Flunking Sainthood

Flunking Sainthood

Mormons Who Can’t Help Cheering for Mitt Romney

I have a confession to make: even though I knew I had to wake up at 4:30 this morning to catch a flight, I stayed up well into the night for the nail-biting final results of the Iowa caucuses. I wanted to see if Mitt would pull it off.

“I don’t actually care about this,” I told my husband. It was a lie. He knew it, I knew it, and the American people knew it.

What is true is that I have no logical reason to care. If Romney wins the Republican nomination, I will not be voting for him in the general election. His politics are not my politics, not by a mile.


But part of me wants him to win the nomination — not just because I think Obama can beat him, and not just because I’m the co-organizer of a conference in New York in three weeks on Mormonism in American politics and the event will be more of a wake if Romney has fallen off the radar by then.

I want him to win the nomination for the same purely irrational reason that so many Republicans refuse on principle to vote for him: because he is a Mormon.

I know that religious affiliation is a perfectly stupid reason to support or oppose a political candidate. But let’s for a moment be honest with ourselves. For all our high-minded discussions of policy, studies have shown that at the end of the day most people vote on pure gut reaction. They either like someone or they don’t. They identify with someone or they don’t.


I’ve never met Mitt Romney, but I know five people who know him personally, two of them very well. Four of the five have only good things to say about him as a human being, and one of those four is politically quite liberal. He worked closely with Romney in LDS church callings in Boston and was impressed with his integrity and commitment to helping people, even though they did not see eye-to-eye on politics.

Part of the deal with being a member of a religious minority is that you cheer when members of your little tribe are successful in the world. I have major issues with Stephenie Meyer’s fiction, for example, but I’m proud of her accomplishments.

So to Mitt I say: Rock on. Celebrate your victory with a well-deserved glass of ice-cold Sprite today. I will also raise a Sprite in your honor.


  • Ben S

    Ooh, I’d missed that conference notice. Will have to attend, since I live there and all…

  • Jana

    Ben, you would be most welcome. The conference is free and open to the public. Also, if you’re interested, some of us are going to see the BOM Musical that Saturday night. We can get a nice discount through the university. Good times.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nicole

    Voting for a candidate because of religious affiliation is a very American thing to do, seeing as how religion was at the core of the Declaration of Independence and shines through in the Constitution, not surprising. Even today, secularism doesn’t mean a whole lot… One swears on the Christian Bible to say the truth in court, the back of a court room might even say “in God we trust” and the money “agrees”.

    I live in EU and here, we couldn’t care less what Christian Religion a politician has… Unless you are in Ireland/Northern Ireland.

    I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
    Personally, I wouldn’t vote for Romney because he is Mormon. Not because they are bad people or have different values. But because he is Mormon and went through the Temple which comes with certain commitments that are binding and will be, even as President. No need to go into details.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Goldarn

    From what I can tell from my GOP Mormon acquaintances, voting for someone because of religions os okay, but against someone because of religion is bad, unless the religion is Muslim (or atheist).

  • http://bobsuruncle michael

    Mitt’s has the complete support of the LDS. don’t kid yourselves.

    • Jana Riess

      Not from this LDS . . . at least not with my vote. But even though I disagree with Romney’s politics, it’s difficult to watch his religious convictions be demonized.

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