1960 Redux

Mitt Romney continues to gain traction as a presidential candidate 1in some quarters as people (justifiably) find something less than satisfaction with the options to be had at the top of the GOP barrel.

But there remain concerns about his electability and the Mormon factor - will the nation elect a Mormon, or even take one seriously as a candidate in the long run?  How is it that 46 years post JFK, we still face questions of "Can a (insert denomination of choice) govern a diverse nation?

Sometimes we get reminders of why these questions won't go away.  I recently saw a copy of a letter supposedly sent to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by a corporate executive and former Vegas-area Stake President (a lay minister with supervisory responsibility over several congregations within a defined area).  I've omitted the names and don't see immediate red flags that it's bogus, but the point here is the mindset it represents.  I have spoken with many people who feel just the same.  It reads:

Dear Senator Reid:

You no longer seem to be able to place me when I see you, but you used to know me by name.   I have supported and voted for you every time you have run for Senate.  I understand politics a bit, and know one must get elected before they can do any good, and sometimes one must follow the path that leads one into office to some degree.  I get that.

Still, I take umbrage to your recent position on the Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage.  You chose a stance I normally agree with; not to tinker with the Constitution often or lightly.  This time however, the First Presidency asked us to get involved and support this particular initiative.

I saw you on Meet the Press several years ago, just after the Priesthood Bulletin was issued by the First Presidency, re-stating what is contained in the Proclamation on the Family, that God has defined Marriage as between a Man and a Woman, and who are we to attempt to redefine it.  If indeed, you believe as you say you do, that our Prophet speaks for God, evidently God is offended by what is being advanced today by the gay agenda, attempting to re-define marriage.  Tim Russert read the statement.....then asked for your response.  You said, "I don't believe that".

In your letter to the Bishops of Nevada, you indicate that the First Presidency has never suggested to you how to vote.  I submit, in this case, they did, by asking members all over the country, and in Nevada, to call and write and urge you, and other members of Congress to vote for the amendment.  You failed the test, in my opinion, and you failed Nevada.  Nevada passed the similar amendment - clearly your constituency supported the amendment.  The Democratic Party did not.  You chose your party's agenda over Nevadans, over your Prophets wishes, and defied God in the process.

Let's call it what it is, Senator.  You have sold out for power and position.  Whining about how offended you are that your "Brethren" are not supportive of you anymore is not becoming of a leader of such high position.  Justifying your weak stance in direct opposition to your Church's position is lame.  You fear your party more than God.

I don't condemn you, Senator.  But having sold out your Church, your State and possibly your soul for political power - I will have a hard time supporting you or voting for you in the future, should you attempt to hold on to your seat.   Your soul is vacant, and you have lost your moral compass.  There is no right way to do a wrong thing, yet I know you believe the truth.  It is such a shame you couldn't be counted on to stand for right when you were needed.

He doesn't condemn the good senator, but says his soul is vacant, he's lost his moral compass, and can't be counted on to stand for what is right.  Thank heavens he didn't CONDEMN him.

As an LDS Democrat, Reid is accustomed to criticism and doesn't let it affect his better judgment (surveys suggest upwards of 70% of American Mormons vote Republican, many leaning so far right their noses get rug burn).  But it's fair to question the extent to which being subject to this type of spiritual abuse pressures one's response to political and social questions in directions more toward expectations rather than what is sound policy for the nation as a whole.

And at least Reid's only being told, "You're a jackass and I won't vote for you again." It could be worse.

The Catholics have made the news suggesting that politicians who don't vote "right" on abortion issues should be denied communion, and even as far as suggesting excommunication over "wrong" votes on stem cell research.

If you're a person of faith, a believer, can these type of threats not influence your decisions?  Do we understand why this is sometimes of concern to those who don't share our faith?  


Tags: GOP Primary, Mitt Romney, Mormon, religious right (all tags)


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