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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

WASHINGTON — We have embarked on yet another presidential campaign in which religion will play an important role without any agreement over what the ground rules for that engagement should be.

If you think we’re talking past each other on jobs and budgets, consider the religious divide. One side says “separation of church and state” while the other speaks of “religion’s legitimate role in the public square.” Each camp then sees the question as closed and can get quite self-righteous in avoiding the other’s claims.

  • Glenagain

    Romney has gone out of his way as a candidate and office holder in Ted Kennedy’s state to be pragmatic and do the best job for the most people. As Governor, he was Pro-Choice. Today, he seems to have moved in a more Pro-Life stance to appease those Religious Right folk who don’t trust him. I would vote for Romney over Obama in a general election. I have been very disenchanted in Obama’s term in office. I am pretty far left of center in my politics and from the view in my backyard, Obama is a disgrace to the platform he promoted. Rather than vote for Obama, I would not vote for anyone and let the chips fall. My favorite dream is that in the spring, as did Lyndon Johnson before him, Obama would fade into the sunset and for that I would respect him. But Obama’s ego is too grandiose and he won’t do what’s best for the party. His ego wants him to think he can win. Unfortunately, my stand on Obama is just as strong as the Religious Right’s take on Romney. You have to understand one fact: THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT WILL NOT VOTE FOR A MORMON EVEN IF HITLER WERE RUNNING OPPOSITE HIM. It’s about the only way Obama might eke out a victory: Obama Vs. Romney.

  • dpriver

    “seems to have moved in a more pro-life stance”? I beg your pardon. He has jumped with both feet into the anti-abortion camp. And that is the main reason he is not to be trusted; not that he’s a Mormon, but that he’s the ultimate flip-flopper, caring not about personal liberty, but simply on what the voters in his party demand. That is not leadership, that is spinelessness. Same goes for his shameful retreat from his health care plan. I am profoundly disappointed with Obama as well, what with all these deportations and caving in to Republicans at every opportunity, but at least I know he believes in what all thinking progressives do: that government is not inherently evil, but can be employed for the benefit of everyone. There is no question but that he should be reelected as I believe he will be.

  • SarahB

    Mormonism is not a church. It’s a corporation. They do not get a tax exemption. They are not obligated to obey the guideleines of a religion. It is not against the law to use the words “Jesus” or “Church” in a non-church entity. Check it out. When you “tithe”, you are paying for membership. But that’s not my main objection. They run conspiracies, not only against anybody asserting their civil rights, but even against their own members, asking co-members to not hire them so they can get them cheaper, or because the husband wants her to stay home but doesn’t have the guts to tell her so. they teach each other scams and they cover up for each other, purgering themselves in court, etc. Don’t go near these people. We certainly can’t have them in public office.

  • NJ_Kim

    I agree with most of what Mr. Dionne says, but I reject the notion that the Mormon faith should not ever be an issue in a campaign. I think it is healthy that more people are being exposed to Mormon beliefs through the campaign and through the marvelous show, “The Book of Mormon”. I have asked numerous people whether they would vote for a Scientologist for President and the answer I have always gotten is “No.” If the reason for that is that one feels Scientology is a cult, then fine, Mormonism is not a cult to any fair-minded person. But, if the reason is that one would have to be “crazy to buy that foolishness” then it is much harder to distinguish rejection of a Scientologist from an unwillingness to vote for a Mormon. As a non-Mormon but one who has been an avid student of that faith since reading Sherlock Holmes at age 12, it is my opinion that Mormon beliefs are not any less bizarre than those of Scientology. While that would not keep me from voting for an otherwise qualified Mormon, I cannot join Mr. Dionne in apparently condemning someone for saying “I would not vote for someone who rejects evolution or who believes one can become god of one’s own planet.” Where I think Mr. Dionne is overly simplistic is that he confuses those who use religion in an exclusionary way — “the President must be a Christian” (or formerly “he must be a Protestant”) with those who use religious beliefs to make a character or intellectual judgement, even though his central theme is that religious beliefs are relevant with respect to certain issues such as abortion that are political.

