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My Take: For Huntsman, a little faith could go a long way
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman in New Jersey last week shortly after announcing his presidential candidacy.
June 28th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: For Huntsman, a little faith could go a long way

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

One of the more intriguing questions posed by Mitt Romney's presidential run is whether a Mormon can win the Oval Office. Now that former Utah governor John Huntsman Jr. (also a Mormon) has announced his candidacy, a new question emerges: What sort of Mormon might be elected president?

As any visitor to Disney World’s “Hall of Presidents” can tell you, Americans prefer their presidents white, male, and Protestant.

Only two presidents have overcome these desiderata (John Kennedy and Barack Obama), and they have run against their religion (in the case of Kennedy) and their race (in the case of Obama), reassuring the American people that they weren’t really all that Catholic or all that black — that they were Americans first, and members of their religious or racial communities second.

“I am not the Catholic candidate for President,” Kennedy said in his famous speech on his Catholicism in Houston in September 1960. “I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who happens also to be a Catholic.”

Kennedy then went on to describe his vision of an America “where religious intolerance will someday end, . . . where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote. . . where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.”

This vision, of course, has not yet come to pass. The population of India is 80% Hindu, yet its Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is an adherent of a religious tradition (Sikhism) that accounts for less than 2% of Indian citizens. So far, however, this is not the American way.

Roughly half of Americans today say they would not vote for an otherwise qualified atheist for president and, according to a Gallup Poll released earlier this month, 22% say they would not vote for an otherwise qualified Mormon.

Nonetheless, I think there is a huge difference between considering a Mormon president in the abstract and considering a particular Mormon candidate. In other words, some of those who say that they would not vote for an otherwise qualified Mormon for president might vote for Romney or Huntsman.

This is more likely to happen, in my view, with a candidate who, like Kennedy, downplays his religious identity or one, like Obama, who downplays his racial identity–a luxury, I might add, that is not really available to female candidates.

So far, Huntsman seems to be playing the Kennedy card far more effectively than Romney.

In a 2010 Fortune magazine interview conducted while he was serving as U.S. Ambassador to China, Huntsman said, "I can't say I am overly religious," adding that his children go to Catholic schools and one of his adopted daughters was born into Buddhism and another into Hinduism. "I get satisfaction from many different types of religions and philosophies,” Huntsman said.

In Time magazine interview in May, Huntsman even refused to say whether he was still a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I’m a very spiritual person,” he said, “and proud of my Mormon roots.” But when asked point-blank whether he was an LDS member he responded, “That’s tough to define,” adding that “there are varying degrees. I come from a long line of saloon keepers and proselytizers, and I draw from both sides.”

Later in May, Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller said that the ex-governor "remains a member of the church and proud to be part of the fabric of a large, vibrant faith." Still, it is clear that Huntsman’s strategy, at least for now, is to run as the “happen to be a Mormon” candidate.

This strategy isn't really available to Romney, who for roughly a decade in the 1980s and 1990s served in the Boston area as a ward bishop and then stake president in his church.

Romney also has a “temple recommend,” which is a sort of certificate of good standing in Mormonism. Huntsman has not yet publicly said whether he has a “temple recommend.”

If he doesn’t, I would recommend that he forego it. America is often said to be a land of the free and the home of the brave, but when it comes to presidential candidates one’s religious freedom is often circumscribed. Therefore, the requisite virtue is not bravery but moderation.

At least when it comes to Mormon presidential candidates, a little faith may go a long way.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics • Polls • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (262 Responses)
  1. Marie Kidman

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEwrJsyh8tE

    July 1, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  2. Marie Kidman

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig
    ,

    June 30, 2011 at 3:31 am |
  3. John Stefanyszyn

    "...that they were Americans first, and members of their religious or racial communities second."
    This is a quote from your article.
    This is the true description of their belief and way of life. Their first belief is in the desire to serve one's self interest. This is the belief in freedom of rights. This is the belief in self-rule...the belief in democrasy.
    Americans, nations, of any religious faith...whether it be any "Christian" denomination, Muslim faith, Jewish faith, and any other faiths, should not have any concerns since any future president does not place the True God and His Christ before the belief of the people in freedom of self-rights.

    However, there is Only One True Creator Father and the Only Way to Him is through His Anointed Son, Jesus Christ.

