Religion and politics

How much of a role should a candidate’s religion play in running for office?
This is the question weighing on most Republicans’ minds as several possible Mormon candidates — Jon Huntsman Jr. and Mitt Romney — gear up for a run for the presidential ticket in 2012.

In 2008, Romney did several open interviews about his Mormon faith, saying that he stood firmly behind his beliefs.

“Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they’re right, so be it,” he said.

Huntsman, on the other hand, has been a little more vague about where he stands.

“I can’t say I am overly religious. I get satisfaction from many different types of philosophies,” he told Fortune magazine last year.

Despite both being members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Romney and Huntsman differ somewhat when it comes to political issues.

So the question is … will people actually take the time to find out what those differences are and vote accordingly? Or will they focus solely on the candidates religious views?

I thought America was based on the notion of religious freedom and opportunity. I’m upset to think that others may let a person’s personal religious beliefs stand in the way of becoming the next president — even if this person is extremely knowledgeable and capable of achieving so great a position, as I believe both Huntsman and Romney are.

If people are concerned about certain issues that a candidate does or does not support, or if they simply don’t agree with their policies, so be it. But to automatically disqualify someone because of what they choose to believe in goes against what we as Americans stand for.

I believe in equal opportunity. I’m proud America made history with our first African-American president this past election, with Barack Obama. It shows how far we’ve come as a nation and society. We’ve proved we could rise above racism and focus not on the “color of their skin, but on the content of their character.” We are living Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream.

Let’s not roll the ball backward and let religion also stand in the way.

How do you think people will react to possibly two Mormon candidates for the presidency? Does religion play a role in voting? Why or why not?

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