Religion & Politics

By Dateline D. C. | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

Religion & Politics


Dateline D. C., Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


WASHINGTON

Christmas is nigh but there's plenty of time to bring out the goodwill among candidates campaigning for the presidency in Iowa.

Our gold star for bravery goes to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who gave a fervent explanation of his membership in the Mormon church. Romney's reaffirmation of his faith was driven by the doubts of some evangelical Christian leaders who want to control the Republican Party.

After the speech, a poll found that 45 percent of GOP voters were unable to say what Romney's religion was. But more than half thought the United States was not prepared to elect a Mormon to the White House.

They should have told the pollsters that this is the United States, that the year is 2007 and that Romney meets the legal requirements to run for the presidency and his religion is only of concern to his God and himself.

And excuse those unable to remember the governor's religion as victims of some kind of attention disorder. Indeed, our traditions are Judeo-Christian but freedom of religion remains a cornerstone of our country.

Some years ago, I was privileged to spend time in the wonderful states of Utah and Iowa and its neighbors. I learned about the Mormon religion, about the politics of the religion and the evil that was done to its followers and their equally evil responses. During this well-remembered sojourn, I met many Mormons and am delighted that many remain loyal friends.

Romney's beliefs have brought into focus the question of the power of religion in politics. An advantage in answering this question is to be British and a member of the Church of England (the Church of All Things to All Men, as its detractors say). …

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