First thing I’d like to say is, I’m only a mild political hobbyist. I watch the news and read a few articles, but I have no stats to back up what I’m about to say. So take it with a huge grain of salt.
I’ve been watching the ‘race to the white house’ with interest. A lot because I don’t like a lot of the things Obama has done or a lot of his positions. I’m a moderate though — won’t even listen to Rush or the other extreme right-wing pundits, and I believe certain financial regulations and taxes can be good things. So though I don’t completely agree with all his fiscal policies, I voted for Mitt Romney at the republican caucus the other night.
Now, anyone who watches politics knows that, in general, the extremists don’t win national elections. The Republicans will always vote Republican, the Democrats will always vote Democrat, it’s the moderates you need to sway one way or another, and you don’t do that by being extreme. That’s why in wisdom the primaries and caucuses usually go to the more moderate candidate — not because more people believe him, but because more people believe he can win. This time, though, that’s less the case than normal. It could be because our country is becoming more polarized. But watching where the voting trends are makes me think it is more because of religious prejudice.
I grew up in Oklahoma, often called the ‘buckle of the Bible belt.’ I believe it, because I grew up with a lot of ignorant anti-Mormon sentiment. So I find it no surprise that Oklahoma, along with many other Southern ‘Bible belt’ states are voting against the most moderate Republican candidate, Mitt Romney. Few political supporters will come out and say that religion is why they voted against a candidate, but when it comes to social issues and Republicans, religion is a huge factor and with the blind hatred I see against Mormons down south, I would be surprised if it wasn’t a factor.
That being said, the ‘Mormon vote’ in Utah and Idaho and other Western states is also prejudiced. Mormonism is so much beyond a ‘go to Sunday meeting’ religion and lifestyle that it tends to be exclusive. So much so that many Mormons vote for Mitt because they think they know what to expect — someone with their same beliefs and values. And who’s to say it isn’t that simple of a reason down south too? Bible belters believe Mormons are far more different from them than we are, so they think they are voting for the same beliefs and values too.
I know this is natural. I just don’t know whether it’s a good thing. I do know that I want Barack Obama out of office, and I would find it a shame if he won again because of religious prejudice based on ignorance. I mean, Mormons are Christians too. We believe in the Ten Commandments, in Jesus Christ’s atonement for our sins, and in the Bible. We don’t believe we are saved by our own works, we don’t consummate our marriages in front of witnesses in temples, and we don’t worship Joseph Smith. So please don’t vote against the man because of his religion. If you don’t agree with his political stance, fine, find someone you like better. But don’t make religion a factor in the upcoming election, please.