I grew up being taught that Catholics were people to be avoided. We whispered about them. I even remember being scared to walk into my first Catholic church. Then, when I was as old as my children are now, I remember the tears shed over the assassination of John F. Kennedy — our first Catholic president. I remember all the documentaries about the tragic loss of our great president and all the books my parent bought about him. Catholic bigotry seemed to melt during the following years. And as differences between the two major Christian religions melted, religion itself seemed to loose yet another little part of its black magical power.
If Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee, many American Christians will have to face an extreme cognitive dissonance between voting for their religion (as most don’t consider Mormons to be Christians) or voting for their party. I imagine that most will vote for their party–though probably not enough to win the election. But if Romney becomes the President and does a fair job, I think that Christian exclusivism will fade further out of the American psyche via the mechanism I explained here. We may then get little closer to a new milieu where people evaluate a person by looking at their values and behavior before they judge someone according to their religion (or lack thereof).
Who knows how Romney would effect economics, foreign policy, corporate welfarism or civil liberties? Only time and the new make-up of the Congress would make those issues clearer. But I am pretty convinced that religion would change for the better in America if Romney were elected. Mind you, I am not an issue voter by any stretch — I am just doing some fun arm-chair speculation today. Care to join me?
Questions for readers: How can you imagine a Romney win affecting the American religion psyche? Am I being too simplistic or too optimistic? Do you think he would polarize and sharpen fundie’s voices in a destructive way? Would his presence strengthen the strangle hold of Mormonism? Go ahead, make a predication now and maybe in 8 years we can look back at our guesses and laugh at our pathetic arm-chair sociological speculation and the unpredictable twists of history!