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“It’s appropriate to judge candidates on their beliefs and values”

July 25, 2007

A Salt Lake Tribune public forum letter, posted 6/11/2007:

I’m tired of hearing the claim that all who refuse to vote for Mitt Romney, because he’s a Mormon, are somehow biased and shouldn’t be allowed to consider religion when they vote. Nonsense.

Although it’s true that the Constitution bars any religious test to hold federal office, that does not mean that voters are barred from considering a candidate’s religious beliefs and values. After all, voters can reasonably expect that a candidate’s beliefs might influence future decisions were the candidate to be elected.

If I believed in animal sacrifice to appease the gods, female genital mutilation to reduce sexual promiscuity, and smoking marijuana as a way to “connect” with my higher power, you might reasonably conclude that you didn’t want me to represent you in Washington.

‘m not suggesting that it’s reasonable to vote against Romney simply because he believes in an anthropomorphic god. That’s ridiculous, because that belief would be unlikely to affect government policy. On the other hand, it’s na ve to suggest that there are no tenets in Mormonism, or any other faith, that might affect policy decisions. As a result, it’s appropriate to judge candidates on their beliefs and values – even those rooted in religion – that could affect policy decisions.

Ken Roach
Salt Lake City

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