I wouldn’t have known one of the candidates running in my California congressional district is a Mormon, except that everyone felt inclined to tell me as if it was the dealmaker. “He’s a Mormon,” they said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a Mormon in office?” Of course some people aren’t voting for him only because he’s Mormon, they also affiliate with his political party (or parties, in this case). But the underlying factor for many of my friends is not that he’s Mormon, but the assumption that he’s more honest than any other candidate because he is Mormon. That’s hardly fair.
The second factor to be driving Mormon support for this candidate and other Mormon candidates around the country is the idea that the Mormon candidate will protect the constitution. I’m not sure how to interpret this other than to assume some Mormon voters believe that rather than carry miniature sized copies the constitution around in their front pockets, non-Mormon candidates are nightly building bonfires in their backyards to burn the constitution. The most popular slogan is, “Fight for Freedom! Vote _____!” It is alarming if our freedoms really are under threat as this slogan implies. Yet my friends and relatives who are deeply afraid of their freedoms vanishing before their very eyes have yet to explain exactly what freedoms are under threat, or in what ways they are being threatened. Instead they use catch phrases like ‘anti-constitutional.’
Dallin H. Oaks said it best:
“Some of the things said by various persons in recent public discourse cause me to urge that we be more careful in the way we throw around the idea that something is unconstitutional. A constitution should not be used as a weapon to end debate. A public policy or a proposed law that is unwise is not necessarily unconstitutional. Even if it is a stupid proposal, it is not necessarily unconstitutional…If we call some action unconstitutional, we should be prepared to explain what provision or principle of a constitution it violates.”
The mature side of me doesn’t like groupthink. The immature side of me wants to rebel and vote for the other guy, the non-Mormon, just to shun groupthink. The mature side of me won out and decided to actually compare platforms, ideas, investigate accusations, and make a reasonable decision. It was still the non-Mormon guy.
Reasonable people can disagree about politics. Good, smart people have different ideas about what is best for the country. Reasonable people could, in the end, vote for someone based on the merits of his/her character. Unreasonable people make assumptions about someone’s character and politics based on his/her religion.
Now go vote, if you haven’t already.