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January 13th, 2012
10:59 AM ET

GOP poised to make history with non-Protestant presidential nominee

By Josh Levs, CNN

(CNN) - The race for the Republican presidential nomination is on track to break new ground: For the first time in modern political history - some say ever - the GOP nominee could be someone who is not a Protestant Christian.

Front-runner Mitt Romney is Mormon, as is Jon Huntsman. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are Catholics.

The only two Protestants in the race are Rick Perry and Ron Paul. Paul had strong finishes in the nominating contests so far but most political experts and Republican establishment figures say he is not favored to win the nomination ultimately. Perry has finished near the end of the pack so far but is hoping for a strong finish in the next-in-line South Carolina primary.

Neither major party has ever had a Mormon nominee. John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, was the only Catholic president.

Democrats have also nominated John Kerry, a Catholic, and Michael Dukakis, who is Greek Orthodox, but the overwhelming majority of Democratic presidential nominees have been Protestant.

Experts who follow the intersection of religion and politics say this year’s crop of Republican candidates reflects the changing electorate, the lasting significance of a Supreme Court decision, and shifting forces within American Christianity.

“Catholicism has been almost fully absorbed into the American mainstream,” says William Galston, senior fellow with the Brookings Institution.

While Kennedy faced questions from some voters over whether he would take orders from the pope, that kind of skepticism is virtually unheard of today, Galston says.

“The more interesting question is Mormonism. Because in many Protestants’ eyes, Mormons today stand roughly where Catholics did 60 years ago. They are suspect.”

But Romney, with his “unblemished personal life,” is in a unique position to help guide Mormonism into the mainstream of American politics, Galston says.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley says Americans have achieved enough comfort with Mormonism to make room for a possible Romney presidency.

“Are we ready for a Mormon president? I think the answer is yes,” Brinkley says.

The Mormon population is growing quickly, and more and more people have Mormon friends, he says. “It’s no longer a fringe group growing up. It’s a powerful and important religion.”

Mormons have been recruiting Southern Baptists and Methodists to join their fold, making inroads in communities across the country and raising money, Brinkley says. “The Mormon Church is booming when some of the other denominations are struggling for cash and converts.”

Mark Silk, professor of religion in public life at Trinity College, says most American voters are “prepared to think about people who are not Protestant to be president.”

The GOP field of candidates this year is “mostly happenstance” – the contenders did not rise to the front of the pack because of their religions, Silk says. But the fact that their faiths don’t seem to be hampering their chances shows “real growth in the acceptance of religious pluralism since World War II.”

There’s also a broad political force helping bond voters across different denominations.

“In the past generation, denominational differences or religious differences have become less important than the split between modernism and traditionalism within each religion,” says Galston.

“So at this point, traditional Mormons, evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics have more in common with one another politically than they do with the more liberal elements within their respective churches.”

That break has been furthered as the issues that guide many voters’ decisions have changed over the past few decades.

“One of the big things that’s happened since the 1970s is that a lot of cultural issues have moved from the private realm to the public stage,” Galston says. “That’s happened whether it’s been abortion or gay marriage or the treatment of private schools by the IRS.”

It’s happened “much more explicitly on the conservative side than it has on the more liberal side,” Galston says.

The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which said women have a constitutional right to an abortion, was a turning point.

Before that ruling, Catholics were a solid, reliable Democratic voting block, “one of the most powerful constituencies in the Democratic party,” says Brinkley.

The Vatican opposes abortion rights. And as the Democratic Party became largely supportive of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Republican Party won over Catholics who disagreed with it.

“It turned a lot of Catholic groups from Democratic to Republican,” Brinkley says. “It flipped them.”

People within each denomination who support abortion rights and take liberal stances on numerous issues, meanwhile, have formed similar bonds on the Democratic side, with religious denominations themselves playing little role, the analysts said.

About half the U.S. population is Protestant. The American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College, published in 2009, found Protestants are 51% of the U.S. population, while Catholics are 25%. Mormons are at 1.4%, just behind Jews at 1.8%. Muslims comprise 0.3% of the population.

While a Mormon or Catholic nominee would be a first for the GOP, there’s some disagreement over whether he would be the first “non-Protestant” ever, or just the first in generations.

