News / USA

Romney Faces Political Challenge Over Religion

In U.S. presidential politics, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has a narrow lead over Georgia businessman Herman Cain in the latest CNN-ORC poll.  Most political analysts consider Romney the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination next year, but he is on the defensive about his religion. Romney is a member of the Mormon Church, formally known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons believe in the Christian Bible but also follow teachings from their founder and a holy book separate from the Bible.

“He is a true conservative and a genuine follower of Jesus Christ!” said Reverend Robert Jeffress -- an evangelical christian minister who supports Texas Governor Rick Perry for president.

Jeffress favors Perry over frontrunner Mitt Romney because the former Massachusetts governor is a Mormon.  “In my estimation, Mormonism is a cult, and it would give credence to a cult to have a Mormon candidate,” Jeffress said.

Jeffress says Mormons are moral people, but not part of mainstream Christianity, something Morman believer Linda Jensen finds offensive.  “It is not a cult.  We don’t have horns.  We don’t have several wives.  So let’s get past that,” Jensen said.

Many Americans prefer to keep politics and religion separate. But it doesn't always work that way.

Perry and Romney sparred over the Jeffress comments during the latest Republican debate in Las Vegas.

“That individual expressed an opinion.  I didn’t agree with it, Mitt, and I said so.  But the fact is Americans understand faith and what they have lost faith in is the current resident of the White House,” Perry said.

“That idea that we should choose people based upon their religion for public office is what I find to be most troubling because the founders of this country went to great lengths and even put it in the Constitution that we would not choose people to represent us in government based upon their religion,” Romney said.  (APTN DROPLINE 10-18-11 9PM 00:24:49:19 to 00:25:06:18)

Public opinion surveys show that most Americans are tolerant of diverse religious views, unless they are seen as extreme.

That is reflected in a recent sampling of opinion in Los Angeles.

“It is the extremist that I have a problem with, basically because they kind of preach towards everybody and expect everyone to believe the way they do,” a woman said.

“I live in Arizona, so we have a lot of Mormons and they interact like anybody else who is Catholic or Protestant, Baptist.  To each his own,” one man said.

Mitt Romney might be hurt by the reluctance of some Christian voters to support him, says Daniel Cox with the Public Religion Research Institute in Washington.

“Evangelicals are a vital part of the Republican primary constituency.  They are about one in four voters overall, and they make up a significant portion of the Republican primary electorate, particularly in places like Iowa and South Carolina and Florida,” said Cox.

But Cox also says there is a way for Romney to overcome some of those doubts. “And so if Romney can convince voters, particularly Evangelical voters in the Republican primaries, that he shares their political values, there is a good chance that the religious values may not be as important,” Cox said.

If he wins the Republican nomination and defeats President Barack Obama next year, Mitt Romney would become the country’s first Mormon president.

**In an earlier version of this story we incorrectly stated that the Mormon Church generally follows Christian precepts but adheres to its own founder and holy book separate from the Christian Bible.  This has been changed to a sentence stating: "Mormons believe in the Christian Bible but also follow teachings from their founder and a holy book separate from the Bible."  VOA regrets the error.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid