting.  But questions like “how’s the kool-aid?” or “can you even think for yourself?” are sarcastic and useless at best, insulting at worst.  That does not lead one to answer with a “well, let me tell you why I feel this way.”  Come on, you’re liberal.  You should know better  🙂  If you’re looking for an intelligent response, try asking an intelligent question.  

        1. Here’s the deal.  My “liberal heathen socialist” comment was a tongue in cheek jab back at twas brillig’s comment about Republican “jagoffs.”  Next to that comment, my response should articulate to you very clearly that my principle values are; Free-markets and the right to life for the unborn.  Besides that, I could write you a book on why I am conservative, and if I ever do I will be sure to send you a autograped copy 🙂  I am not an automon, and judging by your questions you are beyond the point of education, so I will not waste my time with carefully constructed arguements.

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