A recent Pew Research poll found that 32% of voters don’t know what religion Mitt Romney follows. Unfortunately, of the people who know he is a Mormon, 22% are uncomfortable with this fact.
I think religion plays far too prominent a role in the presidential election process, considering how little a president’s religion affects his legislative actions. Of course there is a large portion of the population that would disagree with my position.
Having said that, if a candidate’s religion is important to you there are a few details about the Mormon religion that you might be interested in.
As Mitt Romney has explained, he pays a lower tax rate because of all of the charity donations he makes. The thing that he doesn’t talk about is the fact that in order for Mitt to attend the Church of Latter-day Saints and get into heaven he is required to tithe at least 10% of his gross income. So while the IRS may consider this a charitable deduction it is really more a membership fee with a great pension.
Of course there are also questions about the charitable nature of the Mormon Church since it has been suggested that much of the money goes into for-profit organizations instead of what most would consider typical charitable uses.
This should also call into question the charitable nature that many people hold up as a virtue of Mitt Romney’s since in 2009 and 2010 80% of the donations to “charity” Mitt made have gone to pay for his church membership.
It should also be noted that when asked to pay his fair share for roads, bridges, military, education, cops, and firefighters Mitt Romney stated that he “paid all the taxes that were required by law.” However in 2011 he gave 12.4% of his income to the Mormon church – more than was required. And when asked about the money they are required to give their church, his wife Ann said, “I love tithing. When Mitt and I give that check, I actually cry.”
I imagine many wish Mitt had this sort of passion for his country.
The good news for Mitt is that 34% of conservative Republicans think Barack Obama is a Muslim, so regardless of their reservations about Mitt, their misinformed beliefs about President Obama will supersede any concerns about Mitt Romney’s religion.
The bad news is way too many people will think that this stuff makes a difference in how either man will lead.