Mitt Romney is a Mormon; a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That hurt him, at least a little, in South Carolina's Republican primary Saturday. According to exit polls, of the 60 percent or so of voters who said the candidate's religious beliefs matter a "great deal" or "somewhat," 44 percent backed Gingrich, a Roman Catholic, and only one-fifth voted for Romney. Many admitted that it was Romney's religion that made them vote for someone else.
If you take his church out of the equation, Romney just flat-out doesn't fit the bill as a Conservative to some people. He is often accused of being a Progressive, there's also the Romney Care fiasco and more. Add in the misconceptions about his church and Newt Gingrich screaming about God, country and a Marxist president and you get a whole bunch of fired up evangelicals in South Carolina.
Some voters in S.C. cited the most common thing said against the church, that it's a cult. Next, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints isn't a Christian church. Online, the reasons for that belief vary, "They don't believe in the Holy Trinity" (true) to "They don't believe Jesus is the son of God" (false). There's plenty of other reasons anti-Mormons give for the church not being Christian. The argument will probably never die.
Of course, you can't mention the LDS church without bringing up polygamy. It's getting a bit old. After all, it was banned in 1890. Sure there are groups who have branched off from the LDS church and continue to practice. Well, a lot of Catholics believe contraception is a sin. There are a ton more complaints, lies and crazy things said about the church. There are certainly also facts about the church that non-members, and even some members, are really uncomfortable about.
Isn't Christianity about love and forgiveness, not attacking someone who has beliefs different from yours? The hypocrisy of it is similar to what is sometimes said about political Liberals. They talk about loving and embracing everyone, equal rights and free-speech...until you disagree with them.
The church makes a point of not endorsing political candidates. While it's true that Romney will get most of the "Mormon vote", there are many members who don't care for his politics. Take Harry Reid, for instance, not too many members will admit to agreeing with him. He stands for almost everything the average LDS member is against. If members take a close look at Romney, they will discover that his politics are similar to Reid's.
Apparently, for the LDS haters, being an adulterer is better than being LDS. Will the evangelical vote be enough to propel Gingrich to the nomination? Perhaps, but the likelihood of either of them actually beating President Obama in November is slim. Maybe in 2016. Until then, maybe voters could focus on the issues that make Romney a poor candidate rather than his church.
Photo: Murry Dalton
Â© Margie Wilson-Mars