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Did Romney's speech make a difference?
by Clipper
Dec 10, 2007 | 357 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This past week, Mitt Romney delivered a speech about his religious faith and the faith of all Americans that the values of our beliefs should influence our government. But because of the religious bigotry that exists in the Republican Party, Romney felt he had to do a "JFK" type speech to convince GOP voters that the LDS Church will not dictate the office of a U.S. President.

In reality, this was a speech that should not have been given. After more than 200 years of religious freedom and the right to worship as we please, we still find some Americans who cannot accept certain Christian religions as Christianity. Many of the evangelicals in the Republican Party believe that members of the LDS faith are not Christians and believe of that the church is a cult. But the description of a Christian is someone that follows Christ. And the dictionary definition of a cult is a system of religious rites with zealous devotion to a person, ideal or thing. In other words, the overzealous practices of the right wing evangelicals may suit the definition of a cult better than the title conservatives give Mormons.

Even though Romney gave a great speech, nothing has changed. In fact, his Iowa poll numbers have dropped his position to third in the GOP Presidential Primary race. The problem Romney has is his party affiliation with the Republican Party. Sadly, the Zealous Right has taken over the GOP and has pushed aside the reasonable, moderate party faithful.

Ironically, this type of discrimination that LDS Republicans are feeling from National GOP members is similar to a political bias in Utah politics. The discrimination in this state has been against LDS Democrats. It is interesting to watch Mormon Republicans wanting the country to accept them as Christians. Yet over the years, those same Mormon Republicans have rejected Mormon Democrats with statements like, "You can't be a good Mormon and be a Democrat."

Most Democrats believe that religion should shape the character of a person, but religion should not be used in determining an election. In fact, Romney mentioned Article Six in the Constitution where a religious test is not to be used in any election. However, party affiliation and religion has been a part of voting for decades, especially in Utah.

In today's politics, religious bigotry mostly exists in the Republican Party. An example is Senator Harry Reid. The most powerful elected Mormon Democrat in the country lives in a state where only 7 percent of the population is LDS. Clearly it is because most voters, especially Democrats, look for someone who will represent the people. Likewise, Democrats in Utah feel it is more important to represent hard, working families rather than submit themselves to an over zealous group of self-interested attitudes.

Hopefully, Romney's speech will be a wake up call for voters. We need to elect competent and ethical leaders rather than vote for one's religion or political party. The time is now to unite rather than divide our communities.

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