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May 1st, 2012
02:41 PM ET

House candidate and rising GOP star is black, female - and Mormon

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - To call Mia Love a minority is an understatement. She’s a black woman who won an upset primary race to become the Republican candidate in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. If elected, she’d be the first black Republican congresswoman in the House of Representatives.

Love, who has attracted lots of national Republican support, also stands out because of her religion: She’s a Mormon. The politician is a poster child for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ campaign to present a more diverse face to a historically very white church.

“There are a lot of people who have tried to define me as a person,” Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, told CNN’s Kyra Phillips in an interview Tuesday. “I’m not a victim, and I don’t allow anybody to put me in a box.”

Speaking from Salt Lake City, she said, “There may be some challenges. But ... I love this place and love the people that are here, and I represent their beliefs and values.”

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Love is featured in a video series produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of its “I’m a Mormon” campaign, which aims to bring the faith of about 14 million members worldwide into the mainstream.

In the CNN interview, Love talked about how Mormonism would affect Mitt Romney’s candidacy more than her own, which is happening in the most Mormon state in the nation.

“You know I don’t think those are the issues that Americans really care about,” Love said when asked about the role of Romney’s religion in the presidential campaign. “I think Americans care about jobs, the economy; they care about the debt and deficit spending. … Being a Mormon is part of who he is as a person, and I don’t think it should deter from the issues.”

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Love’s “I’m a Mormon” video shows her working as the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, her current job.

“I am the mayor of Saratoga Springs and I love it,” she says in the video. “I get to make this life better for me and better for others.

“My friends from back home are always saying, ‘What are you doing in Utah?'” she says in the video, referring to her East Coast upbringing. “What they don’t know is that when I came here I felt accepted.”

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mormonism • Politics • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (2,038 Responses)
  1. sarah

    People are allowed individual thought. I don't think the GOP as a party is opposed to women or black people. It's just that their radicals are very, very loud. It would be good for the GOP to go back to its roots and show the radicals that they aren't in control.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Mavent

      There's and old saying: "Add a cup full of wine to a barrel of sewage and you have sewage. Add a cup full of sewage to a barrel of wine, and you have sewage."

      May 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Stentor

      What roots? They've kicked all the moderates out because they're not ideologically pure enough. There's nothing but radicals left in that party, as evidenced by all of the different flavors of crazy that came out in the Republican Klown Kar Kandidates this primary season, plus the Birthers, The Tea Party morons, the zombie-eyed granny starvers like Paul Ryan & his ilk, tell me seriously, who's left? BTW, Mormonism is still considered a cult by a good number of people, just like Scientology.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  2. John B

    Black, female, mormon AND Republican. No. Sorry I don't belive all that. Unless of course you throw in misguided or delusional.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  3. TheWHO

    Being an African American, Mormon, or a woman has nothing to do with solid reasonable political views, they are nothing more than physical or sociological traits. Having a brain that’s been educated by empathetic, reasonable, intelligent, fair people would be a start for a more proper candidate for political office. I hate the divisions that these political organizations try and create, its simpletons at their worst – grasping at anything they think will make their party look good. What happened to all the intelligencia, what happened to self reliance and self education to combat the ignorance we are all born into? This country needs its people back, its needs its people to educate themselves on issues – even though its tiresome and at sometimes seems fruitless and hopeless; we as the People cannot afford to give up on ourselves.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  4. QMAX1234

    Mormonism was racists against blacks till around 1978. Just because she's a black mormon means nothing. There will always be uncle Toms in the world or house slaves.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • aja2007

      People who call her and uncle Tom or a house slave are the very people who will never allow things to change. They carry the racism victim card like a badge, destroying society around them with stereotypes and filth. Shut it.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Stentor

      Token
      House
      Aunt
      Uncle

      She's the GOP's pet Mormon right now, wait until she gets the JC Watts treatment. Let's see her take on some of the barking Obama haters in her own party, then maybe I'll have some respect for her, until then, see the laundry list of nicknames above.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Stentor

      Hey Aja, why don't you go take a trip over to Fox News website and look at the comments page for the Whitney Houston or Trayvon Martin articles, and tell me who's carrying around the race card like a badge. Some of the people making comments on that site don't belong in modern society.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  5. Teluu

