Mormonism, Catholicism, and the Romney Candidacy

That’s the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. It begins this way:

In a piece recently published in the Catholic and Evangelical portals of the Patheos website, Warren Cole Smith explains why he cannot support Mitt Romney’s candidacy for President of the United States.  “A Vote for Romney is a Vote for the LDS Church” reminded me of the sort of anti-Catholic screeds that were widely published during the presidential candidacy of Senator John F. Kennedy.

Catholics conversant with the 1960 election will recognize in Mr. Smith’s piece the sort of histrionics that were employed against them and their faith in the not-too-distant past. Consider this excerpt from Smith’s essay:

>>>continue reading

(Update: Mr. Smith responds to critics, though it was published yesterday before the appearance of my Catholic Thing entry)

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Mitt Romney demonstrated in his service as governor of Massachusetts that he has no intention to abuse political office to aggrandize his own church. Indeed, one of the principal tenets of Mormonism is to respect the religious freedom of all men and women, of all persuasions, and that this principle was embodied into the US Constitution through the inspiration of God to the Founding Fathers. Mormonism eschews theocracy and religious discrimination. In Mormon-dominant Utah, there are people of every religious persuasion practicing their beliefs in peace.

  • Nick

    Astonishingly, your article shows why it’s morally wrong to privatize religion (Classical Liberalism) such that when considering a candidate his religion need not be taken into account nor should the candidate impose his religious beliefs when making law. What’s sad is the widespread idea that what one believes is irrelevant in whether one is a viable candidate. This is precisely what led to the JFK fallacy that he can be Catholic in private only and thus push anti-Catholic agendas publicly since the two spheres are separate. Such results in a dualism that hits at the heart of the Gospel principle that we are to live our faith, including and especially when leading, not hide it under a basket.

    Mormonism is in a wholly different arena in the Christian sphere, for it isn’t even technically Christian (while Protestantism is). So yes, a vote for Romney, if one is being honest with himself, is a vote for a non-Christian heretic. And don’t be deluded – unlike many confused Catholics, other religions are not afraid to publicly make known their religious beliefs.

    The “anomaly” (maybe not) with Romney is that he strongly supports abortion (which the LDS allow) and gay rights and there are YouTube videos of this where he dukes it out in a public debate for Massachusetts candidacy to make himself be seen as more liberal (and thus more worthy) than Ted K. He’s a career politician in that he’ll say whatever it takes. But then again, the LDS church lacks the theological sophistication to even know or accept basic principles like the End does not justify the Means (a principle many religions don’t accept).

    One consideration we as Catholics need to make is that does electing someone bring popularity to something sinful or wrong? If so, then that’s a strike against it. We all know that electing a Protestant or Catholic politician typically means electing a secularist-hedonist, so there is no new danger there. But electing a Mormon adds the danger of giving Mormonism legitimacy, encouraging people to think it’s “cool” or at least no big deal when it is. It’s equivalent to electing Hugh Hefner and thus giving his business legitimacy, even if he promises to be a ‘conservative’.

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  • daniel fielding

    Nick- you have your facts wrong, and I will point out the first one. The LDS Church does not take a pro-Abortion stance. Please get your facts right before you start pontificating.

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  • Cathy J

    Mitt Romney does not approve of abortion and he vigorous fought against both ESC research and same-sex marriage while governor of MA–he lost both those fights because of the “Catholic” Democrats in the MA state house (I live here, I remember–the legislature would not even allow a ballot measure on marriage, for fear they’d lose–all after getting more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to put the issue on the ballot). Vote for him or don’t vote for him–but get the facts right.

  • Ken Dahl

    Anyone who believes the Garden of Eden and the beginning of mankind occurred in Independence, Missouri . . .
    Anyone who believes Christ will usher in the 2nd coming at a Mormon temple and city in Missouri built by the LDS (latter-day saints) called New Jerusalem . . .
    Anyone who believes going to heaven requires the practice of polygamy . . .
    Anyone who believes god has multiple wives for the purpose of populating worlds without end . . .
    Anyone who believes in order to go to heaven and be in god’s presence you must gain approval from Joseph Smith . . .
    Anyone who believes blacks are cursed by god with a dark skin for things they did in the pre-mortal life . . .
    Anyone who believes American Indians are from the Middle East and have a dark skin because god cursed them in the Book of Mormon . . .
    Anyone who believes a 14 year old farm boy in Upstate New York was visited by angels, then led to a hidden box of golden plates which he translated into the ‘Book of Mormon’ . . .
    Anyone who believes the only true church on earth is the Mormon church while all others are the product of the anti-Christ . . .
    Anyone who believes there’s a god on the planet Kolob with a human spokesman on earth known as Thomas S. Monson in Salt Lake City . . .
    Anyone who believes special Masonic handshake rituals in the Mormon temple entitle that person to an exclusive pathway to heaven . . .
    . . . doesn’t have my vote for President of the United States.

    • Jeff Davis

      Mr. Dahl,

      Your list contains a few elements of truth, along with several generalizations, oversimplifications, and out-and-out misrepresentations. Perhaps YOU should run for office.

  • 01010100

    Rev. Beckwith [note from Beckwith: I'm not a minister] overlooks the fact that Smith not only plagiarized the Old Testament (and adds all sorts of bogus history) but also used a great deal of masonic imagery and tradition. Is that acceptable to the RCC? (or for that matter, rational Americans). IT would seem not. A better question: should mormons, members of a crypto-masonic secret society, be allowed to run for public office? Hint: no.

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