Opinion: Political dogfight spares no person, religion

By David Lewis

Understand from the beginning that I don’t claim the right or the left. Politics never has interested me, nor has it ever seemed that my opinion would even matter, being from a state known as the reddest of the reds. Unfortunately, this year’s race for the Republican presidential nomination has hit a little too close to home to be able to avoid forming an opinion.

The emergence of Republican Mitt Romney as the party’s frontrunner has caused many to analyze the Massachusetts governor, but not for his policies or ideas as much as his religion.

Now as I said earlier, I don’t claim a political party; therefore, I’m not solely defending Romney or Republicans, but every person facing the religious bigotry being seen in this year’s campaign. Being a fellow member of Romney’s faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the more common public-given nickname, “Mormon” church, was what made me begin to form this opinion.

It was surprising and eye-opening for me to see how so much strategy is being used against Romney and fellow candidates solely based on their religious views. It seems all candidates are in a dogfight to downplay the others’ religion in an attempt to suggest that for that reason they are unqualified to be president of the United States of America.

I remember the 2008 presidential election, in which rumors were being spread of Obama being a Muslim. Many were terrified and alarmed by the thought that a Muslim would even set foot in the White House. After later finding out that he was indeed not a Muslim, I began to ask myself and question: What difference would it have made? Why would it even have mattered if he were a Muslim? Is it not the First Amendment that clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”?

Don’t get me wrong now; I’m just as opposed to having someone who believes in genocide or racism or any kind of inequality of man in any form lead the free world. But to question a person’s integrity based on their religion, whether it is Catholic, Protestant, Methodist, Mormon, Muslim or any other inspiring faith, is discouraging.

I don’t like politicians. I find them all to be liars and willing to say whatever it takes to get what they need. But I do believe in honorable men. If you disagree with their policies, fine. If you don’t agree with their ideas, it’s ok. Don’t let ignorance blind you from the issues that really matter, which are not religion or any other minor demographic. If nothing else, remember the inspiring words written in the Declaration of Independence by the founding fathers of this great country:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

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