Wanted: U.S. President. Mormons Need Not Apply.

I began Project Conversion to combat ignorance and fear of the religious unknown we harbor for our neighbors. There is a chance for healing among the homes, streets, and neighborhoods where we live, but is there hope for religiously blind politics?

Religion plays an important role in the lives of many voters and is the scaffolding upon which many base their morals and values. Interestingly enough, someone need not be overly religious for this phenomena to occur. I know a few “holiday Christians” who would not vote for a “holiday Muslim” simply because they are a Muslim. Why? For the average voter it’s because of what they’ve heard about the faith of the individual running for office, not necessarily for this person’s stance on the issues, political history, or platform.

Let’s face it: we like to associate with what/who we know and that makes us comfortable…comfortable enough to take the word of talking heads on television or radio instead of stepping outside the comfort zones of the status quo and individually critiquing our candidates.


If I just stepped on some toes, go get an ice pack and take a seat. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

So what’s the point of today’s soapbox? Well, this month I’m an honorary Mormon and therefore I’m proud to say that we have two LDS candidates running for president of the United States. Their names are Mitt Romney, a familiar face from the last presidential bid, and former Utah governor, Jon Huntsman.

Mitt Romney


Jon Huntsman

Romney has better hair and more conservative values (religiously anyway), however Huntsman is reportedly more liberal in his LDS beliefs, which brings me to the million dollar question: Why does religion in politics matter?
It shouldn’t matter. John F. Kennedy, then presidential candidate and Catholic at a time when America distrusted Catholic presidential hopefuls, had this to say about the issue:
“But let me stress again that these are my views. For contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”
Religion and politics matter because they are the most divisive and binding forces on the planet. Republicans and Democrats don’t get along because their theories on government and social issues don’t usually match. Same goes with religions and their various theories on values, the nature of the divine, and if drinking beer is a good idea. So in the case of our LDS candidates, we have a serious problem because both happen to be members of the LDS church, and therefore suffer the same scrutiny and suspicion JFK did when he ran for president. These folks are truly between a political rock and a religious hard place.
If a Mormon wins, will he lobby for polygamy? Will the prophet in Utah start calling the shots? Maybe a Mormon president will pass a law that says we all have to wear holy underwear. Sounds far-fetched but these (and others) are the type of concerns many voters raise when looking over the candidates–and they are the mature ones! At least they think about the issues instead of passing blind judgement upon these men and other past LDS presidential candidates, such as the prophet and founder of the church, Joseph Smith, simply because of their personal faith.
This will be an interesting presidential campaign for 2012. We have two LDS candidates, one of which is showing some decent promise, and I have no doubt things will get ugly. Our country already voted in a Catholic, a black man, and others whose affiliations were at one time questionable. Is it time to break the tradition of ignorance and myopic religious/political views once again? Can we have a Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Hindu, or even an atheist president? Does it matter what their personal beliefs are so long as they faithfully execute the duties of the presidency?
As then Senator Obama said in a 2006 speech,
“…We’re no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers. ”
And as such, we all deserve an equal, unbiased chance to govern and be governed.
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  • http://myownashram.wordpress.com Niki Whiting

    Great post! Amen! I care less about a person’s religious affiliation than I do about the candidate’s commitment to ALL Americans: Americans of all faiths. Once a candidate begins talking about the US as a Christian nation I am wary of their commitment to all constituents.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kevin Schade

    Wow! That was good!

  • http://Likethenewdigs Art Sherwood

    Hey Andrew, I like the new website. It looks great. It will be interesting to see if this increases your audience.

    It always floors me how fickle the American public can be when it comes to their presidential candidates. It seems they are always nit picking about the most meaningless things, while at the same time letting huge character weaknesses past without question.

    I feel it is much more important to have a president, or any political leader for that matter, who clearly states what his/her core principles are and who stands by those principles rather than having one who simply tries to go which ever way the wind appears to be blowing.

    Character is much more important to me than pet issues.

    • abowen

      Thanks Art! I agree, the hair-splitting gets nothing done and drives a wedge of distrust and ignorance even deeper between us.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Debi Dusseault

    Great job! I also agree with Niki’s comments. I am also wary when a candidate refers to the US as a Christian nation and refuses to acknowledge the fact that not all of us believe in in this religious system.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kitsune

    Indeed, we should not judge a person by their religion. However, a judgement should be made on their beliefs and the platform that they are running on.

    Now, beliefs and religion can happen to coincide, however there is a distinction. For instance, while one LDS can believe in polygamy, another can denounce it. It is the same case here.

    Mitt Romney recently has refused to sign a pledge that “promises fidelity and rejection of gay marriage, abortion, pornography and Sharia law” because it “contained references and provisions that were undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign.” He also is a Twihard, and apparently, inexplicably pretended that a waitress pinched his butt. O_o Anyway, I question his views on women and whether or not he believes that we should institute the views and beliefs of the Bible, or rather, the King Jame’s Bible, into American law. But other than that, it seems like he isnt as radical or a raging freak like his other Republican counterparts…

    As for Jon Huntsmen, it seems like he is being pushed aside news wise for the more interesting people…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Colin Faux

    “Romney has better hair”

    HAHAHA. Oh greatness. This line made me laugh so hard I spit on my laptop.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lostprophet

    I for one am 100% fine with writing a candidate off solely on his being mormon not because of child brides and polygamy but because of how mormonism came to be. I think anyone that buys into……..some guy read gold plates from a hat with “magic” stones but when tested could not retranslate the plates the same way a second time…….. Anyone who thinks that is near logical is far to dumb to be president.