    What will theses men and mankind say to Christ when He returns to put in place the One True Way , The Will of the Creator God?

    June 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      Who cares?

      June 30, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  4. Zelda

    Mormons cannot have "true" faith in Jesus because they are not Christians. They have faith in some perverted version of a Christ. Mormons do the Devil's work.

    June 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      I'm married to a Mormon woman who certainly thinks she believes in Christ. She reads from the King James Bible all the time. She goes about her life trying hard to do what is right and she constantly asks what Jesus would do in this situation. She is the most Christian woman I have ever known. Your silly denial of Mormon Christianity would be more offensive if it didn't insult you more than it does her. I think you may be the one with the perverted views of Christ. Maybe you should go home and read that Bible again.

      June 30, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Ray

      I'm an atheist so I'm not going to argue but which is the "true" version of christianity, but it saddens me to see this kind of prejudice on parade, just as it saddens me when people say that catholics are not true christians. "Christian" and "moral" are not synonyms. In fact there is no correlation between how religious someone is and how moral they are.

      July 3, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  5. Marie Kidman

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig
    "

    June 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  6. roumen tomanov

    Sorry, I meant once, of course.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  7. roumen tomanov

    The ones great GOP has come to this-the only 2 reasonable, non-fanatical, sane presidential candidates are Mormons.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  8. Reality

    Huntsman is wasting his money. BO's, approved finding and execution of bin Laden, an economy that will continue to recover and the fact that BO is also the leader of the Immoral Majority i.e.. the 70+ million voting "mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies and therefore BO cannot lose in 2012.

    June 29, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • True Friend

      @Reality, money is not the matter; the US gvernment needs your donation, that's all.

      June 29, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      Huntsman is a refreshing choice for the GOP. He's got all kinds of experience, speaks reasonably and stands out as the exception to GOP nutcases. I can see why the White House considered him their worst nightmare.

      June 30, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  9. James Fairbanks

    "A good man(or woman), no matter what his religion, is better than a bad man (or woman) no matter what his religion." I think first and foremost we should elect leaders who are good people. We should elect people with high moral values who do not place expedicency over principle and who live their lives full of integrety.

    Of course, that seems to be hard these days with politicians....but it is the values they embrace, not the creeds they profess that will get my vote.

    June 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • skarphace

      *like*

      June 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Friend

      The Bible says no man(or woman) is good and everyone does evil. So true in the light of humanity's reality. The wisest thing for America is to choose anyone who will terminate as much as possible the ongoing infanticide and moral perversion. Otherwise, this nation is not worth existing, just as any villain nations, drifting far away from the founding purpose. Read Daniel 2; the end of all nations is recorded there.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      I agree with James Fairbanks. The only kind of morality that really matters is honesty in one's dealings. Politicians bob and weave, parsing what they say with care (or at least they should) but that's very different from outright lies, scandals and shameless corruption. Obama leans a certain way. You can count on that. He gets hammered from the right (for being too "liberal") and than hammered from the left (for not being "liberal" enough). But he hasn't obstructed justice, bought or sold favors, et cetera. The GOP has to at least meet that standard. Where somebody goes to church, or whether he goes to church, is inconsequential to a presidential election.

      June 30, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Sagar

      Queuno, in essence your coemmnt makes a good point.I'm not exactly happy with BCC: inviting permabloggers on other established LDS blogs (especially ours) to join up with them. It's a cute gambit to invite someone to guest-blog for awhile and then follow it up with an invite to perma-blog. BCC: is a very solid blog and the invite could have appeal. But is it appropriate? I know, I know. Everyone has free agency and I since it's a done deal, I can respect John F.'s decision but I think BCC: would howl if we were issuing similar invites to their personnel especially if the invitation were accepted. On the other hand, maybe BCC: is extremely confident that no one would make that journey.We've already begun a miniature discussion (on another thread) about ego, pride and condescension in the Nacle

      November 10, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  10. Jared

    And the non-believers on here think that they can convince us that an atheist would be better as President? Judging by the comments here, they have not convinced me! And for those atheists/agnostics critiquing believers for having their faith influence their decisions, are you saying you would not let your atheism influence your decisions if you were President? Everyone is influenced by deeply held uproven beliefs, even atheists (yes, atheism is not proven–and the belief that we can know only by the scientific method is an unproven assumption [and since that belief itself has not been proven by the scientific method, it is on shaky ground]). Atheism is the ultimate faith religion.

