Newsweek Magazine has article about Mormon politician who may or may not be considering a presidential run in 2012. No, it is not Mitt Romney. Its John Hunstman Jr., the current U.S. Ambassador to China and former governor of Utah. Whether he will run or not is up for debate. However, the Newsweek article suggests that he might actually run:
The winking response—about as close to a hat-in-ring announcement as you’ll get from a sitting member of the incumbent’s administration—could just be a hollow cry for attention. But sources close to Huntsman (who requested anonymity to speak freely without his permission) say that during his December trip to the U.S., he met with several former political advisers in Washington and Salt Lake City to discuss a potential campaign. “I’m not saying he’s running,” says one supporter who has worked with him in the past. “But we’re a fire squad; if he says the word, we can get things going fast.”
The idea of having another Mormon besides Mitt Romney running in 2012 would certainly make the upcoming Presidential election more interesting, especially if these two candidates battle each other as they attempt to secure the Republican nomination.
There's a good reasons to expect tension between these two men. Jon Huntsman Jr. chose to endorse John McCain rather than Mitt Romney in the 2008 election. While both might be members of the same faith and are seen by some as "moderate" Republicans, they don't necessarily see eye to eye on the same issues. If Romney and Huntsman Jr. do run in 2012, it would be interesting to see them debate each other in the Republican primary debates. However, the biggest fight between them will probably occur as they court the same movers and shakers for political and financial support, especially among Mormons who have cash to give.
One obstacle for both of them will be the fact that they are both members of the LDS Church, natch. However, they both have different approaches in how they plan to explain their faith to the American voter.
"There are just some people for whom it will not be settled," Romney recently told the Boston Globe. "That's just the nature of who we are as a people. A lot of people have differing views."Huntsman, seen as a less-likely candidate after his appointment by Democratic President Barack Obama last year, appears to be taking a different tack.In a recent Fortune magazine interview that appeared on CNNMoney.com, his Mormon credentials were described as "soft," unlike his more devout family. His father, Jon Huntsman Sr., is an Area Seventy in the LDS Church.The former governor noted in the interview that his children attend Catholic schools, and his adopted daughters come from different religious cultures, one Buddhist, the other Hindu."I can't say I am overly religious," Huntsman is quoted as saying in the interview, which refers to his consideration of a 2012 run. "I get satisfaction from many different types of religions and philosophies."
It disappoints me that a candidate's faith is such a hot button issue with many voters, especially as the 2012 election starts to heat up. People should realize by now that a candidate's religious affiliation is secondary to a candidate’s qualifications, political positions and vision for America.
Mitt Romney has already addressed this issue before since he gave a well received speech about his faith at the George Bush Presidential Library during the 2008 election. I don't think he should have to explain his faith to people again. Neither should Jon Huntsman Jr. The fact that any candidate would have to explain his faith is so is so bothersome to me.
JFK had to give a speech about his Catholic faith at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960.In that speech, he gives warning to those who would seek to make a candidate's faith a political issue in a campaign:
"For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew--or a Quaker--or a Unitarian--or a Baptist...Today I may be the victim--but tomorrow it may be you--until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril."
What JFK essentially saying is that the Golden Rule applies to politics too. If Evangelicals, Jews, Muslims, Bhuddists, Mormons or members of a certain faith don't like having their faith being made into an issue, then they shouldn't do it to others because one day their faith will be made an issue too. And while a candidate's faith, say like being an Evangelical, may not be a concern for Americans now, it might very well be an issue in the future.
The idea that someone's faith is a political issue runs against everything America stands for.
Our country was founded on religious diversity. Many of the early colonies were created as havens for various religious faiths. Virginia was created as a legal colony whose official state religion was the Church of England while Maryland was created as a place for Catholics come to when they immigrated to America. William Penn created Pennsylvania as a haven for Quakers. Massachusetts was founded by the Puritans.
Our Founding Fathers came from various different religious backgrounds and when they were in the process of creating this nation, they specifically wanted religion to play a role in public life but they also wanted to prevent the federal government from endorsing a specific denomination or sect. As intelligent and observant students of history, they were quite aware of the consequences of religious conflicts in Europe. As a result, inserted article six into the Constitution which banned the use of religious tests for political office. Shortly thereafter, the founding fathers created the Bill of Rights which contains the well known 1st Amendment. Although, the federal Constitution originally applied to the federal government, many states were free to endorse a religion in their own state constitutions.
In deciding who is the best candidate, its values that matter, not theology that matters. This is an important fact for everyone to remember, especially the religious right. For example, Harry Reid is Mormon, but I would never vote for him since he doesn't reflect my values. On the other hand, I could support Romney or Huntsman Jr., not because they are of my faith but because of their values.
The Founding Fathers understood that values was more important than theology in politics. Despite the fact that the Founding Fathers came from a variety of different religious backgrounds; they all shared the same values even though they may have had disagreements over theological issues with one another.
In the end, I really don’t care if a Conservative candidate is Jewish, Buddhist, LDS, Catholic, Zoroastrians, Protestant, Hindu, Evangelical, or of some other faith. I care more about their qualifications, political positions and their plan for our country’s future.And you should too.