Robert D. Novak wrote in a column (OC Register/Opinion/ 4/28/06) that:
“Prominent, respectable Evangelical Christians have told me, not for quotation, that millions of their co-religionists cannot and will not vote for (Mass.Gov. Mitt) Romney for president solely because he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). …The Evangelicals are adamant, saying there is no way Romney can win them over.”
Novak points out that the U.S. Constitution actually prohibits any religious test for public office. He concludes that Gov. Romney will need to strongly address this issue in the future, if he continues to run for the Presidency in 2008.
There are many ‘secular’ folks on the left that would like to eliminate all ‘persons of faith’ from public office. Many in that camp would lump committed Catholics, Evangelicals, & even ‘Mormons’ together in the same ‘fundamentalist’ category. I certainly don’t wish to encourage or participate in that sort of thinking.
Even though there are major theological differences between the three, politically we might have a lot in common on a number of issues. To vote for Romney is not the same thing as joining the ‘Mormon Church’ or agreeing with their doctrine. Neither should you have to agree with ‘The Pope’ on every issue before you give your vote to a Catholic believer. Should Evangelicals vote only for other Evangelicals? The worse mistake I ever made was voting for the ‘Born Again’ candidate in 1976.
I believe that the Presidential ‘primary’ process over the next several years will provide the necessary vetting of potential candidates & their positions on major issues. It is premature to discount someone ‘a priori’ at this point. We are at a critical point in our history, and it is important for us to choose the best possible person for the job. I certainly will prayerfully consider the candidates when it comes time to vote again. Religious faith & commitment is always among the important issues that I look at.