    I guess she hasn't read the Mormon theology which states blacks are cursed in the womb by God before they're even born. She is one of those whose soul can be bought easily.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Stentor

      Dream on cowboy, dream on.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  7. Chirag

    New this week.... a white Christian Al-Quaeda member blows himself up at celebrations. This is like polar opposites...lol

    May 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  8. Randy

    I don't care what color her skin is, Mormonism is a cult.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Stentor

      Word up my brother, any religion that requires you to wear special underwear to worship Jesus in, is a cult, no doubt about it.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  9. mikstov33

    Methinks Mitt the wit may have found his VP candidate. Why not she would bridge more than one gap in his popularity ratings.....

    May 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • russgrant

      After all the birther nonsense, trying to put a child of Haitian immigrants into the VP spot would be almost Twilight Zone level.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  10. SPUD

    What are the liberals going to do now lol....their lies of racism might be exploited. Maybe they'll attack her like they do all the succesful black conservatives. Maybe if liberals would quit looking at life through a racist lens, this wouldn't even be a story....ever think of that? GOP in 2012!

    May 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Mavent

      Yes genius, one black chick running for the GOP certainly cancels out the 99% of blacks and women who think Republicans are ldiots.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @SPUD: racism is not a lie, but a fact. Nothing to laugh about, either. You conservatives know who you are and what you believe. You know the language that your party uses, both in private and in political campaigns. Your party appeals to fear and bigotry if it seems likely to attract the votes of the fearful and the prejudiced. You know this is fact. This rising star has no chance of being Mitt Romney's running mate, because that would cost Romney votes in the South, just as his own Mormon faith will. She will make a good addition to Congress, though.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Stentor

      Here's a challenge for you Brainiac, name 25 successful black conservatives.

      I can name at least 250 successful black liberals.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  11. zip

    Do a wiki search on Payler P. Pratt, Mitt Romney's great grandfather. See why he was killed by a jealous husband. He stole the man's wife, despite the fact he already had 11 wives of his own.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • What?

      Are you talking about Parley P. Pratt? He was shot in the back by several men (not just one) while sojourning as a missionary in the deep south. I don't know where you got your non-facts, but you should do more than just spew rumor. What you just said doesn't have a shred of truth to it.

      Further, I believe Romney is descended from Orson Pratt (can't confirm for sure) who was Parley's brother and inventor of the first Odomoter (ironic that his descendents later became car executives right?).

      May 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • zip

      Apologies. Parley P. Pratt. The story about Parley being killed by a jealous husband is fact. Look it up for yourself.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      Interesting tidbit, but what's your point? It has nothing to do with Mitt Romney, nor about this lady who's running for Congress.
      Bad behavior of his ancestor is no reflection on Governor Romney himself. None of get to choose our ancestors.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Stentor

      Parley Parker Pratt, Sr. (12 April 1807 – 13 May 1857) was an early leader of the Latter Day Saint movement whose writings became a significant early nineteenth-century exposition of the Latter Day Saint faith. Named a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1835, Pratt was part of the Quorum’s successful British mission of 1839-1841. Pratt has been called "the Apostle Paul of Mormonism" for his promotion of distinctive Mormon doctrines. Pratt practiced polygamy, and was murdered in 1857 by the former husband of his twelfth wife. He explored, surveyed, and built and maintained the first road for public transportation in Parley's Canyon in Salt Lake City, which is named in his honor.
      URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parley_P._Pratt

      I'd say that pretty much proves his point.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  12. Self-negation

    If I was a black woman, what choices could I make to further marginalize myself? Let's see, I could find a religion that has a long history of treating blacks as inferiors and cursed. I would also want one that insists that women are inverior and should be subservient to men. Southern Baptist . . . close, but not wuite enough . . a I've got it! Mormon! Great choice there.

    For politics, lets see, what party views blacks as the real racists, and hates Martin Luther King and Civil Rights? What party distrusts Mormons, and hates anything that is even remotely feminist? Gotta go Republican.

