Earlier, we published an op-ed from a contributor entitled “Why I Don’t Think A Mormon Should Be President.” The author argued that because Mormonism encourages a divinely inspired personal view of morality and truth Mormons don’t separate church from state. Matt Hopkins, a Mormon living in San Francisco, rejects this argument and responds below.Mormons are unlikely patriots. We are a faith that was founded in the youth of the nation, forged in the desert of the West, and matured along with the country that we call home. Our history is complicated, but consistently we have proved loyal to the United States of America.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, better known as Mormonism, started in New York, moved to the midwest and eventually settled what is now known as Utah. We made these moves not because we wanted to be secretive, but because we were persecuted for our faith. In the land of freedom of religion, it was actually legal to shoot a Mormon on site in Missouri from 1838 until 1976. I’m not making that up, look up Missouri Executive Order 44.
Even though we left the United States to practice our faith in peace, we never left our patriotism behind. In 1846-47 the Mormon church provided approximately 500 men to the United States Government to serve in the Mexican-American War. The group, known as the Mormon Battalion, would march almost 2,000 miles for the United States government. Men from that battalion would become instrumental in settling the western United States.
Our faith teaches us that the Constitution and its writers were divinely inspired. Our scripture says the following concerning the rule of law:
“…that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind…”
One of our Articles of Faith states:
“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honouring, and sustaining the law.”
We appreciate the rule of law, because we know what it is like to live in a land without it. We know the principles in the founding documents of the United States are so important because we were deprived of them. Regardless of political affiliation, embedded in the Mormon faith is a belief that we must uphold the rule of law. Mormons, both Democrats and Republicans, have served in public office for years. Harry Reid is a member and I would write this if he was running for president too. If you don’t like Mitt Romney, that is one thing, but citing his Mormonism as a disqualification for the office is just lazy.
I could give you a list of stereotypical Mormon attributes for why a Mormon would be a good president. I could explain how our two year missions shape us, and I could talk about the selfless service inherent in Mormon beliefs, but none of that matters. In the end it is the President’s job to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Anything else is, well, poppycock.
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