A Mormon President?

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may be the frontrunner for the '08 GOP presidential nomination. If you didn't already know, Romney is a Mormon, and I'm not quite sure what to think about that. Robert Novak has a new column out where he argues that Romney is facing an unfair "religious test" in his quest to become Commander-in-Chief. While I agree that, in principle, religion should not exclude anyone from public office, there are limits to that principle. As Novak points out:

Nobody is suggesting that Mitt Romney as President of the United States would be taking orders from the president of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City. The Republican whispering campaign against Mormons is broader-based on ridicule of the church’s doctrine. I have heard Republicans who have read the Book of Mormon express astonishment that any rational person could believe that fanciful stuff.

The last point is the clincher: I am one of those conservatives (debating whether to quit the GOP, but that's another story) who expresses astonishment that any thinking person could be a Mormon. Mormonism is ridden with inconsistencies and worse. The contrast between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and other, more ancient faiths, is that its modern origins are easily fact-checked. And they come up wanting, every time. So, to say that Romney faces an unfair test is an unfair statement: if another politician, say one who believed that UFOs landed at Roswell, NM in the 40's and secretly control the US Government, were to run for office, we'd be fully justified in ostracizing him. I confess that I see little difference.

(HT: Southern Appeal

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