A Mormon Case for Clinton (and Obama)

This post was previously written by A. H. Green and has been published with his permission.

Brother Green earned a PhD (UCLA, 1973) in Mid-East History/Arabic and has chaired the Arabic Studies Department (American University in Cairo, 1982-85), directed the BYU Jerusalem Center (2000-02), and chaired BYU’s History Department (2005-07). He served a mission in France (1960-63), presided over the LDS Cairo Egypt Branch (1977-80) and the Israel District (2000-02); he and his wife have served two post-retirement missions.

NBC’s “Mormon in America” special (23 Aug 2012) noted that Mitt Romney’s fellow Latter-day Saints supported his two presidential bids (2008 and 2012). Addressing other voters suspicious of his faith, Romney rightly argued in a 6 Dec 2007 speech at College Station, TX, that a candidate’s religion shouldn’t matter. It had mattered to Al Smith, whose being Catholic likely abetted his loss to Hoover in 1928; it hadn’t mattered to Eisenhower, whose being raised a Jehovah’s Witness never became a campaign issue. Romney’s speech cited the U.S. Constitution (VI:3): “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” He might have also quoted LDS scripture: “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government” (Doctrine & Covenants 134: 9). The coin’s other side is that no U.S. citizen is obligated to favor a coreligionist at the polls.

Like Romney I’m an “active” Mormon who served a mission in France, and who has shepherded a congregation and a set of them. Yet I voted twice for Barack Obama and plan to vote for Hillary Clinton—not despite being a Mormon but partly because of it. Elaborated below are some of my reasons, about which I speak for myself only.

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