Mitt Romney is a Mormon

Mitt Romney is a Mormon

Mitt Romney is the first presidential nominee (I have little doubt that he will receive the GOP nomination) I can recall from either of the two big parties who has not used nearly every opportunity to talk about his faith. If one did not know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon, one could be forgiven for wondering if he might be an atheist.

The Romney campaign knows that roughly 18% of Americans polled say they would not vote for a Mormon for president, and their solution has been to have their candidate avoid speaking directly about his Mormon faith. Romney still talks about his faith, but he does so in an unusually vague manner, omitting the part about being a Mormon and attempting to steer the discussion away from it.

This strategy of avoidance has been effective, as the same Gallup poll cited above found that 40% of Americans do not know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. This is good news for the Romney campaign because voters who do not know about Romney's faith are less likely to have questions about what Mormons believe.

Here in Mississippi where hatred of President Obama runs high, Mormons are not particularly popular. The Southern Baptist majority considers them a cult, and many question whether Mormons are even Christian. I have little doubt that Romney will win Mississippi, but I do wonder how comfortable many of my neighbors will be with casting their votes for a candidate they do not perceive as Christian. What will they tell themselves as they head to the polls?

To the degree that we value an informed electorate, it seems like communicating the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon can be justified. Do you think the media would give the first legitimate Scientologist presidential candidate a pass? And how about the first atheist presidential candidate nominated by a major political party? No, in these cases, everyone would accept the need to inform the public.