Jimmy Akin previously wrote “To elect a Mormon to the American presidency would, to my mind, be a disaster.” In part he backed up his assertion by saying:
It would not only spur Mormon recruitment efforts in numerous ways, it would mainstreamize the religion in a way that would deeply confuse the American public about the central doctrine of the Christian faith. It would give the public the idea that Mormons are Christian (an all-too-frequent misunderstanding as it is) and that polytheism is somehow compatible with Christianity.
In other words, it would deal a huge blow to the American public’s already shaky understanding of what Christianity is.
I have some sympathy with this argument and as Jimmy lays out there are certainly prudential cases where you really need to weigh the religion of a candidate – especially for president.
Some have contrasted anti-Catholic bigotry with anti-Mormon bigotry and the unwillingness of the general population to vote for a Catholic president in the past and now a Mormon one. There are certainly some contrasts, but also a lot of distinctions to be made regarding differences.
In some ways the election of John F. Kennedy certainly mainstreamed Catholicism and pretty much removed the controversy of a Catholic running for President. Catholicism is much more accepted now or at least cultural and cafeteria Catholicism is much more accepted now. JFK was not the only factor – certainly Venerable Fulton J. Sheen played a role in making Catholicism more acceptable. And Mormons had Donny and Marie – yeah Catholics won that one.
Now to take a different tact on what Jimmy suggests would happen with the election of a Mormon president. I think you can certainly make the case that the mainstreaming of Catholicism has not been all good. This mainstreaming had an affect on Catholic identity that weakened it. There is something about persecution that certainly brings a group closer in a shared identity leading to taking that identity more seriously. Cultural trends among Catholics are now fairly identical to non-Catholics.
So I could almost wish the blessing/curse of mainstreaming of Mormonism leading to a disruption in Mormon culture and practice. I “almost wish” since I do not want to see a disruption in Mormon families, just in the adherence to this religion. Being a blogger and not a prophet I really can’t say whether the election of Mitt Romney would be a boon or a bane (yes can’t resist political puns) for Mormonism in the long run.
Though Romney’s mormonism is not the only thing that keeps me totally unenthusiastic about his candidacy.
This is a rather crude and inexact comparison but Mitt Romney to me is like a less-than-attractive women at a bar that keeps looking better and better the more beer your drink. President Obama is a whole ton of beer making Mitt Romney seem attractive as a conservative.
In other Romney news a phone app has been released that will announce his VP pick.
“With this new app, users can be the first to know the second member of America’s Comeback Team.”
The free app, called “Mitt’s VP,” is available on the iPhone and Android platforms.
Hmm, I need to get busy working on and announcing my own app so you can be the first to know my displeasure at whoever he picks as VP.