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Mormon Candidate a Step Toward a Jewish One?

Romney will be the first non-Protestant GOP nominee

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Mitt Romney yesterday.(Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

In the midst of the election dogfight, it is worth taking a step back to note just how remarkable the 2012 presidential election is shaping up to be—particularly if you are a member of an ethnic or religious minority. Because one of the candidates is an historic pathbreaker whose nomination will represent a tremendous leap forward in terms of the diversity of those who contend for the nation’s highest office.

And the other candidate will be a black guy.

In U.S. history, there have been exactly four major-party presidential nominees who were not Protestants: Al Smith, John Kennedy, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. Mitt Romney, the (we can now say it) presumptive Republican nominee, is of course Mormon—which, in terms of broad American comfort-level, probably represents a step beyond the aforementioned Catholics and Greek Orthodox. So in that context alone, he is exceptional. But, of course, all four of those men were Democrats. Romney will be the first Grand Old Party nominee who is not a Protestant.

Are Jews identifying with Romney’s religious difference? A late February poll of registered New York voters saw Romney with a very high 46 percent to 44 percent approval rating among Jews: Obama barely fared better, and it’s a figure that wiped the floor with the men who were then the other three major contenders. Of course, Romney was also the moderate frontrunner, and so this should be expected even if he were a WASP. Still, couldn’t you see it—an oddly yet weirdly intuitive sense of solidarity between two disproportionately affluent, politically savvy religious groups, neither of whom consider themselves Gentiles? Expect to learn more about those aspects of Mormon theology that deem adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be descended from the House of Israel. Expect to read more articles like this one, about two senators from Utah (Democrats, actually) who helped support the Zionist movement and strove to get America to help save Jews from Hitler; or this one, from Tablet Magazine, on the similarities between anti-Mormon and anti-Semitic biases. Who knows, maybe we’ll even hear about Angels in America, whose main characters are mostly Mormons or Jews?

Finally, Romney’s eventual nomination probably makes the path for an eventual major-party Jewish nominee easier. That would be fun. But first, there should probably be a woman. I mean, they’re not even a minority.

Related: Protocols of the Elders [Tablet Magazine]
U.S. Voters Should Recall a Time When Mormons Saved Jewish Lives [Haaretz]
Mormonism and Judaism [Wikipedia]

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salemst says:

Mark it’s not the identity politics that counts, it’s issues commonality.  Mitt Romney is Reaganesque in a 2012 election eerily similar to the one of 1980 between Reagan and Carter.  Arguably, Obama is Carter’s second term.  Same economic/jobs dynamic misery albeit with lower interest rates, awful jobs creation, military decay/weakness, loss of national pride, and a President inspiring zero confidence.
As a politically conservative Jew, I’m proud to suport Mitt Romney not because he’s Mormon or non Protestant, but because we have issue agreement–the most important consideration.

PhillipNagle says:

Despite his abysmsal record as president and his clearly anti-Israel foreign policy, according to this article Obama has a slightly higher approval rating than Romney.  I thought we Jews were supposed to be smart.

edlobel says:

I am ashamed of any Jew who supports willard romney. He still follows the mormen teaching of converting deceased Jews into his religion and that is something no Jew should allow. As for all you so called intelligent Jews, just a little reminder of 3 small things, first, there have been two presidents in the history of the United States, who were businessmen, first Herbert Hoover and he gave us the GREAT DEPRESSION, and the george bush jr., who gave us the GREAT RECESSION.  Electing willard, will bring about the total economic collapse ot our country. Secondly, he has yet to tell the truth about anything. What he does is tell you what he thinks you want to hear!  Lastly, willard does not love the United States, willard only loves himself and thinks he is entitled to be president. 
I do not know anyone who doesn’t like him becasue he is wealthy, they do not like him becasue he is arogant about his wealth!

     Talk about projection! Boy, you sure do a lot of it. Almost everything you’ve accused Romney of applys to Obama in spades!

    But, you fail to even comprehend the LDS practice of baptism for the dead. The Saints believe all men are required to perform certain ordinances in mortality, and the work they do for the dead are contingent on two things: one, the spirit of the person for whom the the work is done, accepting it; and two, the judgment of God that they never had a fair opportunity to accept or reject his gospel in their mortal probation. It is NOT a conversion, but an invitation for the deceased.

