Are We Ready for a Mormon President?
Polling of the American public has consistently revealed that only Islam is a more damaging faith for a prospective presidential candidate than Mormonism.
Americans are suspicious that a Mormon President would take orders from Salt Lake City. This reservation about Mormonism is understandable given that Mormons predominately reside in the Mountain West, which makes their religion little known outside the area.
But upon closer inspection, we discover that Mormonism is in fact one of the most American of religions. No other religion gives America such a central place in its theology or views such founding documents like the Constitution as divinely-inspired.
Mormons also have played an instrumental role in our definition and understanding of marriage, church-state relations, and popular culture, as I and my co-author, Lynita K. Newswander, have written in our new book, LDS in USA: Mormonism and the Making of American Culture.
Is the American public finally ready for a Mormon president, if Mitt Romney wins his party’s nomination and the general election?
This would be a remarkable achievement, similar to John Kennedy’s 1960 election to the presidency as a Catholic. Although there has been long-standing prejudice against Catholics in America, they did not have to flee the country due to religious persecution, something which the Mormons did.
In this election cycle, we will see whether this is moment for Mormons to take center stage in the American politics.
Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Andy Rapp, Q-TV, Delta College, or PBS.