A December article for rollcall.com said “Gingrich’s nomination would make him the first non-Protestant to be nominated for president by the GOP.” A 2000 Slate article headlined “The Protestant Presidency” said Kennedy was the only non-Protestant “ever elected president.”

But Silk noted that it isn’t clear exactly how to characterize Abraham Lincoln’s religious affiliation.

The first Republican president “didn’t belong to any church, wouldn’t have described himself as a Protestant,” Silk said. At the same time, Lincoln expressed a deep belief in a God who is active in history.

Adherents.com keeps a list of the presidents’ religions. Four presidents were Unitarians, a movement that grew our of Protestant Christianity. Two presidents were Quakers, a group that is connected to Protestantism.

While the analysts CNN spoke to agree that the GOP field this year reflects the country’s religious pluralism, it remains centered only on Christian denominations, setting aside the question of whether Mormonism fits a traditional definition of Christian.

Just how much of a chance a candidate of another religion would have at the presidency is another question.

Some believe that Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000 who ran for the party’s nomination in 2004, was not hampered by being Jewish. “I don’t think that the classic triad Catholic-Protestant-Jew makes a difference at all,” said Galston. “Joe Lieberman’s candidacy foundered, but not because he was Jewish.”

But there has never been a Jewish presidential nominee. And just how a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or member of any other religion would fare is another question.

For some voters, the denominations of the candidates continue to be a relevant factor, the analysts said. Last May, a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that about one-third of white evangelical Protestants would be less likely to vote for a Mormon.

In Iowa, CNN entrance polls show that born-again or evangelical Christians supported Santorum, a Catholic, well over Romney.

In New Hampshire, CNN exit polls from the Republican primary show that Catholics and Protestants both chose Romney over the competition. More Catholics – like voters in general - supported the two Mormon candidates, Romney and Huntsman, than the two Catholic candidates, Gingrich and Santorum.

Paul, for his part, came in second in New Hampshire, and placed second among Protestants and tied with Huntsman for second among Catholics.

Analysts agree that a candidate who does not believe in God would be quickly rejected by voters nationwide – even if he or she was raised Christian.

“Whether anyone would accept a professed out of the closet atheist, no,” said Galston. “You’d probably have a better chance as a former member of the Taliban.”

Weigh in on this story at Facebook or Twitter.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Politics

soundoff (951 Responses)
  1. Jason

    Why would it matter if you're an atheist or not? Why would people not vote for an atheist? It would seem that America's view of atheists are wrong, biased, and hypocritical. When it's plain as day that protestants, catholics, etc. don't live any better lives than those that don't believe in ancient myths, then what really is the reason Americans won't vote for a non-believer?

    January 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • TC

      Americans might vote for an agnostic but not an atheist. Americans want a leader that subscribes to the possibility of a higher power.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Of course, we like to have people represent us who have similar values and beliefs, Jason.
      An atheist claims to have knowledge of what he denies; it is a contradiction–perhaps fitting for a politician.
      An agnostic perhaps has not studied the best thinking throughout history concerning mankind's response to the
      enigma of existence and our place in the world.
      It matters a great deal, and it is not just a matter of prejudice.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • jellyfishdude

      i like atheists. They reaffirm my Christian beliefs. I always get in a conversation about how it takes more faith to pursue science than religion and how many scientific universities were created by early monks.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • sam

      Fear that it might make God angry, probably.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  2. The MagusNYC.

    The GOP may be nominating its first non-Christian!
    Mormons share with orthodox Christians some important moral precepts from the Bible. However, the above points are examples of the many fundamental and irreconcilable differences between historic, biblical Christianity and Mormonism. While these differences do not keep us from being friendly with Mormons, we cannot consider them brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible specifically warns of false prophets who will teach "another gospel" centered around "another Jesus," and witnessed to by "another spirit" (2 Corinthians 11:4,13-15; Galatians 1:6-9). Based on the evidence presented above, we believe Mormonism represents just such a counterfeit gospel.
    http://WWW.IRR.ORG

    January 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • jellyfishdude

      Christianity isn't about morals...it's about having a relationship with Jesus Christ...How a president is going to help me do that better? I don't know...I know it doesn't matter who is president dot have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • JoeS

      You are ignorant of Mormonism. In fact, it is the only true church on this earth at this time.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • David in FL

      Rediculous..

