The Republican race is heating up and looks to be a two way race at the moment, with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich duking it out. Interestingly it is Romney's faith which is drawing the most scrutiny, not that of Gingrich who is on his third marriage and also his third religion in Roman Catholicism.
I know a bit about the faith of Latter Day Saints (LDS), the official name of what is commonly called the Mormon church. My father's grandmother was a convert, and I used to play basketball with a couple of elder missionaries, and yes they tried very hard to bring me into their fold.
While my opinion and a bus ticket will only get you a ride downtown, nonetheless I will express my view on a Mormon in the White House.
Religion plays a huge role in American politics these days. One need only look back to the furor over Barack Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, for proof of that fact. And you can be certain that for many Americans, particularly evangelicals, Romney being a Mormon is a huge issue.
Many consider the LDS faith a cult, I do not ascribe to that view. Those who know a bit about the faith consider Mormon theology to be screwy, but then many fundamentalists think men and dinosaurs walked together on the Earth and that this planet is only 4 or 5 thousand years old....pot to kettle.
For those who are curious, the Mormon church was started by one Joseph Smith who claims to have discovered golden plates buried somewhere around Palmyra New York. These plates were said to have contained accounts of Jesus visiting the America's after his ascension into heaven.
Okay, I see some shaking their heads saying...."Yeah, rigggggggggggggggght". Fair enough.
But many of those same people also expect to see Jesus coming back some day riding on a cloud. So if Jesus can come back riding on a cloud, why couldn't he have beamed himself down to this side of the Atlantic to preach the good news to Native Americans?
If morality is an issue I think evangelicals would find they have more in common with Romney as a lifelong Mormon than with Gingrich, a twice divorced, three times married Lutheran/Baptist/Roman Catholic.
Say what you will about Mormon beliefs and practices, but in my experience you will never meet a more down to earth, friendly and genuinely wholesome religious community.
My own preference is to see Ron Paul win the nomination....yes, yes I know, snowball's chance. But at least with an Obama/Paul race there would be a clear and definitive choice, big government versus almost no government.
But if its a choice between Romney and Gingrich, I don't think Mitt's religion even warrants consideration.
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