Friday, June 03, 2011

Religion: Mitt Romney's Cross To Bear

It has been 50 years since Americans elected the first Roman Catholic president, yet religion will loom large as Mitt Romney announced his run for the 2012 Republican nomination yesterday.

There is an old saying that Americans are suspicious of any religion other than their own, and Romney has the additional handicap of being a Mormon, a widely misunderstood denomination outside of the American spiritual mainstream that some religions consider to be a cult despite, perhaps ironically, it's deep commitment to family values.

How outside?

While nearly half of Republican voters have identified themselves as evangelicals in recent primary exit polls and they make up a highly influential part of the GOP base, a mere 20 percent have indicated support for Romney, who at this point would seem to be the only candidate with even a slim chance of beating President Obama.

It should be understand that evangelicals don't necessarily not support Romney because of his faith. He is a notorious flip-flopper and will have to do more than assemble a crack campaign team and raise buckets of money, both of which he has done, to survive the Republican primaries.

But it nevertheless is a shame -- and shaming -- that while the Constitution stipulates that there be no religious test for public office and it is my belief that a candidate's private beliefs should be off-limits, Romney will be dogged by his every day from here on out.

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