Monday, September 24, 2007

Mitt Romney and the Mormon question

The was a great Commentary piece in Friday's Salt Lake Tribune that I'd like to reccomend to you. It's about Mitt Romney's Mormonism and how it wasn't really a problem for his father.

''George Romney ran in the shadow of the Kennedy election in 1960, when the country decided religion didn't matter,'' says Richard Lyman Bushman, a Mormon scholar and professor emeritus of history at Columbia University. ''Now it seems like we are working through all the issues that troubled Kennedy, but in a Mormon mode.''
The controversy surrounding his religion recently provoked the typically unflappable Romney to snap. ''I'm not running as a Mormon,'' he retorted to a radio interviewer in Iowa last month, ''and I get a little tired of coming on a show like yours and having it all about Mormons.''
Much of the intolerance toward his church arises from the politicization of evangelical Protestants. Before the appearance of groups such as the Moral Majority, which didn't get off the ground until a decade after George Romney's run, Southern evangelicals were politically uninvolved or tacitly Democratic. But the rise of the Christian right turned them into a key segment of the GOP's base - a shift that suddenly made the personal beliefs of would-be Republican presidents very relevant. ''Does anyone care about Harry Reid's Mormonism?'' asks Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, referring to the Democratic Senate majority leader. ''No, because he's not in the party where everyone goes out of their way to prove their piety.''

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