Check out today’s New York Sun:
A group of young Christian conservatives have founded a Web site, Evangelicals for Mitt, evangelicalsformitt.org, aimed at promoting their candidate “as the best choice for people of faith.” They argue that the political implications of differences between Mormons and evangelicals are the product of the “liberal media.” “They [the liberal press] root their error (as usual) in a fundamental misunderstanding about American evangelicals — seeing us as ignorant and intolerant simpletons who are incapable of making sophisticated political value judgments,” the Web site states.
Ultimately, Mr. Romney will have to address the issue of his faith in more expansive terms, just as Kennedy did in 1960. This reality reflects the way American politics have become so personal in recent times. When a candidate runs for president today, everything about them is open to scrutiny and discussion — far more so than in a gubernatorial run, such as Mr. Romney’s 2002 election when religious questions were largely off the table.
A speech by Mr. Romney on his religious views would likely have to involve an educational effort by members of the Mormon church, who would have to explain religious teachings to the public at large. Some of that took place in 2000, when Senator Lieberman ran for vice president as the first Sabbath-observant Jew.
A Mormon and a first year student at Harvard, Rachel Esplin, says she welcomes the attention the Romney Campaign might bring to her faith. “It will allow us to dispel myths about the church,” she says.
Ms. Esplin’s optimism is the hope of the young. If Mr. Romney’s campaign can take hold, the way members of other religious and secular groups treat him will be a good test of whether America meets the standard of religious tolerance that Kennedy set so long ago.