      January 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • TC

      JoeS – any cult developed by one man 150 years ago is nothing resembling truth.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • jellyfishdude

      I don't understand Mormon commercials. They talk about their jobs and not their spirtuality.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • David in FL

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the same organization and the same Christ from the New Testament. Mormonism nickname doesn't make that apparent, but we didn't give ourselves the nickname, it just stuck. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Resurrected Savior of the World. That's who we believe in. The Book of Mormon is Another testament of Him on the American Continent. It stands hand in hand with the Bible declaring his Divinity.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • TC

      David in FL – Mormons are good people but your beliefs are seriously misguided. You deny God's salvation plan that the church disappeared and the Jo Smith had a sigular vision to save the world. God does not work like that. Mormons should really read the Bible first to get the full picture. And you are not trinitarian

      January 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • jellyfishdude

      do Mormons perform the same liturgical services Jesus Christ did? do Mormons believe they are the real Israelis?

      January 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • jellyfishdude

      from what I gather from visiting synagogues, Mormonism is more about raising families than it is about spirituality

      January 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  3. John

    Religion shouldn't have anything to do by who the American People pick to be President or a President Candidate. You should Pick who you think would do the best Jobs at It. Really there are no Christan or any other Religion ,because they are just going to LIE ,CHEAT and Steal from the American People anyway.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • TC

      I think people like you can keep fooling themselves that religion does not matter and to some degree the "style or brand" of their faith does not matter. Bottom line, most americans do not want a prez that professes nothingness.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • sam

      Correction: most Americans *that believe what you believe* would not want a president that doesn't share your views.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • David in FL

      As a member of the Church of Jesust Christ of Latter Day Saints, I Know that Jesus Christ is my redeemer, my advocate with the Father, and He is the only Way, Truth and the Life. No man cometh to the Father but by him. The Holy Ghost is the Revelator, the Spirit of Truth, the Testator. They are distinct beings, not 1 individual with 3 roles to play. We do not ascribe to the "trinity" belief of all in 1, they are separate beings and make up the Godhead.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • TC

      So David – you are going to believe 1 guy from 150 years ago that God gave hime the knowledge and not the entire Christian faith from 2000 years ago? You should be careful who you listen to brother. Don't be deceived by false prophets

      January 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • David in FL

      I am stating that I KNOW that God spoke with The Prophet Joseph Smith, restored the Truth that had been lost from apostacy, and that we have been taking that message to the World ever since as we have been commanded to do. Go ye therefore into all the world and preach my gospel unto every nation. And even better, we don't you to just take our word for it. Ask God for yourself and then listen for the promptings of the Holy Ghost that will teach you the truth of all things.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • TC

      So the size of the LDS should be an indicator that the message you are spreading on the gospel is incorrect and insults God and His Church that he established 2000 years ago.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • David in FL

      Are you trying to say that the size of the organization is the merit for the Truthfullness of the organization? Really? I'm sorry but that's a little misguided. And for your information, the Truth is going forth Boldly, Nobly, and Independant and will reach ever nation sound in every ear and fill the whole Earth. We're working hard but we're not there yet. Could use your help. Please Pray about it, Read the Book of Mormon as God if it is True, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and then join us. We have something to offer you, and can use your help.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Well David, you stated the Mormon position well enough, except for the common deception concerning the divinity of Christ. The Mormon Church portrays Jesus as a created being, conceived by an incarnate Father and Mary, and that we all can become gods and have our own spirit children to worship us, etc. Now it is fine to hold up the less controversial positions, but to ignore the core beliefs that underlie them is deceptive. As you know, the Mormon church considers traditional Christianity to have gone astray, so why all the effort to appear included, except to deceive potential converts. Happy you found a mythology that makes you happy.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • David in FL

      What is controversial about Spiritual Progression? What is Controversial about stating that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God and his Mother Mary? But perhaps more fundamental is why are you so threatened by an invitation to Study, Ponder and Pray? Seriously, don't take my word for it, you can Know for yourself.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  4. Knucklehead

    I thought all Christian non-Catholic denominations were Protestant. I thought they got that name because they evolved from Martin Luther's "protests" against the Vatican. So what is the definition?

