At the risk of further inflaming at least on NLT commenter, let me call attention to Richard John Neuhaus response to Jacob Weisbergs piece of anti-religious bigotry, which is directed at Romney and at anyone who isnt essentially a religious modernist, agnostic, or atheist.
For fear of misleading someone into thinking that I agree with everything I quote, I wont give you anything from Weisbergs piece, but I will offer this bit from Neuhaus (reminding everyone that Neuhaus is not Knippenberg, nor Knippenberg, Neuhaus):
First, what would people think of someone who abandoned the religion of his forebears in order to advance his political career? (Mr. Romney is apparently having difficulties enough in explaining some of his political changes.) Second, do we really want to exclude from high office millions of citizens born into a religion whose tenets strike most Americans as bizarre, especially when there is no evidence that those peculiar tenets would have a bearing on their public actions? Third, candidates should be judged on the basis of their character, competence, and public positions. That one was born a Mormon is not evidence of a character flaw. That one remains a Mormon may be evidence of theological naiveté or indifference. But we are not electing the nation’s theologian. And, it should be noted, there are very intelligent Mormons who are doing serious intellectual work to move their tradition toward a closer approximation of Christian orthodoxy, which is a welcome development.
I will also note that Weisberg reminds us that other Mormons have sought the presidency, including Orrin Hatch, Morris Udall, and Romney pere. I cant recall there being much discussion of the candidates Mormonism in any of those cases, though I have to confess that in 1968 I wasnt old enough to pay close attention to politics. Its worth noting that theres a fairly wide range of political opinion--all of it comfortably part of the mainstream--in that modern list.