Religion Doesn’t Matter

I am not sure what possible difference it makes what religion the president practices — or doesn’t practice (though I confess I am puzzled about Mitt Romney’s religion. What is the Mormon “take” on marriage?  Polygamy is OK but gay marriage is taboo. What’s with that?). But ever since John Kennedy’s Catholicity bothered many and was a bump in the road to his presidency, it seems to be a topic of some interest to voters — or at least the media think it is. A reporter from Yahoo News recently went to Northern Virginia, to a place near Arlington they call “Little Provo,” and interviewed a number of Mormons to see whether Mitt Romney’s religious preferences would make a difference in their voting (Duhhhh!). The story begins as follows:

Some 10,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live in Northern Virginia, a crucial battleground region in what is expected to be one of the most tightly contested states of the 2012 presidential campaign. Situated next to the nation’s capital, the area is a hub for politically active Mormons in their 20s and 30s. With Mitt Romney on the verge of formally becoming the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, we traveled to Northern Virginia in June to talk to these voters about what that historic moment–the first Mormon to be nominated for president by a major American political party–will mean to them.

Strange to say, there was at least one interviewed who planned to vote for Romney’s opponent. But, as expected, most align themselves foursquare behind their man, for better or worse. None of this seems to me to be terribly important. There is a movement afoot to besmirch members of this Administration for their alleged practice of the religion of Islam. And while I have blogged about that and the force behind it which smells much like decaying McCarthyism, I ask again “what possible difference does it make?” The question is not what religion these people do or do not practice, rather it is whether or not these people can do the job they are called upon to do. And the answer to that question seems to be a reluctant “No” — at least at the top of the pyramid.

Both of the major players in this Fall’s election carry considerable baggage with them into the contest. Barack Obama has been all-too-conciliatory for many, cozying up to Capital and making deals with devilish companies to win accommodations; escalating the war in Afghanistan and ordering drone attacks in crowded civilian centers in the name of “anti-terrorism”; and weakening his stand on the environment, especially of late. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is not forthcoming and has a checkered past with only modest success as Governor of Massachusetts; he also has a questionable connection with Bain Capital and its tendency to outsource while he preaches “job creation” at home. Further, he is regarded by many as aloof and insensitive to the needs of the lower and middle classes — an image that was further sharpened when his wife was interviewed recently on ABC News. In response to a question about her husband’s unwillingness to release his tax records, she is reported to have said: “we’ve given all you people need to know” about the family’s finances. As one of “you people,” I find this offensive.

But the pyramid shows signs of deterioration further down as well.

Our government has broken down and lies scattered in fragments, including partisan politics, lies, deceit, deception, self-promotion, and greed — a great many politicians have their hands out to the all-too-generous corporations who are ready and willing to dole out the treasure that will guarantee them the results that will benefit their bottom line. What the country desperately needs is a Third Party candidate who is tied to no large corporations and who has vision and tenacity while at the same time he or she is unwilling to sacrifice integrity to achieve political success. But such a person could not succeed until or unless constraints are placed on political gift-giving and the hands of special interests are tied and the playing field is made level.

It’s not about religion, folks. It’s about competency. It’s about character and courage. It’s about a person’s willingness to stand up for what is important and ability to put the interests of the country ahead of their own self-interest. This country has produced such people in the past; one hopes that another is out there in the wings waiting for the opportunity to step forth.

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10 thoughts on “Religion Doesn’t Matter

  1. With such a toxic environment, it may be hard to find one smart enough for the job who is willing to jump in. Hope lives on.

  2. Great post. Religion should not matter and, even though I am more Christian than not, it will be a great day in America when a non-Christian carries the white house. That would scare the crap out of our evangelical friends though. Many don’t realize that Thomas Jefferson was a Deist and he wrote the Declaration of Independence and was a great President.

    • A number of the founders were Deists. Those who are spiritually certain like to insist that the Founders were all devout Christians. But this is not the case.

  3. I just want to clarify, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), that we do not practice polygamy. Like the mistaken notion that all Muslims are terrorists, polygamy is something practiced in extremist splinter groups who are completely unassociated with the LDS Church. As to all of us voting for Romney, that is probably pretty accurate, but I am still undecided, and among my friends I know of several who prefer Obama. But it does bother me that most LDS Church members tend to be Republican. I don’t understand why. Thanks for this post! Your main idea is spot on, but unfortunately voters are human and we will tend to vote from our prejudices and fears. I am with you on being disgusted with politicians.

    • Thanks for the clarification. I was thinking of those “splinter groups” and was not aware that they are not a part of the main body of LDS. Also, I was attempting to be humorous, a thing I should back off from!

      • I realize that you were not trying to be mean, just funny. I do it, too. I just feel that I need to “stand up for” my religion when there are misrepresentations. I don’t want people to think we are a bunch of weirdos, because we really aren’t. I promise!

  4. I also wanted to say that I am personally not opposed to gay marriage, and neither are some of my more liberal LDs friends, although the LDS Church is. My dad is gay, and I think anybody with a gay relative has a softer approach to this issue.

    • Good for you. The interviews were slanted, but one should beware of generalizing about any group of people. There are always exceptions! Thanks for the comment.

  5. Great post and great conversation. I think the US’s seperation of church and state would be brilliant if it were actually practiced. 🙂 Imagine an athiest, or even an agnostic, running for President. That would be the day!

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