    January 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Cmike

      I was under the same impression.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • jellyfishdude

      nope. I'm orthodox; neither Catholic nor Protestant. Catholics are the closest to us...Protestants in my view are the extreme of Christianity...they are more concerned with right and wrong and scriptual memorization, which isn't what the Bible talks about much when you look at it deeply.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • TC

      That's why it dangerous to comment on religion when you don't know anything about it. Mormonism is its own religion; it did not break away from Christianity becasue it does not profess a Christian belief.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Go to Y-Jesus.org for definitions and rationales.
      The trouble I have with Mormon.org is it gives impression of trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and of Christs role in salvation, without clearly stating the Mormon denial of Christ's divine nature, being a created being not qualified to secure salvation for all of mankind.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • AMP

      I thought so too. What about Nixon? He was a Quaker. I guess they count that as Protestant?

      January 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Sharlee

      The Orthodox branches of Christianity separated from Catholicism long before Luther.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • TC

      Sharlee – that the key point. If they are Christians, they separated from the Catholic Church. Hence, the Catholic Church is original Christianity

      January 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • jellyfishdude

      TC – Catholicism separated from Orthodox Church in 1054 (The Great Schism) for two reasons: Rome's claim to a universal papal supremacy and her addition of the filioque clause to the Nicene Creed. The Photian Schism (880) further complicates the debate.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • jellyfishdude

      The Orthodox Church still wants the Catholic Church to reunite.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • TC

      Thanks jellyfishdude – I am fully educated on the schism and consider my orthodox brothers the same as me but I do not appreciate how some of the orthodox churches deny some sacraments in western christianity.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • jellyfishdude

      Basically Orthodox has been around since 325; Catholicism, 1054...so that makes Orthodox the earlier church. I'm not saying that makes it better...just trying to clarify so history.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • TC

      Actually, Orthodox and Catholic have been around since the beginning as they were the western and eastern branches of christiantty. The early councils were inherently western led

      January 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  5. bill\

    Republicans will not only nominate the first morman in Romney, they will also nominate the first socialist american nominee for president. Romney spent 2 years in socialist Europe, living out of France as he learned the socialist welfare system, the culture and its business and politics. He experimented with in massachusetts, and will bring it to America on a grand scale.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • lefty loosy

      Obama is a socialist also , as most democrats are.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • David in FL

      False. Mitt spent 2 years in France preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Faith, Repentance, Baptism and laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I spent 2 years doing the same thing in Iowa. We have a singular focus on our mission and that is to bring people to Christ.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • sam

      Mmm hmm. I think we need fewer politicians that practice laying on of hands. Seems to get them in a lot of trouble.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • David in FL

      Read your Bible, and don't Mock sacred things, it doesn't end well.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Kk

      Feel sorry for your comments. It seems you don't unstand the defination of socialist and fact.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • sam

      David, YOU read the bible. It only says what you want it to say. And if the whole warning about mockery is your thinly veiled attempt to suggest a trip to hell, you can shove it. Quit being a sanctimonious pr!ck.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  6. MacIan99

    Members of the LDS church believe that the end of the world is 'overdue.' A president who prays, pays, and obeys would be the church's chance to finally have one of their many prophesies actually come true. You want to hand them the launch codes? Great idea!

    January 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  7. Dr.Fritz

    MY PROBLEM WITH MORMONS IS THAT THEY LIE ABOUT WHAT THEY BELIEVE. THEY'RE NOT CHRISTIANS BUT POSE AS CHRISTIANS. I WON'T VOTE FOR SOMEONE WHO LIES TO ME, NO MATTER HOW NICE HIS HAIR IS.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • TC

      I agree but you can use standard english writing. All caps does not explain your point any better.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I think Dr. Fitz is invoking rule 39.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Yes, Dr. Fritz, the deception appears even on Mormon.org, with mention of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, without clarification; perhaps it aids in converting disaffected Christians.
      See:
      Mormons share with orthodox Christians some important moral precepts from the Bible. However, the above points are examples of the many fundamental and irreconcilable differences between historic, biblical Christianity and Mormonism. While these differences do not keep us from being friendly with Mormons, we cannot consider them brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible specifically warns of false prophets who will teach "another gospel" centered around "another Jesus," and witnessed to by "another spirit" (2 Corinthians 11:4,13-15; Galatians 1:6-9). Based on the evidence presented above, we believe Mormonism represents just such a counterfeit gospel.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • David in FL