    June 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • one's a hypocrit, the other one's Mitt Romney

      I LOVE THIS COMMENT!! It's impossible to prohibit your deepest personal beliefs from influencing your decisions. I'm not sure why anyone would WANT to. As long as what the president does is in what he/she believes is best for the country, let him/her believe whatever they want!

      June 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • skarphace

      As an athiest, although not a representative of such, would I vote for a candidate based soley on the fact that he/she was an athiest? Of course not. This is my whole point: to vote or not to vote for a candidate based soley on his faith is wrong unless his faith is going to get in the way of him/her leading the country.

      Do I believe that athiests are better people than those of faith? No. Do I believe in the Separation of Church and State as provided us in the First Amendment? Absolutely.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      Jared, you're just bigoted against atheists. You have this nutty conception of atheists, one apparently frightful enough to get you to publicly suggest you'd vote against someone because they don't sing from your particular hymnal. Get real. Judge a person on the basis of his or her voting record. Judge someone on the basis of their judgment. If you can't do that, you're abrogating your responsibilities as a citizen. The only difference between yourself and a lynch mob is your apparent lack of matches.

      June 30, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  11. Gary

    "What sort of Mormon might be elected president?" Ah, none.

    June 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ..and my Grandmother went her grave thinking that they would never elect a African American President.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Friend

      My parents never imagined America would be this immoral. Middle River usually ends up siding with villains. Unless you have determined to give your life to defend the Jews, you always end up helping Nazis.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>“My parents never imagined America would be this immoral.”

      Well, every generation that goes through believes that the following contains less morals than theirs. You think my parents and Grandparents went through the Civil Rights movement to see the African American community in the shape it is in now?

      Siding with the villains? Wow, you really do not read others post huh. I really do not need to defend myself, my post show my views. If anything we need to learn is that the term “villain” is as divisive as they come. Friend.,,, my friend … do you believe that just because someone holds a different view that automatically makes them a “villain”? How sick in the head is that reasoning.

      Now if you are speaking of my reply to the video that said Bachman was a racist and after watching the video all it turned out to be is a Pro-Palestinian video. I asked when did Palestinians become a race.

      I do find it interesting.... where did the give life to defend the Jews come from? Seeing as how Iraq, Iran and a few other Middle Eastern countries have a Jewish population.... which Jews do you speak of defending? Could your mind, as cloudy as it is, meant to say … Israeli instead of Jews?

      June 29, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • True Friend

      @Mark, I'm sorry my inability in the English language. No, USA has crossed the line by becoming like Sodom. We knew things were not going right since 70's. Just brace yourself for more unhappiness in USA. She is going down with her morality. Repentance is the only hope. To me, the phrase "Middle River" signified the middle ground, not righteousness. Bringing up the Jews is an example, nothing more.

      June 29, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      Gary, one day you'll look back and see the stupidity of suggesting that no Mormon could ever get elected president. It's going to happen. It may not happen in 2012, but it will definitely happen. Why? Because there are Mormons out there who are engaging, thoughtful, intelligent and effective. There's a generation of Mormon lawyers and MBAs who've won over the business and legal worlds with their value as rising stars. People won't vote for a religious lunatic but they'll certainly not vote like bigots when they're presented somebody who looks and behaves as American as themselves. Get on the right side of history. Check your bigotry at the door.

      June 30, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  12. JoePelican

    I married 3 women who were Mormon, and no, I wasn't married to them at the same time. I married into the religion looking for a faithful woman, only 2 out of 3 of them went out on me. What am I supposed to say, 1 outa 3 aint bad? Gimme a break. Religion in politics isn't right and shouldn't even be a topic.

    June 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Zach3435

      JoePelican, you obviously do NOT know the LDS religion. OH BROTHER. GET A LIFE. It DOES not matter WHO is running this country, a catholic, a Jewish, a MORMON, a whatever...this is whats wrong with this country. What is wrong with you people. LET THE RELIGION of the Candidate GO. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!! Vote for the PERSON not his religion. And, by the way...I am NOT mormon.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • JoePelican

      That's what I said in my last sentance, Zach. Why is religion even a part of the topic? Why does this story even exist? People make mistakes, and yes, including Catholics, Jewish and yes, even Mormons. As to my original post, why did Mormons diss blacks, and why do they diss guays? Shouldn't people be allowed to be themselves? Last I checked it was a free country. I don't need no religious bible basher telling me what makes my world go round. You like communism or what?

