Does it matter what the president’s faith is?

For a while now, I have really been looking forward to the 2008 presidential election, and for good reason, as it is going to be the first national election I will vote in.

I have been researching candidates for some time now, and one thing strikes me to be very odd. Why is religion such a big deal for electing a president? [Thursday] Mitt Romney gave a speech addressing his Mormonism as a result of his dropping polling numbers to former Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee, mainly in Iowa.

So why does it matter so much that he is Mormon? As an atheist, I really couldn’t care less about a candidate’s religion, but I pose the question: Why does it matter so much to some people what religion a candidate is?

With so many religions, how can one religion be the “correct” one, and how can one, or many, god(s) be considered the correct one? Romney made an excellent point in a recent interview when he said, “I am running for commander-in-chief, not pastor-in-chief.”

And for the record, I am not supporting Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee for president in 2008.

– Patrick Theiss Sophomore, VCT

I am a little astonished – perhaps I shouldn’t be – that some groups of Christians take issue with Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. After all, he espouses the same values they do. But, they say, Mormonism is a “cult.” What is a cult? Nearly 2,000 years ago, Christianity was a “Jesus cult” within Judiasm.

The important question here is: Are many Christians today resorting to intolerance and religious discrimination for political office? Do they really care what religion candidates believe in when their values are identical?

Perhaps they are down with Romney because they have a Christian alternative in Mike Huckabee. He is more religiously correct according to the American Protestant majority – and he is playing up his Protestant credentials. Are we experiencing a big uptick in religious tests for political office?

– Ron Harris Instructor, Math and Statistics