Will Voters Feel Big Love for Mormon Mitt?

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Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas notes a recent national poll which found that 37 percent of Americans wouldn't vote for a presidential candidate who is a Mormon (read: Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, son of brainwashed '68 presidential wash-out Michigan Gov. George Romney). Muses Thomas:

I am reminded of a comedy bit by the late Steve Allen. Allen would take a camera and microphone into the street and ask people, "Could you ever vote for an openly heterosexual person for president?" The shocked interviewee would fervently respond, "Oh, no, I could never do that." It was funny, but it also said something about the ignorance of the individual being quizzed.

And then, channeling legendary jaywalkers such as Roland Barthes and Jerry Rubin, Thomas continueth:

If an ambulance hits me, I care less where or how the driver worships than I do about his sense of direction to the nearest hospital. It troubles me not that a Mormon might be president. It does trouble me a great deal that so many people would think a person's faith—whether one shares it or not—should be the only reason to deny someone the presidency.

Whole col here.

Anti-Steve Allen bit here.

Ezra Taft Benson's grandson's anti-Ezra Taft Benson Web site here.

Arthur Conan Doyle's anti-Mormon Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet here.

Info on John Ford's great pro-Mormon film Wagon Master here.

Appreciation of George Romney's role as head of American Motors here.

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  1. “Are you aware that the candidate is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to have practiced nepotism with his sister-in-law, and he has a sister who was once a wicked thespian in New York. He matriculated with co-eds at the University, and it is an established fact that before his marriage he habitually practiced celibacy.”

  2. Post this one more time – I think I’m beginning to form an opinion…

  3. So that means Cal Thomas would gladly vote for an athiest, right?

  4. I love Cal Thomas’s real subtext…that picking a politician is like getting hit by an ambulance.

  5. Umm, this is so 3 posts ago and what happened to the bit about Jersey?

  6. Exactly, AC! Like Cal is really “disturbed” that people would consider a candidate’s faith in deciding how to vote. Isn’t that exactly how he decided to support W?

  7. Yeah, but does Romney believe that BYU really deserved to win the 1984 NCAA football national championship?

    Now THAT’S a nutty belief.

  8. Weren’t they saying the same thing about JFK and his Catholicism, ostensibly because a Catholic president would start taking orders from the Pope?

  9. I’m one of the few libertarian “mormons” I’ve ever met (a position which often puts me at odds with my fellow church members, natch), and this doesn’t really surprise me. Nor would these results be surprising if Mitt was a Jehovah’s Witness, a Ba’hai, etc. When you consider that the LDS church only has 12 million members worldwide it’s not that shocking to think that most people don’t know much about them than what they heard from their pastor, Time magazine, or a sensationalist news story about Utah polygamists.

    That being said, I personally wouldn’t vote for Romney just because he shares my faith, but I’m afraid that also puts me in the minority of my fellows. Religion can be a great personal compass but too often (especially in politics) it is merely a tired campaign banner painted in broad, blurry strokes.

  10. AC – I said the same thing, but with more style, except the server ate my post (it doesn’t like my style, evidently)

    so I’ll just add Cal is probably OK with this, since Mormons are nominally Christians. I’m sure that atheists and agnostics are out, though

  11. “Religion can be a great personal compass but too often (especially in politics) it is merely a tired campaign banner painted in broad, blurry strokes.

    Comment by: James Russell at July 6, 2006 03:34 PM”

    Well spake.

  12. “If an ambulance hits me, I care less where or how the driver worships than I do about his sense of direction to the nearest hospital.”

    That reminds me of a favorite Dennis Miller joke. It goes something like this:

    When I’m on an operating table and I look up at the surgeon, I’m not thinking, “I hope he’s black or I hope he’s white.”

    I want him to be Asian.

  13. Nominating Romney should really help the republicans take Utah in ’08

  14. The Man Show once did a bit where they got women to sign a petition seeking the end of Women’s Suffrage. Enough of them thought suffrage was a form of the verb to suffer to sign the petition.

  15. Hey, atheist guy, you took my original comment. There’s no way in hell Thomas would vote for an atheist.

    Here’s an interesting thought experiment:

    There are, roughly speaking, about as many Mormons in the US as there are Jews.

    How would the reaction be different if a Governor of similar stature to Romney who happened to be Jewish were running?

    How about a Mohammetan/Musselman/Moslem?

  16. To answer ug’s question, after Joe Lieberman became Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, the Wall Street Journal ran a poll on the question. It not only asked about Jews but also included Catholics, Mormons, Muslims and Hindus, if I remember correctly.

    What the poll found was that solid majorities said they would vote for a candidate of any religion, so long as the candidate was devout. Majorities even said they’d vote for Muslims or Hindus, religions which are, let’s be honest, alien to most Americans.

    Granted that’s what they said, not proof of how they would actually vote. But the point was that they believed it was the right thing to say. That is, large majorities consciously knew that voting against somebody based on their religion was wrong.

    What was interesting about the poll was that it also asked if people would vote for an atheist for president. In that case overwhelming majorities said no way would they vote for the godless sinner. That they had no problem saying.

  17. Your ambulance analogy is instructive here.

    I most certainly would care what the ambulance driver’s faith was if instead of him driving me to the nearest hospital he took me a Christian Science reading room?or refused to give me blood because he was a Jehovah?s Witness.

    See my point?

  18. Your ambulance analogy is instructive here.

    I most certainly would care what the ambulance driver’s faith was if instead of him driving me to the nearest hospital he took me a Christian Science reading room?or refused to give me blood because he was a Jehovah?s Witness.

    See my point?

  19. Your ambulance analogy is instructive here.

    I most certainly would care what the ambulance driver’s faith was if instead of him driving me to the nearest hospital he took me a Christian Science reading room?or refused to give me blood because he was a Jehovah?s Witness.

    See my point?

  20. The issue is not that he’s of a “minority” religion…it’s that he’s a practicing Mormon, and subject to the authority of his mysterious Prophet and the secretive Elders in SLC. As with Kennedy and even Cuomo…would he stand-up to the Elders of the LDS even at the cost of excommunication and eternal damnation? Unlike most Protestants and Jews, a Mormon is not subject to his own conscience. Most Americans are not even sure about “what” the Mormons actually believe, and the LDS Church cloud of secrecy places them in the same league as the Scientologists and the Moonies. In a crunch, can we really TRUST in a Mormon to act in our best interets…or his church’s.

    Add to that the likelyhood that Romney would probably not be oath-sworn on either the Old Testament, nor the New Testament, but the “Book of Mormon” shakes the faith of the Faithful. And the cultish-antics of his few co-religionsts; secrecy, communialism, polygamy, underage marriage (and sex), casual dovorce, and their treatment of their own male children erodes any claims to “traditional values” and moral clarity.

    To choose not to vote for a Mormon is not “anti-Mormonism”…it’s making a ethical choice that his values are too-alien to my-own for him to represent me and mine in high-office.

  21. their treatment of their own male children erodes any claims to “traditional values” and moral clarity

    I followed you until this point. Are you referring to the treatment of sons by the polygamists? If so, that’s a distinct minority. Far more questionable is the extremely favored treatment of sons (and almost neglectful treatment of daughters) in a substantial number of Mormon households.

  22. But the point is this isn’t just “a Mormon”. It’s a particular Mormon. And its not like he just emerged from a cave. The guy co-founded one of the most famous private equity firms in the world, came in to save the US Winter Olympic fiasco, and was the Governor of a large notheastern state.

  23. Anti-Steve Allen bit here.

    Yeah, well, we all get old. If we’re lucky.

    Steverino gets a pass from me just for being in the best episode of ‘Homicide’ ever.

  24. Ted,

    You did get one thing right: “Most Americans are not even sure about “what” the Mormons actually believe,.”

    Having spent the majority of my life around Mormons, I can tell you that much of what you read and hear is not accurate or are only half-truths or things taken out of context to create an erroneus perception. Many people on the internet, and some journalists, continue to embarass themselves by reapeating something somebody else said when they have no idea what they are talking about.

    As a whole, the Mormon people live what I would consider to be a Christian lifestyle as well as any other group. I could not ask for better neighbors, friends, or coworkers. I can honestly say I would trust a Mormon in terms of integrity and morality with very little reservation. Certainly there are problem people in every religion, but as a whole, Mormons are extremely trustworthy.

    I strongly encourage you to do a little more research and/or interact with a few more Mormons because I just don’t see it. Mitt has the “Bible” that he took the oath of office on in his governors office. It is the same Bible that his father used some 40 years ago when sworn in as Michgan’s governor.
    As far as individual conscience goes, Mormons have more to be accountable for as they do not believe in Grace alone. They believe that, “Men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgressions.” If anything, they hold themselves more accountable.
    The other issues that you listed are problems primarily associated with the Polygamist sects which have absolutely nothing to do with the Mormon Church. They may try to give themselves some legitamacy by calling themselves “fundamentalist Mormons,” but in reality there is no such thing.

    Don’t believe everything you read and/or hear because most of what I read and hear just isn’t accurate nor honest. Usually it is stuff that comes from someone with an agenda like a minister threatened by the growth rate of the Mormon Church or a disgruntled former member who has an axe to grind.

    When you think of a Mormon think Steve Young not Warren Jeffs.

  25. I wouldn’t vote for him cuz his name’s Mitt. What kind of dysfunctional family names their kid after a piece of baseball equipment?

    Then again, people did vote for “Sliding Shorts” Clinton.

  26. “Religion can be a great personal compass but too often (especially in politics) it is merely a tired campaign banner painted in broad, blurry strokes.”

    More like a stage set backdrop, which appears to be an actual constructed location, but is actually an insubstantial ilusion.

  27. I refuse to vote for anyone who is a homo sapien.

  28. When AI finally works, I’m voting for THE COMPUTER!

  29. “If an ambulance hits me, I care less where or how the driver worships than I do about his sense of direction to the nearest hospital.”

    Yeah.. But you care if he is gay, don’t you? You do not want him corrupting the kiddies and destroying Western Civilization, so do the principled thing and refuse the ride.

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