Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Religion in the White House
Mark Osler opens this article analyzing how JFK memorably addressed his religion, which was a highly debated topic. A good opening, but he describes Kennedy's approach as a bit bumbling (which it obviously was not, otherwise he would not have been elected; anyone who has reviewed his method and the speech in question and its aftermath can see how effective and brilliant it was).
He then goes on to say:
Would this issue be coming up so much if Romney weren't a Mormon? I think not. Religion is always a source of curiosity, attack, and character analysis in presidential (or any) elections, but this time more than ever because of the stigmas surrounding the LDS religion. As a non-Mormon who has lived my entire life in a predominantly Mormon state, I can say that I don't think it will impact Romney as much as outsiders uninformed on the religion seem to believe. The nicest and most open-minded Mormons tend to be those that live outside of Utah. Here there is a lot of groupthink that goes on and it can make for some uncomfortable tensions, but YES--MORMONS ARE NICE AND POSSESS BRAINS-- and speaking from experience non-Utahn Mormons seem to be most immune to the groupthink. Mormons are (shocker) people like all of us and their beliefs may be labelled radical and ridiculous by others but what religion on this earth hasn't been accused of the same? With so many unique and diverse religions in the world I personally think critics and outsiders are obsessed with Mormonism because it is relatively new, pretty local to the U.S., and has all the masonic mystery surrounding it that draw people in, but I don't believe that this religion, or any religion really, would have such a hold on a person that they wouldn't be able to keep their personal beliefs and what is best for their country separate. Someone obsessively dedicated to their religion and unable to keep it out of their work life wouldn't be running for the presidency anyhow (conspiracies aside).
I catch Osler's drift but I do believe he is taking it too far. I'll be curious to see how Romney addresses his religious beliefs and the numerous attacks that are made on them. Hopefully he'll take a leaf out of Kennedy's book.