With the presidential elections around the corner, most thought the economic status of the country would be the main focus amongst voters. However, there has been an immense amount of recent negative activity regarding the religion of a presidential candidate. Mitt Romney abides by the Mormon religion. A Mormon has never occupied the resolute desk. This being said, only Catholics and Protestants have been elected president, excluding an abundant amount of religion including members of the Jewish and Mormon faith.
As a form of campaigning, pastor Robert Jeffress, proposed that Romney was a member of a “cult”. Robert Jeffress, a firm supporter of Republican Rick Perry, tried to spark disgust toward Romney by Evangelical voters through sly tactics. The United States was founded upon the beliefs of freedom and equality. Colonists wanted to branch off from English rule, in order to be granted the freedom of religion, one of the first amendments promised in the constitution. This said, how could religion be a form of negative campaigning in the most important election in America. Shouldn’t it be important that our country candidates are more focused on economy than the religion of their opponent? If religion is the most important criteria for a future president, then how do the values instilled when the constitution was first written still apply today? If Rick Perry were elected President, would all Mormons be treated differently based on their religion? Our country is in the midst of slowly trying to creep out of this economic disaster. A presidential candidate would be a lot more productive in campaigning, if he were to design a plan to boost the economy, rather than to have his supporters bash the other candidate’s religions.
Romney, the presidential candidate being bashed by several conservatives over being a Mormon, responded in a more gentlemanly manor by stating, “We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today has crossed that line, I think poisonous language doesn’t advance our cause”. With the use of “mudslinging”, negative campaigning; playing a larger role in elections these days, what is the effect it is having on the American people? It causes more confusion between the American public on whose arguments contain ethos and whose don’t. This is the effect of the confusion that negative campaigning causes. Instead of candidates focusing on their own beliefs, they use a mixture of their own beliefs and combine it with thrashing at the beliefs of their opponent. Thus making it difficult for voters to grasp the actual beliefs that the candidates stand for.
John Locke writes, “This is the unhappy agreement that we see between the church and state. Whereas if each of them would contain itself within its own bounds; the one attending to the worldly welfare of the commonwealth, the other to the salvation of souls; it is impossible that any discord should ever have happened between them” (A letter concerning toleration). This political conflict involving religion does not separate church and state, one of the principles our government was based on. Instead campaigning is directed at combining the two entities, and as Locke preached, state and church do not blend well. Separating church and state can lead to more peace and toleration within the society. I would agree with Locke that church and state should not be handled as a whole. This leads to the conclusion that Romney’s religion has absolutely nothing to do with the presidential election.