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Obama and Romney fight for religious groups’ votes. Then there’s Romney’s Mormon faith

Separation of church and state may be a constitutional requirement in US government. But in Election 2012, religion has become an increasingly important factor. President Obama and Mitt Romney are focusing on particular religious groups.

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Three-year-old Dean Call holds a sign that says "Go Mitt Romney Mormons Rock" as Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina, in January.

Brian Snyder/REUTERS

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Separation of church and state may be a constitutional requirement in US government. But in Election 2012 politics, religion has become an increasingly important factor.

Both President Obama and Mitt Romney are focusing on particular religious groups – Roman Catholic, Jewish, and evangelical Christians. Mr. Romney’s religion – Mormonism – is being covered by the media like never before in US political history. (At least since the sect moved to Utah in the 19th century in order to practice its own beliefs – including, at that time, polygamy.)

Off to the side, meanwhile, is an apparent spat between the two most prominent Mormon politicians – Romney and Senate majority leader Harry Reid – that seems to bear on their religion’s theology.

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The cover story in the current issue of Time magazine is headlined "The Mormon Identity: What Mitt Romney's faith tells us about his vision and values." It’s written by Jon Meacham, who’s a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard Divinity School and whose books include “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation.”

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