First, let me begin by saying that my views are in no way affiliated with John McCain's official campaign.
In recent weeks, much hay has been made over whether to include discussions of Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. True, members of the McCain and Giuliani camps have engaged in rather bigoted criticism of the Mormon faith, and have recanted. The Romney campaign has done well to minimize the issue of Mitt's Mormonism by associating any critique as tantamount to "bigotry". What is all this hubbub about?
It is about an open society. Americans have questions about Mormonism because for some time, the Mormon faith has been rather secretive. As a mere tourist, I could enter St. Peter's in Rome or any evangelical church with open arms; I do not have to be a member. However, a "non-Mormon" cannot enter the Temple in Salt Lake. Should your non-Mormon child marry a Mormon, you will not be able to witness the wedding ceremony in the temple. In an open society, citizens are skeptical of such secrecy. Such secrets are the antithesis to an open society like ours, and are bound to raise questions. That is why, when one staffer calls Mormonism a cult, or another person denounces Romney's faith, it is out of frustration.
Romney himself had a chance to bury the issue a few weeks ago, when he was asked point blank about his Mormonism. I will repeat this observation from a previous post:
"....he eluded to Kennedy not being a Catholic running for president, but an American…and [Romney] said “and I am a Mormon”. Romney would not go as far as saying 'I am not a Mormon running for president, but an American running for president'".
Romney cannot, by the rules of his own faith, "denounce" his Mormonism. Nor should he have to. However, he cannot assure the country that his secretive faith can or cannot influence his decision making. If this position matters in determining your vote, then Romney continues to have some explaining to do. Recent polls suggest 28% of Americans will not vote for a Mormon to be president. When over one-fourth of the electorate is skeptical, whether it be bigotry, bias, questions, intrigue or whatever, you have a problem with openness.
The Romney camp is trying to quash any criticism or even intellectual curiosity about the Mormon faith as "bigotry". Romney himself went as far as to label Al Sharpton as one of those "Mormon Bigots", in a vain attempt to label any critic of Mormonism as basically "Al Sharpton"...a kiss of death for most Republicans. Rather than be associated with Al Sharpton in a presidential primary, the other candidates hopefully will back off the Mormon Question.
Americans are tired of secrecy in government. Congress is enjoying an all-time low approval rating. So is the president, as the result of a secretive administration. If we cannot have an open discussion about religion in the United States under a Romney presidency, where will the secrecy end?
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