Sooooooo, if nobody else is going to “go there” by all means allow me to be the first. Why is Mitt Romney getting a pass from everyone from the mainstream media to the evangelical right on the matter of his religion? While I certainly don't believe there should be a religious test for public office, religion has always been part of the vetting process for our Presidential candidates.
President Obama's religious affiliation was the topic of much discussion during the 2008 election and remains so to this day. As recently as just a few weeks ago mainstream religious figures like Franklin Graham were questioning our President's professed Christian faith so as Romney himself would say, “what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I do have a bit of a personal bone to pick with Mormonism. My ex-wife converted to the Mormon faith during our divorce and was convinced to move our two young children 1,800 miles west to Utah. Now in their 20s, I'm still dealing with the aftermath of my ex's conversion.
The first thing to understand is that Mormonism is not a Christian denomination. Mormons don't believe in the Holy Trinity or salvation through Christ alone as Christians do. Jesus Christ is a part of their beliefs, just as he is part of Islamic beliefs, but he is not the center of their faith. They also have a book, The Book of Mormon, that they believe holds the same authority as The Bible. Mormons believe that their church is the one true restored church which is why they go to such lengths to convert Christians to their religion.
This is where Romney comes in. All Mormon men are required to serve a 2-year religious “mission” once they turn 18. Incredibly, during the war in Vietnam young Mormon men were given a draft deferment to complete these “missions”. So while other young men Mitt's age were dying in the jungles of Southeast Asia on missions of their own, Romney was off bicycling through France battling that nation's Jesuits for the greater glory of the Mormon church.
Romney isn't just your average Mormon either. He was Bishop of his ward in Massachusetts for several years which is the LDS equivalent of pastor or minister. He later served as President of the Boston Stake which is made up of over a dozen wards in eastern Massachusetts.
While he serves in no current capacity with the church it goes without saying that he is one of our country's most prominent Mormons and is well connected to church hierarchy. Last year alone the Romney's gave over $3.5 million to the Mormon Church.
So the question is, and I think this is a pretty profound question, is America ready to elect it's first non-Christian President? Have we “progressed” to the point where religion is no longer an issue for those we choose to guide our nation? Would you feel different if Romney were a Buddhist? How about if he were Muslim? Honestly, I'm still trying to sort out my feelings on this. Help me out here.