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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid