The political news is rife, since Karl Rove suggested is last week, with talk of Mitt Romney as the Vice Presidential choice for the Republicans. Not a single article has appeared questioning whether his faith would hurt the ticket. What is the difference between the top spot and number two? Why so much ink when Romney was a presidential candidate and so little when he is discussed for Veep? Is the Evangelical vote already written off for McCain? If not, why would they vote for a Mormon Veep anymore than a Mormon POTUS?
Lowell adds some provocative (he hopes) thoughts: Some months ago I wrote here about Thomas Griffith, who had been general counsel to BYU and is now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is the second-most important federal appellate court after the Supreme Court. Judge Griffith happens to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and had written a long article about the Church’s beliefs about Jesus Christ. I asked readers to imagine that they were U.S. Senators an conservative Evangelical Christians who were considering Judge Griffith’s nomination, and then I asked these questions:
1. Would you you take the [judge's] religious views . . . into account in deciding whether or not to support his nomination? Presumably no, because the views are purely theological, and to take Griffith’s religion into account is flatly prohibited under Article VI to the Constitution.
2. Would your answer to Question 1 change if Griffith were before you as a nominee not to the D.C. Circuit, but as a sitting D.C. Circuit judge now proposed for elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court?
3. If your answer to Questions 1 or 2 is “no,” do you see any difference between excluding Griffith’s Mormonism from your consideration of him as a judicial nominee, on one hand, and excluding Romney’s religion from your consideration of him as a presidential candidate, on the other?
I’m just wondering if this is a matter of psychology. To some, it may just seem to be “too much” to put a Mormon on the Supreme Court, even though he or she might be acceptable on the Court of Appeals. In the same manner, it seems tolerable to some that a Mormon be a U.S. Senator, but certainly not President of the United States.
Similary, is it acceptable to some (Al Mohler comes to mind) for a Mormon to be Vice President, but not President? The notion is illogical, of course, because the veep is “only a heartbeat away” from being President. But Mohler is concered that the election of a Mormon president might “mainstream” Mormonism. Presumably the election of a Mormon U.S. Senator, or the confirmation of a Mormon federal appeals court judge (but maybe not a Supreme Court justice) would not worry the Rev. Mohler quite so much.
Food for thought, no? Is the country ready for a Mormon veep, but not a Mormon president?
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