Cover Story > Cover Story Sidebar

Can a Mormon be president?

"Can a Mormon be president?" Continued...

Issue: "Focus on Mitt Romney," July 16, 2011

Some argue that we elect a president, not a preacher, but this argument fails to account for a president's "bully pulpit." He is a preacher, apologist-in-chief for the American Vision. In this vital role, worldview matters. We have a right to expect the president to project a vision consistent with the beliefs, values, and ideals we've long held as a country.

I sometimes hear the related argument that we don't ask an airplane pilot his religion, only that he can fly the plane. But we do ask airplane pilots their religion-at least indirectly. A theologian friend is fond of saying, "There are no postmodern airplane pilots." He means that pilots do not merely push levers and twist knobs. They have a core set of beliefs and values about how the universe operates. They believe in the physical laws of the universe. Their behavior in the cockpit directly connects to their beliefs about the world.

Romney's strategy has been to talk about "values" and dodge questions about religion, as if they were somehow unrelated. He hopes that as America accepted John Kennedy's Catholicism, so too will America accept his Mormonism. But Kennedy gave a famous speech to the Houston Baptists about religion that explained his views and calmed concerns. Romney's problem is that if he really believes what the Mormon Church teaches, he dare not make that speech. The American people will say, "Really? Are you kidding me?" Or, if he says he doesn't believe what the Mormon Church teaches, fellow Mormons will feel betrayed and even those who have trouble with the Mormon Church will nonetheless wonder about a man who can't stand up for his own.

Yogi Berra famously said, "Predictions are dangerous, especially predictions about the future." That said, my prediction is that for Romney these problems are insurmountable and will ultimately bring down his bid for the presidency.

Comments

You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading

     

    Phoning it in

    Tests via smartphone may soon challenge traditional methods

    Advertisement