In 1844, the first-ever Mormon presidential candidate was besieged by an angry mob in the Carthage, Illinois jail in which he was being held prisoner and shot several times before falling out of a window and having his limp body propped up against a well and executed by an ersatz firing squad.
Since then, Americans' views of Mormon candidates have improved, but not by all that much…
Eighteen percent of Americans say they would not vote for a well-qualified presidential candidate who happens to be a Mormon, virtually the same as the 17% who held this attitude in 1967.
The exact percentage of Americans who resist the idea of voting for a Mormon has varied slightly over the eight times Gallup has asked the question, typically when a Mormon was running for president, including George Romney (1968 campaign), Orrin Hatch (2000 campaign), and Mitt Romney (2008 and 2012 campaigns). The percentage opposed to a Mormon president has averaged 19% since 1967 — from a low of 17% at several points to a high of 24% in 2007. The current 18% is down from 22% a year ago.
Well, if nothing else, at least we get points for consistency.
Think about that! Nearly one-in-five Americans — 56 million people, the equivalent of the combined populations of California and New York — happily admit that they would discriminate against a person, based solely upon his or her personal lifestyle choices. Personally, I find that mind-boggling and embarrassing. And I'm sure the Mormon Church would agree with me.
Not least of all Mitt Romney.
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Tags: Christianity, George Romney, Mitt Romney, Mormon, Orrin Hatch, Polls, Religion