Monday, January 08, 2007

Why a Mormon President is Nothing to Fear

There's a great article in the New Republic Online today by John B. Judis. Why a Mormon President is Nothing to Fear is a direct response to recent articles by Slate's Jacob Weisberg and the New Republic's Damon Linker. I think Judis does a great job of responding to the arguments raised by both Weisberg and Linker.

To Weisberg's argument that believing Mormons are unqualified for office because their beliefs are "irrational and absurd," Judis correctly points out that Latter-day Saint beliefs are "no more so than the beliefs of many Protestants, Catholics, and Jews." Ultimately, if there is going to require that faith's pass a test of so-called reason, most faiths are going to fail.

To Linker's concern about Mormons and their Church's prophetic tradition, Judis responds with a series of questions:
The first question is whether the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in America have been inclined to make such immoral pronouncements. They haven't, and there is no evidence they are about to. And the second question is whether Romney has displayed the kind of fanatical commitment that, if they were to do so, would override the moral and political considerations that a politician brings to bear in making decisions. And there is no evidence that Romney--or his father or Harry Reid or Orrin Hatch or Jeff Flake--would. In other words, there is no reason not to give Romney the same pass that voters like Weisberg or Linker gave to Catholic or Jewish candidates.
Judis sums up by saying:
Certainly, there is a bridge between religion and politics that politicians cannot safely cross. And that consists in bringing particular, sectarian beliefs openly to bear on major national issues. George W. Bush is often accused of doing so, but he has actually has been fairly careful not to--for instance, in his decision on stem-cell research. It's a presumption of American politics that politicians will not cross this bridge. We've now given this benefit of a doubt to Catholics and Jews. It's time to give it to Mormons like Harry Reid and Mitt Romney.


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