      You and I differ on what a Christian is then. I believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only sinless one who live on Earth. Who Died, was Ressurrected on the 3rd day and paid the penalty for my mistakes if I will be have Faith in him and Repent.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Dan

      So, someone who believes differently than you must be lying, right. The logical conclusion to your baseless argument is that every Mormon on earth, all 13 million of them, have bought into some great deception. Every one of them has been convinced to profess a belief in Christ when in reality, they believe in something else. Is that what you're saying? If there was a church whose goal was to persuade, and who has, thus far, persuaded over 13 million people to lie about what they blieve in order to fit in with others, nobody would join that church, they would just join the "others" they are trying to fit in with. I can't fathom the ignorant hate spouted on here against the Mormons. They're Christians. Their brand of Christianity might differ from yours, but even within the protestant sects, beliefs differ. Mormons are Christians. Get over it.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  8. Kk

    Is this still matters to people? It is a discrmination if only Protestants can be nominated. It is time for us to break this rule. We have more important issues to worry about for this country.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      It matters Kk. Mormon.org is deception concerning the trinity. Romney was deceptive concerning the Obama quote about the economy. He made no apology for that, and Gingrich has called him a liar for proclaiming no connections with his Restore the Future PAC. Wonderful, loving Mormon people are speaking up in defense of their normalcy, yet are not being honest concerning their beliefs, and their effects on the families of converts.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  9. Larry McLean

    As a Canadian I don't understand why a persons religion would factor into who might be your president. I'd have though you would look for the best, most qualified person for the job. You have some very frightening religious zealots vying for the job.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • sam

      It's pretty scary down here at the moment, dude. Most of us feel the same way, but the loonies are the ones who get the attention.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • TC

      I don't know how other nationalities feel but most Americans can;t imagine having a leader who is godless.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • sam

      There's a huge difference between being spiritually aware/having a faith, and being one of these evangelical crackpots that want to make some parts of their faith *law for everyone in the country*. I'd take 'godless' (whatever the hell that really means) over one of these nuts any day.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Well said sam.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • raggmopp

      TC – there was a POTUS who is revered as one of the greatest POTUS's and he was an avowed atheist.
      Abe Lincoln.

      Seems there is greater admiration for a POTUS without religion.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • TC

      Seriously, there needs to be a test or something for people to comment on forums. This retard on here just wrote Abe was an atheist. Appears he has never read one word on this great prez.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • raggmopp

      TC – one of the many quotes from Lincoln

      The bible is not my book and christianity is not my profession.

      Go search for yourself – lots of info to be found on Lincoln being an atheist.

      But if you just want to continue to be ignorant, have at it.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • TC

      We wil all let you believe your own brand of history and live in your own manufactured world. I love how people deny history and invent their own – very intriguing

      January 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • sam

      Way to go, TC – your use of 'you people' as if anyone is beneath you, and then 'retard' tell us plenty about you. What a good christian. You must be so proud.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • TC

      Thanks Sam – I am. I am sick and tried of ignorant atheists trying to project a failed agenda with zero facts.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • The MagusNYC.

      Well Larry, you answered your own question. Frightening zealots is a strong term, but surely cause for discernment when voting.
      The early Mormon church went to Utah before it was part of the US, to escape US law, and avoid persecution. It's Web site, Mormon.org gives impression of traditional Christianity, which in fact. it rejects.
      We know Mormons we have admired, and we know families that have been broken up by its exclusivity. Imagine, only Mormons will be able to attend Mitt's son's weddings and the baptisms of their kids.
      In every democracy, only fools vote for candidates ot sharing their values and beliefs.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • sam

      TC – I was being sarcastic. You're a smug, judgmental punk and exactly what I've come to expect from christianity.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • David in FL

      The MagusNYC, FALSE. Do you know anything about what its like to have your homes, property and possessions taken from you at gun point? To have the Governor of the state that you live in sign an Extermination order authorizing anyone to kill you because of what you believe? Pretty shocking in these United States. What would you do under that kind of rule of law but escape to a place where you will be left alone? The US was all territories out west and it was a period of settlement. So what would you do.. really? Let your wife and family be killed or move (again). Ignorant of history at best, bigoted at worst.. where do you fall with comments, not for me to know or care, but I think I know.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • sam

      Wasn't because they were mormon, David, it was because they were breaking the law. Don't try and rewrite history, it never ends well.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  10. Spencer

    "...there has never been a Jewish presidential nominee. And just how a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or member of any other religion would fare is another question."

