Re: “A religious test for Mitt Romney” (TNT, 6-3).
Yes, religion matters. While a “religious test” is forbidden, religious evaluation by voters happens all the time. Specific to Mitt Romney as a Mormon are questions that pertain to how he may view individual rights.
The Latter-day Saints’ practice (acknowledged and defended by the church) of baptizing the dead by proxy raises question about the Mormons’ respect for the beliefs of other religions.
The LDS church allows members 12 years and older to stand in for dead people and perform the baptism ritual. It is accepted fact that the founding fathers were baptized by proxy by a LDS president and “prophet.” A Mormon friend of my grandson’s announced that the founding fathers were Mormons during class discussion on Presidents’ Day. On its website, the church says that the dead are free to accept or reject this baptism.
Romney’s church is not lackadaisical about its beliefs and doctrines. A Mormon is not allowed to pick and choose among doctrine and still be in good standing. Romney, obviously, has good standing. Does he believe in baptizing our dead relatives, dead political leaders, dead business leaders, and people like Golda Meir and Gandhi? This reflects on his respect for individual religious rights and beliefs.
While Romney can believe anything he wants, it does not mean voters should not understand how church doctrines motivate his “values.”