One of my recent columns discussed the role of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Mormon faith in his campaign. My column pointed out that some people could not vote for Romney because of his religion and I asked readers who felt this way to explain their position.
I received more than 400 emails in response to this column and have now read all of them. Let me start by saying that a majority of the people responding to my column took the position that a candidate’s religion should not be a factor in whether or not he is elected. I personally agree with that view. I think it's un-American to judge a candidate on the basis of his or her religion. But it's nonetheless clear from reading these emails that Romney’s religion will be an issue if he wins the Republican nomination.
Reproduced below is a representative sample of the emails from readers who said that Romney's religion would prevent them from supporting him.
Charles M. Larson: "Their (Mormons) belief system and scriptural writings still proclaim and teach that God approves of racism by 'cursing' with dark skin and 'blessing' with light skin. And to people like myself, this is reason enough to not lend credibility to such an organization by offering one of its members the office of president of the United States."
Rick Olson: "the position of president is unique and requires the highest standards. The facts show that there is no historical basis for the Mormon religion and that it begins with the highly suspect Joseph Smith. The facts that contradict the tenets of the Mormon religion are widely available and someone who chooses to ignore them does so willingly. So the question that I must ask is: do I trust someone to be president of the United States who intentionally believes a lie and can I trust someone who does that to make the right decision when the heat is on?"
Warren Brown: "I believe that the Mormon Church has an agenda, to take over the powers, etc. of the country. To be governed by a Mormon president would be too close to being governed by the Mormon Church for my taste."
Mike Butz: "I have voted for the Republican candidate in every presidential election to date (I’m currently 41 years of age), but will not vote for Romney if he is the nominee. Mormons embrace the blasphemous notion that each of them (if deemed worthy enough) can, one day, become god of his own planet…As an evangelical Christian, I would have no trouble voting for a Catholic or a Jewish candidate, and would even consider voting for an atheist, but can and will never vote for someone whose ambitions include becoming god."
Edward Yezekian: "I think the question at hand is judgment. I wouldn’t vote for Mitt for the same reason I wouldn't vote for a Wican or an Atheist. Even a cursory evaluation of Mormonism, its history, its doctrines, and its contradictions would call into question any follower’s intelligence and/or judgment."
Bob Bilyeu: "The Mormon faith is a hierarchal organization. There are leaders who expect to be obeyed, and church law that is considered to supersede civil law. Would you feel comfortable electing a person to civil office if you believed that they would then answer to this alternative power structure, rather than to civil law?”
Diane Graber: "Mormons who are temple-worth wear special 'garments of the Holy Priesthood' (long johns) which they believe have special powers to protect them from danger and evil…If that's not enough, they believe the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, that Christ will return to Earth in a year that has had no rainbows and disbelieve all relevant scientific evidence as to the age of the Earth…Any man who could believe all this and not challenge it intellectually is not someone I would ever support to run this nation."
Mark Smith: "Why not Romney? You are also forgetting that voters have the right to choose or reject a candidate for any reason(s) they choose. Voter rejection of Romney because of his Mormonism is no more baffling than voter acceptance of Hillary who is unqualified and chosen by many simply because she is a woman and/or spouse of a former president."
Amy King: "You’d better believe that I refuse to vote for a man without the personal character to withdraw from a racist, sexist organization, and I'm very nervous about turning over the most powerful office in the world to a man who thinks he's going to become a god and collect trophy wives in the Celestial Kingdom."
Lori Daniel: "Even though he may have a great record as a governor, being a Mormon requires that he obey the teachings of the church and not those of the country…Romney may be a good person, but as a president, he will not be able to make decisions that might go against his religion. He views his religion as his salvation and to go against any principle of that religion would mean losing his salvation."
Frank Morley: "I do not believe that people who oppose Romney are religiously intolerant. I believe that they see what is a plain fact: Mormonism is intolerant. Pamphlets available to anyone who attends a Mormon Church tell of Joseph Smith’s 'enlightenment' and tell how he founded the only true church, that all Christian churches, and by definition, all other religions, are apostate. It is difficult to support a man who subscribes to such a position towards my church."
Jessica Elliott: "I can’t speak for all Christians or all Republicans, but I can give you an honest perspective from one average Christian mom who would never vote for a Mormon. You understand already that many people call Mormonism a cult. What you may not understand is that many of us see Mormonism as such a strange, ridiculous belief system that we have to seriously doubt the judgment of anyone who could believe it. It's like asking us to consider voting for someone who believes they were kidnapped by aliens."
John Commuta: "Bible believing Christians feel their loyalty is to Jesus. Mormons believe in a completely different Jesus than the Bible reveals. They consider him to be Lucifer’s brother, and not truly God, among many other foundational differences. So many devout Christians — who have as much right to vote according to their conscience as anyone — cannot vote for someone for the temporary job of president of the United States who has an antithetical view of their permanent Lord, to whom these Christians feel a higher allegiance and responsibility."
I thank everyone who responded to my column. The views reproduced above represent a minority of the total comments but a very loud and distinct minority.
Martin Frost served in Congress from 1979 to 2005, representing a diverse district in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. He served two terms as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the third-ranking leadership position for House Democrats, and two terms as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Frost serves as a regular contributor to FOX News Channel and is a partner at the law firm of Polsinelli, Shalton, Flanigan and Suelthaus. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from the Georgetown Law Center.