      June 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  13. JoePelican

    It wasn't long ago Mormons decided to let Black people into their church. What kind of religion is that? I'm sorry but that's like Obamacide and just plain wrong!

    June 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • skarphace

      Is this another bait-and-switch? It is so hard to tell with you. I will respond anyways.

      It wasn't long ago that blacks weren't allowed to vote in the US. So your argument can also be applied to our entire country.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • JoePelican

      I was expecting you to respond that way skar, and prepared. In that case, maybe the Mormons need a little time to adjust to "the times" first. Blacks have always been offered the poor plate until recently. I think Mormons need a little time to grow up first before representing black people, and guays.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • one's a hypocrit, the other one's Mitt Romney

      JoePelican is just a Mormon hater. You have no logic or any sincere rational thought in any of the comments you've left. If you can't contribute in at least a semi-intellectual way, you should turn off your computer and pick up a book.
      By the way, Mormons (like other Christians) believe in undeceiving persuasion, not cramming their opinions down others' throats like you've been doing to us here.
      thanks and hopefully goodbye.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • skarphace

      All I would say to that is that you should not lump all people belonging to a specific group together and make generalizations about them. Are some Mormons racist? Undoubtedly. Most religious groups have some racists among them. However, can you say that every Mormon is a racist because you know some that are? Of course not. Therefore, unless you can say, based on actions or words, that Romney or Huntsman are racists, then you should not judge them accordingly.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • JoePelican

      Whatever, hypocrit. I call it like I see it. I don't hate anyone until they offend me first. So I don't sit well with someone (CNN) publishing stories regarding a persons color or religion. That's my RIGHT. If you have a problem with it, drift on to someone who cares. When religion crosses rights, I will get involved. It's no secret what Mormons believe, but they can keep that to themselves like they did when they discriminated against blacks in their church. So yea, I don't like Mormons for that and I'm a white guy.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • imeubu

      All major religions have geneological influences. Jews have tribes (some have certain authorities and rights... some have others), Islam has various "authorities" defined by either Divine revelation or appointment, Hinduism has it's classes and Chrisitanity has always divided on the issue of authority. Blacks were thought to be of a certain lineage and as such eligible for some rights/blessings/authority and not eligible for others. The Mormon church also accepts the notion that such "delineation" and "specification" of a person's or a tribe's blessings and authority serves to "qualify" and "divide" members into certain "birthrights" and responsibilities. Yes some of this was visible as seperation and specified "blacks" but it was also and more accurately because someone was a member of a certain lineage or "tribe of" (ephraim, manessah, judah etc...). Racism is an unfortunate and erroneous application of the principle of sect(ioning) or class(ifying). Apparently being a "chosen people" can mean more than being Jewish... the tribe of Joseph for example was given certain blessings that the others were not. Lots of "stuff" here... but certainly should not be seen or used as racial... just sectarian.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • JoePelican

      skar – What I am saying is I don't want someone running our country who is more worried about guays or maybe even still discriminate against blacks. And the truth is, a majority of Mormons are still racist. That's why the country is not ready to have a Mormon president, at least in my opinion. It's not a matter of him being Mormon that bothers me. It's more a matter of my belief that they haven't grown up enough yet to hold the position of President of the USA. Sorta like a DUI. Go for a trucking job within a year of getting one, you probably won't have a chance. Search 10 years later and you might. For race you can multiply that by about 4.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      http://www.blacklds.org/

      "Blacks have been Latter-day Saints since the church’s beginnings in the 1830′s. Some held the priesthood and served missions in the early church."

      June 28, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      1836: In March, Elijah Abel, a black man, is ordained to the office of Elder.
      1836: In December, Elijah Abel, is ordained to the office of Seventy.
      1844: Walker Lewis, a black man, is ordained to the office of Elder.
      1846: William McCary, a black man, is ordained to the office of Elder.
      1900: Enoch Abel, the son of Elijah Abel, is ordained to the office of Elder.
      1935: Elijah Abel, grandson of Elijah Abel, is ordained to the office of Elder.
      1958: All black Melanesians (Fijians) are given the priesthood (blacks in the Philippines even earlier)
      1978: Revelation on Priesthood gives the priesthood to all worthy men regardless of color.
      1990: Helvecio Martins becomes first black General Authority Seventy.

      June 28, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"It's more a matter of my belief that they haven't grown up enough yet to hold the position of President of the USA."

      Hmm... and it took America how long to elect something other than a white guy and we Americans are supposed to be world leaders .... but you give the Mormons flak. .. Yall' are funny.

      June 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • BelieveInGOD

      Very interesting commentary from someone that clearly has no belief in God. Blacks have always been welcome in the Mormon faith. It wasn't until the 70s that they were allowed the preisthood.

      If that is discrimination blame God. In early biblical times why did God only give the priesthood to Abraham. And later only to the Jews. (specifically only a small portion of the Jews or sons of Aaron.)

      You clearly use religion to justify your way of life. True religion isn't about justifying your way of life but rather adapting your life to conform with something greater than yourself. True Christians try to emulate Christ and pray for forgiveness when they fall short.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:24 am |
  14. ?

    who?

    June 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  15. JoePelican

    What this country needs are leaders, not followers. McCain is the clear choice. He don't take no chit!!!

    June 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • skarphace

      McCain? No wonder, I thought I smelled something funny with your posts.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • JoePelican

      I don't really expect McCain will be running, Shark and probably wouldn't vote for him anyway. But it was interesting to throw that hook in to see who bit first. Somehow I knew the Shark would.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • JoePelican

      I'm sorry I got your name wrong, "skarphace". My bad.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      McCain is a mixed bag. For much of his career, he has been a true "maverick" in the sense of bucking his own party. McCain is a Republican and conservative to a degree, but he has often been a voice of moderation, which has irritated the true believers on the right. In 2004, when McCain challenged George W. Bush – whom Republicans were going to vote for, anyway, because he was already president – McCain's status as a moderate and a "maverick" earned him frequent flyer miles with Democrats and Independents but alienated him with red-meat Republicans.

      Unfortunately, McCain faced an insurmountable challenge in 2008. Eight years of Republican rule had soured the public on the GOP. The War on Terror had run aground; the national debt had nearly tripled; the rich were richer and the poor were poorer. As the economy began to tank, "change" became a bread-and-butter issue. It's pretty basic that you vote for the party in power if you're satisfied with the direction the country is taking. If not, you go with the other guys. Obama's job, as being the poster for change, was a lot easier than McCain's.

      McCain faced a no-win situation but his Hail Mary pass was probably the worst conceivable. Recognizing that Obama would win the "change" vote, McCain decided to market himself as the "true" agent of change. But to be that "true" agent of change, he would have to lead the country – not to the center, but further to the right of Bush. This dovetailed with McCain's effort to win back the right wing by courting the Falwell vote. It included recruiting Palin as his running mate, a decision with tragicomic consequences.

      McCain blew it. Had he waited four years, he'd be the GOP frontrunner. Instead, he became a born-again reactionary, a Barry Goldwater wannabe, and it cost him the swing vote. Red meat Republicans voted for McCain-Palin; the rest of the country went for Team Obama. It was such a thrashing that McCain will not be back, nor will Palin (though she seems to have misplaced the memo). The Tea Party, which was set loose to disrupt the Obama "revolution," is now a major liability for the GOP. They're like Track Two out of an Oliver Stone conspiracy, a fabled CIA operation gone toxic. Armed with all that insurance money, the Tea Party did manage to take the House in the 2010 midterms, but their influence – if left unchecked – will be to hobble the GOP moderates and produce losers like Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul.

      If Romney, a Mormon, is in the lead, it's because he's the only serious candidate the GOP had – until John Huntsman threw his hat in the ring. Gingrich can't get Republicans to vote for him. By the time Palin announces, it'll be time for her to brush up on her concession speech. Bachmann is a nut. Cain is way out of his league. Pawlenty has a brain but no charisma. Santorum is annoying. Huckabee is gone. Donald Trump would rather host The Apprentice.

      Republicans should take a picture because this, right now, is as good as it's going to get. The economy has not bounced back and the naysayers are having a field day with it. They have to hope that 2012 will be a Jimmy Carter year of economic gloom and doom – because if it's not, Obama will ride it out. Bin Laden is dead. The hated bailout has prevented total economic disaster. Healthcare reform has passed. 17 months from now, the news is not going to be worse. People are going to be looking for any sign of relief. GOP predictions of a coming apocalypse are going to come back to haunt it.

      June 30, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  16. skarphace

    There should be only one litmus test when it comes to a candidate for Presidency concerning their religion: would your policy be decided based on your religion. If the answer is yes, then they should be disqualified. Otherwise, the subject should be dropped.

    June 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • I

      Agree. Everyone get so caught up in religion. Make decisions based on facts. Look at all the so called "religious" folks cheating on their wives. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who pick and choose the part of religion they want to enforce, or choosing one denomination over another while letting other things slide are annoying!

      June 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Jimbo

      @SKARPHACE......... If you care to do a little research, our country was founded by men who made their political decisions based on their faith. They acknowledged the true and living God in all they did, and it seemed to work pretty good. They knew it was only because of Gods' blessings that we were able to gain our independance. Our country has come a long way since 1776, and we have also moved farther and farther away from God. The condition our country is in right now is a direct result of that. Our president needs to be a saved, God fearing, Bible believing man if our country is to regain its former glory.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • skarphace

      @Jimbo: I never said our President should not be a man/woman of faith. I said that he/she should not make policy decisions based on that faith. My viewpoint is backed by a little thing called the First Amendment. The wording of it clearly provided for a separation of Church and State and don't let Bachmann convince you otherwise.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Jimbo

      @skarphace...... The seperation of church and state you speak of was not meant the way people take it in todays day and hour. It was originally meant to ensure the state did not run the church like England was doing. That's why we as a people came across the Atlantic so many years ago. If our president did make his decisions based off of a true faith in the way God has told us to by way of the writers of the Bible, our country WOULD become a better place to live.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • skarphace

      @Jimbo: you and I will just have to disagree on your final point. I fully believe that basing the laws of our Country on any one single religion is the absolute worst thing we could possibly do. This is what the far-right is warning us about: that Sharia law will someday rule the world if Muslims have their way. This, to me, is no worse than allowing Christians to decide what I can or cannot do in my so-called free country. Intollerance is the root of all evil. At least, in my humble opinion.

      June 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Jimbo, perhaps you should actually study the words of our founding fathers instead of depending on hearsay. Many of them, Jefferson especially, had no use for any faith. Here is a very good compilation of quotes from the men who created this nation. You should read what they said. It will help you understand what they believed.

      http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

      June 29, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  17. one's a hypocrit, the other one's Mitt Romney

    If you believe in something or not you should have the cajones to say so. If Huntsman a "Jack-Mormon", he should just say he's not a Mormon and move on. At least Romney is sticking true to what he believes (a valued Republican quality) instead of abandoning his faith to fit in with the rest.

    June 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • skarphace

      So it is impossible to have differing levels of faith in any religion? I hate to tell you, but everyone has a different level of adherence to their faith. It is what makes us individuals.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Thinkformyself

      I disagree with you!

      Romney believes is fairy tales. Mormonism is a lark and a cult. The members follow blind and do NOT think for themselves.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • EAPoe

      HA! Romney is Bill Clinton in temple garments. He'll say whatever he needs to say to get into office.

      Mr. Mitt was effectively pro-choice until he "saw the light," which happened to be not-too-long before he decided to run for President. He knew it would be impossible to court and get his mitts into the pocketbooks of the far-right (which includes every Mormon in the US other than Harry Reid) as a pro-choice candidate.

      Plus, where do you think Obama got a lot of the blueprint for his healthcare reform shakedown? I have to laugh every time I hear Romney bad-mouth legislation that came right out of his own playbook while he was the governor of MA.

      But, hey, at least he's not a hypocrite.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  18. JoePelican

    It's scary to think all Mormons back up Mormons with leadership positions saying "He was inspired by God" in any decision they make. Does that include pushing the button? I'd never trust a Mormon. They're people who think they have special powers.

