News / USA

Romney's Religion Could be Factor in US Presidential Race

Republican presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain (l) speaks as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney listens during a Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, October 11, 2011.
Republican presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain (l) speaks as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney listens during a Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, October 11, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

In U.S. presidential politics, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has a narrow lead over Georgia businessman Herman Cain in the latest CNN-ORC public opinion poll.  Most experts consider Romney the frontrunner for the Republican Party's presidential nomination next year.  But in recent weeks, Romney has been on the defensive about his religion and the issue came into focus during the latest Republican candidates' debate in Las Vegas.  Romney is a member of the Mormon Church, which generally follows Christian precepts, but adheres to its own founder and holy book separate from the Christian Bible.

The intersection of politics and religion in the 2012 race for the White House came into sharp focus because of comments from an evangelical Christian pastor, Robert Jeffress, who supports Texas Governor Rick Perry for president.

Jeffress opposes Mitt Romney because of his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church.

"In my estimation, Mormonism is a cult," said Jeffress.  "And it would give credence to a cult to have a Mormon candidate."

Mormons generally follow Christian precepts, but adhere to their own church founder, Joseph Smith, and a holy book, the Book of Mormon, which is separate from the Christian Bible.

Jeffress says Mormons are moral people, but are not part of mainstream Christianity - a view many Mormons dispute.

The religious issue was raised during the Republican debate in Las Vegas this week, when Rick Perry was asked about Jeffress's comments.

"That individual expressed an opinion," said Perry.  "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 [President Barack Obama]."

Mitt Romney said that using any kind of religious test for political candidates is wrong.

"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," noted Romney.

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

That was backed up by a recent sampling of opinion in Los Angeles.  However, Romney might be hurt by the reluctance of some Christian voters to support him, says Daniel Cox with the Public Religion Research Institute here in Washington.

"Evangelicals are a vital part of the Republican primary constituency," said Cox.  "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."

But Cox says there is a way for Romney to overcome some of those doubts.

"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 explained.

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

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid