Monday, July 03, 2006

Religion and the Oval Office

Yes, I realize I am tempting another Mormon boycott by bringing this up...but it seems that my post that incited so much ire was not off base at all. Many others are wondering if a Mormon could ever be elected to the highest office... This is not the same as wondering if JFK -as a Catholic- could be elected because in most of the country Mormonism is not seen as a mainstream religion.

"...Most traditional barriers to religion in presidential elections have toppled, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found. In particular, the survey to be released Monday showed that anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism are fading as voter taboos.

But uneasiness about some religions persists. Thirty-seven percent of those questioned said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate -- and 54 percent said no to the prospect of a Muslim in the White House.

...With no likely Muslim candidate on the presidential horizon, the poll numbers present the greatest threat to a potential contender from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (as the Mormon Church is formally known). Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a Mormon who is exploring a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

"It is something he will have to address," said MerleBlack, a professor of politics at Emory University. "It will be a challenge. It doesn't necessarily kill him as a candidate, but he may have to talk in more detail than he ever has before about his faith."

...Romney is reluctant to discuss his religion, citing privacy and contending that candidates should not be judged on their "brand of faith." But he regularly describes himself as a Christian who believes that "Jesus Christ is my savior."

But some branches of Christianity are less than eager to embrace the Mormon Church. On its Web site, the Southern Baptist Convention includes Mormonism in a section called "cults, sects and new religious movements." Kenyn Cureton, a vice president of the Baptist convention, said his church does not regard Mormons as Christians.

"They are not orthodox in their beliefs," Cureton said. "They have additional books that they add to the Bible, which evangelical Christians believe is God's word. They believe that there are many, many gods and that you, too, can become a god in your own world. It sounds good, but unfortunately it is not based on sound teaching." (source)

Other poll results:
21% said No to and Evangelical Christian.
15% said No to a Jewish presidential candidate.
10% said No to a Catholic chief executive.

My question is...only 54% said 'No' to a Muslim President!?

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