Religion in Politics… Again?

by Ryan on February 8, 2007

in Politics,Religion

Religion’s a touchy subject in politics.  This is not new to recent American politics, though:

  • In 1960, John Kennedy’s Catholicism was made a huge issue.
  • In 1980, Ronald Reagan had to field ethical questions on the notion that if elected he would be the first President we’ve ever had who was divorced.
  • In 2000, Joe Lieberman, a Jew, was asked questions about a potential conflict of interest in his observance of the Sabbath in the case of a national emergency.
  • In 2007, Mitt Romney will be the latest victim of such religious probing.  It has already begun, as this New York Slimes piece beats the drum– can a Mormon be President (implying, “should…”)?

After 1960, however, the press received answers to their questions and moved on.  If Romney catches steam in the Republican primary, I wonder if the MSM is going to back off him? The Mormon Church is the third largest religious sect in the United States, behind Roman Catholics (#1!) and the Southern Baptist Convention.  We’ve been living with Mormons peacefully in the US since 1848.  We’ll survive a Mormon president, despite where the smears go in the coming months.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike February 8, 2007 at 5:27 pm

I think the MSM will hammer him, not primarily because he is a Mormon (though they can’t stand the truly religious), but because they will want to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of evangelicals. I think that speaks more to the media’s ignorance of evangelicals than it does to evangelicals though.

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Noonan February 9, 2007 at 10:02 pm

On this issue of religion and politics, it seems there is a growing anti-religious, particularly anti-Christian bigotry that is becoming all too common. CNN reported today Edwards’ refusal to fire two bloggers spewing hate against Catholics and equating the pope with fascism, saying the bloggers did not mean to personally offend anyone. Even when Christians engage in dialogue without reference to their beliefs, (which we should be allowed to do), in the public square, the arguments go unheeded and all positions flowing from a religious conviction, even in part, are deemed irrational. Professor George of Princeton has called this prejudice and want of rational discussion out in his book “Clash of Orthodoxies” where he delivers a brilliant rebuttal to the mindless drawl of the secularist orthodoxy.

Hell yes a Mormon could be President, (and should be if he is best on the issues). There is no reason to think that an individual from any denomination is incapable of being the best choice for any office. If the MSM does beat such a drum against him on this count, it will backfire because evangelicals are also fed up with having their views ignored and discounted on the basis they are believers. They will find that just as orthodox and practicing Catholics flocked to a protestant Bush and not a liberal Catholic Kerry, evangelicals will support the candidate that supports their beliefs.

A last tangent on the MSM and evangelicals. It seems that there is a shift on the left from demonizing evangelicals to demonizing them while wooing them on the environmental issue. Anyone else get that impression?

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