    Black Mormon Republican woman – makes about as much sense as being a Jewish Nazi.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Teluu

      Right on point.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Karen Akers-McDowell

      Well said and right on the money.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • sarah

      Shouldn't she choose her own path in life? How can we say we want people to have free choice unless they choose something we don't agree with? I think someone like her will be good for the GOP and will take them in a better direction.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      I like your point, but HITLER was a JEWISH NAZI and thousands of Jews served in the German Armed Forces during WWII. Just like Hitler was a Jew and hated other Jews, there are thousands of People who can be called Black or Afro American that actually hates other Blacks or so-called Afro Americans as much as any Klansman. This statement is sad but very true. This Black female Mormon has no authority in her own home nor would she have her own vote if she goes to congress, her White Man Husband will tell her exactly how to vote in congress. I would never vote for a puppet like that

      May 2, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Kellee

      OMG you are so true Jewish Nazi too funny. More like a African American Ku Klux Klan member.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  13. markiejoe

    Well, I'm glad they've got one at least.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  14. zip

    Nothin' like a little Swiss account full of Romney money to stab your race in the back. Wow. I wonder how long this has been planned?

    May 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      STAB YO RACE IN BACK! This is nothing new, This Back Stabbing has been going on for several hundred years. Remember the Willie Lynch Philosophy But more recently the Republican Racist Tea Baggin Party has a plantation full of these types of Uncle Tom Blacks including Herman Cain and Allen West. During the Palin & McCain rallies I've seen the racist signs and heard the vulgar racist rants but These Foolish Blacks try to convince other blacks not to believe what they see and hear about the Tea Baggers. Because I see the signs of Kill Obama and hear them called Blacks the N-- Word don't believe it just cause u see & hear it. Cain and West swears they have never heard these racist rants while Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Clarence Carter all can see this racism from these Repub TeaBagger. These types of So-Called Blacks would like to furnish the ropes and hold other Blacks Feet while these racist LYNCH US

      May 2, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  15. Joe Peterson

    "Fascinate me"? Wow

    May 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  16. LOL Religion

    Is her name Tokette?

    May 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  17. Joe Peterson

    I guess liberals are amazed even humored that one person of color has escaped their thinking....... Talk to a good old fashioned northeast liberal and they really think if you are african american you need to be protected, cared for, coddled like children. I guess here is one woman who breaks their stereotypes, Funny now until others see their true feelings.....

    May 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Moose

      SO basically black people are a monolith. That's pretty racist.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • JomoDaMusicMan

      Since when was a Female Mormon been allowed to think, Their husbands do all the thinking and screwing other women including their daughters. Anyone who votes for a Female Mormon is actually voting for her husband who will be calling all the shots. A black person has to be a combination of Retarded, Dumb and Stupid to join an organization that teaches that the black race occurred because of a curse and has rules of not accepting blacks in leadership roles

      May 2, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  18. SPUD

    Just goes to show who the real racists are...the liberals! Quit looking at life through a racist lens...Her gender, race, etc should not be an issue, it isnt for the GOP. The Dems point the finger at the GOP because they desperately use race as an attack weapon, when the truth is, none of that matter...character does. GOP in 2012!

    May 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • aaron

      Right on. Nothing like having a token black to make sure that Mormons are presented as non-racists in an election year. Who knows, they might be able to find another black person and present them as a set to try and get a few black votes.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • SPUD

      Is that would the liberals would do?

      May 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Guest

      It's not liberals hollering racism is the media dude...The media made an issue out of this read the headlines..

      May 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  19. PoBoy

    Why in God's name would she want to be Mormon?

    May 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • LOL Religion

      Hey, if you can bring yourself to believe in a magic man in the sky and that people come back from the dead after three days, that particular flavor of Christianity isn't that much of a stretch.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Hamlet

      Probably for the same reasons she wants to be black and female

      May 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • toad

      and what do you believe po boy

      May 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Djabacus

      Too bad there own religion thinks black people are from hell.

      Token

      http://www.truthandgrace.com/Racism.html

      May 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  20. GenericMan

    I have nothing nice to say and I've already said too much.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Rockgod28

      Wise. Let's see how long that lasts. Good luck.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:25 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.