Governor Mitt Romney’s religious beliefs and political platforms are both under fire.
Romney’s faith has been scrutinized in the media lately. The question many are asking is why isn’t Romney using his religious faith to his advantage during speeches and debates? Other candidates, such as Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann and Governor Ricky Perry, are conducting prayer sessions and mailing campaign letters that weave religious doctrine into their political agenda.
If Romney is going to run a conservative ticket, he needs to emphasize his religious leanings as he addresses his constituents, especially Tea Party voters.
In the 2008 primary elections, Romney ran on a religious conservative ticket. His religion of choice was neither emphasized nor scrutinized. However, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee also ran on a strong religious ticket and was defeated by the more moderate Senator John McCain.
The Tea Party movement has caused a recent shift in the Republican Party to push for an even more conservative ticket in response to President Obama. For example, voters objected to Perry allowing immigrants state benefits for public universities.
The Church of the Latter Day Saints doesn’t appear controversial, but if we observe history religion isn’t an unlikely deterrent for voters. The last non-protestant president to be elected was John F. Kennedy, whose Catholic faith was a controversial issue for voters. However, Kennedy was able to overcome that prejudice and win the election. Will that be true for Romney?
It would be appalling if voters refused to vote for Romney on the basis of religious preference rather than the basis of his public service record. While some Republican voters may not agree with his beliefs, they should look at the facts. Unfortunately, for Romney, those facts may be just as appalling.
One of the major debates has been Romney’s shift from a liberal ideology to a more conservative one. Romney was accused of warning a woman he counseled as bishop to not go forward with her abortion. An article was published and the incident made headlines years later when Romney ran for United States Senate as a supporter of abortion rights.
Romney has since abandoned that position. If the other Republican candidates don’t take advantage of these past events, then they deserve to lose the primaries.
Romney has held steady at second place in latest primary polls. Normally, questions of faith wouldn’t come into question, but his recent ideology shifts have left voters wondering who is the real Romney?
And questions like that can only lead to more candidate scrutiny and some religious intolerance.