Monday, November 27, 2006

Religion: Mitt Romney's Underpants

I seldom blog on presidential politics (except to give John Kerry well deserved kicks in the slats) because it's tough to rise above the "horse race" aspect of whose running and what the competition is.

But as my The Moderate Voice colleague Michael van der Galien notes, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is making noises about a presidential run in 2008, and he is an exception to my rule.
Even though Romney is much too conservative for my taste overall, there are things that I like about him, notably his efforts to spearhead health-care reform in Massachusetts, which is the first state to embrace near-universal coverage for all of its citizens. That, dear friends, is where we need to go nationally.

But what fascinates me about Romney -- and you'll be reading and hearing tons about this in the coming months -- is that he is a Mormon and believes that America had a "divine founding."
I am old enough to remember the controversy over John F. Kennedy's Catholicism when he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960. Some people tried to make his religion an issue (you know, the Vatican as bogeyman), but it was a non starter.

Romney's faith will be anything but a non starter, and there already are questions about whether a Mormon can make a serious run, let alone be nominated. Whether a Mormon is even a Christian in the traditional sense of the word. Whether Romney wears special Mormon underwear (see photo.) You get the idea.

Leading the charge is Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Dish. For the record, I like this enormously popular (openly gay Catholic blogger) when he is not endlessly plugging his new book. Andrew has written extensively and intelligently about the right-wing Christianist hijacking of the Republican Party, but is off to a rather uneven start on Romney. This may be because Romney opposes Massachusetts' legislative and court endorsement of same-sex marriage.

What matters to me is this:
Although I find aspects of the teachings of the Church of Latter Day Saints to be repugnant, I feel the same way about Roman Catholicism and some other faiths, as well.

Can Romney run as a secularist?

Can he be embraced by a party whose "Big Tent" has shrunk to the size of a Zip-Loc bag and is notably intolerant of anyone other than "their own kind?"

Can he endure the media exposure that awaits him? What if his great-great grandfather was a bigamist? What about that underwear?

It's not likely to be pretty, but it's bound to be fascinating.

1 Comments:

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