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Email on Mitt

Two very interesting (and very different) perspectives responding to my earlier post about the issue of Romney's Mormonism. First, from a reader in Mississippi:

I go to a very fundamentalist Southern Baptist Church. We have a membership of two thousand. We have had studies on the Mormon church. To put it very mildly, we consider it a devilish cult.

Now none of us are going to say that in public. And if Romney is running for President, he would get no votes in our church. The most powerful political medium in the Baptist church is the Men's Brotherhood Breakfast held one Sunday per month. We talk about the church mission projects, church politics, and secular politics. You can be assured Romney's Mormon faith will be discussed. Guess how many votes he'll get. Throughout the entire South all these Baptist churches have these breakfasts and politics is discussed. Romney's religion will be discussed.

Believe it or not, the most popular GOP candidate is Rudy Giuliani. McCain has little support because of campaign finance and he's too kootchy-kootchy with liberal Democrats.

That's the way it looks from the small-town Deep South.

Next from a Mormon reader in Utah:

I bristle at the notion that Mormon beliefs, as touching the President of the United States, would be perceived as somehow wackier, less believable, more harmful, less worthy than say Catholicism, Protestantism, or any other major American religion. After all, it is 2006, not 1844 (year of martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith at the hands of Missouri and Illinois mobbers).

I would add, however, that many fellow Mormons in our fair state of Utah won't vote for Mitt just because he is Mormon. That may sound strange, but if you know a little bit about our history and our theology you would discern we are less likely to vote in blocs than say a century ago.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has changed dramatically these past 50 years. While there continues to be a virulent prosecutorial strain among a certain percentage of the American population, the church has become more widely accepted and appreciated than ever before. You need only reference the church's efforts to assist in humanitarian efforts throughout the world to get a sense of the value Mormons place on being good citizens of the world. Mormons don't expect pats on the back or glowing reviews from respected columnists (although that helps too). Mormons only want to be accepted. Which leads me back to Mitt. It will be a shame if the electorate rejects Mitt simply because they don't like how he chooses to worship.

As for me, I will wait until all the candidates are declared and their positions clarified before deciding. I hope everyone else will do the same.

As I said, it will be very interesting to see how this whole thing plays out over the next year and a half.