July 8, 2011

A Religious Double-Standard for Mormons

Once again, CNN is asking, "Is America ready for a Mormon president?" Sure we are! We've already had a moron president. But seriously, I think we are seeing a fascinating double-standard here that should be called out.

In order for a Republican candidate to get to the general election, he or she must first win the primary. To do so, the candidate must find a way to appeal to sufficient numbers of evangelical fundamentalist Christians. This is often regarded as a challenge for Mormon candidates, who tend to be viewed with suspicion by this voting block.

Mitt Romney
Now take a look at the advice Stephen Prothero has for John Huntsman:
Romney also has a “temple recommend,” which is a sort of certificate of good standing in Mormonism. Huntsman has not yet publicly said whether he has a “temple recommend.”

If he doesn’t, I would recommend that he forego it. America is often said to be a land of the free and the home of the brave, but when it comes to presidential candidates one’s religious freedom is often circumscribed. Therefore, the requisite virtue is not bravery but moderation.

At least when it comes to Mormon presidential candidates, a little faith may go a long way.
Prothero is not suggesting that Huntsman lie about his faith, but he is suggesting that Huntsman tone it down a bit. Can you imagine what would happen if he said the same thing about Bachmann?

I think it is important to recognize that what Mormons believe really isn't any sillier than what mainstream Christians believe. Perhaps the question we should be asking is whether we really need another president who believes in fairy tales.