    June 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • JtheTeacher

      I'm a Mormon and I don't believe that I have special powers. We are not taught that, nor do the Scriptures tell us that. I try to live my life based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. My beliefs and values do influence my decisions just like any other human being. It's common sense. Regardless of who is elected president, their values and beliefs are going to influence their decisions. While we as Latter Day Saints are not perfect, we are good people (like most Americans) who try our best to live our lives in a way that is respectful to ourselves and others. Whether you believe our religious beliefs or not, I do not understand why we wouldn't want someone leading our country that makes his decisions based on this simple premise.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • skarphace

      I am willing to bet that ol' Joe has less knowledge of Mormonism than even I do, and I admit that I know very little about the faith. You can always tell the ignorant ones by their generalizations.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • JoePelican

      I have an excellent memory of what they did to my wife, Shark. Nuff said about that except I have A LOT of knowledge about how the religion works. To Teacher – I don't have respect for anyone telling others how to live their lives. That's not the same as guiding the flock. Telling others they can't have same seex marriage (and no, i'm not guay), isn't right. Forcing your viewpoints down other's throats is just plain WRONG. Don't mix church and state, buddy

      June 28, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • skarphace

      Ok, Joe, my bad. Sorry I jumped to that conclusion, but your generalizations led me there. However, it does seem we both agree on the whole 'separation of Church and State' issue. Even if we disagree as to it's intended extent.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • JoePelican

      skar, I didn't mean to offend you or take you out of context. If I did that, I apologize. I just get fed up sometimes with presidential races being influenced by religion or color of skin, even if he has a funny name. But it does boil my azz sometimes when someone shoves their religious beliefs down another mans throat. Anytime religion is brought into a presidential race, that's something we all should be concerned about. I could be wrong, but it scares the crapola outa me.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • skarphace

      @Joe: trust me, I have been commenting on blogs like this (as well as arguing on rpgs like WOW until a few years back) for way too long to get offended by anything anybody else says. So, no worries.

      June 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Bill Kilpatrick

      JoePelican, I joined the LDS Church when I was a senior in high school and although I'm no longer active in the faith, I have retained many of the special powers that seem to threaten you. I have the power of discernment, which lets me know when my wife is about to tell me to shut up. I have the power to turn red lights green, especially if I'm at the light long enough. I have the gift of tongues, which I usually resort to when somebody cuts me off in traffic. I have the power to make babyback ribs disappear. While I don't have as many conversations with God as I used to, I still talk to the TV, especially when Sarah Palin says something truly insane. I am not a god, but my dog thinks I am, especially when I give him table scraps. I do not have my own planet, but I've been asked, more than once, what planet I'm from. My underwear isn't magical but it's cotton and breathes, and if you'd care to sniff it, I'm sure you can tell me if it has bad breath.

      June 30, 2011 at 4:13 am |
    • Jerry Mendonca

      Joe A wise man once told me "It's better to have people think your stupid than to open your mouth and prove it"

      July 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  19. Mark from Middle River

    Thank God that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Harriot Tubman, John Brown, and pretty much a ton of abolitionist that found solace with God.....did not "stay home".

    June 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  20. mightyfudge

    People that "believe" in God, by definition, do not run their own lives. And anyone who admittedly can't run their own life is immediately disqualified to "run" the rest of our lives. Pious politicians please stay home.

    June 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Capercorn

      Language games much?

      June 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • JtheTeacher

      So, you would prefer that only Atheists run for political office? Look up Atheist politicians throughout history. You'll find a list that is littered with Socialists, Fascists, and Communists. I'm not branding all Atheists as apart of that group, (I used to be an Atheist myself) however the list is quite extensive...

      June 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Victor Nettoyeur

      Would you describe your supposed atheism please, because we get a lot of "I used to be an atheist but Jesus saved me" claims that turn out to be fake. Going through a period of doubt or just not thinking about it at all are not forms of atheism. The very fact that you lump atheists in with the worst slurs you can think of strongly indicates that you are not telling the truth.

      June 28, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • gah

      by that logic, all of our presidents have not been qualified

      June 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Jtheteacher, you will also find the names of murderers and dictators, ra-pists, liars and cheaters on the lists of those who call themselves christians. How about we put this faith thing aside and judge a person by their actions, not their words?

      June 29, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Nobody knows but Jesus Alvarez deVega

      @tallulah13 – You cannot separate the actions from the motives that gave birth to them and the thinking process that brought about the motives. Religion is in there.
      When religion is the basis for values, judgments, and actions on the part of a great many people, then when you judge the actions you are also judging the motivations that gave rise to the actions and also the values that gave rise to the motivations.
      Religion is in there as a value system some people use to make decisions, judgments, and motivations for actions.
      Value systems behind certain actions should not be ignored, as this restricts the possibility of solutions to any problems that may arise.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:54 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.