Yesterday Mitt Romney took a cue from Jack Kennedy and gave the America does not have a religious test for office speech. Well he is right but that misses the point.
Does the average American have the right to look at a persons religious beliefs when decide who to vote for. Of course they do. In fact I submit they should. A persons religious beliefs reveal a tremendous amount about there personality and where they stand on issues.
Is there any red blooded American out there who would vote for a Muslim Wahhabi. Of course not, unless they are Wahhabi's.
Religion is not always a deciding factor but it is always one factor. I would be hard pressed to vote for an atheist, or a pagan or a scientologist. In fact anyone who was not Jewish or Christian would give me pause because I know Jews and Christians share the same cultural values that I do. Additionally in my view Christianity is the only rational religion because there is probative evidence that its claims are true. (that is will be the subject of its own post some day)
That is not to say that if it was between an atheist who agreed with my views 90 percent of the time and Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama that I would not vote for the atheist. In that case I might. As I said religion is just one consideration. Barack Obama is a good example of how religion is instructive. He is a member of the United Church of Christ. This is the most liberal Christian denomination in the world. This is instructive on his world view just as the fact that Huckabee is a Baptist minister is instructive with regard to his world view.
So how does that effect my feelings for Romney. While present day Mormons share many of the same values as Christians I am hesitant to call them Christians. To be a Christian I would say that at the bare minimum you must subscribe to the Apostles Creed or some similar creed like the Nicene. I do not believe Mormons subscribe to those creeds in their entirety and if they do they have a lot of additional views that are heterodox.
Mormons believe that their founder Joseph Smith was shown Golden Tablets by an angel that revealed to him the stories found in the book of Mormon. They are taking his word for it and there is no evidence it is true nor does archaeological evidence support the claims in the book. While I understand how difficult it is to question a faith that you were raised with ,that should not mean that you do not apply critical thinking skills to your fundamental beliefs. Failure to do so is one of many factors that go into my personal determination of a persons ability to be the leader of the free world. For that reason Mitt Romney is not my first choice. I will add that neither is he my last choice.
So of course religious beliefs matter and should be one consideration people weigh when they are picking a candidate. It reveals a great deal about the candidate. To say otherwise is just plain silly.