    Who cares, this really shouldn't be an issue. What matters is how qualified they are for the job.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • TC

      None of htese morons is qualified for the job, so sometimes looking at how they practice their faith is a good indicator of trying to do good and be humble rather than an elected screwup know-it-all.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  11. Ferret out the B.S.

    I take issue with any candidate wearing his/her religeous beliefs on their sleeve. It seems the more to the right the politics slide the closer to a religeous state we become. Religion can be apart of one's life but shouldn't be the only thing in one's life. As an American I don't want some candidate that is so exhuberant over his/her beliefs that they try to ram it down our throats. Much like how Islam or christianity spread in ancient times.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  12. dispute

    It doesn't look like this article made it anywhere near the fact-checkers:

    The Republicans nominated the first Catholic for president, Tom Dewey, for the 1944 and 1948 elections. Al Smith, a Catholic, was the Democratic nominee in 1928.

    These are not obscure figures, and whoever wrote this article should be fired for not even doing basic journalistic work.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Not Fat

      Well done!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • WildBill

      Tom Dewey was a life-long Episcopalian, not a Catholic. The Episcopal Church describes itself as protestant. Therefore, the fact-checkers were correct, and you are incorrect.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  13. Nobama

    We are going to the first Mormon President, comes 2013.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Nobama

      We are going to see the first Mormon President, comes 2013.

      Welcome, Mr. 45th!!!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Dr.Fritz

      NOT ONLY THE MORMONS, BUT THE MOONIES AND THE SCIENTOLOGISTS WILL BE CELEBRATING. GREAT TIME TO BE A CULTIST NUT.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Dr.Fritz

      Not only the Mormons, but the Moonies and the Scientologists will be celebrating. Great time to be a cultist.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      There are still Moonies?? I had no idea they were still around.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  14. The Central Scrutinizer

    We have a good president. This is all a waste of time. Obama 2012

    January 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • toxictown

      Agreed.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • tlarose

      Agreed!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Joe A

      Are you kidding me? Have you looked at the national debt lately? How about unemployment. How about our foreign policy?
      If Obama is a good President I would hate to see a bad one.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  15. Religion NOT OP

    Separation of church and state, you mooks, why does this article even MATTER. This is about running a global superpower, not which herpderp building you sit in on Sundays.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  16. chrisaen

    It is not what you are saying that is offensive, it is how you are saying it. When you structure your differences of opinion in such a vulgar manner, you give power and credence to the other side. I do not like Republicans, or Sarah Palin, but do not set out to undermine them in the same way Republicans are always trying to put down Liberals. If you hate them in the same way that you condemn them for being, it makes you no better than the Stereotypes you portrayed in your comment, so grow up, and use a logical argument, instead of the very hate Democrats decry, and the Tea Party embraces.Hate against any group of people you dis-agree is still hate and is not tolerable in my opinion.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • sam

      No one has any idea who you're talking to.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  17. dave

    The Mormons believe that they are a "Restoration" of Christs original church. They did not protest or break away from any other church. Therefore they are not protestants in their eyes.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • TC

      THey are not Christians either since they are not Trinitarian

      January 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • sam

      TC, that's your opinion. You have no right to decide who is and who is not 'christian'. Plus? No one cares.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Joe A

      TC can you please explain Trinitarian. I thought a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ not Trinitarian. The name of the Mormon church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and yes the members do believe in Jesus Christ.

      January 13, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  18. Jack

    Episcopalians are not Protestants! They were never part of the Reformation and can take credit for burning as many Protestants as the Catholics. The English Reformation of 1534 brought an English Bible, widely distributed, an English Mass and Texts, and national control. We are comfortable with Episcopalians as President because so many of the Founding Fathers were Anglicans. But we're not Protestants.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  19. riptin

    How sad the tea baggers and cons are so desperate they are now going to convert to being mormons. The entire bunch will compromise themself to push there sickness on the world. Ron Paul please run as an independent

    January 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  20. Jacob

    and it's a shame that still matters to people!

    January 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Spencer

      agreed.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
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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.