    Also, what do you mean about being “arrogant about his wealth?” I never hear him boast of it, nor need he, or any honest man, be ashamed of earning it. He gave away his inheritance to charity, his personal wealth he earned himself, and he gives substantially ( and without heralding it) to charity. Not anything I’d identify as “arrogant.”

      edlobel says:

      It’s amazing how people who don’t know or want to know the truth turn things around. Just what recession has President Obama given us? Oh I see the recession caused by george bush jr.? If that’s the recession you are talking about, you simply do not know or want to know the truth, you hate the President and since there is no economic reason to, you make one up! ?
      As for going around baptizing deceased people into the mormen faith, it appears you simply do not understan or want to understand, the Mormens have no right to go around baptizing any dead person without approval of the family of the dead person.? The Mormens do it on the sly becasue they know how infuriated?people would get.? The have entered into agreements with Jewish organizations to cease this practice but they continue to?do it. ?
      I?am a good friend of a direct decendent of Brigham Young (by direct, I mean the first son of the first?son of the first son,) and he is no longer a mormen, his great grandfather simply could not deal with the original Brighan’s polyigamy and it would probably make you feel even better to know his first born converted to Judism!? ?
      This prcatice of converting the dead no matter how you think it is justified it is wrong and needs to?come to an end.??You have NO RIGHT to do it! ?
      As for being arrogant about money, how does one explain when willard goes around telling people that he is building a $25,000,000 house becasue his other houses are too small?? How does one expalin about putting an elevator in a garage?? How does one explain when he says his friends own ball clubs or race car teams and therefore he has some knowledge of these sports.? How do you explain when he says his wife drives a couple of cadilacs and he drives?more than one car.? Whether or not you think he is not rubbing it in that these are the things that he finds common place, he is. ?
      I do not fault him for being rich, but what I fault him for is being rich and not knowing what is right or wrong.? You say he gives away a lot of his money to charity and that is a good thing, but what you neglect to say is all his chitable donations are to his church!? I have some extremely wealthy realitives who not only give away more than a tithe, they spread it around and to more than just religious organizations (not only Jewish,) because there is a world of need out there and not everyone who needs is Jewish. ?
      Next tiome you want to rant and rave about how good your man is, perhaps you should know the facts and the facts according to willard romany are not the facts, just ask him how many wives his grandfather ahd and he will tell you only one and that is not the truth and he knows it!? He doesn’t care what he says as long as he thinks it will benefit him and if you think that President Obama does the same things as romney you are wrong and not worth talking too! ?

      Maybe it’s my lack of Jewish identity, but I never got too upset about people trying to convert me after I was dead. I mean, who cares? If the Mormon religion is true, they’ve got a second shot at heaven, and I don’t think the Talmud says you lose your shot at the world to come if someone baptises you posthumously. If, like me, you’re an atheist, it makes the Mormons feel better, and doesn’t hurt anyone else unless they get offended by it.

      edlobel says:

      You description of the LDS view of baptism only gives the LDS statement that they work for the dead and that they only baptise those whose spirits want to be converted and the judgement of their god that deceased Jews never had a fair opportunity to accept or rejet the Mormon gospel? If yhou really believe that, I know some people who have a bridge they would like to sell you. If you believe deceased Jews’ spirits would want to convert, you are 100% wrong! I could just imagine a Jew or a Muslim going around to a Mormon grave and doing just the same a Mormons do. I can imagine how upset Mormons would be. I can imagine how beserk Mormons would be if Jews (and Muslims) went around and diggin up deceased Mormons and circumcising them so they can become members of their tribes afterall they were not given a fair opportunity to accept their rites! Just who are you kidding. NO JEW wants to be converted after they are dead!
      As for Willard’s arrogance aabout his money, he does not have to say “I’m wealthy and your not” He just talks to people as thought they are idiots and he is superior. As for rejecting his inheritance, you say he donated it to charity, well in fact, he did not reject it, he choose to accept it and then gave it away to charity. I know he is very charitable and gives a lot of money to charity, but he only donates to one charity and that is the Mormon church. Even somebody like Sheldon Adelson who is much richer that Willard could ever hope to be and givces substanially more money to charity, does not donate his money to only Jewish causes. The Koch brothers who give away much more money than Willard does, donates money to many charities including Jewish charities (the Koch brothers are NOT Jewish,) the also donate to public institutions such as musiums and the opera etc. Again, Willard only donates his money to the Mormon church. I worked for an orthodox Jewish company and they donated to many causes including non Jewish ones and when I asked why, they told me that some of their employees were not Jewish and that there are people of other religions who need help.
      I simply do not care how much money Willard has or can continue to make (as long as he does it honestly and I am not implying he does not,) I also do not care who he gives his money too.
      What I do care about is he does indeed go around being arrogant about his wealth! He talks about things the “common folks” don’t know about, like his friends who own auto racing teams, to me that seems like arrogance. He does not know that a doughnut is as that is common folks food and not rich people food. I could go on and on, but I do not think you nwould understand, after all you think it is perfectly OK for a Mormon to go around baptisins deaced Jews because you think they did not have enough time to decide that they did not want to be Jewish when they were alive!

