"Reviewing Romney's statements - and "inelegant misstatements" - throughout this campaign, we have now come to feel that full disclosure about the shaping influence of religion on his character is of even greater urgency to the voter. It is no longer about the postponed Mormon Moment, for that has been lost. It is about Romney himself. Who is this man? What settled convictions does he have? Is Romney the face of Mormonism? Or, as some Mormons have come to feel, has he so far distanced himself from core values of his religion that they feel constrained to emphasize that he is not that face?" Huff Post
You hear people say that Romney should not be questioned about his religion because in the United States there is no "religious test" for public office. This is a basic error. The US Constitution specifies that there shall be no religious test for office. This is a restriction on the behavior of government, not on the behavior of citizens. All the provisions of the constitution are restrictions on the behavior and power of the federal government and by extension through the 14th Amendment on the state governments. Nothing restricts the right of citizens to consider ideologies and "mind sets" in deciding who to vote for. IMO such a consideration is desirable. What is religion but an ideology? Would it not be appropriate to ask an avowed anarchist to clarify his views before voting about him?
The theology of the LDS church is no more "off limits" than that of any other religion. It may be that one believes that all theology is nonsense. I would not argue the point, but the importance of theology to a believer and the effect on behavior and policy can not be dismissed. "As man is, God was" is a tenet of the LDS faith. What effect does it have on someone to believe that right behavior will lead to a personal destiny as savior of a planet other than this one? Does such a belief lead to a lessened concern for this planet as opposed to other planets where personal destiny beckons? In the area of Mormon custom, what are we all to think of the LDS tendency to a reliance on a communal survivalism that causes Mormons to prepare for a post apocalyptic world in which families must rely on their hoards of food and supplies. Is this a vision of a Hobbesian universe in which there is war of "all against all" with the Latter Day Saints arrayed against the gentiles? How does that kind of belief affect future Romney policy about public responsibility for disaster relief? In the present emergency I have heard Ann Romney speak of the need for us to care for each other. Is she speaking of private charity or government responsibility? At the end of this Huff Post piece there is reference to a kind of Mormon "takiya," (the Shia practice of dissimulation for the faith). Is this the basis for the obvious lying in the Romney campaign's political propaganda? This is the campaign that declared that it would not be restricted by fact-checkers. This is the campaign that lied about jeep production and the attendant jobs being exported to China. Are we to think that the candidate does not know that his campaign lies?
IMO people are right to consider the effects of religion on behavior in public office. They were right to consider it in the case of JFK and they should consider it now. pl