What makes Mitt Romney tick
For the first time since 1960, a major presidential candidate's religious affiliation is a subject of serious public debate; and this time around, the debate is of special interest to me, partly because I am a good deal older than I was in 1960, but mainly because the religion in question is one I wholeheartedly share with the candidate. The candidate, of course, is Mitt Romney, who like myself is an active, practicing Mormon. (Apart from our political views, which are very compatible, that might be the only thing I have in common with Mr. Romney, as I am utterly unqualified to be President of the United States. I might add parenthetically that the fact that I will never be President is a great blessing for our country, although I am seriously concerned that the country at large might not appreciate this particular blessing nearly as much as it should. But I digress.)
I happen to like Mitt Romney, and would feel entirely comfortable with having him in the White House, although that is not because of the obvious religious affinity; after all, Harry Reid, who as a politician and Senator does not particularly impress me, is likewise a practicing Latter-day Saint, and probably a pretty good one at that. But given the widespread misconceptions about Mormons and the controversy we inevitably seem to generate, plus the troubling polls which indicate that over a third of potential voters would not vote for a Mormon, period, I think it highly unlikely that Mr. Romney could be elected. But he does seem to represent his church well, and I hope that when his campaign is over -- whatever the result -- the faith's overall image will be improved by it.
In connection with the foregoing, I found this in yesterday's edition of Meridian Magazine, which is second only to Flickr as my favorite website. It is the transcript of a question-and-answer session between Richard Bushman, a respected historian who happens to be a practicing Latter-day Saint, and an impressive cross-section of the media. It's probably as good a summary of the historical relationship between Mormons and politics as one is likely to find anywhere. (Note: I was unable to link directly to the transcript, but the Meridian article does contain a link to it.)