salemst says:

Philip, I find Jews to be academically smart which often doesn’t translate to common sense wisdom.
edlobel, The Depression was caused by the Federal Reserve, whioh Democrats created in 1913 to prevent business cycle ups and downs/Recessions, loosening money supply causing wild speculation and then tightened money supply.  Had nothing to do with Hoover being a business man.
The current Great recession was caused by a housing/banking bubble, again, created by the Fed/Greenspan lowering interest rates to 1% to deal with our popped Y2K/Dotcom Bubble of the 1990’s which sowed the seeds for a massive housing bubble.  It was exacerbated by politicians–specially Clinton–demanding banks lend to unqualified borrowers so all could own a home.  Bush also liked that idea.  However, it didn’t work out so well in the end.  Best to not pressure banks to lend money based on zip code.Obama’s record is horrendous.  Only 20% of people say they’re better off today than they were 4 years ago.  Clearly, Constitutional Law expertise combined with Community Organizing didn’t help Obama in economics. 

Hey…Kennedy was Catholic…that is not Protestant

    In U.S. history, there have been exactly four major-party presidential nominees who were not Protestants: Al Smith, John Kennedy, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry.

    Read the second name.

InfantryVeteran says:

Joseph Smith, Mormon founder and prophet, was running for the presidency of the  United States when he had his Latter-day Saint followers crown him King of Israel on April 11,  1844.

    dr44 says:

    Yes, Joseph was running for President. No, he was never crowned “king” of anything in any kind of political sense. That’s simply an old anti-Mormon canard. I have to admit I haven’t heard that old chestnut for awhile, though.

      InfantryVeteran says:

      Obviously when he was crowned King of Israel the Ottoman authorities did not relinquish control of Palestine to Joseph Smith. The coronation had no political implications for Jews as the Zionist movement would later never address this affair or honor Joseph Smith’s title.

     I wish you could site a reliable reference for that fable. Yes, Joseph Smith was running for President in 1844 when he was martyred at Carthage, IL. Yes, he was President, prophet, seer and revelator for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) when he was murdered, but he was never considered a “king.” He was once asked how he governed such a great people (a the time Nauvoo was the vying with Chicago for the largest city in the state) and his response was: “I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.”

jonathansg says:

What is particularly surprising about the GOP’s nearly 150 years of national candidates is that its  all-Protestant cast (caste?) extends to its candidates for vice president as well, with one relatively obscure exception: William Miller, a Catholic who was nominated in 1964. For nearly two decades  , it seems that the GOP feels that the only national position for Catholics is on the Supreme Court.  Both the Presidency and the Court would benefit by ending such uniform creedal casting.

    edlobel says:

    there have been a couple on non protestant presidents and even one Jewish candidate for vice president. Check it out, John Kennedy was Catholic as was Ronald Reagan and Joe Lieberman is Jewish!

      jonathansg says:

      JFK is still the only non-Protestant President.  I don’t know the faith of Reagan’s parents, but he was a Protestant.

        edlobel says:

        Jonathan, I stand corrected. While Ronald Regan’s father was a catholic, his mother was a protestant and he choose to become a protestant.

The great divide that should concern us most is their visions of what America should be: a socialist, welfare state, a-la Europe; or a community of free and independent citizens working for their own best interests.
Romney, represents more agreement with all my standards of morals and principles than Obama (who I don’t think shares any with me). Romney is a close friend with Netanyahu (hope I spelled that right) while Obama dislikes and distrusts him. The Latter-day Saints sent an apostle to Jerusalem in the 1830’s to dedicate it to the return of Israel/Judah (Romney’s faith);  while Obama thinks it is duty to support improving the World’s opinion of Muslims, and only reluctantly supports Israel in anything.


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Mormon Candidate a Step Toward a Jewish One?

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