  • David Jongewaard

    “. . . the public (including journalists) is fully justified in probing how that faith might influence what they would do with political power.” This is true, and insofar as Romney’s or Hunt’s Mormonism may influence their political decisions, the media is not doing its “probing” or its homework. Mormonism is far more authoritarian in its power structure than is Roman Catholicism and far more demanding of its adherents. Mormonism, while it claims its majority membership from outside the United States, is uniquely an American religion, controlled by an American male oligarchy. It is predicated on an American prophet whose teachings supposedly and solitararily reflect “true” Christianity. Mormons continue to believe in America’s manifest destiny and believe that Jesus’ Second Coming will occur in Independence, Missouri. When Mitt Romney passionately insists that America be #1 among the nations, now and forever, he is espousing a Mormon jingoism that defies logic. Why aren’t journalists pursuing the roots of his public and foreign policy? No way I would vote for a Mormon if he/she truly embraces the core of idiocies of Mormon theology. Your distinction between religion and politics does not exist for a Mormon. Neither would I vote for a fundamentalist Christian who, as a matter of divine revelation, embraces the ideal that Israel is the apple of God’s eye, justice for Palestinians be damned. Or that homosexual behavior is condemned by God and subject to fixing through prayer and reparative therapy. Come On! Extreme religious beliefs bolster commitments that have necessary political consequences. And right now, the Republican party is fielding some candidates with extreme religious beliefs. It’s time the media wake up and start treading where presumed political correctness has kept you from treading. On Mormonism, I suggest beginning with a well researched and balanced work from two of your own: THE POWER AND PROMISE OF MORMON AMERICA by Richard and Joan Ostling, Harper:SF,1999,454 pages.

  • jpdoner

    “Rather than vote for Obama, I would not vote for anyone and let the chips fall.” My word! Do you know what you are saying? Abstaining would basically be the same as voting for someone for whom corporations = people. For someone who doesn’t care for the needs of people, only corporations and the rich, etc., etc. Obama is not perfect. I’ve been disappointed too, but I think a good share of that disappointment has to do with political realities and the fact that the Republican Party and its cronies put ideology before country and have no reservations about lying in order to win. If you feel as you do, hold your nose and vote for Obama! But I’ll proudly vote for him again…and continue praying that God will give him guidance!

  • pattycakes842001

    Obviously some people don not know anything about Mormonism. As a member I do know they are treated as a religion by the gov’t. They go by all the same rules as other religions in this country. They are not a Cult nor are they a business. Sarah B needs to do more research. It is obvious that she does not know what she is talking about. I doubt she has ever met a Mormon. There is no excuse for ignorance.

  • Judy Schlegel

    Is there any church (denomination) that is not a corporation? Just they get tax exempt status does not mean they are not corporations.

  • frankj

    If one is a devout Christian to the point of taking the New Testament literally, then he also believes that Jesus literally rose from the dead. How could we ever elect someone who believes in such an “idiocy” as that? I don’t understand why any Mormon belief is any more bizarre than the resurrection of the dead idea of the rest of Christianity.

  • Robert W. Emerson

    THERE ARE MANY VARIATIONS IN CHRISTIAN BELIEF. THE TEST OUGHT TO BE: DO YOU BELIEVE IN FOLLOWING THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST. IF SO, THAT’S ENOUGH. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BELIEVE THE JESUS IS THE “SON OF GOD” ANY MORE THAN YOU AND I ARE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD. NOR DO YOU HAVE TO BE A FUNDAMENTALIST WHO HANGS UPON EACH AND EVERY WORD OF THE BIBLE AS THOUGH IT IS ALL ENTIRELY TRUE. ALL YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN IS THE POWER OF LOVE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF FORGIVING. I BELIEVE THAT BOTH MR. ROMNEY AND MR. HUNTSMAN MEET THOSE REQUIREMENTS.
    RWE

  • cminhtown

    If you think wearing your faith or your religion on your sleeve is appropriate then you have already mis-stepped. Policy and substance no longer seem important to some of these Theocrocrats.