About 800 people packed Lake Miona Regional Recreation Center in this retirement community of 65,000. It was standing-room only.
But what got the crowd roaring wasn't a pitch for safe offshore oil drilling or health care. It was his religion. If he were to win the White House, Romney would become America's first Mormon president.
A man stood amid the crowd and called Romney "a pretender" who doesn't know "the Lord."
The crowd booed the man from the room, and Romney responded: "First of all, I believe in God."
You can't possibly run for President unless you believe in God!! When do I get to vote for the atheist candidate? I'm not one, but I would find that a lot easier to swallow, than all the posturing and bickering over doctrine.
Mormonism is a little odd, I'll grant you. But is it any more outrageous to believe that Joseph Smith received the golden plates of Mormon revelation from the angel Moroni, than to believe that God handed Moses the Ten Commandments. Why? Because it happened more recently?
Alright. The bullet-proof underwear is weird as hell... and seems a bit unsanitary. But is it so much stranger than saying a rosary?
Religion by its very nature is irrational, so as long as "faith" is a litmus test in politics we're going to have to accept some wacky ideas in our leaders.
That said, I'm unlikely to ever vote for a Mormon. Not because I think their religion is cuckoo, but because they tend to be extremely conservative. I'll read just about anything by Orson Scott Card, because he's probably one of the greatest writers in the English language, but I want him far, far away from the political arena. Mormon. Great writer. Whack-job. And, yes, I even read "Saints" his historical fiction on the early Mormon Church. God. The man could write about the composition of plywood and create a compelling narrative.
Call me old-fashioned. I still believe in the Jeffersonian wall. But rational discourse is just so 18th Century.