Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Mormon Question

This letter appeared in yesterday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Since first arriving in Moscow, to start school at the University of Idaho in 1961, I have always been proud to say I live here. The cultural, religious, ethnic, and racial mixture of our residents has made life here both interesting and pleasurable. Vera White's INK column (March 30) disturbed me. She identified Mike Hoffman (A mystery solved) as "Christ Church member Mike Hoffman."

In this diversified community I was shocked. Would you refer to city supervisor Gary Riedner as Catholic Church member Gary Riedner, or City Councilwoman Linda Pall as Jewish? I hope this reference was not malicious. I, for one, would appreciate her being more sensitive to others regardless of their religious differences, in her future commentary.

Rick Beebe, Moscow
Nothing more clearly demonstrates what small-minded, ignorant, intolerant bigots the coterie of Moscow liberals are than their crusade against Christ Church. Even liberal columnists like Tom Henderson and Jim Fisher of the Lewiston Tribune rail against this bigotry. It makes no one take them (or their causes) seriously.

What concerns me most, however, is when I see such religious bigotry among conservatives.

We conservatives believe in tradtional American values: hard work, individual liberty, self-reliance, free enterprise, patriotism, and faith in God. That faith in God is not limited to theology. There are Jewish conservatives, Catholic conservatives, Protestant conservatives, etc.

A recent Gallup poll on presidential candidate preferences brought forward some troubling issues.

Conservatives are widely accused by liberals as being racists. Yet the Gallup poll found that 92% of conservatives would vote for a black presidential candidate versus 95% of liberals, a statistical tie. So much for that old saw.

However, 75% of liberals would vote for a Mormon candidate versus just 66% of conservatives. Overall, 72% of Americans would vote for a Mormon candidate and 24% would not.

Compare that with 67% of liberals who would vote for an atheist, while only 29% of conservatives would vote for an atheist.

Proof that some prejudices die harder than others is that overall, Americans have grown vastly more supportive over the last 70 years of virtually every type of non-traditional presidential candidate (Jewish, black, Catholic, or a woman) except for a Mormon.

Some of this disparity, no doubt, comes from the unease that some Evangelicals, who comprise a sizable portion of conservatives, have about Mormonism. As an Evangelical, I admit LDS beliefs are somewhat of a mystery to me.

Prominent conservative blogger and talk show host Hugh Hewitt has stated that Evangelicals should not withhold votes for a candidate based purely on theological disagreement. He fears that if Christians attack someone like Mitt Romney for his faith, it won't be long before secular liberals attack Christians on similar grounds. In fact, that is what we are seeing in Moscow now.

We, as conservatives, must not step into that cesspool. One of my favorite movies is "Gettysburg," based on the Michael Shaara book "The Killer Angels." There is a great line in the movie that goes:
Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one a time.
I will judge Mitt Romney by his policies, his words, and his actions, not his church membership. To do otherwise would be to engage in the petty snobbery and elitism that the PARDners do with Wal-Mart.

Ronald Reagan focused on what united us when he spoke of America as the "shining city on a hill." Let us not dishonor his legacy by focusing on what divides us, as the leftists do.


Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

Hear, hear! Such ridiculous bickering amongst our ranks is not only exactly what the left could most use, this particular issue is a form of ugliness that we need to be rid of, lest we make a mockery of our core values.

April E. Coggins said...

A persons religion or lack of religion is a very pertinent part of determining the character of the person. The letter writer objected to one religion being singled out for special treatment by a private newspaper. As a voter, I don't believe it is out of line to judge a candidate, in part, because of his or her religion.
Would you feel the same if the Republican candidate was a Muslim?
Hopefully, we still support and reward political candidates because of their and our beliefs.

Tom Forbes said...

Rev. Jerry Falwell put it well on a special on Fox News last night. He said if he had to have surgery, he would take the atheist brain surgeon over the Sunday School teacher. We need the best qualified person for the office, regardless of faith, as America's survival in the War on Terror is at stake.

As far as Muslims go, I don't think it is theology that is the issue. I think many Americans question why ordinary Muslims seem to sympathize with or condone the extremist political aspects of the religion that are sworn to destroy our freedoms and way of life.

Tom Forbes said...

And yes, I do agree that a person's morals are very important with regards to being President. Again, Jerry Falwell has said:

"We're not trying to find a Sunday school teacher in chief; we're trying to find a commander in chief. Where he goes to church will not be a factor; how he lives his life will be."


"I have no problem voting for a person who is not of my faith as long as he or she stands with me on the moral and social issues."

Dr. Roger Honeythief said...

I agree hole hearted! We right minded are in the right when it comes to affairs such as these. The liberal attaks on persecuted religious types in moscow is shameful. Just like the jews, though they complain too much, the christ churchers are wandering in the waist-land, and are deserving of our support in developing moscow as there homeland. Roger.