Feature

Romney’s silence on his faith

The Republican nominee has been unwilling to talk about his religion, leaving much of his biography and character unknown to voters.

Ross DouthatThe New York Times 

Mitt Romney the candidate is “often dismissed as hollow, cynical, and inauthentic,” said Ross Douthat. But Romney the man does have “deep convictions,” rooted in his intense, lifelong commitment to his Mormon faith. Unfortunately, the Republican nominee has been unwilling to talk about his religion, leaving much of his biography and character unknown to voters. If Romney were a Presbyterian, Methodist, or Jew, his dedication to his religious community as a lay bishop, his philanthropy, and his selfless works of charity to friends and fellow Mormons in trouble would all be woven into a political narrative that “emphasized his piety and decency.” But if he put his faith on the table, he’d have to address some uncomfortable aspects of Mormon history, including its founders’ polygamy and racism, and chief prophet Joseph Smith’s odd revelations, including his revisions of the Bible and his assertion that Jesus once visited America—all of which can “make his faith seem alien.” The price for Romney’s silence, however, is that “he’s cut himself off from things that make his life story impressive,” and has shielded voters from “the deepest longings of his heart.”

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