Mitt Romney is a Mormon, a father of five and married to the same woman (the mother of his five sons) since 1968.
Is America ready to elect a Mormon President of the United States?
That depends upon the Mormon and the alternatives.
In the case of Mitt Romney and the alternatives to him, the answer is yes.
Especially if Mitt Romney enthusiastically addresses (1) religion and religious freedom the way America's Founders intended and (2) the egregious error made by the United States Supreme Court in Everson v. Board of Education in ignoring the intent and history of the religious clauses of the First Amendment, treating anti-religion as religion and pretending that neutrality between religion and anti-religion is possible, being a good Mormon surely will not be an impediment to his election.
The Constitution prohibits a religious test for office and presidential elections are not religious preference polls
Consider the results of the three presidential elections in which baptized Roman Catholics were nominated by a major political party: 1928, 1960 and 2004.
In 1928 Al Smith, then Governor of New York, won 80% of the Catholic vote, but Herbert Hoover (a Quaker) easily won the election.
In 1960 John F. Kennedy, then a United States Senator from Massachusetts, won 78% of the Catholic vote, and the election, barely, beating Richard Nixon (a Quaker)..
In 2006, John F. Kerry, then a United States Senator from Massachusetts, lost the Catholic vote and the election to President George W. Bush (a Methodist)
Why did Senator Kerry do so poorly among Catholics?
Because President Bush, although not a Catholic, was the pro-life candidate and Senator Kerry was recognized as a political opportunist.
On July 8, 2004, CNN's Larry King interviewed Senator Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry. The two of them assured King that they were Catholics. Senator Kerry solemnly said that his Catholic faith “guides” him and described it as his “rock….the bedrock of [his] sense of place, of where it all fits.”
With respect to abortion, Senator Kerry declared that he would “protect that right of choice.”
Senator Kerry favored a legal right to abort, for any reason or no reason, and he took the theologically nonsensical position that his conscience permitted him to support such a right.
Senator Kerry claimed a distinction between the life that begins at conception and human life worthy of legal protection.
To the naïve, Senator Kerry's position may have made him look admirably open-minded and restrained instead of arbitrary and controlling, but it was sheer sophistry, that is, "subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation," of which Senator Kerry should be ashamed.
The "separation between faith and life" that Senator Kerry tried to use for political advantage was condemned long ago by the Second Vatican Council as "counted among the more serious errors of our age."
As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated in its Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life: "[T]he lay Catholic's duty to be morally coherent...is one and indivisible. There cannot be two parallel lives...: on the one hand, the so-called 'spiritual life,' with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called 'secular' life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture."
The Doctrinal Note emphasized that lay Catholics, in fulfilling civic duties, are to be "'guided by a Christian conscience,' in conformity with its values," and that "their proper task [is] infusing the temporal order with Christian values, all the while respecting the nature and rightful autonomy of that order, and cooperating with other citizens according to their particular competence and responsibility."
The Doctrinal Note categorically rejected the claims that citizens have "complete autonomy with regard to their moral choices and lawmakers...are respecting this freedom of choice by enacting laws which ignore the principles of natural ethics and yield to ephemeral cultural and moral trends, as if every possible outlook on life were of equal value."
Religious values are supposed to inform public policy, and Mitt Romney's religious values fit America well.America's Declaration of Independence announced the American view that people have God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and rejected the divine right of kings belief. It did NOT insinuate in the slightest, much less assert, that God is a figment of man's imagination and religion should be banned from the public square.
America has been God blessed and God grateful.
Yet secular extremists assiduously pursue their un-American agenda: ending any governmental acknowledgement of God and giving them freedom from religion in the public square.
Michael Newdow, the California atheist determined to drop "under God" from "The Pledge of Allegiance," is also litigating to remove "In God We Trust."
America's Founders would be aghast, but the majority United States Supreme Court decision in Everson v. Board of Education, decided in 1947, misconstrued the religious clauses in such a way as to give Mr. Newdow and his ilk hope.
In Everson, the Supreme Court stated: "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever from they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.' Reynolds v. United States, supra, 98 U.S. at page 164."
The Supreme Court majority further stated that the First Amendment "requires the state to be a neutral in its relations with groups of religious believers and non-believers...."
To the extent that the Supreme Court asserted that governmental cannot "aid all religions" and must be neutral as between religion and irreligion, the Court essentially rewrote the religious clauses of the First Amendment while purporting to interpret it.
Mitt Romney should assert not only that, but also his resolve to appoint judges (including United States Supreme Court Justices) who are not hostile to religious and not determined to reset the secular moderate course set in the First Amendment under the guise of judicial interpretation.
The American Center for Law and Justice: "The Establishment Clause was never intended as a guarantee that a person will not be exposed to religion or religious symbols on public property, and the Supreme Court has rejected previous attempts to eradicate all symbols of this country's religious heritage from the public's view. Although enterprising plaintiffs can find support for just about any proposition in the Court's multifarious Establishment Clause pronouncements, a claim that the national motto violates the First Amendment borders on frivolous."
The Foundation for Moral Law: "neutrality between religion and non-religion ... is a myth lacking both logical and historical underpinnings" and "complete neutrality concerning religion in the public square does not exist and was never intended in our law."
Neutrality between religions was intended, NOT neutrality between religion and non-religion. As James Madison said, religion is "the duty owed the Creator."
If Mitt Romney campaigns on a promise to work to undo the Supreme Court's mistake in 1947, it won't matter which religion he believes is the best path to heaven.
Before the Civil War, the Senate Judiciary Committee not only supported military and Congressional chaplaincy, but explained why: "[The Founders] had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people; they did not intend to prohibit a just expression of religious devotion by the legislators of the nation, even in their public character as legislators; they did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy."
THAT is the agenda of the secular extremists.
Eliminating public acknowledgements of God, like Thanksgiving and Christmas (national holidays), and support for religion generally (such as "under God," "In God We Trust" and Ten Commandments and creche displays) is exalting atheism instead of God.
If Mitt Romney pledges to protect the Constitution from those who would pervert it, he will win and, more important, America will win.
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.