Two of the candidates for the Republican nomination, John Huntsman and Mitt Romney, are Mormons, and Romney is leading in most national polls.
Huntsman, the other Mormon candidate, trails badly, probably because he's more centrist. His religion isn't really a
factor, his beliefs on science are. Huntsman probably can't make it through the Republican primaries because of his acknowledgment of global warming and evolution; that makes him anathema for most mainstream R's, much more than his faith.
Is the Church of The Latter Day Saints a "cult", as Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffries claimed. The great novelist Tom Wolfe once famously said, "A cult is a religion with no political power." Well, with two Republican candidates for president, the Senate majority leader, five other senators, nine or 10 congressmen (depending on how you count the delegate from U.S. Samoa), one governor, and untold other Mormons in office, I'd say the question of political power is moot at this point.
And come to think of it, I can picture a couple of centurions on a street corner in Rome around 40 A.D., talking about that cult that follows some guy from Judea. "Cult" really is in the eye of the beholder.
It says much about our country that we've come to this place, where a person whose religious beliefs are considered odd by many Americans can be seriously considered for the top office in our land. For that, I'm proud of our tolerance, the evolution of our attitudes, and the progress we've made.
The fact that the religious intolerance of Pastor Jeffries is being condemned also makes me proud. As I said in tonight's commentary, he has every right to say it. And we have every right to hold it against him. He also put his favored candidate, the man he calls "a real Christian" in a difficult spot in tomorrow night's Republican debate. Will
Texas Governor Rick Perry distance himself from those remarks and risk alienating his Christian Evangelist base? Should be interesting.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun