To the vast majority of people, the answer is 'no'. No one cares, we have become very accepting of people's religions unless, of course, they claim to be Muslim. The boogie-man of Islam-a-hate is alive and well and it is unlikely we will see a decent human being who chooses the Quran (Koran) for spiritual guidance. That's okay, Catholics were not favored either until Kennedy and even then, it was a struggle for Irish Catholics to be taken seriously. All this is part of our collective history and part of this magical and painful evolution in our democracy that we must endure.
With all candidates for President in the GOP being Evangelical Christians, the only one that stands out like a sore thumb is Mitt Romney because he is a practicing Mormon and most people only know that there are those within the Mormon culture who believe polygamy is a God-given right as ordained by Joseph Smith. We also know that HBO's "Big Love" was a delightful, crazy show, that made many contemplate various angles of polygamy; The ones who openly choose as adults to embark in a plural marriage and those who are forced into that lifestyle since birth.
The Mormon religion is viewed as "weird", a "cult", and shrouded in strange practices that other religions and mainstream society view as unhealthy, amoral or borderline illegal. The fact is that most people know very little about the Mormon religion and Mitt Romney's presence in the GOP field as a viable candidate for the presidency makes the situation even more salacious. Why? because no one knows enough about it and no one cares until the man jumps in the race for the second time. The controversy over Mitt Romney is worst this time around, because among the other participants he stands out as the only logical and level-headed individual in the room.
That in itself is enough to drive righ-wing extremists over the edge and overlook every "peculiarity" about Michelle Bachmann. Including her affinity for hearing the voice of god in her head telling her to major in tax law, marry her husband, run for Congress.... the list goes on. To hear Michelle Bachmann talk, one gets the impression that even what to have for breakfast or when to fast is dictated by the voice of god, which she clearly hears in her head.
Mitt Romney looks like the most normal person in the world compared to the likes of Bachmann, Palin, Ron Paul, Pawlenty, and Newt Gringrich.
Basic things we take for granted about the Mormon religion:
Mountain Meadows Massacre : Mormons slaughtered emigrants in a cowardly attack and entrapment. There are a variety of books that explore this part of the Mormon history.
They wear "Magic underwear"
The man is the family's religious leader or "priesthood holder"
Mormon women's depression has been written about extensively.
Blacks were not allowed any of the privileges of being Mormon until 1978.
There are over 13 million Mormons world-wide. Most recent conversions, of all places; Africa.
It is rumored that they have strange rituals in which elders watch a virgin couple have sex on their wedding night.
But there is more to Mormon current religious practices, secret rituals and what is required to be a high-ranking member like Romney. Yes, much more and some of it is hard to digest and a lot of it hard to believe.
Tricia Erickson who, as a former Mormon, has some very strong opinions about Mitt Romney will gladly explain it all if we give her enough time. Her book titled "Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters" has created concern among Mormons who are busy discrediting her in blogs and forums.
Tricia Erickson questions whether she wants a president that believes he will become a god upon his death and whose allegiance to the church, its teachings, and its policies are part of a sworn oath in which the Mormon Church will take precedence over the United State's Constitution.
Tricia Erickson has some very strong opinions and insight, among them:"An indoctrinated Mormon should never be elected President" - the highlighted link will take you to the CNN interview. Her position as of today has not changed and on a radio interview this afternoon, she repeated some of her insights into the depth and breath of Mitt Romney's commitment to Mormonism and how bad this is for America. I'll render a more informed opinion after I read the book and cross-check facts.
If we can't trust Mitt Romney to govern the country to serve all people equally because he wears his religion on his sleeve, can we trust anyone who claims their religion is the driving force in their life? Could this be why the Founding Fathers decided on separation of Church and State? It certainly had nothing to do with the Mormon Church, since it had not been invented at that time.
Much has been made about the Mormon's belief that their religion is superior to others. Mormons believe Catholics are darn near the Anti-Christ... but wait! So do the Evangelicals right? They think their religion, and them by extension, are better than anyone else.
Pastor John Hagee called the Catholic Church, "The Great Whore of Babylon" among other despicable and unrepeatable diatribe against Haiti and New Orleans that reeks of racism to high heaven. Most recently, he has denounced Oprah Winfrey as a tool of the devil or such nonsense and blamed the troubles of Japan on the Emperor having sexual relations with the Sun Goddess. (yeah baby! when they have an affair with a demon, it is a hot one!)
But what about Palin's exorcism and the clear hatred of Jews by the KENYAN pastor who is an expert in casting out witches? She claims he was instrumental in getting her to the Governor's mansion by praying over her. The video below is from Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow reporting on the story.
But what about Catholics? Can we trust a Catholic as President? Would his/her allegiance be to the Pope? or to America? That was the rhetoric spewed against President Kennedy and if there was another Catholic (a real one, not a Gingrich type) running for president, we will hear all of that again. We can almost bet money on it.
Religious wars need to be fought out of our government. Lunatics and radicals use the cloak of religion to never have to answer any questions on policy because they wrap themselves in religious righteousness and will quote the Bible to justify their actions. Or in Mitt Romney's case, follow The Book of Mormon and his church superiors.
Some of these people are well funded delusional zealots - Michelle Bachmann is someone that once we put aside the ridicule, we need to ask ourselves if a mental health evaluation is in order.
Her husband, Marcus Bachmann, is a partner in a clinic that works "to cure the gay" His recent remarks can be seen in the video below and it makes you wonder if this entire concept of separation of Church and State by our Founding Fathers was put in place with just cause.
Could they have envision the current level of religious insanity (or fervor) that has permeated our political discourse since President Obama was elected? Could they have envisioned the litmus test President Obama would be forced to pass time and again to prove his Christianity? - Or had they seen enough religious history ending in debauchery, prosecutions, rape, delusion and unbridled need for power and wealth in their own life time that they wanted to spare us and ensure that a democracy truly serves all people regardless of their faith?
Boy! did we screw up by allowing religion to intrude in our governance.
I am wondering if we will ever elected someone who claims to be agnostic, Wickan, or an atheist. Even though religion should not be an issue, if we can't avoid it, maybe we need to try something new because the rhetoric and insanity is failing to shock and awe. We get bored and annoyed.
Thinking individuals look for substance in a person, not religious dogma.
Image: Cross by renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net